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Thread: Multiple ukes in Audacity

  1. #1
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    Default Multiple ukes in Audacity

    I've been playing with Audacity - recording multiple tracks of different instruments and mixing together. This is my second attempt without having to resort to manuals or tutorials yet!
    https://soundcloud.com/exoticices/swinger

    I mixed a Risa electric uke, Motu acoustic uke, vocals, bass on keyboard, and melodica. I added gain, delay and chorus/flanger effects on a Vox Mini3 amp. Full story/ramble here:
    http://ukeagogo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/swinger.html

    It's great fun to do and I learn something new each time.

    (Apologies if this should be in Audio/Video forum)

  2. #2
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    How cool!!! Looks like you are having a lot of fun with it!
    Click a photo for information!

  3. #3
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    I use Audacity a lot. My favorite feature is the noise reduction filter. I use this almost every time I do a microphone recording to clean up ambient noise.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticices View Post
    I've been playing with Audacity - recording multiple tracks of different instruments and mixing together. This is my second attempt without having to resort to manuals or tutorials yet!
    https://soundcloud.com/exoticices/swinger

    I mixed a Risa electric uke, Motu acoustic uke, vocals, bass on keyboard, and melodica. I added gain, delay and chorus/flanger effects on a Vox Mini3 amp. Full story/ramble here:
    http://ukeagogo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/swinger.html

    It's great fun to do and I learn something new each time.

    (Apologies if this should be in Audio/Video forum)
    I agree, it's great fun and using electric ukes is fun also.

    I read your blog post. It was interesting. I hope you won't mind a few suggestions.

    Playing/Singing to a metronome or click track is not impossible but it is a skill that needs practice and takes a little time to get used to. It's a useful skill to learn not just for recording but also along the way it will help you with the rhythmic side of your playing.

    I listened to your track and thought it was a good first effort. I think I would have tried to bring the voice out a little more. Try turning the Risa down a bit in Audacity. There is a slider to the left of each track in Audacity that allows you to adjust the volume of the track. You need to experiment with these to get the balance between the parts right. Also experiment with the pan controls at the left hand end of the Audacity tracks. Separating the parts spatially can also help.

    One further suggestion. (I'm assuming you record direct into Audacity). Once you have recorded all your parts and have them lined up in time and before you do anything else, export all your individual parts separately as either a WAV or a FLAC file (or AIFF if you're an Apple user). These are lossless formats and mean that all the original recorded data is stored so that if you mess up you can import the individual parts and start again. MP3 is a lossy format so when you export as mp3, you lose some of the data so only export your final mix to mp3 and then at as high a bit rate as you can get away with. Soundcloud accepts lossless format files so I always upload flac files to soundcloud.
    Geoff Walker

    I have several ukuleles in various sizes and am not planning on getting any more...

    at least, not yet.

    I also play some blowy things and a squeezy thing

    Internet:
    You Tube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TootlinGeoff
    Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/tootlingeoff

  5. #5
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    Congrats!! It's called experimentation and learning. If you can see what you need to do differently, it was a successful learning adventure.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like my initial learning curve on trying to multi track! You picked up a lot for the first attempt so congrats.

    Tootler has some good advice. I would add the stereo seperation thing you were contemplating does help a lot. I've learned a few other things when approaching a multi track effort, some of them technical and others more conceptual.

    Technical bits:
    • as you mentioned, a lead in or a least a clapping out of the beach on each track can help tremendously in getting things matched up. Also playing a chord intro is a big help yo get you in the groove as it were on the additional parts.
    • Playing along to a click track or metronome can be difficult because no matter how hard you try, unless you are really skilled there are going to be differences in timing and I found it really stressful and caused me to make more mistakes.
    • I took a similar approach to yours. Decide what the reference track should be and play all your other parts along to it. It's way easier.
    • I'll add a corollary to this - build the tracks in an order that makes the most sense in terms of playing along. For example if I'm going to do vocal harmonies and a small rhythm track or perhaps some melodica fills as you did, I would start with the main playing and singing together. Then I would play that back and sing my backup vocal harmony, then the persussion and lastly the melodica. The advantage to doing this and listening is I can see how each "layer" as it were fits into the whole or isn't working for some reason.
    • I've tried doing the rhythm part first and playing along to that as the reference but it just doesn't work! The opposite works for me but do what works best for you.
    • I usually tweak the levels after laying down each track and watch the total volume and keep some head room on the master volume and then bump things up at the end.


    Conceptual bits
    • Have a plan for how the parts fit together. My first couple of tracks were a monstrous jumble of equally loud parts fighting for the same musical "Space" in the recording. The result sounded loud and not pleasing to me. I've learned over time to play less on each part and leave room for the other tracks to breathe as it were.
    • That's the art of the mix and a certain amount of dark magic in arranging how the parts combine to form a pleasing whole. Less is more on a multitrack. Music really is so much more about the space between the notes than the notes themselves. I think that's been one of my slowest lessons, to play less. I got in the habit of filling in a lot because I played by myself so much. This gives you a tendancy play more to fill out the sound. This tendency was revealed quickly by trying to multi-track. It was a great way for me to learn this lesson.


    Nice job, keep it up!

  7. #7
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    Thanks everybody, some great ideas that I'll use in my next attempt.

    I find when I play solo live that I start off too fast and get quicker! I'll put metronome practice into my daily practice routine.

    Love the idea "less is more in a multitrack."

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