Friday, April 1, 2016

Vocaloid Song: Megumi Writes "Makeinu!" Part 3

Okay, folks, when we last left off, Megumi's song, Makeinu, had the backing guitars and drum tracks done. So what's left is adding the vocals, bass, and any additional guitars as well as mixing all the tracks together.

Entering notes into the Vocaloid editor can be tedious. What you should always do is to create separate parts for your verses and chorus. This way, you can enter your notes for the first verse and chorus and then just copy and paste the verse and chorus parts for any additional parts. You might have to make some slight note changes for the additional verses and choruses, but for the most part, the notes will be the same. So you would only need to put in new lyrics into the existing notes.

Always create separate parts for your verse and chorus!

You can see from the above screenshot, the verses and choruses are separate, and I've renamed the parts to Verse 1 and Verse 2, etc. To create a new part, make sure the track is actually selected (you'll know because the entire track will be tinted aqua) by clicking on the colored vertical bar on the left of the track. Then go to the menu bar and select Part(P) and click on Add Musical Part(A). That will create a new part.

Once you've entered all of your notes/lyrics for a part, go ahead and do your tuning. When you copy that part, all the tuning you've done is copied as well. You don't want to tune the whole thing if you don't have to! Tune the first verse and chorus and make adjustments to the copied verse and chorus parts.

I tend to concentrate on these things when tuning the notes: Velocity, Dynamics, Vibrato, and Portamento, Obviously of course, you'll need to pay attention to the phonemes and adjust them if you need to. Don't rely on the default phoneme. For sections where you have multiple notes that are the same, I will make minor adjustments to vary the pitch ever so slightly for each note.

Once I had everything sounding as good as I can get it to sound (to my ears), I exported the tracks separately. I do not mix down because I do my mixing in a separate program, Sonar X1.

My mixing skills are pretty limited. As such, I try not to overdo it with processing because it all adds up. Things may seem fine for each track, but when you listen to the whole mix together, it's too much, and then I have to back off everything! I guess the only advice I can say about mixing is to keep practicing and keep listening to songs whose mixes you like.

When Megumi likes to lay down two guitar tracks, I will pan those hard left and right. If she only lays down one track, I will duplicate it, pan hard left and right, and put a slight delay on the right track to open up the space. Guitars are routed to a separate buss where a slight reverb is added.

Megumi's vocals always are dead center. I will add a touch of reverb and delay. I never put compression on a Vocaloid voice. I don't like the sound of it on Vocaloids and I don't think it helps.

Yasuko's bass is also dead center. I will usually record it plugged straight into the preamp and later add a Guitar Rig bass effect to the bass track. Other than that bass tracks are always kept dry for me.

For the guitar solo, Megumi always likes to record it last. She wants to be able to hear everything to help guide what she should play. I generally like to put that slightly off center in the mix with a good dose of delay.

For the overall mix I will add EQ where the highs are boosted slightly and the mids are cut just a tad. And the final mix is boosted and compressed a little along with a brick wall limiter.

The thing about mixing is that you can be sure that what you like one day is something you won't the next day. Just give it some time, and you'll eventually hate what you mixed! I attribute this in part to the fact that I'm just not satisfied with my mixing skills at this point, and so I'm constantly doubting myself. I'd say on a scale of 1 to 10 where I want to be in mixing, I'm at a two or three. The only thing I can hope for is with practice, I'll get better in time, even if it's only in very small increments!

Anywhere, here is the fix mix for Makeinu! Keep rocking!

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