Bees

After fixing yesterday’s attempt at a song with vocal melody – I decided to try to write a song in the key of B – and I saved the song in Cubase as “bees” – jokingly. Then I wrote the lyrics – and like the guitar chords – they just flowed out. The vocal melody was easy as could be – its exactly the kind of song I can sing given my limited singing abilities. (I will most likely take voice lessons – but I really need to figure out how I want my voice to sound. I know I don’t want to sing opera, art songs or lounge music. I want edgy sounding singing – and am not interested in “pretty / choir boy”). But I digress . . . . Then the Cello / Bass and Piano just rolled out lickety-split . . . Then I remembered an Assemblage piece and Photo I took years ago that had a bee in it – and Voila!

Funny how this all works . . . its a cool journey for sure!

There was a crooked man
Who lived in a crooked house
He made a mess of everything
He really was a Class A Louse

He shot himself in the foot
He kicked himself in the ass
He kicked himself so hard
That he ran out of gas

There was a decent man
Who lived a life of love
He honored everyone he met
He was sent from heaven above

The people loved him back
They knew he really cared
The strength of love was everything
Everything he had he shared

There was a hive of bees
Where all the honey was made
The bees all worked together
The honey was the finest grade

The sweetest honey wins
The peoples hearts and minds
If you want some honey
You have to be very kind

My Small Recording Studio Success

I started recording with Cubase LE two years ago using a Focusrite 2i2 and I had no idea about mixing and just used headphones. I liked Cubase so much I purchased the Pro edition. Here’s what I finally ended up with – a zero latency home studio with great monitoring and mixes:

  • Cubase Pro
  • SSL2+ interface
  • Yamaha HS-5’s for stereo mixing
  • Avantone Cube for mono mixing
  • Fender Mustang 50 watt amp
  • Royer R10 and Shure SM-57 on the guitar amp
  • SE Electronics VR2 for vocals

That’s it – very simple. I had done shootouts on all of the sub $500 interfaces and tried all of the decent microphones in the $500 ish or less class, and these won hands down.

Mike Seniors Mixing Secrets for Small Studios was the major breakthrough. Once I carefully read his book my home studio went from schmoe to pro.

The SSL2+ is quite a bit better than the UA Volt 276 that I have. While I like the Volt 276 ergonomics better, the SSL2+ preamps are the cleanest out of all of the budget interfaces. The MOTU M2 is pretty nice too, but even though the SSL2+ has a few things I feel they could have done better, nothing came close to it’s clean sound.

Half Bright Scholars

I wrote a vocal melody that was out of my league – so I decided to save this song by using “Sprechgesang” – or “speak-sing”. As it turns out – it fits the song much better since its basically a “two guys walk in a bar” joke.

Some of our illustrious politicians went to Ivy League schools. I’m not at all impressed . . . .
Two Half Bright Scholars
Walked into a bar
One forgot his wallet
The other locked his keys In his car

One Half Bright Scholar
Became President
He really believed
That He was Heaven sent

Chorus
Giant swollen ego
Plus Giant swollen head
Amounts to less than zero
When all is done and said



There’s Light

There's Light
There's Light
There's Light
There's Light

Light at the end
Of the tunnel
And for once
It's not a train

There's Light
There's Light
There's Light
There's Light

Carry the zero
I've paid my dues
My time is due
To leave the pain

Its Time to KRY

The sound of pathos
On Radio KRY
Where empathy sheds
A tear stained eye

The sound of care
For those in need
Radio KRY
A dying breed

In old days
When people cared
No need to KRY
No need for fear

It used to be
We got along
On Radio KRY
We play your songs

Hate is in
Love dismissed
On Radio KRY
We Persist

We're holding out
For better times
We still have hope
On Radio KRY

Chorus
Yes we care
We're hear for you
On Radio KRY
Love still rules

in a nutshell

  • Another KRY song. Why not?
  • First real mix I’ve ever done – where I thought about the mix even during the recording session, and even checked the mics

discussion

This song is more about the mix, but with a humorous ongoing drone of Radio KRY.

This is the first song written knowing the new mixing procedure – and using the Avantone Mixcube from the start – instead of going back and fixing stuff. I also did try two different mic sets on guitar and cello – and it seems that all mic combos are fine – its more about the mono mix that ensures the mix will be great.

Shure SM-57 and SE7 in X-Y position
NT1A and SE7 at the cone – paper junction

theme

Radio KRY cares about You the valued listener!

conclusion

The mono mix process using the Avantone Mixcube and then checking the stereo mix using the Yamaha HS-5’s is killer and a serious breakthrough for me

Magic Box

YOWZA! I finally am in control of my mixes. I even figured out why the Cello was so muddy as well as other recording and mixing problems. I hope to share these in another post soon.

I thought the mics used on the guitar cabinet were the SM57 and NT1A, but it was actually the SM57 and SE7 small diaphragm, with the low cut switch on and the mic pointed at the right side of the speaker. Happy accident – this is my best mix yet.

For those who hear
Imagination
Into the ether
Communication

For those who see
Imagination
Through the lens
Communication

For those who say
Imagination
Into the Mic
Communication

Chorus
A slight of hand
A magic box
The golden age
Opportunity knocks

in a nutshell

  • Most major modern inventions between 1822 – 1922
  • Camera, bicycle, radio, automobile, home electricity
  • Small simple boxes that seemed like magic

discussion

My father was born February 12, 1922, so I thought it would be cool to Google the Modern Invention Timeline. Sure enough, I would argue the most important modern day inventions all happened in the 100 years before my father was born. I’m also reading a fascinating book on Photography that has both the cultural as well as technical aspects of photography.

theme

My favorite inventions are the Camera, Bicycle, Radio and Microphone. It took many other inventions leading up to each of these, but all these years later, these inventions still are extremely important. Fun fact – the first mechanical computer was invented the  same year as the camera – 1822. Today, the Smart Phone has a camera, radio, microphone and computer built in!

conclusion

I’m still blown away by inventors and what they invent. The human imagination is such a gift and wonder. It is magic!

Ten Tin Heads

Ten Tin Heads hide
In shadows they lurk
They come out at night
That's when they work

They steal metal shovels
They steal metal rakes
If it's not bolted down
Then that's what they take

Their lust and greed
Smelted down from tin
Their pointy metal heads
Their creepy little grins

They say that they are DJs
They say they play the hits
Then smack you real hard
On the places that you sit

They won't play my songs
They won't play my rhymes
They lack common sense
And commit many crimes

When they're not lurking
At night in the dark
I'll play my music
And climb up the charts

Chorus
Tin Heads
Steel eyes
At the mic
At radio KRY

in a nutshell

  • The KRY theme just won’t quit
  • I found out some doll heads used to be made out of tin
  • Its always fun writing about pure nonsense

discussion

Guitar, Cello, Piano, Solina and vocals. I started working on my mixing. I think I need to work on this one some more. I record everything in stereo using an SE Electronics SE7 small diaphragm Mic and a VR2 Active Ribbon mic. I need to look at each stereo track and maybe pick one of the two. I seem to have some phasing issues – and low noise rumble – especially on the Cello.

I also need to re-record the vocals. Its funny how you need to sing a bunch of times to flesh out the vocal melody – its quite different than playing a melody on one instrument. You need to fit your voice and it’s inflection and accents accordingly.

theme

Pure nonsense, fantasy, dada

conclusion

My daily dose of fun. I’ve been playing open chords on the guitar and changing one note in the chord to see what progressions I can come up with. Laying down a rough mix, then listening and re-recording (at least the vocals) seems to be a good workflow.

Ringing Strings

In only 10 Cello lessons, my fabulous niece has me to the point where I feel comfortable enough, and confident enough to plow ahead with the Cello and where I am 100% confident that I can add simple but decent parts to my songs. Today we switch gears and I have my first Violin lesson ever. I did add a little Violin part to this song – just as a warm up for my first lesson. I can tell you that learning the Cello really helps with the Violin.

Best in Show

I had written lyrics – but then I found this cool Buchla Easel synth patch and just started riffing – do there’s little room left to sing. I’m also starting to concentrate on creating better mixes – I’m going to use my cell phone as the ultimate terrible sounding device – meaning – if it sounds at least clear with good levels in each track – then it should sound better on better systems. Thenn I try it on my Kindle – which has cheapy Panasonic ear buds that are actually quite great for $7.. I’m reading a great book on mixing – so fingers crossed that I can create better sounding MP3 files. Todays remix:

Don’t KRY4ME

My songs aren't played
On Radio KRY
It feels just like
A poke in the eye

Didn't quit my day job
Do you understand why?
I can't get no airplay
On Radio KRY

I sang about a girl
Whose a sty in my eye
They won't play it
On Radio KRY

Wrote that bouncy song
The station denied
They won't play it
On Radio KRY

Wrote three songs
For that radio station
KRY won't play
They said "No Obligation"

I packed my guitar
I'm wondering why
They won't play my songs
On Radio KRY

Chorus
All the hits
All the time
My songs rejected
On Radio KRY

in a nutshell

  • Less is more when it comes to mixing
  • The KRY radio theme keeps on giving
  • Just learning a few new guitar chords opens up new song ideas
  • I’m just starting to enjoy singing

discussion

Wow, less is so much more when mixing and creating an MP3.

theme

KRY – the theme that lives on past what I had expected

conclusion

Less is more, more or less