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Cover in progress - Paradise Lost by Symphony X
March 17, 2015
1:14 pm
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Mivke
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Hey guys!

I'm working on a cover, Paradise Lost by Symphony X. I would like some feedback on where I could improve on this song. I've become a bit blind to where to improve at this point since I've listened to it so much :P

If you have the time to listen and leave some helpful critique I'm super grateful! :)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/9d14z70vwed4hi6/Paradise%20Lost%20-%202015-03-17.mp3?dl=0

Cheers!

March 17, 2015
1:55 pm
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quentin
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Firstly, good job tackling a difficult song. You have built some good strength in the fourth octave. Are you a student of Phil?

Several things to improve, though :

Several spots are pitchy. Be careful when there is a big gap between notes so that you don't slide up to the note. It is a bad habit even seasoned singers tend to have
Your mid range is mostly relaxed and there is a nice vibrato, but sometimes it sounds a bit airy, and you seem to lose the buzzing sound (i have the same problem)

I think the song isn't ready for a formal recording yet, but you already got many good things done. You got the strength and now i feel you need to polish your registers and gain more control over the song. Slowing it down can help. Good luck!

March 17, 2015
5:45 pm
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OwenKorzec
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Great job. Doing way better than me! You're definitely like 85% there or something. I don't know exactly what standard you want to get your singing up to but what's for sure is that you have gotten all the hard, important stuff out of the way.

I don't really know for sure since I'm not at your level but I think if you went through and practiced this phrase by phrase and just focused on increasing the precision of getting the sound you want in small segments like that and just repeat that micro-managed kind of practicing a bunch of times, you'll probably be able to work some more polish into the muscle memory so there are less minor errors when you sing it all the way through

Great stamina, a lot of us would have to sing this lighter to get through it

Quentins points are spot on I think

Also almost more important than your singing here is getting the production down. I think you should maybe add a subtle chorus effect and definitely a nice full sounding reverb, for that kind of prog sound. And get the vocals fading out with the track at the end.

March 17, 2015
11:38 pm
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Adam Mishan
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Hey Mivke,
Awesome job. I agree with what has already been said but I want to add something else and this is actually relatively easy to fix.

The music behind you is really beautiful and powerful and right now the track is suffering from karaoke syndrome. First of all, the level balance of music to vocals is tipped too far towards vocals and secondly the vocals sound like they were recorded in a different space than the instruments. This is less than desirable if you want a cohesive track.

The quick fix is bring the volume of the vocal down 3-5 dB and throw on a medium-large hall reverb on the vocal and adjust to taste to give it the illusion that it was recorded in the same space as the instruments.

March 18, 2015
1:02 am
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OwenKorzec
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Adam Mishan said
The quick fix is bring the volume of the vocal down 3-5 dB and throw on a medium-large hall reverb on the vocal and adjust to taste to give it the illusion that it was recorded in the same space as the instruments.

Great advice overall but I think 3-5 db would be way too much. I think lowering it about 1-2 db will be the right balance.

Some good references for vocal volume setting I use are:
-listen to the quietest phrases on headphones, bring the vocal volume down until you start finding it hard to hear the lyrics then gradually bring it back up until you can just barely hear every word clearly if you concentrate on it

then from there check the loud parts: listen on speakers and if any of the belty parts jump out in a kind of startling way you need to lower them or add more compression to the whole track and readjust the level using the quiet-phrase check

Always do your best to check on both headphones and speakers and at loud medium and soft volumes. Headphones and loud listening levels tend to trick you into setting the vocal too loud, speakers and quiet listening levels tend to trick you into set the vocal too quiet.

Also in this case it would be best to set the reverb first then tweak the final volume.

March 18, 2015
3:03 am
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Mivke
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Thanks so much for the responses guys! Really good notes, will try to adress in order :)

Quentin:
Thanks for the listening. I'm one of Felipe's students :) The pitchiness I can really hear, thanks for pointing it out. Often when I record I find it sounds alot more pitchy on the speakers than it does on the headphones, something I must remember and check before I deem it done. Also, regarding the airyness, I think I have Russells version in my head and he tends to add some air and rasp in a deliberate fashion. As for me, it just becomes me subcounsciosly trying to imitate that sound at some parts making it become airy and disrupting my stamina. Also, my technique is far from perfect so sometimes I fuck up xD

Owen:
Regarding my standard I want to reach is just, I want to become as good as I can be. Also, I just want to be able to sing whatever I want, I know piece of cake right? :P
Good notes, I've really been trying to get all the parts down but this song is a beast and above my level for a professional production. It's been a really good study though and has had me solve alot of detail issues, some that are still there.
Regarding the production, I'm a complete noob when it comes to mixing :) I will try to incorporate your notes (all of the mixing notes) when I think the recordings are nice enough. Thanks man!

Adam:
Yeah, I really noticed this aswell when I listened back to it this morning. I guess I was too focused on hearing all my faults that I turned the vocals up way too much and forgot to turn them down again :P Anyways, I will try to get some help on the mixing when the recordings are good enough and hopefully a "done" version will be posted here soon enough :)

Again, thanks to all that listened and also came with very helpful critique!
Cheers!

March 19, 2015
6:08 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Well you know my opinion already. All I'll add is now go for the kill, do the best you can possibly do and show us :).

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

March 20, 2015
4:44 am
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Mivke
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Will do! :)

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