[Music] Soul Man

It’s been forever and a day since I’ve released something. Time constraints, Sandy, Sound of Humanity project, etc. have all sapped away my time. So this song has been in progress for about 8 weeks now.

This is my take on the song Soul Man. It doesn’t follow any particular rendition (Sam and Dave, Blues Brothers, etc.) but is instead my own interpretation.

The drums were done in Jamstix 3.5 (64-bit). Everything else is live.

I’m most proud of the bass tone, which I got by squashing the hell out of it in my tube pre / compressor. I did no special EQ on it in the outboard gear. In Cubase I simply applied a bass cabinet to it via Guitar Rig 5.

The guitars were sent through the same outboard gear, much less compression, and then through Guitar Rig 5 for the final tone.

Vocals were recorded on a Neumann TLM103, no pop filter, 6" back slightly off-axis and into the same outboard gear also with much less compression, but more than the guitars.

I’m trying a new mixing technique for the vocals that I hope you think successfully added some density to them. The backup vocals were two mono tracks panned left and right. The left track had a send to a mono delay, 11ms, feedback 2, panned right. The right track had a send to a mono delay, 13ms, feedback 2, panned left. The lead vocal, both backups, and the FX channels were sent to a stereo group channel that simply had a stereo delay (11ms left and 13ms right, feedback 2). Finally it was sent through the 120Hz HPF EQ preset.

Thoughts are appreciated.

Soul Man

Hi Larry,

I can’t get past the drum track on this one. Sorry, Bro, but it’s not good. Groove is key on a tune like this one,
and the groove is awkward - misplaced kick drum hits all over the place, sloppy fills, makes the whole thing hard to listen to… I’m not familiar with Jamstix. Do you have Superior Drummer by any chance? If so, try replacing this drum track with one of the funk midi files from Superior.
It’d be like night and day from what you have here. I like the way you changed up the chord progression, but you’ve got to get those drums sorted.

C’mon - do it for Jake 'n Elwood! Consider it a mission from Gud. :sunglasses:

agree with lenny lee regarding the drums…they’re letting the track down which otherwise could be awesome (bit led zep really )…Kevin


Jamstix is an AI-based VST drummer. Here’s the process, in a nutshell:

  1. Choose a drummer. For the verses, I have Charlie Watts. For the chorus, I have Dave Weckl.
  2. Choose a style. I used Modern Funk.
  3. Choose a kit. I used Standard Funk - Mini.
  4. Enter the song structure, e.g. VVCVCVCBMSCCE (verse, chorus, bridge, middle 8, solo, ending).
  5. Click Generate Song.

Now the entire song structure is generated for you with default settings. Tweak the AI for the various components then play through the song while the AI plays based on rules dealing with drum distance from each limb, etc.

It’s difficult to hand edit the results, but I’ll agree that there are some awkward spots. I’ll revisit when I get a moment this weekend.

I see. I’d be wary of an AI approach, especially after hearing these results. Jamstix is using an algorhythm and all it knows about your song is that it’s ‘Modern Funk’ - without knowing anything about the feel of the bass line you’ve played?
Here’s an interesting post from someone using jamstix that makes sense to me based on the results you got, Larry.


Of course, assigning Charlie Watts and Dave Weckl to the same song may have caused the app to malfunction! :laughing:

What I like about the midi files in Superior is that they’re actual live performances by top notch pro drummers converted to midi, and you can, say, lay down a
bass and guitar(or whatever) to one of the grooves, then after you’ve got some tracks down, you can audition other grooves and see if they work better - then go in to the midi editor and tweak it up to make it sound -exactly- as you want it.

Well, Charlie is a straight-up drummer, which is what I wanted during the verses. Dave is more creative, which is something that is needed for the choruses. Every drummer model has a rather extensive different set of parameters that you can tweak to your heart’s content. The playing style (Modern Funk) applies default settings to these parameters and nothing more.

This is my first time using Jamstix for a song that I’ve released to the masses so it’s also quite possible that I just don’t know the product well enough. Maybe it’s just that the drummer is being uncooperative meaning that the AI is more life like than I first imagined. :laughing: But I will agree on the lack of coherence with the bass line.

The good thing about Jamstix is that it can export a MIDI file that I can edit in Cubase. After reflecting on your first post I may switch to the built-in mappings for Battery 3’s Tight Kit since I have NI’s drum maps, meaning it’s a lot easier for me to edit it. Contrast this with Jamstix’ editing facility which, to be blunt, sucks.

I do like the AI part because I’ve been justifiably critiqued by my peers here in the past that my drum lines lack variability or that they sound robotic. This definitely gives it more of a human feel.

Maybe I should use the Neil Peart model or Animal (from the Muppets) model to see what I get. :mrgreen:

Lenny: any thoughts on the fullness (or lack thereof) of the vocals? Like I said, this is a new approach for me to mixing vocals so that they sound fuller while using only a few tracks.

The problem is that it doesn’t sound like Charlie -or- Dave. The snare does stay on the 2 and 4 during the verse, so maybe that’s what they see as ‘Charlie’, but that kick drum is unbelievably unintuitive. It’s choppy and unsteady,
and to my ears, nothing like what a good drummer would do. I suspect Weckl would be calling his lawyer if he heard that chorus. :mrgreen:
The thing, for me, is - why would you want a drum performance created by an algorhythm, even if you can adjust the parameters - but otherwise have little control over the details, when you can use a program with performances by great drummers, which are then tweakable down to the smallest detail. It puts -much- more of the human element into the drums, and yields a much better result.

To my ears, this feel is anything but human. Adding variety is something you can do with any of these programs,
but it can be done better with a better program. It’s simply a matter of doing the work.

I did a little research since I made that last post. I listened to the demos on the Jamstix site, http://www.rayzoon.com/jamstix3.html
and I’m not that impressed with them. I heard questionable fills and hits even on their own demos.
Compare that to the sound and performances of the Toontrack demos:

I do see why some would use Jamstix. It’s only $59. The library is 1.3GB. Superior is $349 and it’s library is 20gb.

That’s fine for some, Larry, but I have it on good authority that you’re a man with vast sums of disposable income.
'Nuff said. :sunglasses:

The vocal does sound plenty full to me - and I like the bass tone as well.

Your friend, Lenny :slight_smile:

I don’t know how Jamstix works, but I thought most of these programs generated midi hits. You can certainly edit with this program, can’t you? At least you can line up drum hits with bass notes. Also, if you’ve got Komplete, then you have Studio Drummer, which definitely comes with a number of midi grooves that get pasted into a midi track that you can tweak. I’ve only played around with them, but worth mentioning.

I’ve got Jamstix and it is poss to fiddle with the midi bits… which is necessary because it is a bit clunky with it’s timing…

Ok so I set it up to use the Battery kit, which I then recorded via its MIDI out to a new track. I’m sending that track to Battery 3’s Tight Kit for rendering.

I’ll fiddle around with the track to at least straighten out the kick / snare and see what the results sound like. I suspect that much of the problem is due to the ADD of the kick.

And I don’t have the money at the moment. This month has been incredibly difficult financially which is only compounding things since we bought a house this year that needed some work not to mention the unexpected death of my central air unit during the summer.

Are the loops in NI’s Studio Drummer any good? Since I have Komplete 8 I have all of their drummer products (Abbey Road, etc.)

Have another listen. I’ll let you know what I did after you do. :stuck_out_tongue:

Sounds better but I reckon there are still a few timing issues here and there…Kevin

That may be true, but would you say I’m headed in the right direction?

When I reconnected it to the Battery kit I also tweaked the settings, dialed down the enthusiasm if you will. I remember noticing when I first bought it that the AI models were a bit like this guy…

Drummer can’t contain himself

…if left to the default settings. The first attempt had things scaled back but apparently not enough. I digress, however…

So I regenerated a new drum track then treated it like a bunch of 1 measure long loops. Most of the “loops” were crap from a timing perspective, but I found enough good stuff that I was able to slice-n-dice a drum line from it. I then made very minimal changes to what I had and reprinted to see if I was going in the right direction.

there’s a few questionable spots, and I’m still not crazy about the sound of the kit - but this is a lot better
than it was. The verse is ok, but I’d like to hear more kick hits on the downbeats of the chorus to drive that part more.

You moved the whole drumtrack forward by a dotted quarter note? :slight_smile:

Ahh, you beat me to the punch, Larry. I guess you can’t bear to watch any more of that Giants game either, eh? :wink: :cry:

I didn’t make it past 30 seconds into the second quarter. :laughing:

Okay so my process is somewhat vindicated now. I will listen to this in my car over the next few days and listen for deficiencies in the drum line, which is always tough since I’ve never played drums in a band myself. Hopefully, I’ll find a few ways to tweak this further to get a better end result.

[quote=“foolomon”]That may be true, but would you say I’m headed in the right direction?

definitely headed in the right direction…

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