Hoping Hopes

Here’s a project I’d hoped to finish before the end of 2022, but it was finally “done” yesterday, and helps me to usher in 2023. I’ve posted several things in a row recently that were vocal tunes, so here I’m returning to instrumentals. I wrote this on guitar a few months ago, and originally thought of it as something I’d record as a feature for solo nylon stringed guitar. You’ll hear that instrument is still part of this, but it’s now far from a solo guitar feature.
There are 2 electric guitars, the nylon acoustic (a Godin), and a fretless bass. They were all recorded through the Line 6 Helix Native plug-in, which has become my go-to for any guitar, bass, and vocal parts on my songs. The various softsynths are from Halion, Padshop, and Retrologue. The percussion is Halion, but the main drum part is Groove Agent.
What I really enjoyed with this song was trying my hand at some “horn” arranging. I heard pianist Aaron Parks’ Quintet, and then guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel with a Big Band as I was recording this. The sax/trumpet dynamic in the quintet and woodwinds in the Big Band got me thinking about the embellishments and parts you’ll hear. These might be pretty elementary to some, but it was fun for me as a bassist/guitarist to go in that direction with this song.
The one thing I wasn’t too happy with was the final drum sound. It sounded great in my phones, but led to lots of angst during mixing and mastering over my monitors. What I’ve wound up with was kind a “waving the white flag” sound I thought I could live with. If anyone has thoughts on why my experience was so different between the phones and monitors, please let me know.
Finally, this was done in Cubase Pro 11, and I’m about to buy a new PC (time to farm out the laptop I’ve been using) and move up to 12. I won’t be building my computer, so if anyone has any recommendations for an acceptable “out of the box” PC that works well with Cubase Pro 12, please let me know.

I like this instrumental. Very good!

This all sounds great in my system. The sound of the drums is ok in my opinion, but just a bit too soft. A little more volume would put it more in value. I also listened to the piece with my headphones and it’s the same thing. My impression for drums is that it lacks a Live side, its existence in a room. The rest is well balanced and weel done.

Perhaps this discussion with Andrew Scheps and Fab Dupont could be useful to you.

Very nice work! I’m in agreement with Rene about the soft drums. But I love the textures you’ve got going on!

Thanks so much for sharing that video, Rene, and for the nice comments to both of you. I did try playing with the volume, but that wasn’t really addressing what I was hearing. In the phones, the drums had more bottom and presence, but in the monitors , they were very “top” heavy (high hat and rim shots) at any volume. I did try several EQ remedies too. It’s a pretty subdued, but supportive, drum part, so I didn’t want it being as top heavy as I was hearing it.

Nice one, Swetch. The flute adds a new element that I like.

About the drums, the kick seemed to be off to me. Or maybe it played too many accent notes. Maybe put some of those accent notes in the snare, instead?

Hi Leon,
Thanks for listening, and glad that you seemed to like it. I’ve just re-mixed it and boosted the bass, nylon guitar, and drums (at Rene’s and billjv’s suggestion). Didn’t add a whole lot, just a little bit. Thanks to your suggestion, I also took out or “ghosted” a bass drum hit here and there. I’m definitely happier with this mix, and how it all sits together now.