Truly Free Ft. Nadja Freeman

Yesterday I re-recorded the vocals with Nadja on a Rode tube Mike. Today did a lot of the mix and some edits. I think it’s close to what I can achieve with this track. I cannot change any of the synths because everything is rendered to audio now.

Let me know if you think this can sound better. It’s a pretty difficult mix because the song is carried on a very low and heavy kick sinus. Almost impossible to get it work on small earbuds. There is a lack of low mid in the the source material. (When I startet out with this song I didn’t see this coming. But okay lesson learned.)

made with Cubase 5
Synths Korg legacy anaologue edition, Prologue
Drums Toontrack’s Superior drummer using EZX electronics Add on + Angular momentum’s Kicklab
FX Tones2 Filterbank3
UAD plugins: Cambridge EQ, Pultec EQ, Realverb Pro, Presision limiter, 1176 ES.

Greetz Dylan.

Hi Dylan,

its a pity you cant change the synth parts for these are the ones that really trouble my ears.
Forgive me but this metallic arpeggio sound that runs thru the song is far away from being a good choice!

First of all it sounds like a cheap preset sound and the pitch of the voice and that arp sound don`t complement but rather fight against each other. Sad for the vocals which I quite like.

The part between 1:38 & 1:46 is quite promising. That arpeggio sound works much better here but is way too loud.
I wished the string pad would rather have dominated this passage. From then on the song is getting better (especially when the full drum arrangement sets in) though to my taste the whole thing is too sterile/metric.

Dont get me wrong, this is definetely not a bad song though Im sure it could do much better…

Best wishes


Hi Joan,

This track troubled me from the start because it lacks warmth and ‘meat’. It only has deep basses and a lot of high’s.
I tried a lot to remedy it but clearly not the obvious: To place the arpergiator in a lower register.
So I will return to a back up where the synths are still VST’s.

Thanks for the pointer!

Greetz Dylan.

Hi Joan, I think you were totally right!

I (rapidly) replaced a synth and rendered that in the latsest version. I still don’t know what to do with it exactly.
Now I merged the two parts together, sometimes the arpergiator, sometimes the new synth.
It’s a very quick mix, but the idea is there I think:

Thanks again.

Greetz Dylan.

Hi Dylan,

nice to hear what turning down the pitch of the synth sound does to the voice!
Now the vocals guide the listener through the song!

If I was in your shoes, I would rather start the song with a spacy arppegiated piano (reverb + delay) & then use the synth sounds when the full drum arrangement sets in.

Id love to have some cascading background sounds towards the end, something out of the ordinary :slight_smile: Id press F11 & call something kinda like NI`s Absynth for help:)

Definetely an improvement, Dylan!

Best wishes


And another version, did a lot of edits again (check out verse after first chorus)

All good ideas Joan, but I must draw lines somewhere because I am working on 12 songs now, and I started this November 2010. I really really want to rap things up. To revisit this one was really not my idea but you were sooo right on this one, I had to give up a weekend to remedy it. :imp: Thank you for that.

I am still on a learning curve, and this one was a particular difficult one, but I learned e a lot from it for the future.

I cut away more of the arpergiator, I am a lot more satisfied with the result. Once again this forum proves to be a good place to go for reference, feedback and such. Thank you!

So this it the one:

Still have to balnce some vocals, little level adjustments and do the mastering properly. I do that when all the songs are done.

Greetz Dylan.

“work in progress” is the word! It`s getting better with each re-arrangement, dude!

I know how it is to have 2 dozen songs in the works (and not have finished a single one rightly :unamused: )
and the fact that some new equipment will arrive next week won`t make things easier… :slight_smile:

Ciao for now


just stopping in to say I listened, love the song and the voice is super sweet, beautiful actually. I thought the opening vocal section from around 1:04 to 1:48 could’ve dropped the snare and just let the voice carry it with a stripped down perc and then open it up with snare after that. might give it a little more impact. no worries either way though, its very cool.

Nice. :slight_smile:
The singer sure is an assest though she’s getting a bit overwhelmed at times by the backing. I’m aware this is a W.I.P. but generally I’d be pulling the vocal up quite a bit more. Also, keep an eye out for 'lost ‘esses’ etc. There’s not many but e.g. at :57 “CloudS” - actually sounds more like ‘clow’. When the vocal is low in a mix AND the trailing consonants etc are missing the lyrics can become quite difficult to hear. :confused:

Nice track! :slight_smile:

Hey Dylan,

This last version sounds great! I love the synth sounds you use. :sunglasses:
Nadja sings this very well.

One tip: put links to the new version(s) in the first post, so that people know there are more versions.
Most listeners will start with the first version, like I did. I think it’s better to go straight to the last version.


Hiya Dylan. I’m with Ian on this one, Nadja is getting buried a bit by that metallic snare sound, bring it down a few db and she should pop out of the mix a little clearer :sunglasses:

@ Wim, thanks for the tip, wil do that the next time!

@ Phil , I will look into that, thanks for the tip!

Greetz Dylan.

This is coming along really nicely Dylan, great improvements over the first version!

I thought this was actually pretty damn good… the vocalist evokes Madge (or maybe Gwen). I too thought the vocal needed to come up some; after all, she’s the focus of the tune

well done, Dylan :sunglasses:

Ooh – I wanted to download this but it’s wav only? Can we get an mp3 buddy? :stuck_out_tongue:

Madge? You mean Madge Allsop from the Dame Edna Experience?

(-> the lady staring at Ozzy Osbourne)

Why do you even know who that is :confused: :confused: :sunglasses:

because I`m an admirer? :unamused:

It’s a great track, nice arrangement, but I agree that the snare dominates the mix.