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My rock and roll album is finally here!
1
#1
0 Frags +

In case you've been wondering why you haven't been spammed by one map thread or the other, it's because I've been in the final stages of pushing out my rock album.

Well, it's finally here! My band (spoilers, it's just me and my buddy Tait who sings) The RLN have finally finished up our first record - The Rise of the Phoenix. You can check it out on whatever streaming service you like. It's very 1970's rock and roll flavored.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/7nNCbuX0VPMT0CXf5jsWAn?si=DqGe28iVTgiPkpjukUJr9A

Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8&list=PLiqxLpiuxSJ3ju3Tp7IIh7z-40QGfgHPc

I played every instrumental part, and wrote most of it. Tait wrote a fair chunk of the lyrics and sang all the leads. We recorded it over a few months at my house and then I basically spent 15 months mixing the damn thing learning a shit ton about audio production along the way. I'm really happy with how it came out for a first album.

Hope you guys enjoy it.

In case you've been wondering why you haven't been spammed by one map thread or the other, it's because I've been in the final stages of pushing out my rock album.

Well, it's finally here! My band (spoilers, it's just me and my buddy Tait who sings) The RLN have finally finished up our first record - The Rise of the Phoenix. You can check it out on whatever streaming service you like. It's very 1970's rock and roll flavored.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/7nNCbuX0VPMT0CXf5jsWAn?si=DqGe28iVTgiPkpjukUJr9A

Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8&list=PLiqxLpiuxSJ3ju3Tp7IIh7z-40QGfgHPc

I played every instrumental part, and wrote most of it. Tait wrote a fair chunk of the lyrics and sang all the leads. We recorded it over a few months at my house and then I basically spent 15 months mixing the damn thing learning a shit ton about audio production along the way. I'm really happy with how it came out for a first album.

Hope you guys enjoy it.
2
#2
2 Frags +

can you tell more about what you did and learnt in 15 months of audio production? I'm not a musician nor a recorder but I find the process interesting. To me mastering is some weird process about moving faders and I can't tell whats so important about it.

can you tell more about what you did and learnt in 15 months of audio production? I'm not a musician nor a recorder but I find the process interesting. To me mastering is some weird process about moving faders and I can't tell whats so important about it.
3
#3
3 Frags +

the main idea with mastering is to make all the songs on a given record consistent between eachother and optimise them to sound good on as many setups as possible (laptop speakers, fancy headphones, etc...)

essentially you're making all the songs on the album consistent in terms of volume, doing some limiting/compression and maybe some stereo enhancement/gentle eq (usually to the very low and very high frequencies)

the main idea with mastering is to make all the songs on a given record consistent between eachother and optimise them to sound good on as many setups as possible (laptop speakers, fancy headphones, etc...)

essentially you're making all the songs on the album consistent in terms of volume, doing some limiting/compression and maybe some stereo enhancement/gentle eq (usually to the very low and very high frequencies)
4
#4
10 Frags +
Twiggycan you tell more about what you did and learnt in 15 months of audio production? I'm not a musician nor a recorder but I find the process interesting. To me mastering is some weird process about moving faders and I can't tell whats so important about it.

You're thinking of mixing, not mastering. Crypto's description of mastering is correct.

If I had to summarize the recording process, you have tracking, mixing, then mastering.

I did all of the tracking and mixing for this album. I tried my hand at mastering it as well but didn't care for the results so I sent it off to get mastered by Carl Saff out of Chicago - he did a great job.

Tracking is about capturing the instruments and the performances - you want to have accurate timing, a good sound, etc.. I learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.

Most of the time I spent was all in mixing. When I started this project, I had been recording for about 6-7 years and messing around with mixing only a little - doing essentially what you described - playing with faders - which, if recorded well, can end up sounding pretty good.

However, I've since learned that you can take it to the next level by actually mixing and not just adjusting levels. I'd say the cornerstones of what mixing really is about boil down to:

1. Volume levels - setting the physical volume of one track. "playing with faders," as it were.
2. Equalization - Adjusting the frequency spectrum of a track - boosting or cutting both for tonality and clarity.
3. Compression - Controlling the changes in the volume envelope of a track - "squishing" it so that it has less variance.
4. Panning left to right - controlling which speaker the track comes out of.

If you have a number of different tracks recorded and you want to hear them all, you need to make sure that they don't share the same "space". I think an example would probably be easier than trying to actually dive into the science of this without me drawing a bunch of crap.

In the case of track 1 - "Trapped By You," we have 2 rhythm guitar parts, 1 bass guitar part, lead vocals, background vocals, drums, and the lead guitar.

Guitars all tend to occupy the same frequency space, particularly when playing on the same part of the neck. To ensure you can hear both rhythm guitar parts, I panned them hard left and right - so if you pan the track left, you hear guitar A, right, guitar B.

The bass is a bit easier - a bass is an octave lower than a guitar, as such it tends to occupy a lower frequency range than the guitars do. To help make this clearer, I used equalization - I boosted the lower frequency range (60 - 300 hz ish) on the bass, and cut the mids and highs a bit (everything above about 1000 hz). I also boosted the upper mid range on the guitars (2000-4000 hz ish) to bring out the overdriven sound of the guitars a bit more and keep them away from the bass.

Drums are an interesting beast - probably what I spent most of my time on in the end. The drums are where most of the compression is done - I gated and compressed the attacks of the snare drum and bass drum so that you get a loud attack and then the volume falls of quickly so you aren't missing out what the rest of the band is doing. The cymbals / overheads are panned apart to spread the sound out a bit and also help clarity in the center channel. The overheads are also boosted in the highs and upper high range of sound to get more clarity of cymbals (boosting like, anything above 7000 hz ish).

The bass drum vs. the bass guitar is also very tough - in my case, I opted for a punchier bass drum sound than a boomier one - so I recorded both sides of the drum and ended up emphasizing the beater side a bit more and boosted a frequency a bit higher than the bass guitar's boost to try and keep things seperate (again, equalization).

Vocals and the lead guitar - they need to be the focus. They're both just physically set louder than everything else, but also carefully placed within the frequency spectrum to not clash too hard with anything else out there - vocals getting a boost in between the guitars and bass; lead guitar parts generally being an octave higher than the rhythm guitars and generally also getting a slightly higher frequency EQ boost. Lead vocals were also compressed to ensure their volume doesn't vary too much so they're always up front and center (not always desireable in more dynamic pieces, but you mix to the piece).

Background vocals were also hard panned to leave room in the "center channel" of both speakers, and also "pushed into the background" by using a little bit of reverb.

On top of all of this - you need to be aware of how things change throughout a song as well, and make adjustments mid track sometimes. Trapped By You's guitar solo track is actually boosted a little bit louder at the start because it starts low on the guitar, and gets a bit quieter when the solo ends up at the top of the neck. As well, the descending lead guitar part right before the end "off the rails" solo (during the big OH YEAH's, if you will) is panned a bit to one side so it comes in more clearly without mucking everything else up - I had a hard time with it being in the center of everything without it either being mind numbingly loud or washing everything else out. The rest of the end solo is just in the center channel.

Hopefully that makes at least a little bit of sense - those are the very basic principles. Take into account I didn't really know any of that beforehand and I had to A. learn it all (mostly via trial and error) and B. apply it to 9 tracks spanning 54 minutes of music, some with lots of instruments (there's 5 different guitar parts encompassing 10 audio tracks on top of everything else at one spot in "Back to the Wall," etc....) and of course I'm doing the whole thing as a side project while working full time and also attempting to occasionally work on maps for you guys and the 15 month timeline makes sense.

If you have any more questions let me know.

[quote=Twiggy]can you tell more about what you did and learnt in 15 months of audio production? I'm not a musician nor a recorder but I find the process interesting. To me mastering is some weird process about moving faders and I can't tell whats so important about it.[/quote]

You're thinking of mixing, not mastering. Crypto's description of mastering is correct.

If I had to summarize the recording process, you have tracking, mixing, then mastering.

I did all of the tracking and mixing for this album. I tried my hand at mastering it as well but didn't care for the results so I sent it off to get mastered by Carl Saff out of Chicago - he did a great job.


Tracking is about capturing the instruments and the performances - you want to have accurate timing, a good sound, etc.. I learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.

Most of the time I spent was all in mixing. When I started this project, I had been recording for about 6-7 years and messing around with mixing only a little - doing essentially what you described - playing with faders - which, if recorded well, can end up sounding pretty good.

However, I've since learned that you can take it to the next level by actually mixing and not just adjusting levels. I'd say the cornerstones of what mixing really is about boil down to:

1. Volume levels - setting the physical volume of one track. "playing with faders," as it were.
2. Equalization - Adjusting the frequency spectrum of a track - boosting or cutting both for tonality and clarity.
3. Compression - Controlling the changes in the volume envelope of a track - "squishing" it so that it has less variance.
4. Panning left to right - controlling which speaker the track comes out of.

If you have a number of different tracks recorded and you want to hear them all, you need to make sure that they don't share the same "space". I think an example would probably be easier than trying to actually dive into the science of this without me drawing a bunch of crap.

In the case of track 1 - "Trapped By You," we have 2 rhythm guitar parts, 1 bass guitar part, lead vocals, background vocals, drums, and the lead guitar.

Guitars all tend to occupy the same frequency space, particularly when playing on the same part of the neck. To ensure you can hear both rhythm guitar parts, I [b]panned[/b] them hard left and right - so if you pan the track left, you hear guitar A, right, guitar B.

The bass is a bit easier - a bass is an octave lower than a guitar, as such it tends to occupy a lower frequency range than the guitars do. To help make this clearer, I used [b]equalization[/b] - I boosted the lower frequency range (60 - 300 hz ish) on the bass, and cut the mids and highs a bit (everything above about 1000 hz). I also boosted the upper mid range on the guitars (2000-4000 hz ish) to bring out the overdriven sound of the guitars a bit more and keep them away from the bass.

Drums are an interesting beast - probably what I spent most of my time on in the end. The drums are where most of the [b]compression[/b] is done - I gated and compressed the attacks of the snare drum and bass drum so that you get a loud attack and then the volume falls of quickly so you aren't missing out what the rest of the band is doing. The cymbals / overheads are panned apart to spread the sound out a bit and also help clarity in the center channel. The overheads are also boosted in the highs and upper high range of sound to get more clarity of cymbals (boosting like, anything above 7000 hz ish).

The bass drum vs. the bass guitar is also very tough - in my case, I opted for a punchier bass drum sound than a boomier one - so I recorded both sides of the drum and ended up emphasizing the beater side a bit more and boosted a frequency a bit higher than the bass guitar's boost to try and keep things seperate (again, [b]equalization[/b]).

Vocals and the lead guitar - they need to be the focus. They're both just physically set louder than everything else, but also carefully placed within the frequency spectrum to not clash too hard with anything else out there - vocals getting a boost in between the guitars and bass; lead guitar parts generally being an octave higher than the rhythm guitars and generally also getting a slightly higher frequency EQ boost. Lead vocals were also compressed to ensure their volume doesn't vary too much so they're always up front and center (not always desireable in more dynamic pieces, but you mix to the piece).

Background vocals were also hard panned to leave room in the "center channel" of both speakers, and also "pushed into the background" by using a little bit of reverb.

On top of all of this - you need to be aware of how things change throughout a song as well, and make adjustments mid track sometimes. Trapped By You's guitar solo track is actually boosted a little bit louder at the start because it starts low on the guitar, and gets a bit quieter when the solo ends up at the top of the neck. As well, the descending lead guitar part right before the end "off the rails" solo (during the big OH YEAH's, if you will) is panned a bit to one side so it comes in more clearly without mucking everything else up - I had a hard time with it being in the center of everything without it either being mind numbingly loud or washing everything else out. The rest of the end solo is just in the center channel.

Hopefully that makes at least a little bit of sense - those are the very basic principles. Take into account I didn't really know any of that beforehand and I had to A. learn it all (mostly via trial and error) and B. apply it to 9 tracks spanning 54 minutes of music, some with lots of instruments (there's 5 different guitar parts encompassing 10 audio tracks on top of everything else at one spot in "Back to the Wall," etc....) and of course I'm doing the whole thing as a side project while working full time and also attempting to occasionally work on maps for you guys and the 15 month timeline makes sense.

If you have any more questions let me know.
5
#5
3 Frags +

Dope!
Listened just a little yesterday, today opened spotify to search for something else but a song from this album started autoplaying, so I interrupted myself to listen to it wondering what it is and only then saw that it's from this album!

Dope!
Listened just a little yesterday, today opened spotify to search for something else but a song from this album started autoplaying, so I interrupted myself to listen to it wondering what it is and only then saw that it's from this album!
6
#6
0 Frags +

questions as i'm reading

HyceI tried my hand at mastering it as well but didn't care for the results so I sent it off to get mastered by Carl Saff out of Chicago - he did a great job.

-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.

hyceI learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.

-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?

hyceHowever, I've since learned that you can take it to the next level by actually mixing and not just adjusting levels. I'd say the cornerstones of what mixing really is about boil down to:

1. Volume levels - setting the physical volume of one track. "playing with faders," as it were.
2. Equalization - Adjusting the frequency spectrum of a track - boosting or cutting both for tonality and clarity.
3. Compression - Controlling the changes in the volume envelope of a track - "squishing" it so that it has less variance.
4. Panning left to right - controlling which speaker the track comes out of.

- how is this different to mastering? What Crypto said is that mastering deals with volume, eq, compression, for all the tracks to have some consistency. Therefore if you're able to mix your own tracks individually, why bother with outsourced mastering? How is it more difficult/complex/whatever?

for some reason spotify doesnt work on this computer so i can't hear the examples but i appreciate the pedagogic way you explain :)

- did you record each instrument playing on its own? or do you have everyone play at once and have their own mics?

hyce I gated and compressed the attacks of the snare drum and bass drum so that you get a loud attack and then the volume falls of quickly so you aren't missing out what the rest of the band is doing

- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)

hyceBackground vocals were also hard panned to leave room in the "center channel" of both speakers, and also "pushed into the background" by using a little bit of reverb.

- so your backgrounds vocals are stereo? Or do you have two background singers?

- What you call center channel, is in fact a mono signal panned evenly on both sides, or something else?

I can see now why it can be time consuming, but just like adjusting colors of a movie, there is no "perfect" result, so you could tweak it for years and still want to make changes.

Thanks for the detailed answer btw, i really appreciate it!

questions as i'm reading
[quote=Hyce]I tried my hand at mastering it as well but didn't care for the results so I sent it off to get mastered by Carl Saff out of Chicago - he did a great job.[/quote]
-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.

[quote=hyce]I learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.[/quote]
-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?

[quote=hyce]However, I've since learned that you can take it to the next level by actually mixing and not just adjusting levels. I'd say the cornerstones of what mixing really is about boil down to:

1. Volume levels - setting the physical volume of one track. "playing with faders," as it were.
2. Equalization - Adjusting the frequency spectrum of a track - boosting or cutting both for tonality and clarity.
3. Compression - Controlling the changes in the volume envelope of a track - "squishing" it so that it has less variance.
4. Panning left to right - controlling which speaker the track comes out of.[/quote]
- how is this different to mastering? What Crypto said is that mastering deals with volume, eq, compression, for all the tracks to have some consistency. Therefore if you're able to mix your own tracks individually, why bother with outsourced mastering? How is it more difficult/complex/whatever?

for some reason spotify doesnt work on this computer so i can't hear the examples but i appreciate the pedagogic way you explain :)

- did you record each instrument playing on its own? or do you have everyone play at once and have their own mics?

[quote=hyce] I gated and compressed the attacks of the snare drum and bass drum so that you get a loud attack and then the volume falls of quickly so you aren't missing out what the rest of the band is doing[/quote]
- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)

[quote=hyce]Background vocals were also hard panned to leave room in the "center channel" of both speakers, and also "pushed into the background" by using a little bit of reverb.

[/quote]
- so your backgrounds vocals are stereo? Or do you have two background singers?

- What you call center channel, is in fact a mono signal panned evenly on both sides, or something else?

I can see now why it can be time consuming, but just like adjusting colors of a movie, there is no "perfect" result, so you could tweak it for years and still want to make changes.

Thanks for the detailed answer btw, i really appreciate it!
7
#7
3 Frags +

Not him but I work in music so I can give my input on some of these

Twiggyquestions as i'm reading

-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.

Basically, mixing a track is taking the record "stems" (basically just the raw audio files) of each instrument, voice and whatever and adjusting them so that the track sounds as good as it can do, which are then bounced down into a single two channel stereo mix. You then master this stereo mix to make sure it sounds balanced across formats and playback devices, as well as making sure the album, EP or whatever sounds consistent. This is compression, very tiny EQ tweaks, shit like that. I've also seen people just master on the L/R output of the mixing session if they're doing it all themselves.

I think the main reason people don't do it themselves is it's a very particular skill and is also finicky as all fuck.

Twiggy-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?

You can record guitars directly into recording desks, most famously Nile Rodgers from Chic did it to keep his sound very clean. However the amp itself has a certain "character" to it's tone, and even beyond that the speakers add their own character to it. Then depending on where you place the mic on the speaker cone, and what the speaker is, it can sound even more specific. A lot of people mark a "Sweet Spot" on their guitar amp speaker, which is basically where the amp sounds the best.

You can use Amp Simulators now to recreate a lot of that, or even take a line from just the Amp Head itself without the speakers and use a Speaker Sim, but for a lot of rock stuff the sound of a real amp with real speakers just sounds a bit better and more authentic.

Twiggy- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)

Compression is basically putting a threshold on volume, but you can change how much is ducks it below the volume, or can set it to raise the volume, or "squash" everything together to sound flat. You can also adjust how quickly the compressor acts on the signal with it's attack, how quickly it stops, you can set a "knee" in the graph of how it adjusts, a lot of things.

I just fiddle with the knobs til good sounds happen

Not him but I work in music so I can give my input on some of these

[quote=Twiggy]questions as i'm reading

-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.[/quote]

Basically, mixing a track is taking the record "stems" (basically just the raw audio files) of each instrument, voice and whatever and adjusting them so that the track sounds as good as it can do, which are then bounced down into a single two channel stereo mix. You then master this stereo mix to make sure it sounds balanced across formats and playback devices, as well as making sure the album, EP or whatever sounds consistent. This is compression, very tiny EQ tweaks, shit like that. I've also seen people just master on the L/R output of the mixing session if they're doing it all themselves.

I think the main reason people don't do it themselves is it's a very particular skill and is also finicky as all fuck.

[quote=Twiggy]-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?[/quote]

You can record guitars directly into recording desks, most famously Nile Rodgers from Chic did it to keep his sound very clean. However the amp itself has a certain "character" to it's tone, and even beyond that the speakers add their own character to it. Then depending on where you place the mic on the speaker cone, and what the speaker is, it can sound even more specific. A lot of people mark a "Sweet Spot" on their guitar amp speaker, which is basically where the amp sounds the best.

You can use Amp Simulators now to recreate a lot of that, or even take a line from just the Amp Head itself without the speakers and use a Speaker Sim, but for a lot of rock stuff the sound of a real amp with real speakers just sounds a bit better and more authentic.

[quote=Twiggy]- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)[/quote]

Compression is basically putting a threshold on volume, but you can change how much is ducks it below the volume, or can set it to raise the volume, or "squash" everything together to sound flat. You can also adjust how quickly the compressor acts on the signal with it's attack, how quickly it stops, you can set a "knee" in the graph of how it adjusts, a lot of things.

I just fiddle with the knobs til good sounds happen
8
#8
2 Frags +
Pvt_ParrotDope!
Listened just a little yesterday, today opened spotify to search for something else but a song from this album started autoplaying, so I interrupted myself to listen to it wondering what it is and only then saw that it's from this album!

Cheers! Thanks for listening man. I'm glad it sounded good enough to not be obvious that it was some from some dude's bedroom studio...

Twiggy - NoJuu's answers were all correct. Especially the fiddling with knobs part. I'll go through your questions just in case I can add anything as well.

Twiggy
-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.

Mixing allows you to mess with each track individually relative to each other; mastering is messing with the final stereo single track. While mixing, you can turn down the guitars by just dragging their own volume fader down. While mastering, you would have to EQ down the midrange to try and do the same - but then it effects everything, not just the guitars. There's also crazy shit you can do with compression per EQ band (compress from 20 hz to 200 hz this way, then from 200 to 1000 hz like this, etc.) and everytime I started messing with any of that crap I just felt way in over my head.

I could probably have spent a lot of time learning mastering to learn it better, but ultimately I paid a guy $600 and it sounds better than when I tried for several weeks, which at the end of the day was worth it. Why didn't I then pay a guy to track and mix the album? Even if I used my buddy's studio and got $500 a day rate, it would've been several grand...

Having someone else master it also gives a clean set of ears into the game - I had been listening to these mixes for 15 months, there's a chance that I overlooked something or my room / speaker setup makes certain frequencies stand out that don't on other listening sources.

TwiggyhyceI learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?

Your options (simplified) are: Mic the guitar amp, run the guitar directly into your board and use an amp emulator, or run your amp into a speaker cabinet simulator then into the board. You can't run most amps directly into the board because they need a resistive load to ensure they function correctly (you need to match the impedance (AC resistance equivalent) of the speaker cabinet to the head, otherwise bad things can happen).

For all of my demos, I just use an amp simulator because it's way easier than getting mics set up properly on a guitar amp (I don't have the cash to have enough gear to leave both my drums and guitar setups in place, and I also need to move my guitar cabs to play gigs / etc I don't have a dedicated recording cabinet).

I've tried a speaker cabinet simulator, at least that particular one I didn't like how it sounded at all really.

I prefer the real sound of the guitar coming out of the amp - you get the dynamics of the room it's being recorded in, you get the distortion of the speakers (important in rock and roll) as well as the amp head itself. I also personally think that having the chest pounding of my Marshall stack on 10 being recorded helps aide my performance - it literally makes me "feel" the music more.

Recording a guitar amp cabinet is a bit of an art - there's so many options. How close the mic is to the speaker effects the sound. Where it's located on the speaker, the angle relative to the speaker (straight on, or on a slight angle), the number of microphones and types of microphones you use all effect the sound. There's a bunch of different ways to make it sound good too, it's about finding the right sound. It's a fun challenge.

For the recording nerds, I ended up using a clone of a Neumann U87 about a foot away placed at the edge of the speaker but biased towards the center of the speaker and an SM-57 about 1" off center, right up on the grill on another speaker and then reversed phase on one of the mics to get the sound I got for the album. The phase issue was a bit of a mess, and took me several months to realize I was an idiot until I reversed the phase and it sounded about a million times better.

Twiggy, phase is essentially the time it takes sound to hit a microphone. By having one mic very close to the speaker and one mic about a foot away, the sound actually canceled itself out a little bit (the sin waves were not synchronized because they were effectively starting at different points digitally because of the slight difference in spacing of the microphones...). By reversing the phase, I turned each peak and valley of the sin wave into the other, which made more of it constructive rather than destructive.

Twiggy- how is this different to mastering? What Crypto said is that mastering deals with volume, eq, compression, for all the tracks to have some consistency. Therefore if you're able to mix your own tracks individually, why bother with outsourced mastering? How is it more difficult/complex/whatever?

for some reason spotify doesnt work on this computer so i can't hear the examples but i appreciate the pedagogic way you explain :)

Think I covered the mastering vs. mixing above. Mastering is one track, mixing is many tracks. And NoJuu is incredibly accurate when he says how finicky mastering is. And I'm glad you appreciate the explanations, I always like sharing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8

It's all on youtube as well!

Twiggy- did you record each instrument playing on its own? or do you have everyone play at once and have their own mics?

I did everything but sing lead vocals, so it would have been a bit of a challenge to play multiple parts at once. When I've recorded live with a band, typically we'd do a "scratch track" where everyone plays at the same time, and then go back and overlay each instrument in final takes one by one to isolate the sound, ensure that the takes are as good as we want, and that there's no bleed from any of the other instruments.

Twiggy- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)

Compression in audio production is about "squishing" the dynamics of the track - dynamics being the change in volume. There's a lot more to be tweaked than this, but say if you had a singer that sang two notes, and one was 10 dB loud and one was 5 dB loud, then you applied a compressor that kicked in any time you went over 5 dB and reduced the volume by a ratio of 5:1 - the 10 dB note would now only be 6 dB, effectively making the volume of that track more consistent. You can then re-amplify this a bit more by bringing up the volume to make the whole thing louder.

[quote=Pvt_Parrot]Dope!
Listened just a little yesterday, today opened spotify to search for something else but a song from this album started autoplaying, so I interrupted myself to listen to it wondering what it is and only then saw that it's from this album![/quote]

Cheers! Thanks for listening man. I'm glad it sounded good enough to not be obvious that it was some from some dude's bedroom studio...

Twiggy - NoJuu's answers were all correct. Especially the fiddling with knobs part. I'll go through your questions just in case I can add anything as well.

[quote=Twiggy]

-what makes mastering so difficult that you (and lots of others) outsource it to some expensive studiodude? According to Crypto's definition you take your audio files and then put some analyzers, audio meters and whatnot on it and tweak a compressor/eq until all the tracks look like you want it.

[/quote]

Mixing allows you to mess with each track individually relative to each other; mastering is messing with the final stereo single track. While mixing, you can turn down the guitars by just dragging their own volume fader down. While mastering, you would have to EQ down the midrange to try and do the same - but then it effects everything, not just the guitars. There's also crazy shit you can do with compression per EQ band (compress from 20 hz to 200 hz this way, then from 200 to 1000 hz like this, etc.) and everytime I started messing with any of that crap I just felt way in over my head.

I could probably have spent a lot of time learning mastering to learn it better, but ultimately I paid a guy $600 and it sounds better than when I tried for several weeks, which at the end of the day was worth it. Why didn't I then pay a guy to track and mix the album? Even if I used my buddy's studio and got $500 a day rate, it would've been several grand...

Having someone else master it also gives a clean set of ears into the game - I had been listening to these mixes for 15 months, there's a chance that I overlooked something or my room / speaker setup makes certain frequencies stand out that don't on other listening sources.

[quote=Twiggy]
[quote=hyce]I learned a fair amount here particularly in terms of guitars - precisely where you mic up an amp changes the sound character drastically.
[/quote]
-So if you play electric guitar, you put it through a "standard" guitar amp, then put a mic in front of the amp? Why not ditch the mic and plug the amp signal directly to your recording device?
[/quote]

Your options (simplified) are: Mic the guitar amp, run the guitar directly into your board and use an amp emulator, or run your amp into a speaker cabinet simulator then into the board. You can't run most amps directly into the board because they need a resistive load to ensure they function correctly (you need to match the impedance (AC resistance equivalent) of the speaker cabinet to the head, otherwise bad things can happen).

For all of my demos, I just use an amp simulator because it's way easier than getting mics set up properly on a guitar amp (I don't have the cash to have enough gear to leave both my drums and guitar setups in place, and I also need to move my guitar cabs to play gigs / etc I don't have a dedicated recording cabinet).

I've tried a speaker cabinet simulator, at least that particular one I didn't like how it sounded at all really.

I prefer the real sound of the guitar coming out of the amp - you get the dynamics of the room it's being recorded in, you get the distortion of the speakers (important in rock and roll) as well as the amp head itself. I also personally think that having the chest pounding of my Marshall stack on 10 being recorded helps aide my performance - it literally makes me "feel" the music more.

Recording a guitar amp cabinet is a bit of an art - there's so many options. How close the mic is to the speaker effects the sound. Where it's located on the speaker, the angle relative to the speaker (straight on, or on a slight angle), the number of microphones and types of microphones you use all effect the sound. There's a bunch of different ways to make it sound good too, it's about finding the right sound. It's a fun challenge.

For the recording nerds, I ended up using a clone of a Neumann U87 about a foot away placed at the edge of the speaker but biased towards the center of the speaker and an SM-57 about 1" off center, right up on the grill on another speaker and then reversed phase on one of the mics to get the sound I got for the album. The phase issue was a bit of a mess, and took me several months to realize I was an idiot until I reversed the phase and it sounded about a million times better.

Twiggy, phase is essentially the time it takes sound to hit a microphone. By having one mic very close to the speaker and one mic about a foot away, the sound actually canceled itself out a little bit (the sin waves were not synchronized because they were effectively starting at different points digitally because of the slight difference in spacing of the microphones...). By reversing the phase, I turned each peak and valley of the sin wave into the other, which made more of it constructive rather than destructive.

[quote=Twiggy]
- how is this different to mastering? What Crypto said is that mastering deals with volume, eq, compression, for all the tracks to have some consistency. Therefore if you're able to mix your own tracks individually, why bother with outsourced mastering? How is it more difficult/complex/whatever?

for some reason spotify doesnt work on this computer so i can't hear the examples but i appreciate the pedagogic way you explain :)
[/quote]

Think I covered the mastering vs. mixing above. Mastering is one track, mixing is many tracks. And NoJuu is incredibly accurate when he says how finicky mastering is. And I'm glad you appreciate the explanations, I always like sharing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8

It's all on youtube as well!

[quote=Twiggy]
- did you record each instrument playing on its own? or do you have everyone play at once and have their own mics?
[/quote]

I did everything but sing lead vocals, so it would have been a bit of a challenge to play multiple parts at once. When I've recorded live with a band, typically we'd do a "scratch track" where everyone plays at the same time, and then go back and overlay each instrument in final takes one by one to isolate the sound, ensure that the takes are as good as we want, and that there's no bleed from any of the other instruments.

[quote=Twiggy]
- I thought compression was about putting a max threshold on a signal's amplitude. I should probably read more about this because I seem to understand it backwards (ie compression = reduced amplitude -> less pronounced attack)
[/quote]

Compression in audio production is about "squishing" the dynamics of the track - dynamics being the change in volume. There's a lot more to be tweaked than this, but say if you had a singer that sang two notes, and one was 10 dB loud and one was 5 dB loud, then you applied a compressor that kicked in any time you went over 5 dB and reduced the volume by a ratio of 5:1 - the 10 dB note would now only be 6 dB, effectively making the volume of that track more consistent. You can then re-amplify this a bit more by bringing up the volume to make the whole thing louder.
9
#9
2 Frags +
Twiggy- so your backgrounds vocals are stereo? Or do you have two background singers?

- What you call center channel, is in fact a mono signal panned evenly on both sides, or something else?

I can see now why it can be time consuming, but just like adjusting colors of a movie, there is no "perfect" result, so you could tweak it for years and still want to make changes.

I had several different background vocal takes of myself or my lead vocalist that we panned hard left and right each, so they effectively became stereo but in reality it was two mono tracks.

Center channel is even panning. I only call it that because even though you're evenly coming out of both speakers, when you're playing around with the pan spectrum you can really hear the difference between all three (hard left / right and center - you can even get away with partial panning that can really change the sound too).

Yeah, at the end of the day, there's no perfect result. There's probably still crap I would want to do to the album if I wanted to dig into it, but once I sent it to be mastered, that was that. That was also one of the reasons why I did that - if I mastered it myself, I'd just go back and mess with the mix again and then re-master and it wouldn't have released for another 15 months. Lol!

[quote=Twiggy]
- so your backgrounds vocals are stereo? Or do you have two background singers?

- What you call center channel, is in fact a mono signal panned evenly on both sides, or something else?

I can see now why it can be time consuming, but just like adjusting colors of a movie, there is no "perfect" result, so you could tweak it for years and still want to make changes.

[/quote]

I had several different background vocal takes of myself or my lead vocalist that we panned hard left and right each, so they effectively became stereo but in reality it was two mono tracks.

Center channel is even panning. I only call it that because even though you're evenly coming out of both speakers, when you're playing around with the pan spectrum you can really hear the difference between all three (hard left / right and center - you can even get away with partial panning that can really change the sound too).

Yeah, at the end of the day, there's no perfect result. There's probably still crap I would want to do to the album if I wanted to dig into it, but once I sent it to be mastered, that was that. That was also one of the reasons why I did that - if I mastered it myself, I'd just go back and mess with the mix again and then re-master and it wouldn't have released for another 15 months. Lol!
10
#10
-5 Frags +

rock and roll in 2k19 lol

rock and roll in 2k19 lol
11
#11
3 Frags +

There's dozens of us! I swear. I've still yet to find anything more fun to play or listen to, personally.

There's [i]dozens[/i] of us! I swear. I've still yet to find anything more fun to play or listen to, personally.
12
#12
0 Frags +

Cheers for the youtube link!

Show Content
Maybe put it in the OP as well?

I gave the track a listen, and while it's not my kind of thing at all, I really like the sound you achieved on guitars. I like less the attack on the bass, but as you said, it's a choice to make of bass vs kick. Maybe it's my shit subwoofer that makes it sound like it's on a bocal xD

So if I understand you, for each guitar, you would have two "enslaved" tracks with the only difference being the mic used and the phase? I start to see why this takes a long time and is expensive to have a live set up lol

I can say that thanks to all of you I learned things today.

Cheers for the youtube link![spoiler] Maybe put it in the OP as well?[/spoiler] I gave the track a listen, and while it's not my kind of thing at all, I really like the sound you achieved on guitars. I like less the attack on the bass, but as you said, it's a choice to make of bass vs kick. Maybe it's my shit subwoofer that makes it sound like it's on a bocal xD

So if I understand you, for each guitar, you would have two "enslaved" tracks with the only difference being the mic used and the phase? I start to see why this takes a long time and is expensive to have a live set up lol

I can say that thanks to all of you I learned things today.
13
#13
1 Frags +

This is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.

This is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.
14
#14
1 Frags +
PootisJrThis is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.

I can understand why most recordings choose to have a quiet bass as it sounds like it's difficult to hear both a clear bassline and punchy drums

[quote=PootisJr]This is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.[/quote]
I can understand why most recordings choose to have a quiet bass as it sounds like it's difficult to hear both a clear bassline and punchy drums
15
#15
1 Frags +
TwiggySo if I understand you, for each guitar, you would have two "enslaved" tracks with the only difference being the mic used and the phase? I start to see why this takes a long time and is expensive to have a live set up lol

I can say that thanks to all of you I learned things today.

Yes, essentially that's right. I recorded a take with two mics live feeding two tracks, and that's what makes up each guitar part. So in the case of Trapped By You, there are two tracks (one part) panned hard left, and two panned hard right for the rhythm guitars and then two in the center for the guitar solos. Each mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.

And you're very welcome.

PootisJrThis is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.

Glad you like it. You hit the nail on the head man, playing shows is the reason I live too. When you've got the amps up high and everyone is locked in and there's that energy between the band and the audience... that's real life right there.

Bass guitar is very important for driving the music! That's one of the more modern style things about what I did - it's pretty clear most of my writing influences are more 1970's ish but I wasn't about to have the bass sound like a 3rd guitar like most of that music... haha!

[quote=Twiggy]
So if I understand you, for each guitar, you would have two "enslaved" tracks with the only difference being the mic used and the phase? I start to see why this takes a long time and is expensive to have a live set up lol

I can say that thanks to all of you I learned things today.[/quote]

Yes, essentially that's right. I recorded a take with two mics live feeding two tracks, and that's what makes up each guitar part. So in the case of Trapped By You, there are two tracks (one part) panned hard left, and two panned hard right for the rhythm guitars and then two in the center for the guitar solos. Each mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.

And you're very welcome.




[quote=PootisJr]This is very good I like it. I also play rock and roll/metal and playing shows is probably one the only reasons I'm still alive. I don't want to do anything else. When you play a good set and everyone loves it there's no better feeling. Especially in a small venue or at a house show. The energy is so great.

Edit: also thanks for having the bass at a proper level because most recordings have it way too quiet. I love the bass guitar instrument so much.[/quote]

Glad you like it. You hit the nail on the head man, playing shows is the reason I live too. When you've got the amps up high and everyone is locked in and there's that energy between the band and the audience... that's real life right there.

Bass guitar is very important for driving the music! That's one of the more modern style things about what I did - it's pretty clear most of my writing influences are more 1970's ish but I wasn't about to have the bass sound like a 3rd guitar like most of that music... haha!
16
#16
2 Frags +

Wow. I've essentially only listened to classic rock and metal like 24/7 for years and this is insanely good. It's very very well mastered and your guitar solos are insane especially title track. Singer is amazing too. If this was released in the late 70's under a big record label it would have gone platinum.

Wow. I've essentially only listened to classic rock and metal like 24/7 for years and this is insanely good. It's very very well mastered and your guitar solos are insane especially title track. Singer is amazing too. If this was released in the late 70's under a big record label it would have gone platinum.
17
#17
1 Frags +
BBiA_duchessWow. I've essentially only listened to classic rock and metal like 24/7 for years and this is insanely good. It's very very well mastered and your guitar solos are insane especially title track. Singer is amazing too. If this was released in the late 70's under a big record label it would have gone platinum.

Cheers friend, I appreciate that a ton! It was really hard to finally put it out there and be done with it, and your comment is bringing a big smile to my face. All I could hope for was that somebody would feel the way I do when I listen to it and hopefully that rings true for you.

Though, as far as the great guitar solos goes - the title track solo is definitely one of my favorite solos I've ever done. For the uninitiated (@4m32s)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcKtO8UMvQ&t=4m32s

My other favorites are the following:

From "Trapped By You" - ending "off the rails" solo (@4m23s)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8&t=4m23s

Very close contender for best solo - from "The Night Riders": (Also, fun fact about this track, for whatever reason I think it sounds the best out of all of them, somehow... I don't think I did anything different?) (@3m38s):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIalf-rZUw0&t=3m38s

Not so much for how technical or crazy the solo is - but the vibe, the feel - particularly with the backing track of the solo from "Golden" gives me goosebumps every time - the way it peaks, falls, and builds into the end of the song (@4m36s):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94uAOeKSd_A&t=4m36s

And last but not least - I love the solo from "Out For A Cruise" - it's just got a nice groove to it. The keychange from A to Bb is fun too, and one of my favorite bits of music I've come up with. (@3m26s):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXGPRYpzNv8&t=3m26s

[quote=BBiA_duchess]Wow. I've essentially only listened to classic rock and metal like 24/7 for years and this is insanely good. It's very very well mastered and your guitar solos are insane especially title track. Singer is amazing too. If this was released in the late 70's under a big record label it would have gone platinum.[/quote]

Cheers friend, I appreciate that a ton! It was really hard to finally put it out there and be done with it, and your comment is bringing a big smile to my face. All I could hope for was that somebody would feel the way I do when I listen to it and hopefully that rings true for you.

Though, as far as the great guitar solos goes - the title track solo is definitely one of my favorite solos I've ever done. For the uninitiated (@4m32s)
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNcKtO8UMvQ&t=4m32s[/youtube]

My other favorites are the following:

From "Trapped By You" - ending "off the rails" solo (@4m23s)
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEgGRVAIe-8&t=4m23s[/youtube]

Very close contender for best solo - from "The Night Riders": (Also, fun fact about this track, for whatever reason I think it sounds the best out of all of them, somehow... I don't think I did anything different?) (@3m38s):
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MIalf-rZUw0&t=3m38s[/youtube]

Not so much for how technical or crazy the solo is - but the vibe, the feel - particularly with the backing track of the solo from "Golden" gives me goosebumps every time - the way it peaks, falls, and builds into the end of the song (@4m36s):
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94uAOeKSd_A&t=4m36s[/youtube]

And last but not least - I love the solo from "Out For A Cruise" - it's just got a nice groove to it. The keychange from A to Bb is fun too, and one of my favorite bits of music I've come up with. (@3m26s):
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXGPRYpzNv8&t=3m26s[/youtube]
18
#18
0 Frags +
HyceEach mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.

So you would end up with different settings for each track that makes a part?

[quote=Hyce]Each mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.[/quote]
So you would end up with [i]different[/i] settings for each track that makes a part?
19
#19
2 Frags +
TwiggyHyceEach mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.So you would end up with differentsettings for each track that makes a part?

Yeah usually if you multi mic guitar parts for seperate tracks you can take for example, two different amps and mics with two different characters. For example you can have one that sounds "Dark" and one that sounds "Bright" and blend them after the fact to get a better sound. Like one might have fantastic low end, but really shit high end, and the other could be the opposite. By blending the two and EQing them to compliment each other you end up with one better sounding guitar part.

[quote=Twiggy][quote=Hyce]Each mic was selectively EQ'd and set to give one good total sound.[/quote]
So you would end up with [i]different[/i]settings for each track that makes a part?[/quote]

Yeah usually if you multi mic guitar parts for seperate tracks you can take for example, two different amps and mics with two different characters. For example you can have one that sounds "Dark" and one that sounds "Bright" and blend them after the fact to get a better sound. Like one might have fantastic low end, but really shit high end, and the other could be the opposite. By blending the two and EQing them to compliment each other you end up with one better sounding guitar part.
20
#20
1 Frags +

literally amazing

literally amazing
21
#21
1 Frags +

mind_blown

Thanks again for explaining !

mind_blown

Thanks again for explaining !
22
#22
1 Frags +

1 minute into the first song and I already love it. The bass line in the chorus is my favorite part so far. Keep up the great work man.

1 minute into the first song and I already love it. The bass line in the chorus is my favorite part so far. Keep up the great work man.
23
#23
3 Frags +

Thanks all!

Twiggy, NoJuu hit the nail on the head again. I basically used the SM-57 for the low end of the sound and then the U87 clone for the mids, and EQ'd them as such.

Here's an example of one of the SM-57 EQ curves:

https://i.imgur.com/n8oZmFv.png

And the U87:

https://i.imgur.com/dOVaNxj.png

Thanks all!

Twiggy, NoJuu hit the nail on the head again. I basically used the SM-57 for the low end of the sound and then the U87 clone for the mids, and EQ'd them as such.

Here's an example of one of the SM-57 EQ curves:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/n8oZmFv.png[/img]

And the U87:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/dOVaNxj.png[/img]
24
#24
1 Frags +
HyceThanks all!

Twiggy, NoJuu hit the nail on the head again. I basically used the SM-57 for the low end of the sound and then the U87 clone for the mids, and EQ'd them as such.

Here's an example of one of the SM-57 EQ curves:

https://i.imgur.com/n8oZmFv.png

And the U87:

https://i.imgur.com/dOVaNxj.png

I see those high passes and I respect those. You do the mixing in Reaper then?

Also is that "I want a load of distorted mid sound so just gonna fuck them all in" EQ on the U87?

[quote=Hyce]Thanks all!

Twiggy, NoJuu hit the nail on the head again. I basically used the SM-57 for the low end of the sound and then the U87 clone for the mids, and EQ'd them as such.

Here's an example of one of the SM-57 EQ curves:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/n8oZmFv.png[/img]

And the U87:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/dOVaNxj.png[/img][/quote]

I see those high passes and I respect those. You do the mixing in Reaper then?

Also is that "I want a load of distorted mid sound so just gonna fuck them all in" EQ on the U87?
25
#25
1 Frags +

Correct on both points. I love reaper. I used to use pro tools but the licensing for month to month was always so screwy so I gave up on it.

That EQ curve exists largely because I didn't care a whole lot for the speakers in my marshall stack at the time of recording. G12T-75's are very very mid scooped. I've since replaced them with G12M greenbacks, which are way more midrange heavy. We'll have to see when it comes time to track guitars for real for album #2 if I end up with less of a "fuck you" boost, haha.

Gotta keep that low end tight for the bass and bass drum, right?

Correct on both points. I love reaper. I used to use pro tools but the licensing for month to month was always so screwy so I gave up on it.

That EQ curve exists largely because I didn't care a whole lot for the speakers in my marshall stack at the time of recording. G12T-75's are very very mid scooped. I've since replaced them with G12M greenbacks, which are way more midrange heavy. We'll have to see when it comes time to track guitars for real for album #2 if I end up with less of a "fuck you" boost, haha.

Gotta keep that low end tight for the bass and bass drum, right?
26
#26
0 Frags +

I like Reaper, such an elegant and complete program in so little disk space 8)

I like Reaper, such an elegant and complete program in so little disk space 8)
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