=557= Reflections: Less Is More

Musicians has this phrase that everyone says, “Less is more.”

What this means is that sometimes when you don’t play certain notes, it may actually help serve the music.

Today I learned another fact about the statement, “less is more.”

I wanted to get the album all mixed to my liking you see. I was left with 4 songs to mix. So I decided to mix the song with the least channels, “Here Because of you.”

It only had 1 Lead Vocal, 1 backup, (used for delay) 1 stereo piano and 1 stereo pad.

4 channels, probably really easy to mix right? Well, to some extend yes, I only have four channels to balance. However, because I only had 4 channels. I needed make sure that each channel is perfect.

Being my perfectionist self, I really wanted to modernise the sound of the song. Adding a modern piano, adding modern pads to the sound. And the magic of MIDI was that what was played 8 years ago could sound totally different when I changed the patch.

The stereo piano was using the mini grand plugin. So I decided, I wanted a newer and nicer piano, so I used the kontakt’ Alicia Keys. The funny thing about this piano sound was that it is was sampled with Alicia Keys’ own piano, so even all the flaws that came with the piano was sampled. You can hear the squeaking of the piano and all. Very cool.

Then for the stereo pad, it was using the Xpand2 plugin, I replaced it with the very new analog strings that we just purchased for the new album. It was so much fun to add in the new sounds. There were so many options. Man. The only draw back was that the recorded MIDI Xpand2  actually had some automation recorded from the playing. So like the blending of the. Sounds and all were all gone. 

It was very hard to choose the right sound. There were so many. I could really made the song almost EDM-ish with the type of patches I had.

Then, I discovered EXHALE. WHOO. Siao cool. It is this voice simulation thingy. Kinda like those choir pads, but way cooler and more fun. I chose the Merfolk patch but tweaked the sound a bit because the high artifacts were interesting but too much.

With very little instruments, it is very hard to hide flaws and like mixing with balance in mind. I had to consider things like should I pan this here? Should I add a plugin to make the mono channel stereo?

I found it harder to mix for this song than a lot of the other songs because of the sheer amount of options I had with the MIDI library there. It was a lot of fun of course, but it was quite draining.

Finding the right patch. Then I needed to find the right patch that goes well with the other patch. Man I must have done so much experimenting man, once I was done with the song, I didn’t even want to mix. HAHA.

Less channels = More options = harder to mix. HAHA, less channels is more work.

Nevertheless, I did it, hopefully it sounds half decent.

I even duplicated a channel then I transposed up one octave to make the sound a bit different and have it come in only in the chorus. Pretty nice! 🙂 HAHA! 

Very hard song to mix because it had very few channels.

Then came mastering. With bass, the mastering process is straightforward. All I need is more or less a straight line until it dips at about 8-10k. However, without Bass, it is very hard to estimate or learn what I need to do just by looking at the analyser. 

Haha, and I learned the difference in file formats.

I have been listening to the AAC version of the old files. Now that I ripped out the Apple lossless file, man, the mixing and all were actually very good. Some of which I just don’t think that my version is better. Mine may be clearer in essence, but the earlier versions of the songs were really good. Like legit good. I got rather discouraged.

Oh well, I just hope that my versions will be half decent compared to its’ predecessors. Modernising the old may not make it better, but yeah, just want it to sound good! 🙂

Loving my new dog plushie! 🙂 Thank you!