Posts Tagged ‘recording’

A great cover version.


I have just finished seeing a video, that has marked me profoundly. It has been a real eye opener for me. The information has been there all along, but it has all come into context watching this video. The video is in Spanish, thou the main stream of the video is Eduardo Punset (Spanish Presenter) interviewing Ken Robinson. The interview has been dubbed to Spanish but you can make out the interview in the back ground. If you can spare the time I recommend you pay a visit and view the video, I also recommend you get Ken’s book:

"The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything"
Ken Robinson; Mass Market Paperback; $10.20
In Stock
Sold by: LLC


Creativity, ¡wow!, what a word. I have always been a creative person, creativity is in most everything I do in my personal and professional life, But so are you in more than you may realise, I try to be as creative as possible in anything I undertake, posting an article every week or twice a week, requires a fair amount of creativity. But so does everything else we do on our every day lives, when we dress in the morning we use creativity to choose what to wear (some with more taste than others). Creativity is about the science of looking ahead into the future and taking decisions that affect the outcome of it. When you send an SMS, an e-Mail or comment on a social network there is some degree of creativity. From the video, I specially liked Ken’s comment explaining, that creativity is not something we have or we don’t have, like given thing, everyone in their own ways are creative. Creativity is like reading or writing, in the sense that are one is not incapable of writing or reading all they need is to learn how to. Creativity needs to be exercised and learnt but we all have it in us in a different ways. We all have a different approach and different ways of being creative but it is one of the fundamental differentiators of the human race for good and for bad. Bad because creativity is the basic ingredient in a lie, a lie is a product of someone’s imagination created for a purpose. But let me get back to my post.       


For Slice, creativity is a territory still to be explored, a virgin land where he needs to take his first steps. Sorry, let me take that back. For Slice, creativity is something he is submerged in, however it is musical creativity he needs to focus on and explore. You can use a process or your knowledge and technical skills to create, anything that works for you is good. The thing is I don’t think this on its own would produce music as an art form, it may produce music but if it is limited it will be missing the soul. Slice has the technical skills and the knowhow. He is young so he still need to make the trip down into his inner self, into his own soul and find for himself what he wants to express and how as an artist (only then will we know how good he can get to be).

Varios March 2010 113

There is a moment in all musician’s life (Maybe all artists life but I cant tell for the rest) when they hit the source of inspiration. It is something they will never forget, it all becomes clear as water for him. It is a life changing moment, light is all of a sudden illuminating everything that was already there but not discovered. it all falls in place, he has done the journey and found the source of inspiration, the vehicle to express his personal self. There needs to be a communion between this new discovered world and the skills, where skills are put to the service of this realisation. From that moment on, it is all about working on both in parallel. Work is surely not the right word for it, it is more a vital passion that drives the process and when you give way to passion time seems to bend. Creativity in music is normally a combustive event a spark that captures an idea one instant that ignites a more complex process. The spark comes from inside and the moulding of this spark into a complete finished result is a process. during the process one take the spark or idea and dives into it, exploring it, breathing it, dissecting it, building on it.

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There is not much that can be done to reach the point of inspirational and find this muse or spark. I don’t have the silver bullet and can’t tell anyone how to get there, but I am convinced that dedicating time to experimenting with music and lyrics will smoothen the path. discipline is an effort that always pays back.

Slice has a long way to go and I am betting on him. There is nothing anyone can do to make him find the way, he has to find out by him self, the awareness of needing to find this inner fountain of ideas, won’t bring it up on its own, there needs to be a sincere process of personal meditation and interiorizing.

He is on his own and I hope he succeeds on this life trip.

Keep track of slice at his channel at 

Ian Burt © 2012

RecordinBass22012012 Slice recording Bass tracks for STW

I had said on a previous post, that I would further explain my limited knowledge of amp mikeing. mikeing is an art form in it’s own way. There are a number of techniques and user specific trick but at the end it relies on a trial and error procedure and your own ear.

Before I start, I have my way of doing things. This is my personal approach, it is not a silver bullet and please do not take it as rules to follow, just use it as an ideas to investigate your own way on.

STW ABTW2 a Mix with several guitars most via miced amp.

The first thing when mikeing an amp is to know what you are after. This requires that you have spent time with the artist and the producer and understand what it is they are looking for or better said listening for. I am going to narrow this post to guitar amps, but the same is true with almost any other instrument that may be amped.

It is impossible to set a rig up in any way if you don’t have a target, make sure you know all the parts that are going to be recorded and what tone and quality you are out to nail. There are normally a few things that are a given and you don’t have much influence on. The instrument, what guitar is going to be used is a very personal choice, and the relationship artist vs. instrument is almost a religious one. to a similar extent amps and stomp boxes or effects are also mainly artist chosen.

Brian May Brian May

Guilmour David Gilmour

Van Halen Eddy Van Halen

So how can you contribute to the sound. Well that is a no brainer, when something comes out of the amp it needs to be captured and in the capturing lays the secret. A bad mikeing and recording can ruin the best performance/guitar/amp combination and turn it in to noise. and in the same way a good mikeing and recording can bring trough another way’s mediocre take. Needless to say joining the best of both, will deliver a spectacular track.

It seems there are some boundaries that we don’t want cross, but who say’s we can’t provide some advise and tips to the artist, that may help us in our job of getting it right.

First ask what choices of guitar he wants to use or has available, the same with the amp. Ask him to do a test track for each guitar (you won’t usually have to do this, they will request this them self’s, specially if they are accustomed to working in studio). To record the tests ask him if you can rig all the different amps he is thinking of (again this may not be needed) and if you have any specific amps available that you may think are suitable for the sound you are after and ask him if it is ok to mike them up also for the test. Who knows a blend may be just the right thing to get the ultimate tone. Get him to play around and listen to the different amps in the room, move them around until he is confortable. Try to avoid that he puts them to near any wall

tobywright2multiple.l Amp array for test. Picture not mine Smile with tongue out

Let the artist to review all the recorded tracks for all amps separately and in different blend combinations. use your own ear to find sweet spots or problems an point them out to him.

Once he has settled on a number of amps (there is no limit other than common sense). you need to have studied the room you are going to record in. Share with him what areas suit the sound he is after the best. As a rule I keep all amps at least 1 or 2 feet form a back wall. Spend some time looking into the ambient sound of the room. Depending on what he is looking for you may or may not need an ambient mike so make sure you find the spots in the room that serve a good ambient and don’t mud up the sound. Highly saturated guitars in my experience don’t win much with an ambient mic, there are too many harmonics that the ambient resonance is not quite clear. In contrast clean sounds are greatly enhanced if you have a good ambient mic.

now we have the amps in place it is time to mic. I usually start one amp at a time and one mike at a time. I first work on the close up mike’s setting them at about one inch from the grid.

There are several standard locations for mikeing based on the distance of the mike form the cab’s grid.  In the following figure I have label mike positions A through E         

MicSeparation mike positioning

Position A is a close up mick flush the grid. Position B is a mike 1 or 2 inches from the grid. Position C is between 1 or 2 feet from the grid. Position D is further than 6 feet from the grid. Position E is an open back and mike is generally 0 to 6 inched form the open back.

Positions A & B are close up mikeing positions and will capture only speaker info depending on the mike choice, Positions C & D are ambient mike’s with the difference that C will produce a tighter room image than D. Finally E will depend on the amp type, D is great to recording fat sounding guitar. The norm and needles to say this is choice, is to have 1 or 2 close up mike’s and one ambient mic.

As we have said already ambient mike positioning depends on the ambient characteristics of the room. how ever close up mike’s have a full array of different positions and settings that have to be experimented with. In general there are 3 positions to place the mike in front of the speaker. from the outside inwards as shown on the figure bellow.

MicPosSpeacker mike placing

The position further away from the centre is called the rim, the sound captured here is darker with greater amount of low and mid lows. On the cone or second position, the sound mellows up a bit and gets brighter. On the dust cap or centre of the speaker the sound is much brighter and losses some of the low frequencies retaining the mid lows. placing can be in any position you like but these are the three most common. 

Several Mic mike testing

Warning! when using two mike’s in a close up configuration on the same cab or speaker, the distance form the grid should be equal and if by choice you use different separations you will have to check for phase issue. Bare in mind that a phase issue can render on of the mike recordings useless. how ever there are plugins that can help solve the problem.

DSC01703 Possible phase issues.

When placing a close up mike there are two ways you can position your mike in front of the speaker. Head on or off axis. In the head on configuration the mike is place perpendicular to the speaker at a 90º angle from the grid. The other configuration requires that the mike be at an angle between 30º and 60º form the grid (Note this applies basically to cardioid pattern mike’s).

It is paramount that you experiment with different settings and configurations, testing all positions and different mike choices. Never walk away from an amp and start recording without checking for as long as necessary for the tone you are looking for. This process may be very time consuming but will save lots of time and money later. It is best to do all this process before the artist arrives and save him from going through the hole thing. It is very lightly that the artist will want a twitch here and there but the Core has been done without him being there. they tend to get inpatient.      

Microphones, this is a subject in it’s own and I don’t intend to extend on this topic here, but it is important that you understand the different patterns that they  correspond to. In the figure bellow we have an example of the three basic patterns. A Cardioid, B Omnidirectional, C Bidirectional. 

Patterns mike Patterns

When used for recording an amp Cardioid is the predominant choice in the industry, however when recording ambient it is often a omnidirectional mike that is preferred. Unless certain reflections or room noise bleeding into the mike produce un wanted result. A Cardioid mike will capture sound coming in from the front of the mike and will filter out other sound coming from different sources. while a Omni will record 360 degrees around in all directions including sound coming from behind the mic.

Finally the consideration of the amp volume. it is best to get the sound from the amp without over saturation. This will require that the artist understand that a balanced output from the cabinet is fundamental for a good capture, it cant be too low or too loud (obviously depending on the desired result). 

As I said at the beginning there is only one way trial and error, you have to try and try and try again until you get what you are looking for. I assure you that the result is worth the wile.

Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoyed.

follow slice at

© Ian Burt  2012


Hi everyone, for those followers and for those newcomers this blog is dedicated basically to Slice and the STW project. today instead of a post talking about stuff, I am writing to deliver a request for support (not money so please read on).

This is a home DIY project and I am trying to cover all needs on a 0$ budget. So far we are very much on our way as you can read bellow. But there are some areas where I could do with a little cooperation from anyone willing to give a hand. This is a formal request for help to anyone in the photography, video or film worlds (amateur or professional). I will explain in more depth what it is we have not fully covered on private correspondence via email.

All the final material will include credits to all collaborations.

Pleas reach me at         

Last upload by Slice.

Coming together.

Thing seem to be falling into place, in a slow but constant rhythm. to explain why this is true I need to give the background first. We started the STW project beginning of August last year 2011. At that time we only had a rough idea of that we wanted to achieve. One of the first things we did was buy a large size note pad so we could get everything registered and down on paper.

So we had an idea and a pen and paper, and off we went into moulding the idea into the shape of a project. Slice who is the original generator of the idea, needed to mature it a bit before getting down to detail. Slice is a musician so he gave it the all musical approach. I was left to take care over all rest of  tasks, of managing and producing the project.

follow the link Initial Blog posting for STW..

So here we where with a master piece of rock and roll, we had a pile of songs that said a story and Slice was going to cover them. We would put them up on YouTube as a  collection and as a single track. But what where our goals.

    1. Engage you tube visitors, with appealing music, covered by a 16 year old.
    2. Try to be true to the original story, music and authors.
    3. Attract people to share this work and expand the music & videos as much as possible.


We could approach al these as Slice had approached his earlier videos, live recorded in his room with the original in the background and him playing over it, where sound was all ambient. This would be a problem, since recording different dubs and instruments in this way makes it very hard to get a good audio quality. On top of that we had the issue with the video. Video presented a few problems the light, the takes where going to be very uneven different light and day times, making later editing a headache. The screen real-estate was an other issue, since we had as many as 6 videos of different takes on screen at the same time in some places. with raw video this would be unmanageable, meaning that we would have to use some of the editing techniques of the many available in this field. Finally a 100 minute video needs to provide more video dynamics than just a group of musicians (all the same person) on still camera. The video needed to engage and maintain the viewers interest for a long period (we still need to see if we can achieve this).


Ok, Goals set! Now we needed to set the requirements. What do we need to get to these goals. Slice was in charge of learning all the songs and their parts and nailing down his performance. So I was left with all the logistics, the audio recording, the copyrights, the video recording, the audio and video editing and the video script.

Varios March 2010 103   

The first thing I needed was to have a clear idea of how I was going to do all of this (audio and video) For audio it was clear from square one. I would record all the track’s one at a time and mix them in the box against the original. For this I had all I needed except for some cables and minor details. For the video part of it, it was a complete different story. My choice was to do video in Chroma Key and then add a background this would help me use up my screen real-estate better and have more flexibility. I also decided to take several shots at different angles simultaneously so I could play with the different perspectives. Finally I decided to have a parallel video that was telling the story and use it as a resource to maintain the viewers attention high throughout the full movie.

follow the link DYI Chroma.

So! what has worked so far. It is always good to be ahead of schedule. Specially when schedules are based on estimates and estimates are good will judgment.  Well we have a the recording rig working and already have around 30% of the tracks recorded and some 3 or 4 Songs completed including the mixing and mastering.  On the video side we have done some trials with a DYI home studio and the results where more than acceptable (see video) but this week we got lucky and we have been offered a pro Chroma Studio fully lighted and 5 m. Chroma wall. We have 3 cameras, only one is ours but some friends are helping out. Slice has managed to get some of his friends to provide with some instruments we still require for some tracks. We have some of the Copy Right and are waiting on the rest, we hope they will be OK.

Thanks for reading and I really hope you enjoyed.

Please visit Slice’s channel @

© Ian Burt    

Since way back in the dawn of history, music has always been about man producing sound with what ever he has available at hand; sticks, stones, skins anything at his disposal including his voice, that could create sound and be used as medium in making it. The purpose of music was simple, to cheer the spirit and provide courage for hunting or war, as a mating call, to frighten enemies, or to moan the dead. It was very impulsive, emotional and very instinctive, a raw expression.

As part of evolution and human progress, in more recent times we have sophisticated these basic elements and built instruments of various kinds. Specially from the 9th century on to current times. But the uses has remained very similar, more complex in details but still emotional. Music in the early 9th century was a monophonic sequence of notes that made a melody with some simple rhythmical notations. There was three schools that cultivated music, the Church and the religious music, the pagan brought by minstrels, jugglers and buffoon’s that served he more entertaining side, and the military that was less sophisticated but just as effective. The principle remained the same, emotions + instrument + technique = music. To my point of view the two first are indispensible meaning that I consider an instrument the voice, a whistle, a clap of hands. Technique is a bonus but not strictly necessary. Technique matured over the centuries along side the sophistication of instruments and became more essential.

Over time music has never stopped evolving, through experimentation musicians came to produce polyphonic melodies and increasingly more complex rhythmic combinations, still in a simple way but getting increasingly more and more complex, adding new and more voices through more and more refined instrument. Leading us in to the era of harmony. Harmony is the art and ability to play two different musical scores simultaneously and in combination and make them sound pleasing to the human ear. Notes and tempo notation came in place building a language of its own. As music has evolved so has human ear along side it, we now have a far grater knowledge at listening and interpreting music understanding it to a much deeper degree.


If you have read this far you might be asking yourself where am I going with this post. Well as I have said above, music has always been about an artist manipulating his instrument and producing engaging sounds for the rest to here and enjoy (and I am aware that this is a question to a full debate). Well I am concerned that this may be part of the past, I don’t want to sound like Bob Seger but there is a very fine line here that we don’t want to cross. In my unauthorised opinion, music needs to look back and regain its purpose. The industry is rushing in to a situation where you can buy a CD or download a song from iTunes, where only one musician has performed with his voice and there is no further instrument. All has been sampled, looped and synthesised out of thin air. Were the person putting it all together need absolutely no musical training. Where the feel and the emotion of a piece are produced by software algorithms that know nothing about intensity or emotions. I am not attacking electronic music or DJ or Producers, there is much electronic music that has my respect and enjoyment. But that is the point, “it is music”, down to the basic a musician or several expressing something in a musical way. Not just a beat with extra bass and a lot of fancy effects driven buy a computer software with an option that says humanize. Any form of music has my full respect, I have my preferences but I disrespect none, but it needs to be able to be called music by my definition for me to count it as such. It is much like food. To me, food needs to be made and it is a human process, even fast or junk food. If it is synthesized it may feed and serve the biological purpose us but I don’t call it food, would you call a vitamin capsule food? Not me that is for sure. Food like music fills a lager space in us that just that, they feeds the soul and produce pleasure.

My concern is about the industry and how cheap can record labels, get this pseudo music produced and industrialized. They can put big buck in to marketing something as sterile as a pill, and make it hit. The less people on the payroll the more profit to be gained, why pay a drummer if I can fake one, the same with bass, pads everything. I am sure that if possible they would do without the singer and vocals. who cares how it is consumed or who buys it as long as we make our money, is their strategy.


I can see and understand why the industry did this move. Musicians became gods during the late 20th century, and made the industry regret working with them, in the best of cases. So when confronted with a chance to build their own cloth or dummy gods and crown and replace them at will. They didn’t hesitate a single instant, how can we blame them? If we want to continue enjoying music (as my definition states) we have two roads; a) live from the records from the past. b) get back to making music, but with a less godly attitude. As said by Led Zeppelin “there is always time to change the road you are on”. If the industry can make money on MUSIC we stand a chance if not who knows how this will end. It is also necessary to build a collective conscience in the final user, so that they discern what the difference is between food and pills, and demand food. I regret that we have reached a point where regression seems to be the path way ahead.

I know there are millions out there that can still tell the difference and feel bad about where music seems to be heading to. Not all the industry is dead, not all is lost but we need to push on our side to make a difference. I never download music I have not paid for and I only download music form musicians, or must I specify I only download MUSIC. Every time I buy music (of my own taste), I feel that I am helping a fellow musician and contributing for the right thing, save the MUSIC.

Remember to visit Slice at his You Tube Channel:

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed, comments are very welcome. in favour or against.        



Hi everyone, and welcome to 2012, happy new year to all of you. I don’t know about you but I have no new resolutions, only a continuation of the ones I couldn’t complete last year. 2011 was a grate year in many way’s for me and I have a lot of hope placed on 2012. I have big plans for Slice and some very interesting professional projects I am hoping to get into. It will be a year of changes in many things and I am really looking forward to the challenge that change brings. When I say there is no new year resolutions what I mean is that I prefer to think on planning and moving along as things come and go. New year is a milestone between two calendar years, but that is not necessary related to how planning and goals are established. if December 31st is the only day we can plan ahead we have put a great limit to our own capability to achieve.

Many of you may not know that I as a professional I earn my money as a Software designer and project manager. for the last 18 years I have Designed, Developed, Managed several large software projects. I have dedicated 11 of the 12 years of this century to Fleet & Asset Management and Stolen Vehicle Recovery Systems. with the new year my current contract with a large multinational has come to an end we delivered the Version 1.0 of their new AVL or Fleet Management System (codenamed IKHNAIE) over the next 6 to 12 months they are going to launch the product throughout there international branches and start with the ROI of this 3 year project. I am sure it will go just fine I will be actively involved in supporting them in this trial to come. This however has left me jobless, not that I am worried I will find a new project in the new year and get back to work. But it gives me an opportunity to open other markets and kind of projects. So all I can say is that I am very excited on the prospect of moving on and doing new things with new people.



On my personal plans, there is one main thing I have been working on in the last year or so. It is actually a goal I set out last year as my 2011 new year resolution and is to loose weight. Not because of esthetical reason, I am not that kind I enjoy being myself in every way even when it gets in other peoples nerves. It is for health sake I have come up with a little diabetes (not much) but it is due to my overweight and can be solved by loosing weight. So that concern is still in my to do list, or must I say my to finish list. Confused smile  


An other project is the STW Project with Slice that I have mentioned a few times in other posts. This is far from finished and we are doing good progress, but it has proven to become a colossal task and very time and energy consuming, more than what we had bargained for in the first place. This is actually more of a motivation than a setback as Slice and I see it the more we put in the grater value it will have. We don’t expect STW to be more than what it is per definition, A Cover of a Musical Master Piece.  As such it will be a pulley amateur job, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t put in the same effort and illusion as if it where a professional or commercial product. The idea is to put it up in You Tube for anyone that want’s to see it. no commercial interests involved. At this part of the project and after 5 months of work we have completed over one third of the recording and should finish recording by March. We have done the mixing and fixing of some of the main songs but still have to record the base guitars for most songs, and all pianos. On the video editing I have been trying to get the right help and resources to finish the task and this will be monumental since we have a minimum of 4 takes of all parts of every song and up to 12 takes in some of the more busy parts. Almost al in Chroma Key, except for some resource footage that will be used to add the dramatic content to the video. 


Here is a callout for help, If anyone has time and will to help out on this please contact me at every piece of help is appreciated. It will have to be in remote since I live in Madrid and this is a call to the entire international community that may follow this Blog.

One final Project is we are refinishing and moding Slice’s main red guitar. we are asking everyone to send us name proposals for the renewed axe.



Please follow Slice at

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR ¡¡¡¡¡


Garry Moore The Prophet Cover

Slice has a very long way to go. he hasn’t got an exceptional technique as a guitarist, he is well within the average and will not shine in this region without hard work. As a performer he has got the feel, but needs to work on his expressiveness, musically and theatrically. He has made progress and we are helping him to find the way to his style. But this is a journey that he has to do on his own. As a guide to his personal evolution as a musician. I am going to review some hints in his channel uploads.  

My personal review of Slice’s channel in You Tube and the covers he has uploaded. To this day Slice has uploaded 14 covers since March 2010. As you may say he is not very productive, and you are very right to say so. so lets see what he has shared with us.

Looking at his playlist there is one obvious artist that stands out over the rest, that is Pink Floyd. Slice has done 4 covers of 3 songs or parts, these are the earlier covers and are dated from March 2010 when he opened the channel. This first cover was for the David Gilmore “Comfortably Numb” second solo, as recorded live for the P.U.L.S.E. Album during the tour of the same name. Here Slice is 14 years old, his performance is not the cleanest and he does make a few minor mistakes, but listening to the cover you can hear that he has managed to find some tone and a feel for the solo. The sound is not that good since he recorded it with a small Casio camera and there is far to much ambience noise. One thing to notice is that he took the video so that his face was not visible.

Comfortably Numb cover number one. 9 March 2010

He later repeated this cover in a second video in July the same year only 3 months later, this is a much more mature video. He uses the Sony Handy Cam, this improves the video and audio quality. He performs a much richer solo with much more feel and intensity to it, cleaner in performance and with a more responsive and adequate tone. He also appears full headed so that the viewers can see him from this video on will be the standard.    

Second cover of Comfortably Numb Jun 2010

Following the Pink Floyd Covers are a Money solo cover from the Dark Side of the Moon and a full song cover of Shine on you Crazy Diamond Part One from the Live P.U.L.S.E Album. this is a 13 minute and 25 second cover and was recorded on December 2010. This is a long cover with several parts. This is song has a lot of dynamics, that the player has to keep the right mood and feel through the various stages.  

Shine On You Crazy Diamond Cover

In between these two last covers Slice added a Guns N’ Roses solo from the “Chinese Democracy” Album This I Love song originally played by Dj Asbha. a very emotional piece with lost of bends and vibrato 

Slice has done a few rhythmic covers, where no solos are involved like “Sum 41” With Me full song cover, Green Day American Idiot full song cover, “Disciple” After The World full song cover and “3Doors Down” Here Without You full song cover.

With Me Cover for Sum 41

One exception to the rest of the covers is the “Jimi Hendrix” Little Wing intro cover, this cover is different since Slice plays it there is no backing track. This is a Classic and there are many grate covers in the Tube.

Jimi Hendrix Little Wing Cover

As Slice has been making progress in his performing techniques he has also started refining the video and audio recording quality. Note that as he added more covers he started editing the footage using several frames for different instruments played simultaneously a good exposure of this can be the cover Slice made of “Dire Straits” Sultans Of Swing song from the Dire Straits album. Here Slice uses the same hand picking technique that is so characteristic of Mark Knopfler. this is also one of the videos that has received a high rating since day one. Further progress has been the sound mixing on the early videos Slice would play the original song on his PC though his external speakers and played in to his Roland Cube amplifier and matched the volumes of both. Se other post that can provide further info on how we are doing it now.

Dire Straits Sultans Of Swing Cover

The final step has been the inclusion of Chroma Key video recording and editing to provide a better visual experience. The main goal is however to maintain and centre the attention on Slice’s and his performing and not that much on the videos. However there needs to be an appealing video with motion and character to keep the viewers attention.

Don’t Cry Guns N’ Roses Cover

So far we things have been slow but the new project STW that Slice is working on is a major change in direction and we are working for your enjoyment. 

I will be on vacations for a week so I will skip some posts but will be back the second week of January with new stuff that I hope you enjoy.

Remember to comment and subscribe if you have liked this blog. and please follow Slice’s channel on You Tube

Thanks and Happy New Year to everybody. 

Open-mouthed smile

Mixing in music is a procedure where we blend different tracks with audio content to make a musical piece. The general idea is to merge them together and make one resulting peace where everything is balanced. In a way, all instruments create a pleasing result. In this scenario a producer or engineer try’s to combine different techniques to obtain a uniform result where all instruments are matched, and they all have their room and place in the mix. There is a hole array of tools that help in this task, being the Mixing Console the most obvious but not the only one. With all recorded instrument or vocals tracks assigned to one channel each on the console, the engineer set’s the input gain and output father so all are combined in the way wanted. This is being simplistic and it is what I want for this post at this point, I will work down the post providing further detail and I will complement with an other post soon.

For now let’s say that the relative volume of all parts have a necessary matching amplitude between each other. This requires attention to all parts. Finding room in the frequency spectrum, the stereo image and the depth picture for every instrument is a planning and exercising task. On top of this the producer needs to provide room to make one or another predominant at different time when they have the lead roll on the track (vocals, guitar, keyboards etc.). He also needs to glue them al together in a way that they are tight in a musical sense.

Mixing the STW project is different in many ways. I mean different not harder or easier. The goal for the STW mix is different and the approach changes, Slice is covering a song and will be predominant over the backing track. The first peculiarity is that we use the original song as a backing track, this source has already been mixed and mastered, there for we have little headroom there to work with. Specially if we want to keep as much as possible of the original as possible. So we already have a mix that has been maxed out in frequency spectrum and layout, Stereo image and Depth. In other words our box is full.

Second we want to put Slice’s performance on top in the most respectful way and at the same time provides sufficient performance data that the listener can distinguish Slice form the original. It is obvious that the first approach will be decrease the level of the original just enough to provide room for Slice.


Amplitude Diagram

This however has a flaw to it Slice is not covering the full spectrum range so we need to work in two dimensions amplitude (volume) and tone (frequencies). This leaves us with a moral issue, How? I don’t want to alter the original, so I intend to introduce no effects or mods to the original and EQ would be just that, so ruled off.


Frequency Spectrum Diagram

A third dimension is the stereo image, this has an easier approach, the solution here is to widen the stereo image using stereo enhancement on the new performance and play with the stereo gaps of the original. the same as with Depth it seems reasonable to bring the added performances to the front and widen this dimension.


Stereo image and Depth Diagram     

Also to be considered is the fact that not al songs on the STW project are in the same style or mood. While not a limiting fact it does need to be brought through on the cover mix not just in the performance done by Slice, but also in the production part. This also requires planning and getting the hole picture in to scope before you even start recording. If you don’t get the mood right and this is some times not that easy you may end up with an out of place cover and have affected the mode of the original song.

Some mixes are very busy the same as others have more room and are more disperse, This variation in the amount of instruments fighting to get room in the mix is an additional over head. They can’t be treated in the same way and it is not always the case that less busy mixes are easier since you in theory have more room. Silence is one of the hardest instruments to work with, and some times calm and clean passages can give more work than expected. having a full idea of how you will treat a specific song and how you will use the space or lack of it is key to getting your desired results.

The first cover we have done, putting all this theory together is the Cover to Gun’s ‘N’ Roses ballad Don’t Cry form the Use Your Illusion 1 album. Here Slice only performs 3 different guitars, and only 2 simultaneously at any time. This is a Ballad and mood is very important and predominant in different parts of the song so this had to be accounted for. Also this song builds form a relatively relaxed mix to a busier one during the chorus, the solo, and the finale. so two different approaches where necessary.Finally the original song used as the backing track is a potent one and the Vocals by Axel Rose and the Guitar craft by Slash mesh in a dramatic mix, this made a big difference sin Slice had to com in on that same mood and not lose the effect. Yes we needed to overpower Slash at some part, but still wanted to keep the presence of his mastering sound.      

I have to admit that there are some things that can be done to this mix to improve the result but it was the first attempt and I was also a bit overrun by the video and Chroma key part. Yes this is my excuse, but lest see what comes out with the next covers.

That’s about all for now on this. I will get some more stuff coming soon.

Pease comment Winking smile and thanks for taking the time in reading.

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Ian Burt