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messing around with Audacity

Merlin

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
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I've never bothered trying to use Audacity at home, since most of my recording work is live to two track.

I decided to try a short clip with an Aebersold CD today. Ripped the track in Sound Forge, opened the file in Audacity, added a track of myself, rebalanced the thing and put a fade on it.

"Just Friends"

There's no reverb - I can't find any of my reverb presets! There are one or two momentary clips. I did it in one pass, and you just get to hear the first chorus.

Mic was an Apex clip-on bell mic, into an Edirol UA-5 interface/mic preamp, then right into Audacity.
 
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sideC

Artist in residence
Distinguished Member
Sounds good, Merlin. I think it sounds good without reverb, your sound is nice and fat without it. Whatever mixing you've done is working for me.

Nice bouncy melody and some tasty ideas. Good job.
 
I agree that you don't need reverb, Merlin. You've got a sweet tone. Sometimes, however, reverb adds a touch of warmth without compromising your tone. Simulates a larger room with natural reverb.

You inspired me to get my alto out. I'm not primarily an alto player, but I had to have a go at it, too. I used my own backing track and software to record. I added reverb to the sax track. I need all the help I can get.

http://www.alstevens.com/alstevens/tunes/[URL="http://www.alstevens.com/alstevens/tunes/justfriends.mp3"]justfriends.mp3[/URL]

I've used Audacity. It does pretty much everything you'd need in a small home recording setup. And for the money...
 
I think it would sound better without reverb, or at least less reverb. It gives a very specific atmosphere for the sax that is completely different than the accompniment, and doesn't "welds" very good. It doesn't sound like there is a problem with the sound that you need to "mask" with reverb.

For some reason I don't really like Just Friends that much, I think it's because it starts on the IV. Silly maybe but... :)
 
Reverb is a touchy thing.

It can make the horn sound natural, or colored, depending on the parameters.

I've found over the years that the longer the pre-delay (up to 15mS), the less the reverb 'colors' the sound, and sounds more like a 'real' space.

Remember, there are three parameters to tweak with any effect.

Time
amplitude
color/timbre

Keep these in mind, and create a balance.
 
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Merlin

Content Expert/Moderator
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I think it would sound better without reverb, or at least less reverb. It gives a very specific atmosphere for the sax that is completely different than the accompniment, and doesn't "welds" very good. It doesn't sound like there is a problem with the sound that you need to "mask" with reverb.

For some reason I don't really like Just Friends that much, I think it's because it starts on the IV. Silly maybe but... :)
I'm talking about putting reverb on the entire mix, not just on the saxophone track. I did find my presets, and tried one out. I liked the result, so if I do another track like this, I'll use it.
 

Merlin

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Merlin, I was talking about the track from the other poster Al Stevens.
Sorry for the confusion. I agree with you about the sound on Al's track.

The saxophone also didn't seem to be recorded with the same resolution as the other instruments.
 
I think it would sound better without reverb, or at least less reverb. It gives a very specific atmosphere for the sax that is completely different than the accompniment, and doesn't "welds" very good. It doesn't sound like there is a problem with the sound that you need to "mask" with reverb.
Here it is with a dry sax track for comparison:

http://www.alstevens.com/alstevens/tunes/[URL="http://www.alstevens.com/alstevens/tunes/justfriends.mp3"]justfriendsnr.mp3[/URL]


For some reason I don't really like Just Friends that much, I think it's because it starts on the IV. Silly maybe but... :)
It's an old harmonic idiom:

Sleepy Time Down South
After You've Gone
I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
Stardust
 
Remember, there are three parameters to tweak with any effect.

Time
amplitude
color/timbre
Those three parameters in the DSP effects algorithm I adapted in the program are controlled with three sliders.
  1. The Delay slider specifies how many samples away from an original sample the original will be repeated. It ranges from 0 to 12500 samples, which, in a 44100 playback is 0 - 3528 ms. This, I assume, is the Time parameter.
  2. The Volume slider specifies a repeated sample's volume as a percentage of the original from 0 to 100%.
  3. The Decay slider specifies the percentage of volume reduction as samples are repeated. (I think I got that wrong. I'll have to look again at the code.)
Of course, subsequent repeats in the sample stream include previous repeated samples.

To achieve a good balance, you need good ears, something I do not have. I almost always overdo it. When someone who can actually hear well adjusts the parameters correctly, I usually cannot tell the difference between dry and wet.

"Almost everything hurts. What doesn't hurt, doesn't work."
 
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The saxophone also didn't seem to be recorded with the same resolution as the other instruments.
Good ears. The program's mixing algorithm necessarily downsamples the accompaniment tracks for reasons too complex to go into here except to say that the program does a lot more than simply mix audio tracks. It is a practicing and teaching tool, not a studio recording tool.
 
Yeah other songs have it, but I don't like the beginning of Just Friends because of it. I'm not saying it is good or bad, etc. or anything like that.
"Just Friends" was originally a ballad and had, as I recall, a nice verse that led into the beginning of the chorus. I liked it better that way, but, like other nice ballads from the standards literature, jazzers appropriated it and bumped the tempo.

Anyway, looking back, I see that this thread has been completely diverted. (My selection of terms. When I do it, it's a diversion. When someone else does it, it's hijacking. :) )
 
"Just Friends" was originally a ballad and had, as I recall, a nice verse that led into the beginning of the chorus.
Thanks, I didn't know that but it makes sense, since what I don't like about it starting on the IV is that it makes the beginning sound like it's already in the middle, as opposed to a beginning. That type of idea works in some other cases but not for this song.
 

Merlin

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Thanks, I didn't know that but it makes sense, since what I don't like about it starting on the IV is that it makes the beginning sound like it's already in the middle, as opposed to a beginning. That type of idea works in some other cases but not for this song.
I'm guessing you're not too crazy about "Unforgettable" then?
 
I'm guessing you're not too crazy about "Unforgettable" then?
Make me laugh! That tune was written as a trainwreck waiting to happen.

"Unforgettable."
"What key?"

A lesser known one that does something similar is "Why Did I Choose You?"
 
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