The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

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The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Wed May 24, 2017 8:47 pm

Like every episode, this is either the greatest, or the worst. I don't blame you for feeling either way.

http://podcast.songlander.com/?name=201 ... isode5.mp3
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby glennny » Thu May 25, 2017 12:33 am

That was a long one! I enjoyed every minute. Weird round for Cavedwellers. The feedback we got was mostly positive. High rankings from j$ and Travis and Ben. Mike made clear why he ranked us low. Andy and Bill never explained why they ranked us so low. We were lucky to have submitted at all. My computer died, and all of the tracking was done on ipads. (no excuse). Always a bummer to be eliminated. At the same time nice to win as BSS :)

I don't do twitter.

It's odd to me in your whole discussion of the motivation for making songs and participating in Nur Ein you never mention that it is a game. Games are fun. We are motivated to win the game in the terms of the game. The obvious byproduct is we have new songs to play.

Anyway, enjoyed the podcast immensely! It never occurred to me to critique your song from last time.

I'm hoping this podcast happens next year with Mike as a contestant. Though I imagine that might be too much work to do the song and to do the podcast.

fun!
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Caravan Ray » Thu May 25, 2017 12:42 am

glennny wrote:It's odd to me in your whole discussion of the motivation for making songs and participating in Nur Ein you never mention that it is a game. Games are fun. We are motivated to win the game in the terms of the game. The obvious byproduct is we have new songs to play.

Yep. Nailed it. That's why I'm here.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby HeuristicsInc » Thu May 25, 2017 6:50 am

glennny wrote:Andy and Bill never explained why they ranked us so low.


i thought, look at my reviews... and then i looked for my reviews and i think i forgot to post them.
be right on that. in any case, the songs were all good and ranking them is hard. some songs are always going to be in the bottom part and that doesn't make them bad songs.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Thu May 25, 2017 8:03 am

I think we all agree. Different arguments and points of view can all be equally valid but on different planes. To me, a marathon is a type of game, but the difference is that you are playing against yourself and the monumental challenge, too.

I think what happened, in retrospect, is that I made a valid point (if X then Y) and then Ben made me defend Y and things went off the rails. We were both pretty argumentative and I took the bait (and let's be honest, it's more fun that way). I had to cut about 45 minutes since I also went off on a tangent about the nature of reality, which, while brilliant, really wasn't needed in this episode that was already exceeding 2 hours.

I thought long and hard about cutting that rambling argument. In fact, I thought about cutting the episode, since I said a lot of dumb things and ran into hardware problems. But if I approached these like my songs, we would still be re-recording, so this is it.

I'd recommend for anyone who doesn't have a podcast player to get one, and play these at 1.5x speed.

As for me as a contestant, holy crap, Glen. Last year I was pulling 20-30 (maybe more?) hours per song - if you add about 20 hours for this podcast - I would have to take a sabbatical, or get a hell of a lot more efficient. ;) I will have to think long and hard about what I will do next year. To be honest, though I lament not making songs, I feel like maybe I serve the community better by doing this and working on the website, and maybe that's how I should prioritize my time. I get really excited about hearing what others will come up with, even if I'm kind of a dick about it.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby furrypedro » Thu May 25, 2017 8:48 am

Ooer, got a little heated there in episode 5!

I'm curious to know what band it was that led you to order your first Soundgarden cd by accident. Also, I will try to deliver that anime theme song that is inexplicably expected of me someday. Although I'm not sure if I'll have the motivation without the raw competition of Nur Ein to spur me on :P (and it might be dogshit)
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Thu May 25, 2017 9:00 am

Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Hope it's not offensive to say. ;) This would probably be a decent comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4a9E89Iq3o
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby furrypedro » Fri May 26, 2017 7:26 am

Haha, not offensive at all. Slightly amusing maybe.

I told Matt (BL live bassist) to guess who you compared us to, and said as a clue "not EMF or Carter USM", and immediately he guessed Ned's Atomic Dustbin. On the logic that they're British, slightly groovy rock band I suppose we are a bit similar.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby j$ » Fri May 26, 2017 7:50 am

Also the NADS were shit, as well ;)
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Fri May 26, 2017 8:10 am

Dang.

Ya, I wouldn't say you're as 'rock' as Neds but you got the groovy bass and pacing. If you did their two basses thing I would definitely swoon. This was one of my (slightly cringey) attempts at copying them a long time ago: http://sfjukebox.org/fights/a_scary_thing
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Caravan Ray » Fri May 26, 2017 3:42 pm

You mention my mastering in your comments - and I agree, it is painfully obvious I am not sounding as polished as most other competitors - which sucks because I do try to master, but I am clearly not very good at it.

I actually spend a lot of time mixing and get quite frustrated that I am obviously not getting it. I seem to get far to much muddy bass frequencies - but trying to fix it only seems to make it worse. After getting a mix that seems to be the best I can do - I then run it through Ozone - and just pick the pre-set that seems to work best.

Any advice on mastering would be gladly accepted.

And curious - would it be possible to take one of my crappy mp3s and use some masting magic it to make it sound better? Or would they need to be re-mixed first?
If you had the time to maybe demonstrate on one of my entries - that would be much appreciated.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby glennny » Fri May 26, 2017 7:37 pm

New contest, to level the playing field for mixing, all contestants will send tracks to Manhattan Glutton. He will mix everybody's song.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Fri May 26, 2017 8:27 pm

Caravan Ray wrote:You mention my mastering in your comments - and I agree, it is painfully obvious I am not sounding as polished as most other competitors - which sucks because I do try to master, but I am clearly not very good at it.

First: I think your mixes are great, and I do appreciate a song that's barely mastered vs poorly. Not to rag on Cavedwellers more.

I actually spend a lot of time mixing and get quite frustrated that I am obviously not getting it. I seem to get far to much muddy bass frequencies - but trying to fix it only seems to make it worse. After getting a mix that seems to be the best I can do - I then run it through Ozone - and just pick the pre-set that seems to work best.


In recent history, I definitely realized bass can bring you down. When you have too much in your song it'll suck up all the space and keep your song quiet - and the human ear can't hear it anyway. Roll off the bass so that everything else can get louder.

If you're using Izotope Ozone, which you definitely paid for because everyone here has the extra $500 to drop on software, you should generally be golden. You just need to adjust the loudness slider or switch to a different preset - like, say, Mastering 4 band compression or Mastering Instrumental or Mastering Rock/Pop. BUT that does not free you from the responsibility of listening to the end result of it - a preset can give you a good baseline (no pun intended) but if you slide things around willy-nilly without hearing the consequences.

Any advice on mastering would be gladly accepted.

I can't say "go do A, B, and C and that will be the silver bullet". Unfortunately, it's a little more gut-feelsy reactionary, and a lot of musicians have to learn something they never cared to learn about.

73 KIB (BGM) is probably the best masterer we've got (though he seems to be wildly inconsistent). His mastering is so fucking loud it annoys me sometimes, but it never sounds bad. That is good mastering - making it as annoyingly loud as possible without sounding like poop. In this contest, I'd say it's desirable to be loud enough to sound polished, but doesn't have to be balls-to-the-wall loud like BGM sometimes. The louder you go for, the harder it's going to be.

You have Ozone, which is the (a?) industry standard, so really, you can just stop reading and play with the knobs a bit. You could also use an automated thing (https://www.landr.com) or get more in the technical trenches. A master bus is going to look something like EQ - Multiband Compressor - EQ and/or Exciter - Limiter (just like Ozone).

The key to whichever route is going to be understanding what your tool does and how to tweak the parameters, and react to the result. It's not a one-pump thing. Sometimes I master, go listen in the car, and determine the hi-hat is stabbing me and I need to take those higher frequencies down, reduce the harmonic exciter, or adjust the mix. Sometimes I master, use an audio editor to detect the RMS, and try again since I'm aiming to be consistent across many songs.

You need:
* good headphones that have a relatively flat frequency response (http://graphs.headphone.com/). If you master on bass-heavy cans, you might make the bass too lite or the treble too harsh.
* a visual representation of your song's EQ (eg a VST like Reafir, or the built-in parametric EQ of Ozone)
* a familiarity with crappy compression
* a familiarity with what frequency bands sound like and the confidence to tweak

Your end goal:
* About -11db RMS
* No clipping
* No noticeable compression artifacts
* A palette of frequencies that don't sound dull but also not too sharp, and retains the intentions of your mix

Know your frequencies. Know what "bad" sounds like. Make small pushes until you get a sound you like - something similar to a song you feel was "good". The "general concept" is crunch things with compression until before it's noticeable, fix the frequencies that it inevitably messes up, and then limit as a back-stop against clipping.

And curious - would it be possible to take one of my crappy mp3s and use some masting magic it to make it sound better? Or would they need to be re-mixed first?

Given you have Ozone it's probably not necessary, bruh. ;) Ozone gonna do a better job than any manual magic I got up my sleeves (especially since my DAW rig is out of commission). However, I am considering featuring some more technical examples in episode 6, so maybe I'll try to work that in somehow.

You'd be much better off finding a guide or video online from a much better masterer, perhaps specializing in your DAW software. I am not an expert - I just know what my ears hear. A lot of my mastering for me is just guess and check with a familiarity for the general solution to what I don't like. I absolutely blew my mastering for the last round of the last Nur Ein, and then BGM came in with a -7db RMS song that was not only delightful, but the loudest goddamn thing ever heard on earth. (I'm guessing it was more like -9db. We'll never know for sure.)

TLDR: BGM should teach us how to master.
Last edited by Manhattan Glutton on Fri May 26, 2017 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Caravan Ray » Fri May 26, 2017 9:48 pm

Manhattan Glutton wrote:In recent history, I definitely realized bass can bring you down. When you have too much in your song it'll suck up all the space and keep your song quiet - and the human ear can't hear it anyway. Roll off the bass so that everything else can get louder.

Yep. I think I put too much in. I use techno drums combined with real drum samples a lot - no doubt doubling the bass drum and buggering things up

Manhattan Glutton wrote:If you're using Izotope Ozone, which you definitely paid for because everyone here has the extra $500 to drop on software
errr..yeah, I did pay for it, years ago - don't think it was that much

Manhattan Glutton wrote:Sometimes I master, go listen in the car

Actually - I do always do that. My car stereo is my "does it sound totally crap" filter

Thank you for all that. Much to take in there.

My song this week is much simpler instrument and vocal wise - i'll see what I can do with it.
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Chumpy » Sat May 27, 2017 10:36 am

Heya Ray,

So I took your Elevator Man mp3 and I ran it through Ozone. I only applied the 'Maximizer' to it, which essentially limits the dynamics of a song and cranks up the gain, making it louder. I used IRC IV mode, and set the threshold at -7.0dB. When you play with Ozone next, try using just the Maximizer, and bringing down the threshold until it starts to sound louder. Be careful going too far, you don't want to kill all the song's dynamics.

You can really see what it does if you look at the maximized waveform (top) vs the original waveform (bottom).

Image


http://www.muppetlabs.com/~mikeh/elevator_man_maximized.mp3
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Sat May 27, 2017 12:57 pm

Nice work, Chumpy!

For those with Ozone, the presets are great for individual tracks, too. IMO it's really the presets you pay for- there are free/built-in VSTs for each stage in Ozone. There's just less opportunity to screw up when they picked a general starting point. (If you have a recent version of Ozone and a different opinion, please speak up!)
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Re: The New Ugly podcast episode 5 - Nur Ein XII round 4

Postby iVeg » Mon May 29, 2017 4:47 pm

I am laughing so hard at your long rant. It made my day better. You had so much fun screaming at each other. I'm glad you cut [90 minutes?] though.
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