Isolated Music Tracks – An Obsession Of Mine

If you pay any attention to my Facebook timeline at all (and I certainly don’t blame you if you don’t), you’re already aware of my fondness for isolated music tracks from a given song. It’s really interesting stuff to listen to, and you can find tons of examples on YouTube.

I did something along these lines with a previous production of mine, “Fallen Angel”. However, I didn’t think that blog post turned out very well, so I decided to try and improve the process using my new cover of “Ballrooms Of Mars”, released just a couple of days ago…

This time, instead of posting all 19 individual tracks that make up this particular song (for any sane human being, just way too much to listen to), I thought to isolate just the main busses. You may have to crank it up to hear them clearly as they’re parts of a whole, which ultimately make up the overall volume level of the entire song.

Following these, I’ll present the final mix, which of course incorporates all of this.

Ballrooms Of Mars - Partial REAPER Mixer Panel
“Ballrooms Of Mars” – Partial REAPER DAW mixer panel
  • Guitars busGibson Les Paul Studio, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Fender Jazz bass; Stratocaster guitar solos at 02:05 and 03:40, into the fade-out:
  • Drums/Percussion bussesDW drum kit, mixed with various other percussion instruments added later in the recording process as a few final touches:
  • Keyboards bus – Split into two sections, played during the guitar solos:
    • Guitar solo 1 fill – Korg MS-20 analog synthesizer:
    • Guitar solo 2 fill – Yamaha MX49 digital synthesizer, into the fade-out:
  • Lead and backing vocals bus

Sometimes, what’s great about recording music is, once mixed, a number of sins get covered up and forgotten. The layman may not pick up on that, but I surely do, and it seems I’m never satisfied with a given final mix because of it. Eventually, you just have to put a fork in it, and call it done.

The mix is almost done

So, without further ado, here’s the completed mix…Which you may find surprising once everything is put together.

Hope you like it!

“Ballrooms Of Mars” on Soundclick

2 thoughts

  1. Hi Craig, I just listened to Ballroom, here in the nstudio´s kitchen (yes, it´s a kitchen, not a messy coffee room!). Some comments: The drums had a natural sound, which was fine. However, I thought I heard a snar drum hit that was late. It coul be because of some other factor, like a bass or a guitar pushing too much. Also, it might be a good idea to raise the level of the drums, but especially the toms, and the fills in general. Sometimes, when some of the hits are a bit quiet, the sound as if they were slightly out of time. Pulling them up often fixes that – they might not actually be out of time!

    In all, not a bad effort! Just some minor alignements and level changes and it should even be improved!

    If this day is your birthday: Happy Birthday to you!

    Your friend, Christer

    PS. Having my first cups of coffee today, some fast Espresso, not the real one…

    to 23. huhtik. 2020 klo 1.51 Cygnus Studios (comment-reply@wordpress.com) kirjoitti:

    > Craig Guerrieri posted: “If you pay any attention to my Facebook timeline > at all (and I certainly don’t blame you if you don’t), you’re already aware > of my fondness for isolated music tracks from a given song. It’s really > interesting stuff to listen to, and you can find tons of e” >

    Like

  2. Hi Christer!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to listen and write your critique, I hope you know your opinion means the world to me. I really should be getting with you for previews so I can make adjustments before uploading new songs all over social media, and perhaps I will in the future if you don’t mind!

    No doubt there’s a few drumming flubs here and there. Not trying to make excuses, but I -was- a bit rusty after not playing for a while when I recorded this tune, and wound up having to do about 10 takes. I did do a bit of editing to bring a few pretty bad mishits back into line, but you know how tedious that can be. Still, that’s no justification, I should have done a better job with it.

    I think you’re also right about the overall drum kit volume, especially with this song since they’re so pronounced on the original. The main drum bus level was set at about -5db, so I did have some room to play with. Weird, but some people who have listened think they’re too loud, especially the kick drum. Guess beauty is in the eye (or in this case, the ear) of the beholder.

    That sub-kick mic I built along with replacing the cheapie CAD internal with a Sennheiser e902 has made all the difference in punch, which as you know I used to really struggle with in mixes and use techniques like parallel compression. I’m sure you’ll recall that you even had to do some Drumagog replacement there when you mixed “Medians Conspire” for me.

    I also hear you about the toms, and was considering using several additional plugins on them (mainly compressors, reverb, and maybe even limiters). In the end, I opted to just leave their natural sound alone, except for a bit of EQ.

    When I covered “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”, I actually used a limiter on each individual tom! Sounds like a strange thing to do, but I found that sometimes it’s a great way to bring them to the front while still maintaining balance across the rack. I remember after listening to that song, you said something along the lines of “Don’t touch those tom settings, they sound great!”. So, maybe it’s not such an off-the-wall thing to do after all. ;^)

    FYI, my kit currently has Evans UV2 coated batter heads installed on the toms, since as a Vine member I got a set of them for free to evaluate from Amazon. They have MUCH less sustain and presence than the DW stock tom heads (custom made for DW by Remo), so I’m likely going back to those because of that.

    Evans UV2 Coated Tom Pack Rock (10″, 12″, 16″):

    By the way, thanks for the birthday wishes, I appreciate it! I turned 62 today… Bah, really getting up there. I’m not quite to this point yet, but as a new MEME I saw a few days ago says:

    “One day you’re twenty in the 70’s, and the next you’re seventy in the 20’s.”

    Anyway, sorry for so much babbling, but you know how much I like to talk shop.

    Take care my good Friend, and please keep in touch!
    – Craig

    Like

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