New song finished! "Lonely As the Deeps". Progressive rock

After months of life happening, having to move a family member, clean up and sell their place of residence, I returned to recording and mixing and I think I’ve finished another song.
This song gave me a chance to record some new guitars I got in the last couple of years, try some better singing technique that I’ve been learning, and use some cool mix tools that I’ve gotten recently. The SSL X series drum channel is marvelous. And this is one of the first songs in which I composed the drum tracks exclusively in the Song Editor in Superior Drummer 3. I was very impressed with the result on drums.
Lonely As the Deeps

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I think the song would be better served if you got someone else to sing. The vocals and the lead guitar are way too far in the background. When the lead guitar kicks in it sits there just like all the other instruments, bring it to the forefront.

I think the song will be best served if you sing it! The voice may need to be doubled or slightly treated may be, but your voice is sufficient to render that song. But there are a lot of mixing problems in your very enriched song. Synths are too loud vis à vis your voice and maybe you need another pair of ears to listen to your song and mixing it. My two cents. Very interesting and well played song! Prog at its best!

It’s deffinitively a mixing problems if the vocals are “in the background”, maybe too much global reverbs?
Just a personal advice. I don’t say I sing better, but I don’t want to sing in fact, I do more half-singing/talking.
Also, it’s maybe a voice recording problem? On what mics do you record your voice? I do it on my cellphone and it’s really bad, I can tell you have a mic atleast.

Thanks so much you guys for that very valuable feedback!
I made a few tweaks, nothing major needed actually, and that vocal in the first couple of verses and the guitar solo in the middle stood right out! They’re much more intelligible now, to my ear.
It’s true, when you’re mixing your own work, and you’re really liking the guitar tone you’ve dialed in, you’re liking the synth presets you’ve selected, then you can become reluctant to carve anything away.

Nice easygoing song, my only criticism would be the guitar coming in at around 3:00 is indeed too ‘in your face’. I would make the tone a bit thinner and sink it back into the mix a little.

To me your singing is quite ok, you actually have a nice vocal tone. Mixes can always be better and it’s hard to make up your mind when to stop working on it. All our modern toys are so much fun you want to keep playing around with them. :wink:

Good work (with a couple of tweaks), IMHO.

Just keep on singing. However, I agree that vocals do get somewhat buried. Some careful eqing, compression and maybe doubling somewhere could help. Maybe it would help if the louder vocal parts actually would be louder than the softer parts, i.e. maybe you could turn down the other tracks down a bit where the vocals are softer. I would also turn down the rhythm guitar which joins in at around 2.05.

In my opinion the guitar solo starting at 4.18 contains too many shredding parts and feels to me it is lacking in direction (it sounds like a collection of random shredding parts put together). It also sounds a bit hurried to me. The latter solo/theme which follows the solo is better laid out. The end guitar solo also sounds better suited for the context and there is a sense of development there.

I can see that a lot work has gone into this tune and there are many good elements.

Thanks for listening! I’ll take another listen. That lead guitar and how it sits in the synth tracks behind it is something I adjusted on Sunday after the first few comments above. I also thought I might have gotten away with smaller adjustments but thought I’d take a few listens then decide.
Your perception agrees with mine.

I’ll come back to take another listen in a couple of days, you may have tweaked it a bit by then.

First of all, lots of Prog references here in recent posting by a few of us (me included). In this case, I’ll say that the voices remind me a little bit of things I’ve heard from Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood of Yes (so does the bass sound). I like this, and do think that it all sits well together as it is. My most recent song here (Brink of Something) had a few people saying the voice was too upfront, while others said it was too far back. Tough to do these recordings where everything will be exactly where every listener will like it as you’d left it.
Nice guitar solo, by the way, and good work putting something like this together as well as you did.
John

Oh I’m gonna have to take a listen to “Brink of Something”.
I don’t stop in here as often as I’d like. Thanks for the heads up.

BTW the comparison to Chris Squire is a huge compliment. I think he was an outstanding lead singer. He could have fronted a side project band and done a great job.

You are the first to mention the bass i think. I have done a few other tunes for this project with my Rickenbackers, but wanted to get a variety of bass tones, so I used a Hamer Cruise bass 5 string with Duncan Basslines pickups for this song. The neck pickup does have a nice growl. However, because it’s the neck pickup, it has more low end than the bridge pickup, and I’ve been making little tweaks to get the amount of low end right. It sounded too bassy a few weeks ago.

I am taking comments on the level of the lead vocal with a tiny grain of salt, but as I said above, I found them very helpful. Originally I was going to say I was done last weekend, but the tweaks I made have made improvements. The lead vocal sounded intelligible to me even last weekend. But I did do a bit of fader automation to bring up a few syllables. Automation on the volume of a track is a last resort for me. Once I get the relative volumes of instruments and vocals where I like them, to make tracks more intelligible, I believe EQ, panning, maybe compression are more effective. But those few syllables were visibly lower in the waveform.

I also am wary of turning the lead vocal up too much because it’s a beginner mistake (that I used to do a lot and more experienced mix engineers advised me to stop) to make the lead vocal or lead guitar stand out by making it louder. Mixes where people do that sound like the lead instrument or vocal is playing/singing OVER the band, not WITH it.
If you listen to the Police for instance, Sting’s lead vocals are not loud. And they often sound pretty far back. But they are quite intelligible because there are not guitars or synths in the same range. I’m not trying to duplicate their mix approach, but I’m aware that it’s OK to have the lead vocal blend with the instruments, not sing over them. It’s rock n roll, so I want the bass, drums and guitars to speak.

I had a slight mid boost in the EQ on the rhythm guitar that starts at 2:05 last weekend. I set it flat now, and I may actually take some mids out. I was going for something like Alex Lifeson’s mid 70s guitar tones, which do not have a lot of gain, do not have a lot of treble, but have nice fat midrange. But listening to a few Rush tracks, they did EQ a lot of mids out of the guitar which of course makes vocals sit better. On Sunday I took a few db of low mids and bass out of the clean guitar tone that’s playing in the first verse and immediately the vocal was more intelligible, and the guitar tone didn’t suffer for it.

I took a listen to Brink of Something and I’m with the ones who said the vocal could come down a bit in level. That doesn’t mean further back necessarily. Sting’s vocals on a lot of Police hits are not just low in level, they are further back because a lot of reverb was put on them. I’m also a big fan of indie acoustic where the vocal has a tight ambience, or reverb with a longer pre delay, and sounds like the singer is singing in your ear. Up front but not necessarily just louder.

Super track mate, lot of stuff fighting for attention though, I reckon the synths could be reduced a bit during the guitar break, maybe consider using track spacer to reduce the mid range when the vocal is present or a bit of automation here and there…nice work though, very pro writing and instrumentation/arrangement. loved it from around 7mins

Nice, to me everything sit’s better in the mix and the whole piece is more settled down in the dynamics department although at the same time has good dynamics. Lovely changes and ideas happening, 'love the guitar solo from 7:40 onwards.
Very good indeed!
Mauri.

First of all, there is a lot of really great stuff in this track. Well done! I love an elaborate prog rock composition, which this one definitely is! I can tell you are a big Yes fan. Second, if you can play guitar like that, flaunt it! About your voice, I have no idea how to mix vocals, so can offer no advice. To me it sounds somewhat like Jon Anderson but not processed in the same way.

I would echo others’ comments about the mix. Things sticking out and so forth. But this track is so elaborate it’s worth getting other opinions.

Really enjoyed.

Woah, huge scope and great arrangement. I love the guitar arpeggio solo that starts at 4:18 and great guitar all round. I thought the ending guitar solo might have sounded better with the tone of the earlier arpeggio guitar. I’m not particularly a fan of prog rock but that was epic - very impressive.

Steve.

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Thanks for the nice comments about the guitar solo in the middle of the song.
That’s not a tone or a playing style that I usually employ.
I am a huge fan of David Gilmour’s lead guitar tone, and spent decades trying to figure out how he achieved it. The solo at the end is one of my better attempts at getting that tone.
I got the idea for the solo in the middle after seeing Uli Jon Roth play in my town in … 2018 I think. He’d been touring and playing at this one club in my area almost yearly until that year and I very much enjoyed his shows.
The arpeggios seem to work great over those chord changes. I did the solo and wondered “Did I go too overboard with the sweep arpeggios?”. But soon after I finished the song, I saw a video of someone playing a John Petrucci solo from a Dream Theater song I wasn’t familiar with, and it’s non-stop arpeggios start to finish. And I thought “Nah. Not too overboard”.