[Music] You Are So Beautiful

A jazzy take on a familiar song, Mark Petruzzi’s daughter in law, Leslie, provides the soothing vocals.

You Are So Beautiful


Guitar: 1981 Ibanez Artist > MindPrint Envoice MKII > Cubase
Bass: Cort 5 string fret less > MindPrint Envoice MKII > Cubase
Keys: The sample instrument that comes with Kontakt Player
Drums: Jamstix 3.6 > Battery 3

I don’t recall what microphone Leslie used, but I seem to recall that it’s a dynamic and not a condenser.

Recorded on Cubase 8 Pro. I used the FabFilter suite, Melodyne, SlickHDR and FerricTDS from Variety of Sound, and a few stock plug-ins for the mixing and mastering projects.

I can’t believe no one has written in response. :astonished:

Very nicely done in all respects.

A wonderful vocal, artfully left teetering on the edge
of compression cliff.

Very tasty el p and guitar.

I would drop the ride that plays almost throughout.
Trust the brushes and the vocals to fill this piece. :wink:

Really beautiful


Larry!!! Great changes and playing beautiful interpretation of this classic. Leslie killed it I am glad you put the drums back in the mix, fits this style well. Guitar solo is really nice also ( :laughing: glad you did that instead of the other)

I should probably pass on this one because I may be starting to piss you off with lukewarm reviews, but this just doesn’t do it for me. The good points: she sings in tune, and has a nice voice…and the guitar solo (and tone) is nice. But compared to the Joe CAWKER (won’t let me spell it correctly) and Al Green versions, it’s just…I don’t know… lifeless. I agree with comments about the constant ride cymbal. The chord substitution towards the end of the cadence doesn’t work – it actually puts a grimace on my face. And…where are the soaring strings arranged by the great David Campbell, father of Beck, and who has probably graced more great recordings with his talent than any other artist in history (except maybe Nelson Riddle)? :sunglasses:

Doug, you never upset me because I know your comments always come from a good place even if you can get strict with me. :smiley: I will say that I was going for a new sound while retaining some of the old, so the soaring strings aren’t going to be there. And there’s no way I can compete with the Joe and Al versions so I’m not going to try. I just wanted to add some colorations in the chord changes to make it sound new without attempting (and failing) to outdo the commercial releases of this great song.

Thanks everyone for listening, the compliments, and the constructive criticisms.

As with the other few songs that I’ve released of late, any changes are going to have to wait for a bit. Lots of stuff happening in real life that have kinda sucked out the motivation for me to do any remixing at the moment.

Have you ever heard the Billy Preston original? The Rhodes here sounds a lot like that.

Yes, i like the arrangement and atmosphere, really soothing and mellow. A good voice she’s got and i agree with the comment about the ride in the drum track. It is there to prominent and gives it a mechanical feel and that is not fitting with the laid back playing /chords and singing. The phased rhodes tends to smear a little to much and closes the possible openings that also could add to the arrangement. I love the chord change uses, really surprising. Well don e :smiley: larry.

regards peter

What do you mean by “smear a little too much?” I don’t understand that. :frowning:

I haven’t but I’ll try to have a listen soon. :slight_smile:

:laughing: sorry for not being very clear on that.
The sound of the rhodes with the phasing is great. Billy Preston used it a lot but it is made famous by Richard Tee.
He used it on albums with Paul Simon a lot.
It is a little the same problem with my Hammond, the sound is really sticking out often en there is less room for different sounds in the mix. It ( this rhodes sounds) is a lovely sound to play with because any key you touch sounds fine :smiley:
So I tend to use it of course ( i only play keys) but open up the arrangement sometimes by leaving it out some bars.
I hope i explained myself a bit better . Maybe the expression is a creative translation of a dutch way of saying it.

Regards Peter

I won’t mention the ride. Oh! bugga… I just did :smiley: You gotta do something about that Larry… it’s almost a deal breaker.

Otherwise, the vibe you’re going for is pretty cool and the general feel is one I can totally get into. :sunglasses:
It’s always a risk when you do a cover… invariably being compared to the original(s). Folks often have a certain nostalgia, attachment and preference for the version they grew up with.

In tune - most of the time. There are quite a number off-pitch notes throughout though which I’d fix:
Obvious ones are: 1:32 “for…” - needs a slight tweak. 1:39 “you’re everything I need…” some slight tweaks here too.
1:52 “Beautiful” ouch! 3:04 Yikes! :astonished: What’s happening on “So” at 3:16? Sounds a bit distorted? There’s a few other spots that follow that need just a wee bit of a tweak too. :slight_smile:

I do completely agree about the ‘nice voice’. I like the timbre of the vocalist, soft, a little husky… very nice.

With some further fine-tuning this one is certainly a keeper. :slight_smile:

The chords at the end of the chorus are Ab Bbm7 Cm7 Dma7 Bb13 A7b5 Ab so she’s actually singing in key in those spots. :mrgreen:

The “so” at 3:16 is indeed an overloading of the mic she used. We collaborated on this remotely and she uses a (fairly) good dynamic microphone. But it isn’t a condenser so you end up with some stuff like this.

Hi Larry,
I do agree generally with the comments about the ride. You can fix that easily. I think the singer is good too. I think the main thing you could work on in this version, although I keep thinking I’m not supposed to comment on covers, is the overall dynamics. I would suggest that the recording build up and then relax. I think this is why you get the comments on the ride. The performance should establish a base, build it up, and then float away. It’s much too uniform from beginning to end, like a wedding band. You could work on the intonation of the singer, but I understand why it’s not that important to you. More important is giving the song a dynamic build and release, in my opinion. Like the guitar solo, btw.

That’s helpful, and I readily acknowledge that my use of overall dynamics is normally lacking. Instead, I tend to write the tension / release into the song itself (use of chords, tempo, tonal density).

I’ve been in Vienna for 2 weeks (leaving tomorrow) and have to start packing my house as soon as I return so I probably won’t get around to this for some time. But I do intend on returning to this song and the other two that I recently released to incorporate a lot of the suggestions that were offered.

No one is more beautiful its all about our different types of view about people :smiley:

Ok, so I’ve done a few things (although dynamics isn’t one of them…still, some changes have occurred to the dynamics due to the other changes made):

  1. Now that my studio is fully unpacked and operational (read: I have all of my VSTs again), I re-rendered the e-piano using Vintage Keys’ Scarbee Mark 1 instead of the stock Kontakt 5 e-piano that came with the free player.

  2. I removed the ride cymbal from the verses and most of the choruses.

  3. The biggest change is in the way I am now “doing” reverb. Before, I had small delays on the lead instruments (e.g. vocals and solo guitar), and various instances of the Roomworks SE plug with different stock presets. I had an enlightening discussion with Tom Z. (Woodcrest Studio) in Oct / Nov where he told me that this is likely contributing to a lack of “gel” in the mix. Instead, he suggested using sends for reverb in a fashion similar to the YouTube video I posted some time ago.

So, now, I have 4 FX channels, each with a single instead of Roomworks (not the SE version):

  1. Early reflections (near). No reverb tail, and a short pre-delay time (250 ms).
  2. Early reflections (far). No reverb tail, and a somewhat longer pre-delay time (500 ms).
  3. Reverb (near). Short-ish tail (2 s).
  4. Reverb (far). Long-ish tail (4 s).

All four of these sends are then routed to a group channel called Reverb that I can use to set the total amount of reverb in the mix.

All instrument channels have all 4 sends inserted pre-fader, save for individual drum tracks since I send those to a group channel. The drum group channel has all 4 sends instead. Then, I adjust the amount of signal sent to each FX channel depending on where the instrument sits in the mix. For example, the vocals have more near early reflections and reverb and less of the far pair, while the drums have more far pair and less near.

The result is actually noticeable. I get a much fuller mix while not losing any clarity of the individual tracks. The only explanation that I can surmise for this is that all of the reverb is coming from a consistent source meaning there are no “collisions” in terms of the types of reverb that I used to apply to individual channels.

Have a listen for yourself.

Old version
New version

The dynamics, as I said, weren’t adjusted directly. But because I killed the ride cymbal in a lot of the song there is more variety, which removes a decent amount of the monotony that was present before.