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Author Topic: GoF Singing Project reloaded?  (Read 3363 times)

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Ducky123

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GoF Singing Project reloaded?
« on: November 13, 2015, 05:43:54 pm »
Hey guys, I've had this idea in my mind for an eternity but never actually suggested this so here we go.

I have listened to the songs that some GoF members recorded way back in 2006-2007 (I think) and I would absolutely love to do this myself. I know we have quite a few passionate singers among our community and certainly more members than back in 2006-2007 (although the general activity may be somewhat lower :p) so goes my question: Who would participate in a new attempt on the GoF Singing Project?

also... 5000th post  :wow
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Malte279

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« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 05:46:27 pm »
I would be in :yes

somerandomfangirl

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« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 05:49:19 pm »
Honestly, I have no idea if I can. I'd like to, but the last time I tried to sing my voice really messed up on me and wouldn't stop cracking. :oops However, I will give it a shot!

bestariana1girl

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« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 06:10:24 pm »
What would we do?

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Ducky123

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« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 07:45:55 pm »
Quote
I would be in in-yes.gif
I expected no less ;)

Quote
Honestly, I have no idea if I can. I'd like to, but the last time I tried to sing my voice really messed up on me and wouldn't stop cracking. dino_oops.gif However, I will give it a shot!
Hey, have you ever listened to some of the songs they made back then? Most participants didn't sing all too great  :lol But it's not about creating a masterpiece but about having fun and doing things together here :yes

Quote
What would we do?
Basically, record ourselves singing LBT songs and then somebody puts our entries together, adds background music and ready is our song. Well, of course it's not that easy but that's what we'll do.
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vonboy

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« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 08:18:42 pm »
My voice would be pretty deep, if that's something that you could get to work in a song.
Come check out my new Youtube gaming channel, Game Biter!
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Nimrod

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« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 08:54:42 pm »
I would love to :)

DarkWolf91

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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 12:37:02 am »
I would love to! The one that I participated in was never finished :cry


bestariana1girl

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« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 05:20:23 pm »
Would we all be singing the same song but different parts? Or different songs?

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LBTDiclonius

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« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 06:02:38 pm »
I'd be down! If I can get something good, anyway.

The Anonymous Person

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« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 06:15:48 pm »
I'd love to partake in this project, depending on my time as well as what songs we'll actually be singing.  :yes

Ducky123

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« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2015, 06:36:20 pm »
Well, that's certainly enough people already to make this happen  :exactly

Quote
Would we all be singing the same song but different parts? Or different songs?
If we're going to stick to the way it was done in the first singing project, then we'd split up our singing into different parts. Like... one or two sing a verse, then all sing the refrain, and then somebody else sings the second verse. Or something like that :p Sometimes it could also work to sing only one phrase but... we'll think about that once we know what song to sing and who's going to sing it and who's not.
We'll vote on what songs to sing I suppose. Not everybody has to participate in singing all songs of course ;)

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action9000

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« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2015, 11:18:31 pm »
Quote from: DarkWolf91,Nov 13 2015 on  10:37 PM
I would love to! The one that I participated in was never finished :cry
Hey Darkwolf.

You're absolutely right and I sincerely apologize for that being the case.

After reading your message, I dug through some of my old backups just now and guess what - Sure enough, I still had a few vocal recordings (read: ALL of them because I'm a packrat like that :lol)  laying around.

I put this version of Beyond the Mysterious Beyond together this evening, featuring vocals from Darkwolf91 and Adam (Petrie).

All vocals were recorded back in 2009. I wrote the background music in 2009 as well. The mixing and mastering of this final release of the song was done....today.  :p

I posted it up on my Google Drive here:
The Gang of Five - Beyond the Mysterious Beyond (2009-2015)

(if anyone's nerdy enough to want the uncompressed .wav master, let me know).

It's the least I could do and I'm curious to see what you guys are going to come up with for your next singing project! :D

I won't be doing any more personally but I will wish you the best of luck. If anyone has any technical questions about producing these songs, feel free to ask away!

Ducky123

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« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2015, 09:56:11 am »
Hey Tim,

since you've been the one doing all the technical work back then, it would be cool if you told me what has to be done in order to put a song together and, if necessary, what programs are needed to do that. I suppose, since I'm the one iniciating this whole project again, I'll also be the one who has to do all of this stuff - or at least most of it. I'm not too familiar with doing such things however so your advice would be really appreciated here (or your help if you can spare some freetime :))
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Nimrod

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« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2015, 01:09:29 pm »
A good Program I like to use is audacity. Its free and pretty simple. Dont know if theres something new out there that is better yet

action9000

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« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2015, 04:38:55 pm »
Quote from: Ducky123,Nov 15 2015 on  07:56 AM
Hey Tim,

since you've been the one doing all the technical work back then, it would be cool if you told me what has to be done in order to put a song together and, if necessary, what programs are needed to do that. I suppose, since I'm the one iniciating this whole project again, I'll also be the one who has to do all of this stuff - or at least most of it. I'm not too familiar with doing such things however so your advice would be really appreciated here (or your help if you can spare some freetime :))
Hey Ducky123,

I'd personally recommend doing the project in this order:

1) Create or determine the background music track
You basically have two choices here and it all comes down to what you want out of the song:

- Simply use the song from the movie. If you do this, remember that you won't be able to completely remove the original vocals so we'll basically end up singing on top of them.

- Write your own background music track from scratch. I often took this approach but it is significantly more time-consuming. This approach can involve either reproducing the original music by ear as accurately as possible or by writing a custom arrangement of the song. This can be done using completely free software (MuseScore is a free, modern MIDI sequencer with a sheet music view) if you're willing to write a MIDI file and export it to mp3, or you can get as professional as you want and produce something that sounds like a complete piece.

If you want more information on this approach, let me know, otherwise I'll shut up. :p

2) Send the background music track to all of your singers.
It's vital that everyone sings along to the same background music track for two reasons:

- Tuning. Some versions of some songs, even from official sources, may be in a different key (the Songs from the LBT CD and the songs on the DVD from LBT 2-4 are notorious for this problem).

- Synchronization. You're going to want to make sure that everyone is singing a song that's the same tempo (speed) as the one you'll be using to put them all together. If they're not exactly the same tempo, you'll have a very bad time.  :lol

3) When you get the singers to record, make sure they ONLY record the vocals! You don't want any background music in the vocal recordings
This one is straightforward but following it gives you much better results in the end. Otherwise you'll end up with the final song sounding like a mushy mess and you'll have no way to remove the additional instances of the background music. Get your singers to wear headphones while recording. They simply press PLAY on the background music, hit RECORD on their mic, sing along with the music and BAM! You have a recording that's in sync and on-key without any background music. :)

Make sure that everyone sends you good-quality audio of their recordings. 96 kbps MP3 won't cut it. Get AT LEAST 192 kbps MP3. 320 kbps, or better, uncompressed .wav, is ideally what you want. Mono is fine since I doubt most people have a stereo mic setup. ;)

4) Mixing the vocals together is more of an art than a science
Supposedly Audacity is multi-track mixing software as well as recording software. I'd suggest looking into it. If you don't already have a favorite music production program, start there and Google around for "free audio mixing software" or something along those lines. There has to be something out there. :) I personally used FL Studio (for most songs) and Sonar (for Things Change). Beyond the Mysterious Beyond, that I posted up a few posts, was written and mixed in FL Studio. FL Studio has come a LONG way and is a very good tool for everything related to this project as a whole, including writing the background music...but it's also $200 so it may not be an option. There is a free version but you can't load save files in the free version.

I don't really know what's out there for free multi-track mixing software. You'll have to browse around. If you want to get all pro and fancy, I'd recommend FL Studio, Sonar, Pro Tools or Cubase.

As for the mixing itself, subtle use of effects can vastly improve the results. Your best friends will be:

Reverb - An effect that places the source audio into a virtual space so it doesn't just sound like a recording of someone on a webcam mic.

Compression - An effect that controls the dynamics (volumes) of the track over time and lets you control pops and quiet parts, while helping you emphasize accents and attacks. Basically it makes loud parts quieter and quiet parts louder. This is fantastic when not dealing with professional singers because things like distance from the mic and voice control just aren't consistent.

Stereo Separation - An effect, when applied after the source vocal and a reverb effect, really livens up a sound and kills the "mono" sound that comes from just using a mono recording on its own.

Typically you'd probably want to chain the effects in this order:

Source vocal audio -> Compression -> Reverb -> Stereo Separation -> Equalizer if you want to use it.

Go ahead and play around though! My notes on effects are simply rough guidelines, not rules. :)
It's important to note that these (and other) effects aren't simply "plug and play"; they have a large number of properties and settings that can be changed in order to get exactly the result you want. Reverb and stereo separation are fairly intuitive on their own, whereas compression really has a bit of a learning curve.

Oh, a tip? Don't go toooo crazy with the reverb. I know it's tempting because at first more will sound "better". Listen to that little voice in your head that's telling you "hmm, this might be too much..." because it probably is. ;)


Outside of effects, remember to use volume envelopes (changing volumes-per-recording over time). This will let you fade tracks in and out, as well as control the relative levels of each singer at any given time. If your mixing software doesn't have this, try to find one that does. Without this feature, you'll have an extremely hard time.
Basically, you need some way to change the volume of a vocalist throughout the song, to help you keep everything nice and balanced, as well as give you a way to fade singers in and out, allowing solos, specific combinations of singers, etc.



The biggest challenge I always had when doing these, and part of why I stopped doing them honestly, was because of the massive discrepancy between the sound of each vocalist. I don't mean the voices themselves but the recording styles:

Some singers had the mics close to their mouths; some had them further away. Many of them had some level of background noise that needed to be filtered out using noise reduction effects. Everyone has a different kind of microphone. Some mics, like headset mics, pick up a voice very closely and intimately. Others, like webcam mics, pick up the space that the voice is in and add distance to the vocalist's voice. Trying to mix the two is basically impossible. You just have to do what you can.
Stuff like that REALLY starts to become noticeable when you're doing the mixing.

My recommendation? If you can, try to get everyone to use their headset mics if they have them. They tend to work MUCH better than webcam mics or mics that pick up an entire space, rather than JUST a person's voice. If someone has an actual vocal mic, even better.

Understand that, because nobody is really using professional-quality equipment in a proper recording environment, you will be limited on how good your mixing can be. Just do your best. :)

bestariana1girl

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« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2015, 08:39:32 pm »
I would love to participate!

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Nimrod

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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2015, 01:39:27 am »
Just bought myself an external soundcard with several inputs for mics and other instruments. It was the first time i could really use audio monitoring and it really helps.

Cant wait to use it for the project here :D

The Anonymous Person

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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2015, 01:32:58 pm »
If I get involved in this project, I actually wouldn't mind doing some mixing. I've done several multi-tracks by myself already, so I don't think this would be too much of a problem.  :yes

Ducky123

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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2015, 04:11:37 pm »
Quote
Hey Ducky123,

I'd personally recommend doing the project in this order:

1) Create or determine the background music track
You basically have two choices here and it all comes down to what you want out of the song:

- Simply use the song from the movie. If you do this, remember that you won't be able to completely remove the original vocals so we'll basically end up singing on top of them.

- Write your own background music track from scratch. I often took this approach but it is significantly more time-consuming. This approach can involve either reproducing the original music by ear as accurately as possible or by writing a custom arrangement of the song. This can be done using completely free software (MuseScore is a free, modern MIDI sequencer with a sheet music view) if you're willing to write a MIDI file and export it to mp3, or you can get as professional as you want and produce something that sounds like a complete piece.

If you want more information on this approach, let me know, otherwise I'll shut up. dino_tongue.gif

2) Send the background music track to all of your singers.
It's vital that everyone sings along to the same background music track for two reasons:

- Tuning. Some versions of some songs, even from official sources, may be in a different key (the Songs from the LBT CD and the songs on the DVD from LBT 2-4 are notorious for this problem).

- Synchronization. You're going to want to make sure that everyone is singing a song that's the same tempo (speed) as the one you'll be using to put them all together. If they're not exactly the same tempo, you'll have a very bad time. dino_laugh.gif

3) When you get the singers to record, make sure they ONLY record the vocals! You don't want any background music in the vocal recordings
This one is straightforward but following it gives you much better results in the end. Otherwise you'll end up with the final song sounding like a mushy mess and you'll have no way to remove the additional instances of the background music. Get your singers to wear headphones while recording. They simply press PLAY on the background music, hit RECORD on their mic, sing along with the music and BAM! You have a recording that's in sync and on-key without any background music. smile.gif

Make sure that everyone sends you good-quality audio of their recordings. 96 kbps MP3 won't cut it. Get AT LEAST 192 kbps MP3. 320 kbps, or better, uncompressed .wav, is ideally what you want. Mono is fine since I doubt most people have a stereo mic setup. wink.gif

4) Mixing the vocals together is more of an art than a science
Supposedly Audacity is multi-track mixing software as well as recording software. I'd suggest looking into it. If you don't already have a favorite music production program, start there and Google around for "free audio mixing software" or something along those lines. There has to be something out there. smile.gif I personally used FL Studio (for most songs) and Sonar (for Things Change). Beyond the Mysterious Beyond, that I posted up a few posts, was written and mixed in FL Studio. FL Studio has come a LONG way and is a very good tool for everything related to this project as a whole, including writing the background music...but it's also $200 so it may not be an option. There is a free version but you can't load save files in the free version.

I don't really know what's out there for free multi-track mixing software. You'll have to browse around. If you want to get all pro and fancy, I'd recommend FL Studio, Sonar, Pro Tools or Cubase.

As for the mixing itself, subtle use of effects can vastly improve the results. Your best friends will be:

Reverb - An effect that places the source audio into a virtual space so it doesn't just sound like a recording of someone on a webcam mic.

Compression - An effect that controls the dynamics (volumes) of the track over time and lets you control pops and quiet parts, while helping you emphasize accents and attacks. Basically it makes loud parts quieter and quiet parts louder. This is fantastic when not dealing with professional singers because things like distance from the mic and voice control just aren't consistent.

Stereo Separation - An effect, when applied after the source vocal and a reverb effect, really livens up a sound and kills the "mono" sound that comes from just using a mono recording on its own.

Typically you'd probably want to chain the effects in this order:

Source vocal audio -> Compression -> Reverb -> Stereo Separation -> Equalizer if you want to use it.

Go ahead and play around though! My notes on effects are simply rough guidelines, not rules. smile.gif
It's important to note that these (and other) effects aren't simply "plug and play"; they have a large number of properties and settings that can be changed in order to get exactly the result you want. Reverb and stereo separation are fairly intuitive on their own, whereas compression really has a bit of a learning curve.

Oh, a tip? Don't go toooo crazy with the reverb. I know it's tempting because at first more will sound "better". Listen to that little voice in your head that's telling you "hmm, this might be too much..." because it probably is. wink.gif


Outside of effects, remember to use volume envelopes (changing volumes-per-recording over time). This will let you fade tracks in and out, as well as control the relative levels of each singer at any given time. If your mixing software doesn't have this, try to find one that does. Without this feature, you'll have an extremely hard time.
Basically, you need some way to change the volume of a vocalist throughout the song, to help you keep everything nice and balanced, as well as give you a way to fade singers in and out, allowing solos, specific combinations of singers, etc.



The biggest challenge I always had when doing these, and part of why I stopped doing them honestly, was because of the massive discrepancy between the sound of each vocalist. I don't mean the voices themselves but the recording styles:

Some singers had the mics close to their mouths; some had them further away. Many of them had some level of background noise that needed to be filtered out using noise reduction effects. Everyone has a different kind of microphone. Some mics, like headset mics, pick up a voice very closely and intimately. Others, like webcam mics, pick up the space that the voice is in and add distance to the vocalist's voice. Trying to mix the two is basically impossible. You just have to do what you can.
Stuff like that REALLY starts to become noticeable when you're doing the mixing.

My recommendation? If you can, try to get everyone to use their headset mics if they have them. They tend to work MUCH better than webcam mics or mics that pick up an entire space, rather than JUST a person's voice. If someone has an actual vocal mic, even better.

Understand that, because nobody is really using professional-quality equipment in a proper recording environment, you will be limited on how good your mixing can be. Just do your best. smile.gif

First of all, thanks for the detailed advice! I'm not sure if I can do this but I will try. Problem is I have absolutely no experience with such programs so it would probably take me a long while just to get used to working with them let alone figure out how to use them properly :lol
One thing I CAN do is writing MIDIs. I'd need a few tips and tricks here and there but I could do that I think. All the technical work with all our recordings will be tricky. I've read the thread of the very first project just previously and it was confusing at times :p

Quote
If I get involved in this project, I actually wouldn't mind doing some mixing. I've done several multi-tracks by myself already, so I don't think this would be too much of a problem. in-yes.gif
If you could do the mixing and stuff like that, that'd be awesome! If you know how to do this, it'll save me the time trying to learn how to do it and fail at it  :lol I only hope you have enough time to do this as (judging by what I've read about the first project) it does take quite some time... then again, I'd take care of the background music so not all work would be loaded on one person :p

Here's a first list of all GoF members who wanted to participate (more than I expected tbh :D):

-Malte279
-somerandomfangirl
-vonboy
-Nimrod
-DarkWolf91
-LBTDiclonius
-The Anonymous Person
-bestariana1girl
-Dosu2Dinner (he told me on Skype that he's interested in it)
-me

That's 10 people! Wow!  :blink:

I'll probably give people a few more days if they want to join (of course everyone can join at any point of the project or leave but obviously I can't add people to a song if it's close to being finished ;)) When I have some more time at the weekend, I'll see to it that we start picking a song and I'll try out some programs  :exactly

PS: I'll probably shoot a message at you again when I've downloaded a few programs and decided to go for one, Tim. I'm definitely gonna try writing the background music, using the song as a reference and trying to write it as accurate to the original as I can. So... basically what you did years ago :)
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