When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

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When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by ScreamieBirds » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:09 am

It seems that the more I work on a song, the worse it gets. That the first take is usually the best. When I hear the imperfections I want to fix and think I should be able to fix them but can’t. Anybody else been there? How do you push past that stage in your music?

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by funsongs » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:24 am

Hi Kathy.
Off the top of my head - maybe that's a signal it's time to call in a partner/collaborator/extra pair of ears & creativity.
OR - move on, and create something new.
OTOH: Sometimes, oft-times, great things come out of the re-write - even of something you thought was already done.
FWIW: it might help your Forums peers help & answer your question if you post a link to the song with which you are encountering such a struggle.
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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by ScreamieBirds » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:46 am

Hey, thanks. I suppose I’m really talking about the vocals - it’s like the first recording is the best one and I can’t seem to get the right sound when I try it again later to fix something.

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by CTWF » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:26 pm

Hi Kathy. I agree with Peter, that posting tracks on here for feedback could be an idea. It has definitely helped me, and hopefully will help me in the future. I am sure this applies to vocals as well. Tom

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by ScreamieBirds » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:57 am

You guys have helped already - I have some ideas about my process. And then I'd love to get your input.

Thanks!

Kathy

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by philsmith » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:47 am

I find that my ears get used to how something sounds and that changing it just sounds wrong. I wish my ears were like an Etch-A-Sketch and I could just shake my head and clear everything out! But no. Even a short break doesn't seem to work. I go to bed with the song I'm working on repeating in my head. I need a few days off to really hear it again. Maybe you really are making it better, but because of the difference in sound it sounds wrong. If so, take a few days off, work on something else. When you get back to it, you'll be able to judge better.

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by ScreamieBirds » Mon Jun 25, 2018 6:27 am

philsmith wrote:I find that my ears get used to how something sounds and that changing it just sounds wrong. I wish my ears were like an Etch-A-Sketch and I could just shake my head and clear everything out! But no. Even a short break doesn't seem to work. I go to bed with the song I'm working on repeating in my head. I need a few days off to really hear it again. Maybe you really are making it better, but because of the difference in sound it sounds wrong. If so, take a few days off, work on something else. When you get back to it, you'll be able to judge better.
Phil, that is a good point - the ears get tired and it starts to sound like it's not that good. I think sometimes that is the problem.

In this case, I realized what I was really getting at was addressed in this article about vocal comping - https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/arti ... nd-perfect

I need to make a point to record far more vocals when the groove is right because later something seems to change, my vocal quality, the recording settings, the room, me in general. And on those off days, I probably can't make it better.

Anyway, another newbie's discovery. :)

Thanks all!

Kathy

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by Len911 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:40 am

vocal comping. I'd call that article about extreme vocal comping. Maybe that's why some have to lip sync during a live performance? :lol:
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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by cosmicdolphin » Mon Jun 25, 2018 10:02 am

ScreamieBirds wrote:You guys have helped already - I have some ideas about my process. And then I'd love to get your input.

Thanks!

Kathy
I think it's best to loop a small section in your DAW, they can all handle multiple takes...go around each line or couple of lines it 5 or 6 times and try a slightly different feel on each pass.

It depends on the lyrics as well..so you can do one line straight, then on the next pass try and stress the emotion of the line..use some different techniques like cry, creak , croak, fry etc...a softer one..a more intense one..

You'll probably find once you start comping that certain little parts really stand out as better..i.e. you had a bit of creak on the first line of the chorus that sounded more interesting than the rest. It can be a process of discovery and you may decide to do it over again all the way through once you have found all these little places to add the techniques.

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Re: When you know a song isn’t perfect but you can’t make it better

Post by andygabrys » Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:32 am

cosmicdolphin wrote:
ScreamieBirds wrote:You guys have helped already - I have some ideas about my process. And then I'd love to get your input.

Thanks!

Kathy
I think it's best to loop a small section in your DAW, they can all handle multiple takes...go around each line or couple of lines it 5 or 6 times and try a slightly different feel on each pass.

It depends on the lyrics as well..so you can do one line straight, then on the next pass try and stress the emotion of the line..use some different techniques like cry, creak , croak, fry etc...a softer one..a more intense one..

You'll probably find once you start comping that certain little parts really stand out as better..i.e. you had a bit of creak on the first line of the chorus that sounded more interesting than the rest. It can be a process of discovery and you may decide to do it over again all the way through once you have found all these little places to add the techniques.
+1 - that's a great way to go. Works for guitars, and any other live recorded takes as well.

Something to consider is that often you can use one of those loop recorded takes as a double for your main vocal. That's a commonly used sound - in more polished pop stuff they might autotune or especially VocAlign so that they match up closer but its a great thing to have to use creatively.

For guitars - you take one take pan hard left and take the next take and pan hard right and you have instant "stereo" guitars that actually leave a doughnut hole in the middle for the vocal to sit.

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