Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

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sailingmagpie
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by sailingmagpie »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 10:43 pm
sailingmagpie wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:08 pm
Caravan Ray wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:46 pm


One of these - a vocal shield
https://djcity.com.au/product/se-electr ... gKgl_D_BwE
Seems to improve things quite a bit
I was considering getting one of these a while ago but couldn't decide if it would be worth the money.

Does it make a big difference with background noise?
Yes. I think so. I am using a large diaphragm condenser - so I was picking up everything. A different mic - the improvement may be less. There is probably a lot about this stuff if you search the "Help and How To" part of the forum
I rarely use my condenser for just this reason. I'll check out the forum, thanks.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by noma »

sailingmagpie wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:08 pm
Caravan Ray wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:46 pm
j$ wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:02 pm
What is this bum thing of which you speak? I am curious ...

j$
One of these - a vocal shield
https://djcity.com.au/product/se-electr ... gKgl_D_BwE
Seems to improve things quite a bit
I was considering getting one of these a while ago but couldn't decide if it would be worth the money.

Does it make a big difference with background noise?
The main use of this thing is to filter out low breathing noises and especially the annoying "pop" sound that occurs whenever you speak a "p" into the mic, which is much harder to filter out post-recording. It does improve the quality of your vocal recordings, but it won't make all the background noise go away. Basically, if you don't want everything around to be picked up by the mic, don't use a condenser. A dynamic mic won't pick up anything but what is directly sung or played into it. Personally though, I prefer to use a large diaphragm condenser for recording, it has a warmer, fuller sound IMO.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by crumpart »

noma wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 2:22 am
sailingmagpie wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:08 pm
Caravan Ray wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:46 pm


One of these - a vocal shield
https://djcity.com.au/product/se-electr ... gKgl_D_BwE
Seems to improve things quite a bit
I was considering getting one of these a while ago but couldn't decide if it would be worth the money.

Does it make a big difference with background noise?
The main use of this thing is to filter out low breathing noises and especially the annoying "pop" sound that occurs whenever you speak a "p" into the mic, which is much harder to filter out post-recording. It does improve the quality of your vocal recordings, but it won't make all the background noise go away. Basically, if you don't want everything around to be picked up by the mic, don't use a condenser. A dynamic mic won't pick up anything but what is directly sung or played into it. Personally though, I prefer to use a large diaphragm condenser for recording, it has a warmer, fuller sound IMO.
Not entirely correct. A pop filter in front of the mic stops the Ps and plosives. The mic shield helps stop unwanted reflections bouncing back from your walls and into the mic. Most useful if you have an absolutely garbage sounding room like me. I look forward to the day I own my own house and can actually treat the room properly, until then, it’s the pop shield (or sometimes a cushion strapped to an easel behind the mic...)
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by noma »

crumpart wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 2:52 am
noma wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 2:22 am
sailingmagpie wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:08 pm


I was considering getting one of these a while ago but couldn't decide if it would be worth the money.

Does it make a big difference with background noise?
The main use of this thing is to filter out low breathing noises and especially the annoying "pop" sound that occurs whenever you speak a "p" into the mic, which is much harder to filter out post-recording. It does improve the quality of your vocal recordings, but it won't make all the background noise go away. Basically, if you don't want everything around to be picked up by the mic, don't use a condenser. A dynamic mic won't pick up anything but what i directly sung or played into it. Personally though, I prefer to use a large diaphragm condenser for recording, it has a warmer, fuller sound IMO.
Not entirely correct. A pop filter in front of the mic stops the Ps and plosives. The mic shield helps stop unwanted reflections bouncing back from your walls and into the mic. Most useful if you have an absolutely garbage sounding room like me. I look forward to the day I own my own house and can actually treat the room properly, until then, it’s the pop shield (or sometimes a cushion strapped to an easel behind the mic...)
Ahhh yes, I confused one with the other. Should have had a look at that link before, I just assumed you guys were talking about a pop filter.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by vowlvom »

I wasn't planning to write reviews this Nur Ein but I'm hungover and have nothing better to do today so here you go!

Moss Palace - good song, good vocal performance, but I thought the production was unusually limp for a Moss Palace song - when the muted guitars switch into the bigger chords it feels like the energy drops rather than taking the step up that it needs. Slide solo is fun, overall a worthy round winner but I'd love to hear a mix that explodes into the chorus more effectively. Didn't feel like this one did anything interesting with the challenge, but I know we've already had discussions about how this particular challenge could be interpreted a bunch of different ways.

Heid - disappointed not to see more new faces this year, but pleased that the one new entrant submitted something so good and did so well! This is a really good song, performed really well - I like your voice a lot and you get a lot of interesting dynamics from the extra layers. Definitely uses the repetition effectively too - one of my favourites.

Max Bombast - I always have a hard job knowing what to say about your songs, you're great at what you do but you tend to very much stay in your lane and it isn't really my thing, so I've probably run out of ways to phrase my biases. The guitar / bass interplay is really smart and this makes the repetition really feel like an integral part of the song.

Grumpy Mike - some interesting stuff going on in the production here, I like the plucked strings / synth bass, and the fuzzy chords on the chorus feel like they have no initial strum, like they emerge out of nowhere which is kinda cool. Is that how Americans pronounce "entrepreneur"? It sounds so deeply weird to me - also the weirdly off-beat "piece" repetition feels really awkward. Otherwise this is really solid, not one of my favourite GM songs but the interesting arrangement carries it a long way.

Ever Kenievel - really enjoyed this one, definitely one of my favourites and would possibly have been my #1 if I was judging. Really catchy synthpop, the repeated "you're only" kinda ends up sounding like "ronely" most of the time but it's such an earworm that I don't think that qualifies as a negative. Leaning into 80s synthpop vibes is an easy way to get me on board but you're also doing it really well.

see-man-ski - I really like the "skimming semiprecious stones" concept, smart take on the title. Good use of the repetition, and production is rock solid. I always struggle with your songs when you lean into the yarling vocal style though, it's not one of my favourite vocal styles at the best of times and when it's coming from a Brit the effect is doubled.

Budget Bears - I'll admit it, sometimes I see a challenge and my brain immediately tries to find the most annoying way to execute it and then I can't resist following through with it. Hence the approx one million repetitions of "semi". When submitting as Budget Bears I am trying to be a bit more raw and fuzzy, I feel like the end result here was still a bit "soft" but I got closer to my intentions for Round 1, I think. Being earlier in the alphabet is also a bonus.

Crown Shy - I know the mix on this is last-minute / no time to check, but for the most part I like it a lot, when you do revisit this one I hope you don't clean it up TOO much. The only thing that doesn't really work for me is the odd clicking sound that comes in on the second verse, not sure if it's part of the bass sound maybe, or the drums hitting differently with the different arrangement but it sounds Odd. Otherwise, this is a really great, very sad song. I love the choruses where the synth and fuzz guitar come in together.

Brown Word and the Big Whine - love the off-beat bounce to this one, every time it goes back to that rhythm it makes me smile. One of the catchiest Brown Word songs I've heard, really fun. I'm not crazy about the bridge section that just lists semiprecious stones, feels a little uninspired to me and the weakest part of the song, but the short solo back into the chorus works really well after that so maybe it pays off? Otherwise my only critique really is that the backing vocals feel a little busy / messy, doubling them and panning them wide would maybe have helped?

Balance Lost - that wobbly synth riff over the trademark chiming guitars sets a great mood. I like the take on the title too. On each listen I've found the phrasing and rhythm of the chorus lyrics really awkward, I think the way you rush through the words is intentional but it doesn't entirely work for me, especially the odd emphasis on "interested". But that said, this chorus was stuck in my head more than any of the others (even Ever Kenievel) so maybe that odd rhythm is getting under my skin?

Mandibles - a few things I particularly like about this one, the guitar riff between sections is really nice, and the use of distortion on the guitars, drums and vocals is really nicely done. The full song doesn't really do it for me though, the lyrics feel a little clunky to me and the mix of the two vocals feels off somehow, at least until the end when distortion comes to the rescue, all hail the fuzz!

Governing Dynamics - love the intro and verses, so dreamy and pretty and the guitar tone is lovely. I just cannot stand the chorus though, totally loses me - everything gets messy rhythmically and the main "semiprecious" hook feels dated, like something pulled out of a far less interesting genre.

Cavedwellers - the drony rock & roll vibe here is not something I've ever been a fan of, but you do do it well and the mix is really nice; acoustic and electric guitars sound really nice together. I like the switch-up and change of vocalist in the bridge, but not a big fan of this solo, just feels like it's filling space to me.

Hot Pink Halo - loving the atmospheric sound you've been developing. Guitars sound great and the layered vocals work really well. There are lines in the chorus that don't quite work for me in terms of rhythm / scan, I think mostly just because "lapis lazuli" is a bit like a mini-tongue-twister. But I liked this a lot.

WreckdoM - bass sounds great on this. One of the better WreckdoM songs I've heard, still pretty far out of my musical comfort zone but it's very effective.

The Lowest Bitter - that main synth riff is so insistent and I love how it warps into distortion. I feel like this is maybe lacking the killer hook to take it up to top-tier Lowest Bitter, but there's a ton of fun stuff going on in the arrangement and I really like how the darkness in the lyric is revealed on repeat listens but doesn't detract from this being a synth banger.

Nick Soma - extremely moody. My favourite part of this is the way the backing vocals emphasise the chord change on "semi", the twangy guitars in the bridge are fun too. Otherwise this is solid but doesn't really stick with me - the lyrics are pretty uninteresting to me, very "here is a list of things that fit the title", and in a slow song with plenty of room to concentrate on what you're singing about, that hurts the song I think.

Boffo Yux Dudes - this really reminds me of Belle & Sebastian, particularly the songs Stevie sings (e.g. Jonathan David). I really like the use of the backing vocals to fulfil the challenge, and it's a different take on the title - I really liked this one. Some of the vocals are a little shaky in terms of tuning but I think this is the right kind of song to get away with some of that wobbliness.

Virgo Power - your voice sounds great on this and I think the song as a whole is strong, but on repeat listens I started to wish there was a little more going on in the arrangement. If you're going 100% omni then maybe something like a second track with some delay on it coming in as the song progresses would be cool? But I liked this one.

Berkeley Social Scene - fun arrangement, I like the main guitar sound (and riff) a lot and the sparkly keyboard accents and fuzz layers are really nice. The vocal melody feels a little uninspired to me though and multiple guitar solos is always going to test my patience - the harmonised guitar riff towards the end is nice though.

Frankie and the Mountweasels - a full minute of intro is a bold choice. I like the synth arrangement though so I think you get away with it. The speak-sung vocals are kinda fun (reminds me a little of Ian Dury) and the German line makes me smile, but I found this one didn't hold up too well to repeat listens. Kudos for possibly repeating Semi more times than I did though.

Third Cat - another vote for "glad to see you back, Third Cat"! This is smoothly, atmospherically arranged and the chorus is catchy, I'm surprised it didn't rank higher. The use of feedback delay is a clever (and fun) take on the challenge too.

Lucky Spoon - some well done parts here, the harmonies are on point and the barber-shop bit is really impressive. But... I mean, it's just so annoying. And I know it's viewed somewhat differently in the US for whatever but yeah I'm never going to be on board with the word "spazzing" in a song.

Wombat! - absolutely would have ranked last for me, sorry. Aside from not having any lyrics or meeting the title in any real way, it's also very boring. But I'm curious to see what you do now that you've made it to Round 1.

The Serviettes - I really like your take on the title, the lyrics are (bitter)sweet and feel personal and unique. The arrangement puts a lot of focus on your vocals and they're a little shaky in places, I really love the way the chorus resolves back into those soft piano chords after the broken-up prechorus though. I think this is a song with a lot of potential and I'm not sure why the judges were so down on it.

Lichen Throat - I don't think this is your best work, the lyrics are lacking that sharpness you often find in approaching your subject matter and the vocal delivery has a lot of timing issues, made worse by the fast pace of the song - it feels like you're always struggling to keep up. The arrangement is solid, and you wrote a song that addresses the title and the challenge so I don't think you deserved to rank last. But I've heard many LT songs that I enjoyed more than this one.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by Lucky Spoon »



Thank you for all the begrudging acknowledgements of things that were well done in my song even though it didn't seem to ring well with personal bias. I actually do appreciate knowing my recording and mixing skills are improving, at least.


I do apologize for the use of the slur. I grew up in an era where that word was fairly common on SNL skits or just meaning what we did when we ate a bunch of candy. I honestly didn't know it was a slur until I looked it up based on the responses. Please pardon my ignorance.



"Binkies" is actually a common term for rabbits:
A rabbit will binky when it feels really happy or excited. Binkying looks like a large jump in the air while the rabbit slightly twists its body and head at the same time. A binky can also look like a sharp flick of its head accompanied by a small ear wiggle. A rabbit that feels safe and secure in its home is more likely to binky around.
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by Rabid Garfunkel »

JonPorobil wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 10:25 pm
Wombat! ... Honestly, I just felt like this was all box and no present. Three of us had this song in dead last, so I was surprised to see you survive to round 1. I've heard you flex your creative musical muscle before, and I look forward to hearing it again. Now BRING IT.
Ha! "all box and no present", that's damned-near quotable :-D Dig it!

so many issues in starting recording again (after, what, 6 years?); a system version update bricked my admittedly old (legal) installs of Logic Pro *and* Reason. which are kinda pricey, damnit, but the software versions that I knew. so leaned in on GarageBand which is *just* different enough that I'm a clueless geezer now in getting the software to do what I want it to do.

hey, not as surprised as I was :lol:
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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by Cybronica »

JonPorobil wrote:
Thu May 20, 2021 10:25 pm

Mandibles - Ohh, look at Mr. Big Shot here, who can get a house all the way to half full! I don't think I heard where the challenge was met... I hear a couple of things that might have been intended as the challenge, but they're all a bit weak, in my opinion. Anyway, I'll just have to give you the benefit of the doubt. I really like the guitar work in this song, but the songwriter-focused lyrics are kind of a turn-off for me, and they're pretty mean-spirited, too. I suppose that's not a flaw (no pun intended) in and of itself, but it begs the question: who's the narrator of this song, so be so mean to the "you" here? Is this one of those songs where the "you" is actually yourself, and you're just beating yourself up for not being special? Or are you taking the place of someone else in this person's life criticising them for being too "precious" about their music? I also think the running time is too long for what the song is doing. I'd have considered cutting one of the pre-choruses that doesn't lead into a chorus, and possibly an entire verse. Get to the guitar parts and that huge ending a little bit quicker!
Since this is relevant to our upcoming song, I want to clarify what our round 0 song was about- the narrator is the musician. I dunno about you, but the mean voice inside my head always speaks in the second person. So the narrator is berating themselves for not being good enough.

Also, since y'all asked for it, we did a radio edit! It shaves a good minute and a half off the song, getting rid of all that pesky gradual repetition. Crumpart hit it right on the nose - our repetition was in the form, specifically how many times we sang the chorus (0,1,2,4). There was some lyrical repetition too, but the chorus was the main one. Anyway, enjoy the short version!

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Re: Nur Ein XVI: Round Zero "Semiprecious"

Post by j$ »

So my 'real' review for Grumpy Mike: I have to say I don't like it very much. It starts of as a demo for Britney / Mariah Carey / Miley Cyrus in their sexy adult phase, and that's fine, but you can't help bringing in the 90s rock and I am losing interest. As others have said, it's old school Grumpy Mike (but then again New School grumpy Mike goes to the same place most of the time. Your school is not evolving). There's some nice phrasing and whatnot but honestly my original review was more honest/ funnier IMO, though I appreciate it seemed like I was snubbing you but that was not my intention. You produced a couple of great songs during Nur Ein, which is more than I achieved in the same period. Don't worry about it, I.A.A.C!

j$
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