Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby thirdcat » Wed May 09, 2018 11:44 am

I appreciate the feedback (positive & negative). Hello everyone. Third Cat here!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby RangerDenni » Wed May 09, 2018 1:19 pm

Hello again everyone. I have my own comments for you all which I will make tonight. I have a rehearsal in a few hours and after that will write write write!
Thank you for all the comments made by everyone here. Much appreciated <3 :)
More sooooooon and NUR EIN!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby HeuristicsInc » Wed May 09, 2018 1:27 pm

j$ wrote:Rob From Amersfoort – hell yeah all music should sound like this. A bit short but I just played it again. And again. This is how I wanted Brian Eno’s music to go post-roxy but he went all pretentious ambient rubbish instead. My Fellow judges have cloth ears.


I totally agree with you on the Eno thing. His vocal albums are some of my favorites ever. The ambient stuff is good, but there's too much of it.

Now, on Rob's song, yeah. When listening I liked it a lot but later when I was doing ratings on the various things it turned out lower than I expected. This may have been partly because of getting it mixed up with one of the other songs I didn't like as much. Since it wasn't going to result in anyone getting eliminated I decided not to re-do it (also it was kinda late at night). Sorry Rob!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby arby » Wed May 09, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi Nick! Thank you so much for your response. I knew some of it, but there was lots of info that was new to me. Responses below.

arby wrote:I'm always amazed by how clear and loud (well-mixed) some of the recordings are. HOW do you get them to sound so good?!?!? Mine sound like they were recorded in a basement under a sackcloth by comparison. :oops:


noma wrote:Fortunately, producing (i.e., assembling tracks, mixing etc) requires little to no money nowadays. You just need a good DAW. Audacity, which you can download for free, has most of the tools you need. I see you are using GarageBand, which is fine just as well. The key to a good production is in the use of limiting and compression, which helps with loudness issues, such as certain notes of your playing being louder than others, and enables you to increase the overall loudness and "oomph" of your tracks - be careful not to overdo it, though, or else your song will become a muddy mess (google "loudness war" and you'll see what I mean - compression can be highly addictive to the point where you believe you need more and more of it.)
The other main part of mixing is equalizing, i.e. decreasing or increasing certain frequencies. This can be a bit tricky, but it's essential to a good production. You can look up basic EQ settings for any instrument on the web, so you don't have to remember it all ;) also, use high pass and low pass filters. On a bass guitar in standard tuning, for example, the fundamental frequency of an open low E string begins at 41 Hz, so you can apply a high pass filter that cuts down everything beyond that frequency, in order to decrease rumbling and muddiness.


Right. The production is doable (not going to say I'm good at it) but ONLY if you have recorded your tracks separately. Our biggest issue is we don't have the ability to record the tracks separately, so we went with a "live" recording in the rehearsal studio. Not under any delusion that it produced a great sound, more out of necessity. In fact, I recorded it using my iPod Touch with a Zoom mic attached. So not only did we not have separate tracks, we didn't have a great recorder.

noma wrote:As for the recording, you need four things which will improve your sound a lot. Again, excuse me if you know all of this already and/or already use these four things.
First, the mic itself. I prefer a large diaphragm condenser microphone, which is a favorite in studio production. However, condenser mics require phantom power (which is not that much of a problem, but anyway), whereas dynamic microphones don't. The latter are the prefered kind of mics for live performance, but can be used in the studio just as well. A good and fairly inexpensive dynamic microphone would be the Shure SM57 (or SM58).
Second, you need an audio interface. This is basically an external sound card optimized for recording (there are internal ones as well, but an external one has the advantage of being portable, and the only way to go if you are recording with a laptop, MacBook or whatever.) For $100, you should be able to find a good audio interface, or even cheaper if you are on a budget. Any external audio interface, even the really cheap Behringers, should be an improvement over a standard sound card.
Also, some, but not all audio interfaces have built-in phantom power. If you are planning to record with a condenser microphone, definitely look for an interface that has phantom power, else you will need a preamp as well.
Third, the cable. As the cable is what transmits the sound from the mic to the interface, a good cable is essential. Klotz cables are what I prefer for recording. A lot of people buy expensive equipment and then skimp on the cables. Don't underestimate the importance of a good cable.
Fourth, you will need a pop filter on your mic for vocal recording. And that is basically all it takes!


I do have a laptop. Since we can only do drums in the rehearsal studio (none of us has a drum kit at home), could we still record the drums directly into said laptop? Also the studio has fairly decent vocal mics. It's just a question of how to get their signal into the laptop. What about this Blue Snowball that Nivs has? It has a USB interface. Could I plug that into an external sound card and then the latter into the laptop? Also what do you think about the Behringer U-Control Uca202, is that a good sound card?

noma wrote:Now let me give you a review of your song's production.
The recording sounds a bit washy at times. Guitar would definitely benefit from some EQing, it's not prominent enough in the mix IMO. Drums are OK. The vocals are what kind of bugs me about it. Definitely some EQing needed. Also, they sound distorted at times, not sure if that was intentional. Try decreasing the output / gain level if this distortion was unwanted. Generally, when recording, it's better with less gain in order to not distort your track. You can always make it louder later via your DAW.
One more thing that is irritating about your recording is the amount of overtones in the siren part, which hurts my ears a bit. This is a common problem with synths (sawtooth, mainly). EQing, again, should help, or a low pass filter maybe.
By the way, I really like your song, apart from the production issues. :)
Hope this helped!


Yeah I only had the one track, and it sounded a bit muddy on the low end, so I tried to EQ it to make it a bit cleaner, but then the whole thing just sounds quiet. And yes I agree about the overtones, I noticed them also on the Omnichord (the swoopy, theremin-esque sounding instrument throughout). But I didn't know how to EQ it to make those less annoying without also taking down the vocals, which I agree are too low in the mix. Distortion was NOT intentional. In case you are interested, here is the original recording that I had to work with. I got some additional siren sounds from my bassist separately that I did my best to mix in with Garageband, but for everything else I only had this one track: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ln27bo0sgtcrzp/3-04%20Trial%20by%20Fire%20%28Take%204%29.m4a?dl=0.

Thanks so much for the kind words and helpful feedback.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Wed May 09, 2018 3:50 pm

arby wrote:Right. The production is doable (not going to say I'm good at it) but ONLY if you have recorded your tracks separately. Our biggest issue is we don't have the ability to record the tracks separately, so we went with a "live" recording in the rehearsal studio. Not under any delusion that it produced a great sound, more out of necessity. In fact, I recorded it using my iPod Touch with a Zoom mic attached. So not only did we not have separate tracks, we didn't have a great recorder.

Well, there are a lot of benefits to recording a live performance as well. Basic tracks such as drums and bass are often done in just one take. Zoom mics are pretty good for this, definitely not a bad idea. I have used the Zoom H2 myself back in the 2000s, in a rehearsing studio where the band couldn't do separate tracks, so, same situation.
Also, I have recorded and mixed separate tracks for my song, yet yours fared better with the judges. :D
Some of my favorite songs ever are atrociously produced, e.g. Daniel Johnston (cassette recorder) or TMBG (answering machine)... Production is secondary to songwriting. As they say, it's called Song Fight and not Production Fight :mrgreen:

arby wrote:I do have a laptop. Since we can only do drums in the rehearsal studio (none of us has a drum kit at home), could we still record the drums directly into said laptop? Also the studio has fairly decent vocal mics. It's just a question of how to get their signal into the laptop. What about this Blue Snowball that Nivs has? It has a USB interface. Could I plug that into an external sound card and then the latter into the laptop? Also what do you think about the Behringer U-Control Uca202, is that a good sound card?

Sure, the drums on your song sounded alright to me. Again, the Zoom mic (it records in stereo, right?) works very well here. It's much harder to get a good drum sound with a single dynamic microphone.
That Blue Snowball mic, being a USB condenser, should work fine even without an external sound card. The Behringer card, I don't know about that specific one, but I have used a similar one before, also by Behringer, which sounded very good especially considering its low price.

arby wrote:Yeah I only had the one track, and it sounded a bit muddy on the low end, so I tried to EQ it to make it a bit cleaner, but then the whole thing just sounds quiet. And yes I agree about the overtones, I noticed them also on the Omnichord (the swoopy, theremin-esque sounding instrument throughout). But I didn't know how to EQ it to make those less annoying without also taking down the vocals, which I agree are too low in the mix. Distortion was NOT intentional. In case you are interested, here is the original recording that I had to work with. I got some additional siren sounds from my bassist separately that I did my best to mix in with Garageband, but for everything else I only had this one track: https://www.dropbox.com/s/5ln27bo0sgtcrzp/3-04%20Trial%20by%20Fire%20%28Take%204%29.m4a?dl=0.

Yeah... That's the problem with having only one track. If you can somehow manage to do two separate tracks, I'd definitely recommend one for the vocals and the other for everything else. Early Beatles recorded like that, with a two track tape recorder, and that still sounded alright.
If you have the opportunity to do three tracks, put the guitar on the third one.
With an external sound card, you can plug in any electronic keyboard instrument or other synth, electric guitar, or bass, directly into the interface, so everything that is not acoustic can be added later.
That being said, having only one track doesn't mean your track is doomed to sound horrible. You can find some basic EQ settings here, which can be applied to a single track with all the instruments on it as well:
http://www.menet.umn.edu/~kgeisler/EQ/primer.htm
If you have identified a problem with any instrument, check this EQ primer. It has come in handy to me a lot.

arby wrote:Thanks so much for the kind words and helpful feedback.

You're welcome :)
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby bennyharv3 » Thu May 10, 2018 4:11 am

Hey everyone! This is Ben from The New Ugly along with Mike, and our coverage of round 0 is up and live! http://podcast.songlander.com/?name=201 ... in13-0.mp3
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Thu May 10, 2018 9:20 am

The New Ugly Reviews Round 0

Many thanks to Ben for editing and getting everything together.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Niveous » Thu May 10, 2018 12:10 pm

Sorry that this round's coverage has been a little less than standard. I'm under the weather.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby RangerDenni » Thu May 10, 2018 1:17 pm

Whew! That took longer than I anticipated. Also, I had to sleep last night. But you were promised reviews from me yesterday. Apologies for typos.
They are brief and themed, as there were so many. I also realize many people like more criticism. But I don't like to be this way and so I am not going to do it. So sit back and deal with My Nice. :) (ex. I have been told there are too many smilies *sigh*)

BMAC
I LOVED: your atmosphere.
I APPRECIATED: the visual picture of a man under siege against himself, circumstance, and the world.
WHAT SET YOU APART: you are dusty, epic, remote, and evocative.

BSS:
I LOVED: the way you pronounced “Tim-BAAAH” and your overall attitude problem.
I APPRECIATED: your tasty tones and subtle but perfect effects.
WHAT SET YOU APART: your dirty cleanliness.

BYD:
I LOVED: your weirdly nautical soundstage
I APPRECIATED: your lyrical tragicomedy
WHAT SET YOU APART: an ever-upped production game on the classic BYD feel.

CARLO BRUNO JR:
I LOVED: your theatrical drama
I APPRECIATED: your sick shred and gnarly vocal.
WHAT SET YOU APART: rocking the face off all of NUR EIN

CAVE DWELLERS:
I LOVED: the ear-wormy and endearing intelligence of this.
I APPRECIATED: crackerjack timing and the way this fits so brilliantly anywhere in a track listing with other songs.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: on-the-spot musicianship and subtlety.

FISHER AND DIAZ:
I LOVED: the juicy bounce-bounce of your vocal/instrumental blend
I APPRECIATED: your careful but bold production choices
WHAT SETS YOU APART: almost riding over-the-top, but skillfully navigating this fun line.

GRUMPY MIKE:
I LOVED: that snarky-serious-but-sensitive vocal which is well suited to gently scolding us in song.
I APPRECIATE: the beautiful and intentional blend of sound (and that snare!)
WHAT SETS YOU APART: being stylistic and recognizable as this-or-that, yet very much successfully of your own purpose.

INFLATABLE VEGETABLES:
I LOVED: what your particular voice did to this badass progression.
I APPRECIATE: the songwriting lesson.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: your cleverly produced and well presented story

LICHEN THROAT:
I LOVED: that intro and the lick.
I APPRECIATE: your deadpan vocal delivery.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: the contrast of your almost resigned vocal against a sometimes sprightly accompaniment.

LOOKYLU:
I LOVED: your vocal blend and sensually beautiful lyrics.
I APPRECIATE: the breathy urgency set to the sometimes jarring accompaniment.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: the quiet intimacy of your slow but dissonant boil.

LUCKY WITCH/RIGHTEOUS GHOST:
I LOVED: cool chanting part and the “FIRE” harmony at chorus end. Also fun drums.
I APPRECIATE: the vintage groovy atmosphere
WHAT SETS YOU APART: cool ass omnichord

MANDIBLES:
I LOVED: “god dammit all to heck!” (also pretty much the whole vocal was incred.)
I APPRECIATE: a good, earnestly told song-story.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: super-operatic-drama.

MATCHY MATCHY:
I LOVED: your catchy melody and crisp end.
I APPRECIATE: drums and guitar balance. groovy.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: that dog and the coffee cup which I remembered all day.

MERISAN:
I LOVE: this booty shakin’ setup and as a vocalist especially delivery of the line “I want you on your knees…” YES THANK YOU.
I APPRECIATE: perfect presentation of great lyrics in a flawless setup.
WHAT SET YOU APART: the fact that doing things Merisan-Smooth translates across whatever genre you damn well please.

MINTY HANDY: HELLOYAY!!
I LOVE: this melody and the chorus and that I have missed your songs.
I APPRECIATE: the arrangement properly facilitating the escalation.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: catchiness, song structure, presentation. (all that stuff I remember. still there :) )

NICK SOMA:
I LOVED: your vocal and your lyrics (for some reason really loved that part about the piece of toast and the delicious roast :D)
I APPRECIATE: that rubbery ducky siren all the way through but especially into that neato mosquito spy bit at the beginning.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: it’s not just your accent when you sing. it’s your delivery that sells your lyrics. it’s unique. Also your lyrics are quirky.

OWL CHEMIST:
I LOVED: one of the cooler uses of sirens and also that VOCAL!
I APPRECIATE: the atmospheric mix of this and lulling percussive sounds.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: the hypnotic swaying ambiance.

PEPPER JANE:
I LOVED: the soaring chorus and the effect of a boat of a relationship slowly slipping into troubled waters.
I APPRECIATE: how improbably present your guitar sounds in this recording setup against the slippy-slidey vocals.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: a graceful effortless, blues-folk beauty.

PIGFARMER, JR:
I LOVED: those ever so cool guitar licks.
I APPRECIATE: your lyrics and structure. :) and your use of the samples.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: your earnest yet blues-rock personality.

RIDDLE AND LEIGH:
I LOVED: the live nature of this recording.
I APPRECIATE: a strong, interesting, and catchy melody.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: the performance and passion of the singers and how they seemed really inspired by the music.

ROB FROM AMERSFOORT:
I LOVED: the way you sing and the vocal effects you use.
I APPRECIATE: how you arrange electronic music
WHAT SETS YOU APART: you have a DEFINITIVE RFA sound and this song was tight and sweet.

SWAMPY NETHERS:
I LOVED: these lyrics.
I APPRECIATED: your urgency and quiet-to-shocking contrasts with sirens to singing voice.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: your soulful singing and intense message.

THIRD CAT
I LOVED: your casual flow in the feel of the mix.
I APPRECIATED: your siren choices.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: this mellow and trippy feeling like being out in space.

VOM VORTON:
I LOVED: how you rhymed “smile by wire” with “trial by fire” and Other Tight Things.
I APPRECIATED: how a clever, well mixed arrangement facilitated your Lead vocal.
WHAT SETS YOU APART: Your clever lyrics are delivered well and distinctively in your vocal.

For MY song, I was 85-89% pleased with it. But this could go down in subsequent listens. This means I think that for now, it is something of a temporary success. I've already been thinking of improvements I could make to it.
"Really interesting how the point you’re making slowly emerges like Martin Sheen from the mud in Apocalypse Now..." ~j$
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby iVeg » Thu May 10, 2018 4:51 pm

Mike and Ben - thanks for The New Ugly podcast. I had problems hearing you at times - especially when you were talking over the music.
The idea of Dracula - defiantly stalking towards the crowd - trenchcoat blowing... yeah. Very cool.
Ben - Last year I know you hadn't heard any of the songs before each podcast. This year you both listened to all the songs several times. I thought it made the podcast tighter and more coherent, but maybe eliminated the element of surprise. Regina Chang!

DJ Ranger Den. Thank you. I will deal with your Nice :)

Boffo Yux Dudes: Tommy - thanks for doing the listening party. I was bummed I wasn't able to stick around very long. I got to listen to it later.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Lunkhead » Thu May 10, 2018 8:27 pm

Good job everybody! We're excited to be back in action and glad to hear some folks liked our song. I just touched up a few things about it and posted a slightly improved version here on SoundCloud if you want to check it out. On to Round One!
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Mysteria » Thu May 10, 2018 9:49 pm

Overall, I really enjoyed the songs for round zero and so even though a song may have ranked on the lower end of the scale doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it. Actually, this was a round where I listened to the songs in repeat succession for a couple of days whenever I was in my office and I am pleased and grateful that there weren't any songs I dreaded having to listen to again, so well done all! Now for my individual comments (insert standard disclaimer about the views of this judge do not reflect those of anyone else or the firm)...

BMac - the was a folky storytelling pub vibe to this song that I liked as it took me back to a Sunday afternoon in the Dublin pub I favored when I visited there. You had a complete story, which I appreciated. This was an example of a song I enjoyed but in a round with stiff competition, it ended up with a lower score.

Berkeley Social Scene - I really loved the opening riffs of this song and got a personal kick out of the chainsaw lyric for unrelated reasons. The bass line on this track stood out for me and I like the siren worked into the guitars. Solid tune.

Boffo Yux Dudes - yours was probably my favorite use of the challenge, definite bonus points for taking the mythology path. In addition, the song itself was fun and had a good pace.

Carlo Bruno Jr - a strong entry to kick off your return to this competition. I loved the opening instrumental lead in and the gritty vocals against the staccato beat. I thought it was a really great mix.

Cavedwellers- I liked your song's island feel and guitar solo. There were sirens every which way in your song but they all fit so it worked for me.

DJ Ranger Den - the piano on this song was beautiful- I loved it from the first listen. The rest of the song initially did not leave as strong an impression but this song moved up in rank the more I listened to it as each time brought a new piece to appreciate.

Fisher & Diaz - great funky groove to this song. I thought the vocals and rap verses complimented one another nicely.

Grumpy Mike - this was another song that I appreciated the more I listened to it. The different sound to your siren was intriguing and added an additional layer to the track.

IVeg - this song had a "Bam! In your face" beginning and kept me hooked from start to finish. Great tune.

Lichen Throat - I liked the guitar track on this song a lot and that low deep vocal has a good quality to it. There were points in the song though where the guitar overpowered the vocals a bit which hurt the story being told.

Lookylu- I really liked the vocals - such a great blending. Siren was hard to find, I was distracted from the song trying to find it.

Lucky Witch - this song has a catchy, "Doors" vibe to it. There were some parts where the vocals were too low but I really liked the lead/backing vocal echo concept.

Mandibles - great opening piece - there was a Metallica feel to parts of the guitar and at a couple of points a little bit Broadway musical. For me that's a perfect pairing so I liked it a lot.

Matchy Matchy - catchy tune with a guitar line that I liked. One of those songs that the rankings may not truly showcase that I liked it.

Merisan - the clear winner of the round from the first moment I heard it - I loved everything about the song, the 80s synth groove, the vocals, the lyrics. Yours was a song I did not need to keep listening to for rankings but I chose not to skip it each time because I absolutely wanted to hear it again.

Minty Handy - this song was a lot of fun and a good listen. Had a really good pace to it and was solid.

Nick Soma - another solid entry, decent tune. Very clever lyrics.

Owl Chemist - fun grooving tune. Really liked the bingo beat and how you made the lyrics flow in the song.

Pepper Jane - very pretty vocals on this track. A little too slow for me, I would have liked there to be just a little something more to give it a bit more pizazz.

Pigfarmer Jr - good song and pace, liked the vibe. Enjoyable entry.

Riddle and Leigh - the melody of this track was very pretty. The spoken word portions were a bit messy for me.

Rob from Amesfoort- one of my favorites this round. Funky beat with a good pace.

Swampy Nethers - pretty melody with a bass line I really liked. A touch slow times for my taste but still a good listen.

Third Cat - you had a trippy sounding siren in here that was cool. Song was good, a little simple when compared to some of the other songs in this round so this was one of those where I liked it more than the ranking proves.

Vom Vorton - another one of my top picks for this round. Great beginning and I really liked the vocals.

*My apologies if my iPad and autocorrect conspired again me and changed the spellings of any of your names.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Thu May 10, 2018 11:47 pm

Some more reviews! This was a cool title and challenge, and most of your songs were adequately good. Very strong competition this year.

BMac: I like the chord progression, melody, and vocal delivery, but it gets a bit boring as the song goes on. Ir would definitely benefit from some variation in your arrangement.

Berkeley Social Scene: Great fist-pumping chorus. Fine song, not the strongest I've heard from you, but the bass break is super cool.

Boffo Yux Dudes: As I mentioned before, this might be my favorite BYD song. Fun as usual. You are no Tim Buckley, but still, I like your interpretation of the challenge. ;)

Carlo Bruno Jr: Bursting with energy, as I expected. What else can I say - it's Carlo! Great to have you back. Dig that steady bass line. Would be in my top 10 if I were a judge.

Cavedwellers: Your songs always have some of my favorite vocals. The chorus was stuck in my head all day when I first heard it. I like the drums, especially during the chorus. Would be in my top 10 if I were a judge.

DJ Ranger Den: Beautiful, I mean, really beautiful vocal harmony and piano. Great jazzy chords.

Fisher & Diaz: A lot of reviewers liked this. I couldn't quite get into it. I found the funky bass very cool, though.

Grumpy Mike: I didn't expect the acoustic guitar when I heard the intro. That doesn't mean that I don't like it, not at all. The arrangement is good, and the sound of your guitar on the recording is very crisp and clear. Definitely in my top 10, if I were a judge.

Inflatable Vegetables: You get better and better all the time. The a-a-a-ah hook makes this special. Would be in my top 10 if I were a judge.

Lichen Throat: Seems a bit disjointed. Couldn't get into it, as with Fisher & Diaz. I like your deep baritone voice. You should do some Magnetic Fields covers. :)

Lookylu: Your mix is very quiet, try some compression or whatever (I haven't looked at the waveform, it was just my first thought when listening to it. Had to turn the volume up a lot.) This song is definitely not as bad as it would appear from the judge ranking. Spooky at times, which is a good thing.

Lucky Witch and the Righteous Ghost: As I have already given you a review of your song's production, I will focus on the song itself. The chords, melody and arrangement are cool. Very catchy, had this one stuck in my head for quite a while, too.

Mandibles: It's a strange case with this song. The intro, which reminds me of Bends / OK Computer era Radiohead, is my absolute favorite part of any song in this round. I wished you would just have looped that and then have a Thom Yorke soundalike sing over it. :D
As for the actual song... The verses are OK, and I enjoy the "And the blood flows on..." part, but when it turns into Evanescence / Nightwish... ugh. That's a matter of personal taste. I hate operatic vocals and especially excessive vibrato, most of the time. But you definitely have a good singing voice.
So, this track is unique in that it features both my favorite and one of my least favorite parts in this round. Thankfully I am not a judge, because I would have no idea how to rank it.

Matchy Matchy: I know a lot of folks here don't like power pop too much. I am a sucker for that genre, though. Also, I enjoyed your lyric, with the reference to that dog meme. If I were a judge, this would definitely be in my top 10, and most probably in my top 3.

(to be continued...)
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby vowlvom » Fri May 11, 2018 2:23 am

Manhattan Glutton wrote:The New Ugly Reviews Round 0

Many thanks to Ben for editing and getting everything together.


bennyharv3 wrote:Hey everyone! This is Ben from The New Ugly along with Mike, and our coverage of round 0 is up and live! http://podcast.songlander.com/?name=201 ... in13-0.mp3


Just listened to this, very much enjoyed hearing you disagree with each other and the various Dracula comparisons!
Seconded iVeg on not being able to hear you when you talk over the songs though.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Fri May 11, 2018 3:41 am

vowlvom wrote:Seconded iVeg on not being able to hear you when you talk over the songs though.


Also, Ben was noticeably lower in volume.

Thanks for doing the podcast. Even when I disagree with y'all I still enjoy listening.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby thirdcat » Fri May 11, 2018 7:28 am

I liked your positive reviews Ranger Denni, after my round 0 ranking good to hear something nice! /self-pity.

Working hard on my internet sensation so not sure if I can get to full reviews, Merisan was probably most impressive overall... but Rob From was my favorite.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby lichenthroat » Fri May 11, 2018 10:19 am

BMac—The vocal siren is funny, but it sounds good, too. This is a well written song. The bare-bones production makes it seem a little thin. I like it, though.

Berkeley Social Scene—I really like the bass line. This is fun. I’m not wild about the sound of the chorus (but do like “warm up the amplifier”). The instrumental bit at the end goes on a little too long. Overall, though, the song sounds good.

Boffo Yux Dudes—Your vocal is good—very smooth. The sound of the electronic keyboard/trumpet thing really bugs me, however. The storms sounds in the bridge fit in very well.

Carlo Bruno Jr.—More metal-sounding than I prefer, but the execution is pretty good.

Cavedwellers—I like the moment when the guitars fully come in (after “charlatan”). I don’t care for the melody on the chorus. The sirens are incorporated well.

DJ Ranger Den—I’m confused by this. I love your vocal tone, though. I’m not sure I understand what you had in mind here, but I think I like it. The piano playing is quite nice.

Fisher and Diaz—I’m heavily biased against 70s funk, so I can’t say I enjoyed this. I do think your performance is good, and I can imagine that this would appeal to people who are unburdened by my particular biases.

Grumpy Mike—Production is great. I might have ended the siren sound a little earlier and resumed it less extensively. This is good, though. Good performance and songwriting.

Inflatable Vegetables—This works great was a novelty song, and it works okay as a straight-up song, too. I strongly applaud your full commitment to the concept.

Lichen Throat (me)—Yeah, the parts without the vocal are my favorites, too. “Cold Missouri Waters,” this ain’t. This was my first time recording and mixing with Ardour, rather than Audacity. I like this song, but I recognize its flaws, as well.

Lookylu—This is a hard concept to pull off in the setting of Nur Ein, I think. The chorus (beginning with “They poisoned us like rats”) is great. I especially like the female vocal, but the male vocal makes a nice counterpoint. This may be a little too long.

Lucky Witch & the Righteous Ghost—This has an undeniable appeal. The second coming of Jefferson Airplane. The keyboard sounds unpleasantly shrill in my car, though not on my headphones. I think I’d like a different mix, but overall, I dig it mightily.

Mandibles—I think you did the best job of incorporating the sirens in to the mix. On the other hand, the vocal mix seems to need some work, though I’m not sure what to recommend. (If I understood mixing better, my song would sound better.) It might be good to play up the contrast between your voices more, a la the Sugercubes (though obviously not that extreme). I do like this; your creativity is marvelous.

Matchy Matchy—I don’t think you need the spoken word part at the beginning. Otherwise, this is pretty good. Not my favorite, but completely solid. Nice chorus and bass line.

Merisan—Thanks for showing us how it’s done. I don’t even really like this kind of music, and it’s still awesome.

Minty Handy—This mix sounds really weird on headphones (though not in the open air); I checked the jack to make sure it was plugged in right. The song doesn’t do anything to catch my interest. All the performances are okay, but nothing stands out.

Nick Soma—I wanted to like this more than I did. I’m not sure the synth bass was a good choice. Like everyone else, I admire the “decent roast” line. By the way, I appreciate the recording and mixing tips. Your stuff always sounds well produced.

Owl Chemist—I like the noir atmosphere at the beginning, but not the loungier feeling of the chorus. The drums sound great.

Pepper Jane—I liked this a lot better on the second and subsequent listens than on the first. The intertwined vocal in the first verse sounds a little sloppy. But wow, the chorus is glorious.

Pigfarmer Jr.—This might be my favorite Pigfarmer Jr. song. The vocal mix doesn’t sound quite right, though. Can you do anything to make it sound fuller and maybe lower? Someone more experienced at the mixing board might be able to give you better ideas than I can. Anyway, the song is sweet.

Riddle and Leigh—The piano gets a little repetitive. I like the main vocal.

Rob from Amersfoort—I’m interested to hear more of your songs to see what aspects of this are typical and which are not. You certainly know your way around a mixing board. This was fun.

Swampy Nethers—I like your vocal, but the rest of the song is kind of lackluster, except for the bridge, which I liked.

Third Cat—I don’t think the slowdown in the chorus was a good idea, but other than that, I like this song. It does kind of feel like it’s building up to a climax that never arrives, though.

Vom Vorton—This is great. Definitely in my top 3. Classic Vorton goodness.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Fri May 11, 2018 3:21 pm

lichenthroat wrote:Pigfarmer Jr.—This might be my favorite Pigfarmer Jr. song. The vocal mix doesn’t sound quite right, though. Can you do anything to make it sound fuller and maybe lower? Someone more experienced at the mixing board might be able to give you better ideas than I can. Anyway, the song is sweet.


I don't have a DAW so I'm just using a BR-900. The computer went pfffthtffhtht and I'm debating on buying a new one or repairing the laptop. Been debating for a month almost. So I'm sure the vocal recording could have been better, but the mix level was a compromise (and could be improved) but there is no EQ, compression or spacial effect except what was on the input when I recorded it. (Slight recording compression and room sound.) That's also why the intro is twice as long as it should be and some of the timing is a hair odd. I just recorded sounds and they are where I recorded them.

Thanks for the comment. I like this one, too. I'll probably revisit it some day.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby jast » Fri May 11, 2018 5:04 pm

arby wrote:I'm always amazed by how clear and loud (well-mixed) some of the recordings are. HOW do you get them to sound so good?!?!? Mine sound like they were recorded in a basement under a sackcloth by comparison. :oops:

You've already gotten a fair bit of feedback on that. I just listened to your recording, and part of the problem is that if you record the entire room, room acoustics come into play, too, and most rooms sound like crap. :) The best you can do in a crap room is record with near mics only (which can get a little more complicated than what you did for that recording) which eliminates most of the room sound. One reason people go to a proper studio is that those have rooms that are designed to sound good.

That said, even on a one-shot recording you can usually salvage a bit. I'm not a mastering engineer by any stretch of the imagination but still I've taken the liberty to apply a little EQ and compression for illustration, spent about ten minutes on this (result attached). I'm sure there's more to be done, but not by me. :)
In any case, due to the limitations in your recording setup you just won't be able to get the typical cut-through-the-mix studio sound on the vocals that you're probably used to from commercial productions. Sorry. ;)

PS. I only saw your original, untreated recording after I posted this. I used the edited recording as my base version. I think you probably removed a little too much low end -- overcorrecting is always an easy mistake to make in mixing --, other than that you probably had the right idea.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby iVeg » Fri May 11, 2018 5:35 pm

Arby -
It's possible to get a great recording with 1 stereo mic into a recorder. Cowboy Junkies did it with "The Trinity Session". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trinity_Session
They had a great room with great acoustics. They had a $9000 Calrec Ambisonic mic into RDAT. They used a PA to boost the vocals. So it's doable :)
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby noma » Fri May 11, 2018 5:58 pm

iVeg wrote:Arby -
It's possible to get a great recording with 1 stereo mic into a recorder. Cowboy Junkies did it with "The Trinity Session". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trinity_Session
They had a great room with great acoustics. They had a $9000 Calrec Ambisonic mic into RDAT. They used a PA to boost the vocals. So it's doable :)


This great Decemberists song, also, was recorded live with a single microphone. For more info on that, read the Recording section in the wiki article.
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Re: Nur Ein XIII Round Zero "Trial By Fire"

Postby arby » Fri May 11, 2018 10:46 pm

jast wrote:
arby wrote:I'm always amazed by how clear and loud (well-mixed) some of the recordings are. HOW do you get them to sound so good?!?!? Mine sound like they were recorded in a basement under a sackcloth by comparison. :oops:

You've already gotten a fair bit of feedback on that. I just listened to your recording, and part of the problem is that if you record the entire room, room acoustics come into play, too, and most rooms sound like crap. :) The best you can do in a crap room is record with near mics only (which can get a little more complicated than what you did for that recording) which eliminates most of the room sound. One reason people go to a proper studio is that those have rooms that are designed to sound good.

That said, even on a one-shot recording you can usually salvage a bit. I'm not a mastering engineer by any stretch of the imagination but still I've taken the liberty to apply a little EQ and compression for illustration, spent about ten minutes on this (result attached). I'm sure there's more to be done, but not by me. :)
In any case, due to the limitations in your recording setup you just won't be able to get the typical cut-through-the-mix studio sound on the vocals that you're probably used to from commercial productions. Sorry. ;)

PS. I only saw your original, untreated recording after I posted this. I used the edited recording as my base version. I think you probably removed a little too much low end -- overcorrecting is always an easy mistake to make in mixing --, other than that you probably had the right idea.


Hey, thanks so much for this! I agree, mine was lacking in low end. Your mix sounds much better. I will look into the resources Nick already provided about EQ-ing. Also I did get that Behringer Audio interface thing. No idea how to use it! And with only three hours of rehearsal time tomorrow (in which we also have to write our song!) I probably won't be able to figure it out for this week's challenge. Hopefully we'll still be in the running next week. Haha
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