liftoff (instrumental metal)

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modusjonens
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liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:43 am

Hi all,

I wrote/recorded this one recently: https://soundcloud.com/modusjonens/liftoff/

My playing is still rough at spots, but I don't mind a touch of "organic" sound coming from small flubs as long as there aren't too many.

Tools/software used:
  • Line 6 Pod HD500X (for amp/cab modeling + effects)
  • Ardour (as DAW)
  • Hydrogen (standalone drum sequencer)
  • LMMS (for short synth samples)
  • Audacity (for limiting/normalization of the resulting track, plus small eq tweaks as desired)

One of the nice things I've found about using the Line 6 is that it also acts as my audio interface. Perhaps (probably?) there's a better way to do this, but it's been working for me so far.

I use Ardour for audio capture and some light "mixing" (really just level adjustments -- I'm not even sure what constitutes proper mixing to be quite honest).

I've been making drum tracks in Hydrogen, bouncing them out to FLAC, then importing the resulting drum track in Ardour. After that, I record guitar over top and add samples if/when desired. The sample here is the BitInvader "Invaders must die" preset (in LMMS).

I'm still very much working on figuring out good gain settings when recording guitar. There is some definite hiss going on in the lead section from 0:34-0:42. I think I may just have been a bit overkill on the overdrive there. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
-- mj

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Michael Willis
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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby Michael Willis » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:27 pm

I don't think your playing is too rough at all.

modusjonens wrote:I'm still very much working on figuring out good gain settings when recording guitar. There is some definite hiss going on in the lead section from 0:34-0:42. I think I may just have been a bit overkill on the overdrive there. Any suggestions?

Try Noise Repellent, I have found it highly useful for getting rid of background noise when I'm recording acoustic instruments; I would be surprised if it can't handle the hiss.

If I could make another suggestion, maybe try adding a bit more reverb to the percussion track, it sounds much more dry than the other instruments. If you're not using a reverb plugin yet, I suggest Dragonfly Reverb. Try "Electric Studio" or "Percussion Studio" preset. Yes, this suggestion is highly biased :mrgreen:

modusjonens
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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Sat Mar 09, 2019 6:49 am

Thanks for the plugin suggestions. I think your bias is the best kind of bias! Looking forward to trying out Dragonfly Reverb.

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby lilith » Sat Mar 09, 2019 3:02 pm

Great guitar sound
Great composition
Great drum programming
Part at 1:09 reminds me on VOIVOD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GifB5kkFPx4

The synth sound is a bit too loud imo

Overall I like the raw feel.
https://soundcloud.com/lilith_93

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modusjonens
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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:19 pm

@Michael Willis -- I downloaded/installed Dragonfly and got it up and running in Ardour. I found myself liking the Percussion Studio for the drums. I also played around with adding it to other tracks and now I think most everything is going to get a touch or 'verb. Thanks again! :)

@lilith -- Thanks! Voivod are great -- glad to hear this brought them to mind. I think you're right about the synth levels as well. The last two bars of that initial four bar sequence could probably use some underlying bass or maybe add'l effects (reverb/delay). That might help round it out.

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby Basslint » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:36 pm

I really really like the piece and the guitar playing. I think that the drums are programmed well but might use a better drum machine with more dynamics, such as DrumGizmo, as well as some processing. You are really good at this kind of music, keep it up!

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby lilith » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:40 pm

Basslint wrote:I really really like the piece and the guitar playing. I think that the drums are programmed well but might use a better drum machine with more dynamics, such as DrumGizmo, as well as some processing. You are really good at this kind of music, keep it up!


I especially like the raw drums.

This is also just a simple drum computer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont ... syzYg6VhLE
https://soundcloud.com/lilith_93

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby tavasti » Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:11 am

In general I like, but IMHO, that synth sound does not fit to this. Keep on going!
Linux veteran & Novice musician

Hear my music at https://audiu.net/users/tawaste

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GMaq
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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby GMaq » Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:26 pm

Hi,

I'm not really a metal connoisseur but great drum programming! Those blastbeats must be very difficult to nail that well. I agree you probably could use some better samples to make it a bit more dynamic. The guitar playing is excellent... if that's rough I don't want to hear smooth...lol

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:16 pm

@Basslint -- Thanks! I'll have to check out DrumGizmo at some point. There's also a new piece up (w/a similar intro feel) here if you happen to be looking for more: https://soundcloud.com/modusjonens/i-shall-return

@tavasti -- Thanks for the feedback! I'm still quite new to the synth side of things.

@GMaq -- Thanks for the kind words re drum programming.

I've actually been using the Hydrogen kit for a modified version of The Black Pearl 1.0 (I swap out the kick drum). So firstly -- many thanks for the samples! I like them quite a bit and I've been happy to find a kit I'm comfortable using. I am not a drummer, but I really like creating rhythms so access to good samples and a good sequencer have both helped my music out a lot. Thanks once again!

Related, I've been doing some reading up on your AV Linux project and the AVL drumkits. Perhaps I might be able to get some more dynamic sounds by using the Black Pearl plugin directly in Ardour?

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GMaq
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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby GMaq » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:25 pm

modusjonens wrote:
@GMaq -- Thanks for the kind words re drum programming.

I've actually been using the Hydrogen kit for a modified version of The Black Pearl 1.0 (I swap out the kick drum). So firstly -- many thanks for the samples! I like them quite a bit and I've been happy to find a kit I'm comfortable using. I am not a drummer, but I really like creating rhythms so access to good samples and a good sequencer have both helped my music out a lot. Thanks once again!

Related, I've been doing some reading up on your AV Linux project and the AVL drumkits. Perhaps I might be able to get some more dynamic sounds by using the Black Pearl plugin directly in Ardour?


Hi, I'm glad you are finding the kits useful, I'm coming from a roots rock and blues background so I felt a lot of General MIDI kits were limited in sound variety and also not organic sounding so that was my motivation to sample and create the kits, they certainly aren't everyone's cup of tea. You are absolutely correct that by using the LV2 multichannel versions of the AVL kits and the "fan out to tracks" features in Ardour (or Mixbus) that you can very much shape the sound and dynamic range of the individual kit pieces.

It also boils down to this factor which applies to all instruments: A skilled programmer can make a very shitty set of samples sound convincing and somebody who doesn't know what they are doing will fail miserably even with DrumGizmo as an example... The tools are important but understanding how to use the sounds and how actual drummers play is equally important..

I also am in the conundrum of whether to use Ardour or Hydrogen for my own projects that don't have a real drummer... Hydrogen is a very intuitive and flexible programming platform, it is easy to create your parts and lay out your song flow.. Ardour's MIDI implementation has no visual velocity bars like pretty much every other popular MIDI sequencer.. :roll: (to me that is crucial for drum programming). It currently doesn't loop very well at all and I have lost whole projects from MIDI tracks oddly getting corrupted with MIDI note data suddenly appearing on MIDI tracks other than the one I'm actively working on (and yes the other tracks were not record-enabled and the inputs were disconnected). Ardour is getting better and maybe V6 will address some or all of these problems but it is a long way off... I LOVE Ardour and made a few complete Audio-based albums with it but It's current MIDI can break your heart... :? Give it a try and see for yourself YMMV, keep sharing your work!

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:17 am

GMaq wrote:
I also am in the conundrum of whether to use Ardour or Hydrogen for my own projects that don't have a real drummer... Hydrogen is a very intuitive and flexible programming platform, it is easy to create your parts and lay out your song flow.. Ardour's MIDI implementation has no visual velocity bars like pretty much every other popular MIDI sequencer.. :roll: (to me that is crucial for drum programming). It currently doesn't loop very well at all and I have lost whole projects from MIDI tracks oddly getting corrupted with MIDI note data suddenly appearing on MIDI tracks other than the one I'm actively working on (and yes the other tracks were not record-enabled and the inputs were disconnected).


I really, really like Hydrogen's interface. The ability to reason about patterns as discrete units is hugely helpful to me. I would hate to lose that.

Maybe there's some kind of middle ground here? I haven't tried exporting MIDI from Hydrogen yet, but perhaps one could do something like this:

* drum sequencing in Hydrogen
* output MIDI midi from Hydrogen
* import MIDI into Ardour

Then one could set the levels/mix at this point. Not sure if this entirely makes sense (certainly haven't tried it yet) but an idea.

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby empowerg » Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:50 pm

modusjonens wrote:Hi all,

I wrote/recorded this one recently: https://soundcloud.com/modusjonens/liftoff/

My playing is still rough at spots, but I don't mind a touch of "organic" sound coming from small flubs as long as there aren't too many.


Actually, I think your playing is fine. Sure you can always get better at something, but it's really fitting for this song.

modusjonens wrote:Tools/software used:
  • Line 6 Pod HD500X (for amp/cab modeling + effects)
  • Ardour (as DAW)
  • Hydrogen (standalone drum sequencer)
  • LMMS (for short synth samples)
  • Audacity (for limiting/normalization of the resulting track, plus small eq tweaks as desired)

One of the nice things I've found about using the Line 6 is that it also acts as my audio interface. Perhaps (probably?) there's a better way to do this, but it's been working for me so far.


I started nearly the same way. Just used Ardour for Mastering also (and still do). Also I had a PodXT which is now replaced by a Helix.

Ok, for some feedback:
I really like the guitar sound and I don't find the hiss disturbing. Did you do a bit of Low Pass filtering? I have heard real tracks which have more hiss (e.g. I have the original tracks and producer packs of some Periphery songs and on some tracks there is more hiss than this. Also e.g. on Machine Heads Exhale the Vile there is also quite a lot of hiss on the drums in the beginning.
I think the song overall is quite good.

Good Work!

I just find the drums too thin-sounding and a bit mechanic. Also a bass seems to be missing.

I also started with Hydrogen but soon converted to Drumgizmo for acoustic drums. I edit the MIDI in Muse or QTractor and then import the finished track into Ardour. I normally vary the velocity and the time of the notes with a bit of randomization (both Muse and QTractor can do that). I also don't like the pattern approach, I always change some notes in repeating patterns to get more life into them.

A bit of this process from my workflow I showed in this playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp2qifo30hMsaZMK3TXSAZ9mq9tgpsCkz

I also did a more detailed complete process (Drums in Muse, recording, mixing and mastering in Ardour) for Libre Music Production here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp2qifo30hMsYT4AXcNeepsXkk1PmCJR4

modusjonens wrote:I use Ardour for audio capture and some light "mixing" (really just level adjustments -- I'm not even sure what constitutes proper mixing to be quite honest).


Mixing is not that hard, it just takes a lot of practice. There are plenty of tutorials out there.

You could do a lot with your drums.
For example, this is my latest production (a cover song which was very simple): https://soundcloud.com/michael-oswald-5/to-the-hilt-die-krupps-cover-feat-h

Do you have the raw audio tracks available somewhere? If you like I can have a look at mixing them...

modusjonens wrote:I've been making drum tracks in Hydrogen, bouncing them out to FLAC, then importing the resulting drum track in Ardour. After that, I record guitar over top and add samples if/when desired. The sample here is the BitInvader "Invaders must die" preset (in LMMS).


That's nearly the same I did when I started :D. I used this process on this song:
https://soundcloud.com/michael-oswald-5/the-canyon-wo-vocals
The whole electronic stuff and synths were done in LMMS, exported and imported into Ardour. The electronic drums were also LMMS, the accoustic ones from DrumGizmo (in this case the Muldjord Kit).


modusjonens wrote:I'm still very much working on figuring out good gain settings when recording guitar. There is some definite hiss going on in the lead section from 0:34-0:42. I think I may just have been a bit overkill on the overdrive there. Any suggestions?


Have you tried going the DI way? So record the dry guitar signal and apply the final amp interactively while mixing? I am not sure the POD HD can do this, but the Helix could provide the dry and the wet signal simultanously via USB, but unfortunately there are no Linux drivers for it, so this is theoretical.
What I practically do is route the dry guitar signal to one output (SPDIF) and the wet to another one (analog), route them to two tracks in Ardour, create a group over these two tracks so that they are edited simultanously and just mute the DI track for recording (so for recording I hear only the wet track). When recording is finished I do all the necessary editing on the DI track, then I route the DI track again over the Helix and fiddle around until I have "the right" sound with respect to the other tracks, which I then record as the final sound.

lg,
Michael

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby psyocean » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:01 am

Strong furious track! :idea: Interesting mix of heavy riffs, guitar and synth solos :)

Image
Guitar and synth tales... https://www.youtube.com/user/Psyocean/

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Re: liftoff (instrumental metal)

Postby modusjonens » Mon Apr 01, 2019 10:45 pm

empowerg wrote:Ok, for some feedback:
I really like the guitar sound and I don't find the hiss disturbing. Did you do a bit of Low Pass filtering? I have heard real tracks which have more hiss (e.g. I have the original tracks and producer packs of some Periphery songs and on some tracks there is more hiss than this. Also e.g. on Machine Heads Exhale the Vile there is also quite a lot of hiss on the drums in the beginning.
I think the song overall is quite good.

Good Work!


Thanks! I can't say I did any low pass filtering. Something I might look into, though. Did not realize it was something to take into consideration.

empowerg wrote:I just find the drums too thin-sounding and a bit mechanic. Also a bass seems to be missing.

I also started with Hydrogen but soon converted to Drumgizmo for acoustic drums. I edit the MIDI in Muse or QTractor and then import the finished track into Ardour. I normally vary the velocity and the time of the notes with a bit of randomization (both Muse and QTractor can do that). I also don't like the pattern approach, I always change some notes in repeating patterns to get more life into them.

A bit of this process from my workflow I showed in this playlist:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp2qifo30hMsaZMK3TXSAZ9mq9tgpsCkz

I also did a more detailed complete process (Drums in Muse, recording, mixing and mastering in Ardour) for Libre Music Production here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp2qifo30hMsYT4AXcNeepsXkk1PmCJR4


Thanks for the feedback. I learned a lot from your videos. I still have a long way to go with Drumgizmo.

empowerg wrote:Have you tried going the DI way? So record the dry guitar signal and apply the final amp interactively while mixing? I am not sure the POD HD can do this, but the Helix could provide the dry and the wet signal simultanously via USB, but unfortunately there are no Linux drivers for it, so this is theoretical.
What I practically do is route the dry guitar signal to one output (SPDIF) and the wet to another one (analog), route them to two tracks in Ardour, create a group over these two tracks so that they are edited simultanously and just mute the DI track for recording (so for recording I hear only the wet track). When recording is finished I do all the necessary editing on the DI track, then I route the DI track again over the Helix and fiddle around until I have "the right" sound with respect to the other tracks, which I then record as the final sound.


Oh wow, that's an interesting idea. Something to look into!


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