First Cubase song attempt!


Here is my first attempt at trying to record with Cubase. Any home recording actually! It’s not as tweaked as I’d like, but when you have the ability to attempt unlimited takes - is there ever a perfect? I thought it would be more beneficial to get some feedback before striving for the magic last 10% of perfection! Also, I only have headphones to use so I don’t want to work the end result just to sound good on my limited equipment.

Anyhoo, it’s a song I wrote for Church. I’m still getting to grips with the ‘mastering’ aspect of it all. After I exported the mixdown, the balance was as I wanted, but while ‘mastering’ the piano pops out a bit more that initially intended.

I think I’m hearing some compression pump, but I’m almost sure it’s do to my lack of experience with the maximiser & limiter I had at the end of the chain.

So please share some knowledge/skill/insight and I look to gaining some new skills!

I like it, maybe bring up the vol on vocals?

After that, experiment with eqing stuff to bring forth stuff in the mix :slight_smile:

oh, and compression is nice, but people overdo it. go easy and aim for the natural feel in dynamics.

A good effort, mix is a little bit boxy, as marcus bits said a bit of eq here and there will work wonders, Kevin…Kevin

Nice song, and certainly a good effort for a first song!
It seems a bit heavy in the low mid frequencies, mostly the guitar and piano overlapping there, I think you can get away with a cut on the piano in that region. The bass is a bit loud maybe?

I also feel the whole arrangement could use a bit more variation. Now I know that Gospel songs always stick to a boring chord schemes (no offense, I play in church too :wink:), but a change like at 2:30 or even at 2:50 can come a bit earlier as well to give a bit more build up and break down in the song. Mostly the guitar that’s a bit tiring to listen to the whole time I reckon.

Vey nice work. Nice melodies and structure. As others have said, I feel like the mix is a bit indistinct. I do think there’s too much compression, and some careful EQ could help separate the elements and make the mix more dynamic.

I also feel that the effects on the vocals (reverb/delay) particularly are way too heavy handed. It really muddies the whole mix up. Although this is a matter of taste, it doesn’t feel near as tight and clear as it could. If it were me, I would start by removing ALL time effects (reverb and delay, etc.) and make the mix sound as good as you can make it without them (comparing to other recordings that you admire) and then add this stuff last.

More than the above though, I agree with Strophoid, the thing I would work on first is the arrangement. It seems that every instrument is in use at ALL times, and I think that if you were more selective about when and where to include your instruments, you could make the arrangement much more interesting. For example, you might save the big wall of sound for the last chorus, and have the piano take the lead in one verse, while the guitar took the lead in another. It all depends on the intended effect, of course, but often, when it comes to arrangement it’s not so much what you can add, but what you can take away that makes a difference. I feel similarly about the vocal harmonies. They actually seem to be used more often than not, and for this type of song, I might be more selective about when I brought them in. It’s a powerful effect, and if it’s there all the time, you tend to ignore it.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Take 'em or leave 'em. You have some excellent building blocks to work from here.

Thanks all for the thoughts!

'Tis why I wanted to get some feedback before tweaking it to death. I agree with all the arrangement comments - it’s a bit of a ‘wall’ through most of the song & I struggled to the transparency in the compression I wanted. Man - there is so much to learn!

It also was a big experiment with my equipment, especially using the POD X3 Live 100% direct. I got a bit carried away with the dual tones (essentially 2 unique guitars in 1 stereo track) that can easily over saturate the mix if not careful.

Can someone please define ‘boxy’ to me? I’ve heard this referenced elsewhere, but I’m not sure what the cause of ‘boxiness’ is to subsequently trying and find a solution for it!

It’s hard trying to ‘mix’ everything through headphones (all I have available)(not worth explaining) as it doesn’t feel as natural to me, but gotta make the most of what I have!

I listen to mainstream music through my headphones to try to understand their limitations (the headphones), but it’s hard to apply the same understanding to your own mix. When listening to mainstream song and there is a frequency not quite right, it’s easy to accept that the limitation is in your equipment. When trying to mix my own stuff I hear ‘holes’ and it’s hard to trust a mix and not overcompensate.

Anyhoo - the adventure has begun!

Is this really a CHURCH song ?? i guess it must be a long time since i have attended !! It sounds more like a rock song to me ?? Anyway, thats not a criticism, just an observation. i guess i was just expecting something more ‘spiritual’ than a rock-like vibe.

Regarding headphones, i am looking to buy the BeyerDynamic DT880’s later in the year (for mixng etc).

i started a thread which has lots of help and advice from various members on here :-

Headphones - I have the Beyer DT770 Pro.

We are currently living In Santiago, Chile (Ex-pats) and I could only bring over a limited amount of things.

So, better than nothing, I had to try and find some headphones for live tracking (closed) that would be usable for mixing and some level of mastering. We’ll, lets re-name ‘mastering’ as ‘post-mix tweaking’.

Budget was a factor as well as the compromise. It’s dang hard trying to be subjective when tweaking a song when you’ve only heard it through headphones or laptop speakers. But, better than nothing!

But, I’m sure I’m not the only person with limitations with their recording set up!

You have a great start there! Now, let’s try to get it all the way there.

First, I agree with SLD – take off ALL the reverb/delay, and get the mix happening without them first. As he and others pointed out, you got two very mid-range heavy instruments, piano and overdriven guitar, competing here. You may need to rewrite/revoice the piano part so it’s covering different notes, higher notes most likely in this case. But the real problem is you’ve doubled the guitar onto both sides, and it ain’t working with the piano. Personally, I’d just ditch the piano

Also – watch your levels. I know the desire/temptation is to have each element up loud so everyone can hear your ingenious writing and playing :laughing: but resist it – for example, does the guitar have to be that loud in the mix to get the job done?

I also think the bass is a bit too loud overall in the mix, it’s eating up a lot of territory in terms of volume. Stop a second and listen to the bass relative to the drums… do you have something against drummers? :laughing: Because I cannot really him at all. Compare the lead vocal to the drums, too: does that sound like the right balance?