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Author Topic: Sing LBT with the Gang of Five  (Read 1516 times)

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action9000

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Sing LBT with the Gang of Five
« on: April 28, 2007, 04:28:20 pm »
For those of you who are new here and haven't heard of the Gang of Five singing projects:
This is a unique opportunity to sing LBT songs with your fellow GoF members.  Simply put, I will produce the background music to the LBT song of our choice.  I will send the music out to all the participants for the song, who will then Record themselves singing along to my music.  Members then send me their recordings, which I will mix into the music.  The final result will sound something like this:
http://www.angelfire.com/cantina/friendsalways/index.html

This version of "If We Hold On Together" was performed last year by Malte, Petrie, Tobeysan, Amethyst, Littlefoot Fan and myself, with the music arranged by myself, based on the original music by James Horner.  As you can see, the results can be quite nice, even though the singers were spread all across the globe (and all on different microphones :p). B)

How does it work?
For those of you who are interested in joining us, you will need a couple of things:
-A microphone or way to get your voice on to your computer
-A program to let you record from the microphone to an audio file. (If you don't have one, keep reading!  You can download a free one Here!

I recommend the best microphone you can get your hands on, otherwise the results will not sound quite as nice in the end. *coughPetriecough* :P:
In the end, anything will suffice but a decent microphone will made a Huge difference.  Try to avoid standing next to your computer or other sources of noise while recording yourself, or you will force me to distort your voice in unspeakable ways. :lol   Naw, I'll just have to use some noise reduction on your recording, which doesn't always have the best results.

Anyways, if you have a microphone, I can help you with the next step: the program.
I recommend Goldwave 4.26.  Goldwave can record from any source and can save as a variety of file types, such as .wav, .mp3, .ogg, etc.  It's a shareware application but the free version is fully functional, with up to 100 actions before you start getting popup messages.  Just close the program and open it again to continue working without popups for another 100 actions.

Anyways, I'll help walk you through how to set up Goldwave quickly for good-quality recordings:
1) Install Goldwave
2) Run Goldwave
3) Click the "new" button at the top
4) Click the "CD" button (NOT the voice button.  the "voice" preset is terrible quality).
5) On the "channels" selection, choose "Mono"
6) Choose a length that will not cut off your recording prematurely (5 minutes or more is preferable).  You can always cut out blank data later (or just let me cut out the blank data if you don't want to).
7) Click OK
8) Make sure the "Device Controls" window is somewhere on your screen.  If it's not, click Tools -> Device Controls and make sure it's checked.
9) On the "Device Controls" window, click the Options button (a checkmark and a dot are on the button).
On the "Record" tab, Uncheck "ctrl key safely" unless you want it (You have to hold down the ctrl key while pressing record if it's enabled).
On the "Volume" tab, check "Microphone" (If you have a "What U Hear" Option, DO NOT use it unless you have a Very good reason to, you have 2 sound cards, or you have some other strange reason :p ) and set it to about 50% as a starting point.  You may have to change this level if your recording is too loud or too quiet.  I'll talk a bit about setting the level, later.
10) Click OK
11) Open your media player and load the music I sent you.  Press Play on the media player.

IMPORTANT! Be sure to play the music that I sent you!  Do NOT attempt to sing along to the original song.  This is because my music will be a slightly different tempo (speed) from the original song due to uncontrollable circumstances.  If you sing to the original song, you will likely be out of sync when mixed in with our project!

(Important: use headphones so the microphone doesn't pick up the music playing please!)

12) Press Record in Goldwave (The red circle on the Device Controls panel) and sing to the music that you have playing on the media player.
13) Press Stop in Goldwave (The square on the Device Controls panel) when you're done singing.
14) Play back the recording by pressing "Space".   You can left- and right-click on the big coloured waveform that appeared on the screen to select an area to playback or edit.

If the recording isn't what you want, either make a new file or left-click After the waveform (look for a long flat line at the right side of the waveform) and record again.  Make sure there is enough time remaining for another recording.  If there isn't, just make a new file or add silence to the end (Edit -> Insert Silence...).

Get your recording as high-quality as Possible by adjusting the level of your microphone gain.  If the waveform is very small, increase the level of the microphone or sing with more volume.  If the waveform touches the top or bottom of the window, Reduce the level of the microphone or sing with less volume.

My recording has a lot of background noise or *hiss*ing.  How can I fix this?
Try setting the microphone's volume lower while recording.  We prefer a quieter recording with less noise over a loud recording with a lot of noise.  It's easy to make a quiet recording louder.  It's nearly impossible to remove noise.

The recording has a loud, low-pitched buzzing sound.

Is your wiring from your microphone near a source of EMI (electrical noise) such as a computer, speaker or power source? Try moving the wire. Also, make sure the wire that connects your microphone to your computer is nice and tight on both ends.  Worst case: your sound card may not be very good for recording.  Typically, laptop sound cards are pretty poor for recording quality.

My recording has a very high-pitched shrieking sound.
Turn off any nearby TVs and CRT monitors.

Also, if your computer is very loud when it's running (due to fan noise, etc.), try to move as far away from the computer as possible when recording.

If you are interested in more details about quality and reducing noise, see the posts at the bottom of this page:
http://z7.invisionfree.com/thegangoffive/i...opic=1584.60

To zoom in on a small piece of the waveform, left- and right click around the area, and click the SEL button at the top (it has a magnifying glass in it).  Click the ALL button next to it to zoom back out to normal size.  Zooming in is useful to see if an area touches 1.0 if you are unsure.

 15) Saving: You can save either the entire waveform or just the selected part of the waveform, by choosing either Save As... or Save Selection as... under the FILE menu.  When saving your recording, please use one of the following file settings:

.WAV 16-bit mono signed

MPEG Audio Layer 3 (MP3) 44100Hz, Mono, 192 kb/s or higher (higher is better if you don't mind sending me a larger file size).  

I prefer MP3 44100Hz, Mono, 320 kb/s or .WAV 16-bit signed.

Please, use At Least 44100Hz sampling rates.  Anything less will kill quality.

Stereo is okay but there is No purpose to saving stereo files.  Microphones are only recording you in mono; don't waste disk space (and my RAM) by copying the mono to 2 channels. :p LOL
I'll make the final result in stereo (5.1 if anyone's interested! :P:) so don't worry about that. B)

For those of you who have participated before:
The songs will work similar to how they did in the past, however I will be more strict with deadlines, and I plan to only work on one song at a time.

I will post another topic shortly about getting involved with our next song. B)  Keep an eye out!

Join in and have some fun (and get an award while you're at it!) :D  Feel free to post here with suggestions for the next song. Popular suggestions will be used in the near future! B)

To give you an idea of how casual this really is, take a moment to look at this:


 :lol  :P:

Petrie.

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Sing LBT with the Gang of Five
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2007, 06:57:03 pm »
Are we still doing Lone Dinosaur?  I think I sent you four samples of that already.

Malte279

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Sing LBT with the Gang of Five
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2007, 07:21:32 pm »
And I better get my recordings done now (puts it on tomorrows to do list) :)

action9000

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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2007, 02:06:43 am »
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Are we still doing Lone Dinosaur? I think I sent you four samples of that already.
Yes Petrie, We'll be resuming right where we left off. B)

Petrie.

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« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2007, 06:55:18 am »
Since you've slammed me and my el-cheapo mic, maybe I ought to ask if those four I had sent long ago are good enough.  I think I used a different mic at the time and I the hiss wasn't bad.  As long as you didn't change the song my recording should be fine.

pokeplayer984

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« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2007, 11:06:45 am »
Since I finally have a mic of my own, I'll participate as well.  Remember, you all got a taste of my "singing talent" once before. ;)

I shall now wait patiently for the topic. :^.^:

action9000

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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 05:56:29 pm »
Quote
Since you've slammed me and my el-cheapo mic, maybe I ought to ask if those four I had sent long ago are good enough. I think I used a different mic at the time and I the hiss wasn't bad. As long as you didn't change the song my recording should be fine.
Your recording is basically fine.  Noise-wise, it's no problem.  I discussed your recording in more detail in the Lone Dinosaur topic. ;)

landbeforetimelover

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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2007, 07:39:55 am »
I would just love to get into the action but the computer sounds like a jet engine when I record by it.  Also, I don't have anywhere private to sing.  I could never really sing and make it sound natural unless I was alone.  I tried singing several times but it sounded like crap because I was trying to sing softly as not to attract attention form other members of the household.  I sang a couple of lbt songs when I had the house to myself.  It sounded pretty good even if I need a little practice.  This is not a practical method though because I get the house to myself probably no more than twice a year (no joke).  Anyway, I'll tell you if circumstances change but I doubt they will anytime soon. :cry2

Littlefoot1616

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« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2007, 10:47:16 am »
Are there anymore LBT kareoke (one of the few words I can NEVER spell right!  :P: ) sessions lined up? I was cowering at the idea of me singing before (couldn't put you guys thru that kinda torture  :lol) but now I've said "screw it! Let's go for it!"  :^.^: I d/led Goldwave (thank the stars it works on Vista) and I've got a mic all prepped and ready! Next LBT songlist...I'm there! ;)

Petrie.

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« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2007, 01:20:17 pm »
Awesome...another singing junkie. :D

action9000

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« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2007, 04:21:10 pm »
Muahahaha, I knew you'd see it our way LF1616.! :p  :lol

As for a song list, I'm afraid I still need to complete the music for some songs first. Problem: I haven't been able to work on any music for the last 2 weeks, and won't be able to until monday at the earliest. I don't have my piano keyboard handy, which is an insanely useful tool for working out the music faster and more accurately.  

Expect our next song (probably "Beyond the Mysterious Beyond") up within 2 weeks, 3 at the most. B)

Malte279

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Sing LBT with the Gang of Five
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2007, 10:32:56 am »
During a chat Tim and I had today we were wondering about the circumstances of the first planing of the GOF singing projects. I was checking my older chat files (that's right whatever you tell me on MSN will be archived :lol:) and dug up what may well be the first mentioning and making plans on a GOF singing project, dating from February 10th 2006. This may be the place to share it with you:

Quote
10.02.2006  22:48:41  Action9000 - I just thought that the Gang of Five could have their very own interpretation of the song
10.02.2006  22:49:25  Malte - And I wholeheartedly agree :)
10.02.2006  22:49:30  Malte - I love the idea
10.02.2006  22:49:35  Action9000 - :) Thanks!
10.02.2006  22:50:10  Action9000 - I won't rush the project, but I'll send out a complete version as soon as possible, so you and the other singers can add your parts in
10.02.2006  22:50:44  Malte - By singing our parts to the melody and recording it?
10.02.2006  22:51:04  Malte - Will you then put it all together?
10.02.2006  22:51:06  Action9000 - Exactly. When I send you the final MP3, you can sing your part alongside it
10.02.2006  22:51:12  Action9000 - then send me back Just you voice recording
10.02.2006  22:51:14  Action9000 - your*
10.02.2006  22:51:18  Action9000 - and I'll combine the two
10.02.2006  22:51:20  Malte - okay
10.02.2006  22:51:29  Malte - I already did some practicing
10.02.2006  22:51:33  Action9000 - Perfect :F
10.02.2006  22:51:34  Action9000 - Malte  :D*
10.02.2006  22:51:35  Action9000 - ack
10.02.2006  22:51:48  Malte - Not like I had never sung IWHOT before ;)
10.02.2006  22:51:52  Action9000 - ;)

Dash The Longneck

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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2007, 10:51:15 pm »
Quote from: action9000,May 16 2007 on  03:21 PM
Muahahaha, I knew you'd see it our way LF1616.! :p  :lol

As for a song list, I'm afraid I still need to complete the music for some songs first. Problem: I haven't been able to work on any music for the last 2 weeks, and won't be able to until monday at the earliest. I don't have my piano keyboard handy, which is an insanely useful tool for working out the music faster and more accurately.  

Expect our next song (probably "Beyond the Mysterious Beyond") up within 2 weeks, 3 at the most. B)
Count me in I just need to hear that song again and find out all the words to that song. I'm not fully sure what the words are off the top of my head. Can't wait for it. :)

landbeforetimelover

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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 12:59:08 am »
Quote
Muahahaha, I knew you'd see it our way LF1616.!  

As for a song list, I'm afraid I still need to complete the music for some songs first. Problem: I haven't been able to work on any music for the last 2 weeks, and won't be able to until monday at the earliest. I don't have my piano keyboard handy, which is an insanely useful tool for working out the music faster and more accurately.

Expect our next song (probably "Beyond the Mysterious Beyond") up within 2 weeks, 3 at the most.



I'm in, but how about this time, you sing first Action, and then you give us your recording so we can sing more in sync this time.  I"m afraid that some of us have a hard time singing to the music when we're supposed to.  It'll make it easier this time 'round. ;)

I can't wait to sing Beyond the Mysterious Beyond! :yes

DarkHououmon

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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2007, 01:06:50 am »
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I"m afraid that some of us have a hard time singing to the music when we're supposed to.

Oh?

landbeforetimelover

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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2007, 01:11:54 am »
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Oh?


I'm not saying anyone in particular, I wouldn't know since Action altered all the clips anyways, but we didn't exactly sing in sync.  Some of us didn't sing it right.  Which one, I don't know.  It wasn't Action's fault.  I'm just saying that doing things this way might make things a little easier on both us, and Action.

DarkHououmon

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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2007, 01:13:07 am »
I didn't really have that hard of a time singing at the right moment in the instrumental. This is because I had the song playing softly during my recording, so I was able to sing right on time.

action9000

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« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2007, 07:45:25 pm »
Quote
I wouldn't know since Action altered all the clips anyways, but we didn't exactly sing in sync.
That's correct; I inserted and removed "silent" parts of many the recordings in order to offset the timing of the vocals to match up better.  For some vocal tracks, I used pitch-bending to skew the timing of some words (like the ending of the song, where one word is sung at a time.  It took a lot of pushing around of the vocals to make those line up even as well as they are).  

Quote
I didn't really have that hard of a time singing at the right moment in the instrumental. This is because I had the song playing softly during my recording, so I was able to sing right on time.
You did very well with this, Darkhououmon! :)
Not everyone has such an easy time singing as perfectly in time with the music as you do, even with the music playing.  Nobody is perfect, and the more the timing is off, the more difficult it is for me to fix it in the final version.  In some cases it's impossible for me to fix because I don't have super-high-end vocal software.  I'm not talking singing the wrong verses or whatnot, I'm talking fractions of a second.  When more than one voice is singing at the same time, it is extremely obvious and not very pleasing-sounding if one of them is at all out of sync.  

I hope to resolve this issue in the future by either:
1) Me singing the song first
or
2) Having somebody who is able to sing the song really well in time sing the song first.
The version of the song with this one singer will then be passed around.  Everyone else will sing to this version.  The result *may* be better synching of the voices.

pokeplayer984

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« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2007, 07:49:15 pm »
I declare we do "Things Change" next! :D

action9000

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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2007, 07:53:24 pm »
Quote
I declare we do "Things Change" next! 
We certainly could :)

I'll get the final version of Bestest Friends up in a couple of hours, then I'll set up a vote for the next song ;)