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New improv track - advice needed on recording issue


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#1 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:10 AM

Hey everyone

So I recorded an improvisation last night on ead's ACG Harlot (really love the sound of this bass). I need some advice on a recording issue, I'm not super knowledgable about production so bare with.

Ignore the fact that SoundCloud compresses the life out of everything you upload but if you listen to the track there's some weird interferance that seems to have been picked up on the track. The best way I can describe it is some sort of digital hiss. Not it is or how to get rid of it, any advice would be massively appreciated!

You can listen to the track here:

https://soundcloud.c...wood/reflection


Cheers!
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#2 BassBus

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:29 AM

I think I can hear the noise you refer to. Does it just happen when you take your fingers off the strings? It sounds like a grounding issue with the bass.
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#3 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:36 AM

Yeah I thought that, although I've not heard it happen before. I'm wondering if it's my cable. I might try and experiment with some different cables later.

I'm just going direct into a USB M-Audio M Track interface, it's the old one and I've had it for several years so I'm also wondering if it's getting a bit decrepit and I should invest in a new interface.
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#4 Dad3353

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:26 AM

Proof, if ever I needed it, then, of the clothness of my ears, as I hear nothing untoward in there at all. Beautiful atmospheric playing, quite 'celtic' at times, with a hot finger-picking section, then back to calm reflection, and an unsettling 'seventh' final note. There is a gentle reverb in there, which I took to be the sound of a studio 'stone room', except that you're recording using DI..! In that case, I'd say that it's an excellent fx unit, tastefully contoured to produce a very natural and flattering effect. A splendid piece, showing up some of the qualities of a superb bass, and even more qualities of a sensitive bass player. Thanks for sharing; I'd change nothing there at all (but my ears are 'shot', so ignore the above... :blush: ).

Edited by Dad3353, 25 April 2017 - 10:10 AM.

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#5 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:07 AM

View PostDad3353, on 25 April 2017 - 09:26 AM, said:

Proof, if ever I needed it, then, of the clothness of my ears, as I hear nothing untoward in there at all. Beautiful atmospheric playing, quite 'celtic' at times, with a hot finger-picking section, then back to calm reflection, and an unsettling 'seventh' final note. There is a gentle reverb in there, which I took to be the sound of a studio 'stone room', except that you're recoding using DI..! In that case, I'd say that it's an excellent fx unit, tastefully contoured to produce a very natural and flattering effect. A splendid piece, showing up some of the qualities of a superb bass, and even more qualities of a sensitive bass player. Thanks for sharing; I'd change nothing there at all (but my ears are 'shot', so ignore the above... :blush: ).

Aww thanks mate that's really nice of you to say! Yeah the strange hissy feedback isn't always audible when it gets a bit busier, just when I allow a single note to ring out or when I play a bit softer. I've got some super clear Sennheiser HD380 headphones so when I listen back at home the hiss is painfully obvious, on a lower spec pair of "general use" headphones it's less so (but irritatingly still there!)

The signal chain is basically just: Bass into M-Audio interface, single track in Reaper with a stock reverb setting (forget the name of the VST but it's one that comes with Reaper out of the box). I've dialed back the "wet" signal on the reverb a little as it was a bit much at first and was causing notes to get lost in a cathedral of feedback!

The "Wooten-esq" bit in the middle is me revisiting two handed tapping which is a technique I haven't used for a long time, thought I'd have another go at it.
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#6 Dad3353

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:12 AM

View PostAdamWoodBass, on 25 April 2017 - 10:07 AM, said:

... single track in Reaper with a stock reverb setting...

Do you still hear this interference when listening to the 'dry' track, with no treatment at all..?
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#7 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:22 AM

View PostDad3353, on 25 April 2017 - 10:12 AM, said:

Do you still hear this interference when listening to the 'dry' track, with no treatment at all..?

I'll solo it out when I get back from work and see what it sounds like, I see what you're getting at though as in it might be the effect that's causing it. A mate at work who's big into production has had a listen and has suggested I should bus out the reverb and isolate it because that might be causing the issue. I'll report back after I've done some experimenting.
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#8 Dad3353

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:30 AM

View PostAdamWoodBass, on 25 April 2017 - 10:22 AM, said:

...bus out the reverb and isolate...

Although it's easy (and immediate...) to simply add an fx directly to a track, I often use a second track for the fx and send the instrument to it. Especially useful when wanting a common treatment for several tracks, of course, but has the added advantage of enabling isolation of the effect for solo listening, without the 'dry' track. Probably not how one would go about setting up a 'one-off' 'quick and dirty' trial impro, but can be useful. I have some set-ups of the sort saved as templates, so I find it no more fiddly to do than just selecting 'New Project'. Just sayin'. ;)
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#9 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:39 AM

Yeah I've been meaning to sort out my templates in Reaper for a while, every time I start a new project I always think to myself "why don't I just setup a template for all this stuff" and then almost immediately forget to do it! One day I'll learn! :rolleyes:
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#10 Dad3353

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:41 AM

:lol:
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#11 lowdown

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 10:46 AM

With headphones on, yes, I can hear it. Like you said, maybe a lead ? Or indeed, try Dad's suggestion.
But, to be honest, I am only posting regards the quality of the playing and composition (improvision). :D
Lovely....
I really like the 'toing and froing', tempo wise, especially the middle section. Really makes it breath like a classical piece.
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#12 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 11:06 AM

View Postlowdown, on 25 April 2017 - 10:46 AM, said:

With headphones on, yes, I can hear it. Like you said, maybe a lead ? Or indeed, try Dad's suggestion.
But, to be honest, I am only posting regards the quality of the playing and composition (improvision). :D
Lovely....
I really like the 'toing and froing', tempo wise, especially the middle section. Really makes it breath like a classical piece.
Top work.

Thanks mate! Yeah I went for a bit of a rubato feel throughout, I wanted to make it sound organic like it was evolving as I played it and something more akin to what a pianist would play. It's a bit of a sidestep from the stuff I normally play, I'm just trying to push myself to play in as many different ways as I can to become as rounded a player as possible. Really glad you liked it!
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#13 lowdown

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 02:04 PM

I try to avoided words like 'Tempo Rubato', 'Unrestrained', 'Lyrical', because folks only tell you to shut up and go and get a PBass with flats on and invest in a Plectrum****
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#14 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 02:13 PM

View Postlowdown, on 25 April 2017 - 02:04 PM, said:

I try to avoided words like 'Tempo Rubato', 'Unrestrained', 'Lyrical', because folks only tell you to shut up and go and get a PBass with flats on and invest in a Plectrum****
:D

Haha true dat! Yeah I blame being a music graduate, it does tend to sound a bit arty farty! My lecturers tended to get annoyed when I wrote rehearsal marks on charts like "angry like a trapped ferret" or "fast but not too fast" even though the guys in the bands thought it was funny. :D

In fairness, nothing wrong with a pbass with flats!
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#15 SubsonicSimpleton

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 02:43 PM

It might be worth trying playing back the track using each of the driver options(preferences->audio device settings) that Reaper offers and see if the noise issue changes or disappears - I had an annoying ringing noise occuring consistently on one note on a double bass recording which sounded like ring from one of the string afterlengths, and spent a while trying to eq out the offending sound without any luck. Feeling pretty frustrated I listened to the offending stem with both VLC player and Audacity, and the ringing wasn't present so back in Reaper I changed the driver and it magically disappeared. I had assumed initially that what I was hearing was part of the recorded audio, but somehow one of the drivers (don't remember which unfortunately) was adding an artefact to the sound that wasn't present on the original audio.

I would also check if changing proximity of your interface/you to your screen or changing the USB cable you are using makes a difference if you can establish that the noise is baked into the audio at source.

#16 lowdown

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 02:54 PM

View PostAdamWoodBass, on 25 April 2017 - 02:13 PM, said:

In fairness, nothing wrong with a pbass with flats!

Of course not..Just jesting.
:)
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#17 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 03:23 PM

View PostSubsonicSimpleton, on 25 April 2017 - 02:43 PM, said:

I would also check if changing proximity of your interface/you to your screen or changing the USB cable you are using makes a difference if you can establish that the noise is baked into the audio at source.

That is another thought, the USB interface is sat directly underneath a pair of 24" monitors. I wonder if that would cause problems...
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#18 MoonBassAlpha

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:23 PM

That's lovely. Can't hear any bad artefacts, they must be in the same range as my hissing tinnitus!
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#19 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 04:12 PM

View PostMoonBassAlpha, on 25 April 2017 - 09:23 PM, said:

That's lovely. Can't hear any bad artefacts, they must be in the same range as my hissing tinnitus!
Btw a nailed on winner for the noodle bar this month :)

Thanks mate! Very nice of you to say!

Haven't had much chance to experiment with the recording setup since my last post and I'm out at rehearsal tonight. I'll try and post my findings later in the week.
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#20 ead

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 09:56 AM

I know what you mean re the hissing. I personally think it's something to do with the bass as I have noticed that it seems to be hypersensitive to external noise. I've not yet been able to nail it down.

Lovely playing btw Adam (thus avoiding words like rubato, lyrical, etc).
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#21 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 10:44 AM

View Postead, on 28 April 2017 - 09:56 AM, said:

I know what you mean re the hissing. I personally think it's something to do with the bass as I have noticed that it seems to be hypersensitive to external noise. I've not yet been able to nail it down.

Lovely playing btw Adam (thus avoiding words like rubato, lyrical, etc).

Haha cheers mate! Yeah I think it's because where I'm sat when I record I basically have the bass facing and in quite close proximity to a pair of monitors and the PC base unit itself. I think it's electrical interference that's being picked up by the exceptionally hot and sensitive pickups. I can solve this fairly easily by just getting a longer lead and standing further away from the desk when recording.
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#22 project_c

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 11:24 AM

Some pickups don't like being near computer monitors. Try to move around and see if the noise changes, and if you have any dimmer switches, turn them off. Could also be an issue with the interface or the pickups, but in any case a DI box with a ground lift fixed a lot of hum issues for me.

#23 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 03:31 PM

So after much investigation and faffing around it looks like the issue is the M-Audio interface itself. Isolated it first by creating a new track and adding a massive reverb effect to it and noticed that the odd feedback noise was being affected by the reverb. Then dialed the headphone mix all the way over to "direct" thus bypassing the PC and the feedback was still there. Plugged the interface into a separate laptop and....... still there! Looks like my interface has finally given up. In fairness it's lasted a good while now so I can't really complain too much, just need to figure out what to replace it with now.
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#24 bazztard

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 05:33 AM

if it's an old M Audio interface it's probable USB1.1, they were barely passable when new imho
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#25 AdamWoodBass

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 09:36 AM

View Postbazztard, on 23 June 2017 - 05:33 AM, said:

if it's an old M Audio interface it's probable USB1.1, they were barely passable when new imho

I was messing around with this last night actually. I think the problem is exacerbated when I solo the bridge pickup or the neck pickup on my jazz, typical single coil hum but I also think it might have something to do with how it processes the audio. Interesting you mention USB 1.1 because the interface stops working when plugged into a USB 3.0 port on my PC so is definitely not compatible with it.

I think it's time to embrace the fact that it needs to go in the bin and I need a new one! Been having a look at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, my mate has a mobile studio business and he uses the 8i8 and swears by it. I don't need something that big so the 2i2 would be great for me.
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#26 bazztard

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 12:45 PM

I have the 2i2, brilliant value. Make sure you get a Gen II as it has a tweaked guitar input, the old units didn't handle hot guitar pickups too well.
I bought an old M Track and it was usb 1.1 and I got crackles and stuff into a usb 2 socket
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