An old song with vocals - worth uploading?

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#1

I had a go at entering the International Songwriting Competition last year… something a bit different - I didn’t get anywhere but it was a good experience recording and mixing vocals.
I didn’t think it was right for AudioJungle, but for some reason today I wondered and though I’d try and get some feedback, maybe it is worth uploading?
It was mastered by John Cornfield.

https://soundcloud.com/mechanism-music/mystery-preview


#2

This sounds great! Though I’m not sure it would be entirely suitable for AudioJungle. That doesn’t take away from it being a wicked tune though. I really like it, and it’s the sort of style I’d listen to for pleasure :slight_smile:

If you want to take a crack at uploading it to AJ I suggest you make a few small changes to the mix first. There are some minor issues that I think would hinder its chances at getting accepted in the mix area.

  • I’m not digging the 808 style drum intro. In this context it makes the track sound quite cheap and doesn’t gel very well with the rest of the track, in my opinion. I would replace it with a simple beat using the drum kit found later in the track. Maybe you could do something with side sticks or rim shots for the intro.

  • The volume of the drums is too quiet to my ear, and the guitar parts seem a little overpowering, especially in the intro. I would bring down the guitars a tad (particularly at the start), and bring the drums up.

  • Try to widen up the stereo image by hard panning background elements left and right. This will enhance the feel of the track, and give the perception of more space and air in the mix. If you have control over different mics for the drums, you can try panning certain tracks (like OH / room mics) left and right to widen up the sound. Doubling rhythm guitar parts can also dramatically widen the stereo image. Even effects like ping-pong delay applied to lead instruments and other sounds can make a difference here.

  • The vocals sound a little thin right now. I would try and boost some of the low-mids (500-1000Hz range) to add some more body and weight to the vocal sound.

  • It may just be SoundCloud’s horrible compression, but the track appears to be clipping now and then, which is a definite no-no for AJ. Take a close look at the track and make sure there are no peaking points. If the original file still sounds like it’s clipping then it could be some unsavoury mastering saturation baked into the mix, so you may want it re-mastered. If you want me to do it for you, I’d happily give it a go (free of charge).

I can’t guarantee that it will be accepted because it’s in quite a niche style that wouldn’t have much of a market for buyers. That said, if you want to try uploading it, by revisiting the parts of the mix I outlined above, you’d be giving it the best chance at being accepted. I would put it in the category of indie rock or experimental if you’re uploading it to AJ.

I’ve now listened to it three times over and I’m loving it. Whether it makes it onto AJ or not, it’s still a great track :sunglasses:


#3

Thanks for having a listen AurusAudio.
It was mastered by John Cornfield so it shouldn’t clip, but maybe when I added the watermark it affected the overall volume, although I did add a limiter.
Thanks for all the pointers. Really great advice. I can hear where things could be improved now but I’m not sure if it’s worth going back over it as I don’t know if it would sell. If I made the changes, like you said, it would only have a niche market… if it could find it!
I used Logic’s Drum Kit Designer so I could play around with the mic settings a to a point.
Maybe just an instrumental version would do better?


#4

It’s really up to you to decide if you think it’s worth uploading to AJ. You might find that the work required to prepare it for selling on a market like AJ is time better spent working on new material, especially given it will naturally have less sales potential than, say, a corporate track. The extra effort may not be worth it.

Uploading just the instrumental version may or may not improve its chances at getting accepted. As long as there aren’t any major problems with the vocals (and here I don’t think there are, having a vocal version shouldn’t be a hindrance, as long as the instrumental is included. But I reckon this varies from reviewer to reviewer, and some may decide the vocals aren’t suitable and reject the entire track because of that, so I can’t say for sure.

Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s a brilliant piece, so well done!

-James


#5

Yes, I get your point. I will sit on it for a while and maybe have a play around with it and see how it starts to sound. I just have new ideas that I want to get on with. To a certain extent I put it up here to see if it is ok as is or if would need remixing & remastering.

On another note, as an elite author, how did you learn your skills as you have done really well on AJ in a couple of years?
I’m struggling to get things moving but I can’t put so much time to it like some, and that also goes for listening to youtube tutorials.


#6

Well to sum it up in a few words, it would be a combination of: persistence, hard work, reflecting on each track I made (and working out why it did or didn’t sell), researching market trends, adapting my style of composing to better fit the demands of the stock music scene (this takes a lot of time, and it’s a big learning curve), developing my mixing style to create non-intrusive, yet pleasing mixes, and perhaps the biggest part of all - luck! There are many authors on AJ who are extremely dedicated, and have worked much harder and for much longer than I have, so I can’t discount luck to be a part of the deal; and thus I consider it a complete privilege to be in the position that I’m currently in. There are many authors who are more deserving of this than I am.

Being an author on AJ requires a lot of work, and no two paths to Elitehood are the same. I started off part time, using every last minute of free time I had to better myself as an author and now I’m lucky enough to call it my full time job. Make the most of your strengths, and work out where you need to improve upon in order to advance. Selling on AJ has been a colossal learning experience for me, and a rollercoaster with many ups and downs. At one stage early this year I was at an all-time low and was ready to give up, but I didn’t, and a month later, to my amazement I had a track that broke into the popular files list, and from there my sales skyrocketed. What I’m trying to say is be prepared to fall on your face a few times, but don’t give up. Instead take that as an opportunity to get back up stronger than before.

But perhaps most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself. If music wasn’t where my heart is, I don’t think I would’ve had the energy nor the motivation to get to where I am today.


#7

Yes, it’s what many people say in all walks of life… it does take a lot of hard work, luck aside. Even some of those great bands and artists took many years to break through.
I have been making music on and off for years depending on commitments but I can’t put a lot of time to it unfortunately, so it’s very much part time for me.

How long did it take you to learn the skills needed? (although I know everyone is different)
On another note what orchestral libraries do you use. I’m with Logic Pro X only.


#8

Really cool song! A have some “Steve Hackett / Pink Floyd feel” in vocal parts. I agree with @AurusAudio that you can mix it better. I don’t know is it fine for AudioJungle, but it’s really great work. Cool harmony, melodies and arrangement!


#9

I’ve been producing since age 13, though I only got serious with my production and mixing two years ago, just before I started AJ. From there it took about 9-12 months to get to a skill level where I was satisfied with my production.

I was still in school (final year) during my first year on AJ, so I couldn’t work full time, but with the hours I spent on AJ you could say it was close to full time. Once I finished school (November 2015) I began working around the clock preparing tracks for AJ, whilst further honing my skills. It was during this period that improved dramatically as a producer. By the time I reached my 1 year anniversary on AJ (April 2016) I had just over 800 sales. Decent enough, but it was the following months where my work really began to pay off.

I’m using FL Studio 12. As for orchestral libraries, I started off with Session Strings from NI Komplete 10, then when I had the money I bought the NI Symphony Series String and Brass Ensembles, which are excellent. Most of my recent cinematic / orchestral tracks feature these two libraries. Recently I invested in Spitfire Albion ONE (all-in-one orchestral library) which I haven’t yet used in an AJ track, but plan to in the future.


#10

Cool song, I really like the groove. I like the vibe change at 2:00. The whole track is really Pink Floyd inspired (in my opinion) which I like. I also agree with the various suggestions by AurusAudio. I don’t think this suits AJ at all, but that is not a criticism of your song. You drum programming is pretty good on this song, the mix of the drums has problems, but the parts are well constructed. The lead vocals really need to be compressed and given some EQ sparkle, and less reverb. Also the lead vocals are far too quiet. So much to like about this song though!


#11

Thanks guys for the great encouragement…

Pink Floyd… saw them live in London 1980 performing the wall and saw Steve Hackett locally in the past 5 years so ‘LuckyBlackCat’ I feel quite chuffed that you picked up my influences :slight_smile: That’s a bit of a giveaway AurusAudio that I’m probably, being in my mid fifties, in a more senior group on AJ. Your story is very inspiring for anyone starting out and I must say well done for your achievement and thanks for the information. If I was just starting out now I’d give it all I had, but due to work and family life it’s only a part time venture here - luckily I work from home which allows me some time to record music.
BlueSkyAudio - yes your right too that it’s probably not right for AJ and would need some serious work. Thanks for liking it though :slight_smile:

Thank you all again for the great feedback.

Do any of you write songs for vocals?


#12

Yes, I have loads of songs with vocals on AJ


#13

Here is an example:
https://audiojungle.net/item/beautiful-wonderful-life/14060827


#14

Very nice… this is definitely the right style for AJ. I like the vocal lift at 1:30 and the subtle organ, it also has an open uncluttered sound which keeps it clean. Great stuff, hope you get many sales!

What sort of studio do you record in?


#15

I’ve only got one vocal track on AJ, and it’s just with background vocals. I haven’t produced any full vocal songs of my own, though Zac here (BlueSkyAudio) has plenty of fantastic full vocal tracks!


#16

Hello MM, I do everything at home in a small bedroom, with very basic equipment. I have a cheap condensor mic and I don’t use any kind of mic pre, just straight into my Apogee Duet soundcard.


#17

Just listening to your ‘Indie Rock’ track - fantastic!
How do go about recording this in a bedroom? What gear do you use - guitars, bass, amps (modelling), drums, reverb, etc?


#18

The drums and bass are all virtual instruments, and I record the guitar direct into the soundcard and use virtual amps.