I’ll start with the sort of technical stuff I’m doing. Back in the day, when I first started recording, I used a computer program called Sonic Foundry Acid 3.0 to put my music together. I started using it in 2001, maybe 2002, when it was relatively new. And that’s what I used for years, up until 2010 when I switched to Cockos’ Reaper, which is what I continue to mostly use. So everything I recorded before 2010 was using Acid. (Note: I realize every time I refer to myself as “using Acid” is funny.) At this point, Acid 3.0 was over 10 years old. It was designed to be used within Windows XP and earlier. We’re well past those days. Needless to say, it doesn’t run well in Windows 7. It crashes. It’s slow. There’s some bugginess with it that I’ll explain further down this page. In short, it would be a nightmare to do this remastering project completely within Acid. So…
What I’ve been doing is recreating these Acid projects in Reaper. And I basically hate doing it! Let me explain. A lot of the Acid plugins responsible for various effects and EQ settings don’t work now for whatever reason, so I have to listen to the previous semi-official versions of the songs to figure out how everything is supposed to sound and recreate those effects using other plugins. For example, a lot of these songs feature lots of effects such as reverb, delay, and distortion effects. Since I’m trying to replicate everything as much as possible, it’s very tedious to listen to the old version of the song, tweak this new version, rinse, and repeat. I don’t know how to explain it much better than that. Maybe you, dear reader, have experience in what I’m doing. If so, I’m sure you share my pain. Ugh. And then there are parts in the original versions that I tried to do a certain something, it didn’t quite work, but I left it in there anyway. In cases like that, I have to figure out how to do what I was trying to do all those years ago. That’s actually kind of fun, perfecting lots of little things in these older songs, but it still takes time and is a little frustrating.
When I used Acid, I wasn’t worried about, well, much of anything. But I have to blame it on my lack of knowledge more than me not trying hard enough or whatever. Like, in these old Acid versions of Boobs, Butts, and Feets, you might be able to hear a lot of pops and volume inconsistencies in the music if you listened hard enough. 2007-2008 me probably didn’t notice, and he definitely didn’t care. But 2015 me knows better, so I’m making sure to fix all these little things. If memory serves me correctly, I learned about some of these tricks in 2010 when the Rock Band Network started. For me at least, half of the battle of making Rock Band songs was learning Reaper and getting the music to sound good in the game. The actual charting of the notes and such didn’t have as much of a learning curve. Anyway, fixing all the mistakes I made 8 years ago is a big chore.
Once I get all the tracks moved over to Reaper for a song, it’s mostly smooth sailing. (Maybe next week I’ll go over what it takes to get the tracks transferred over.) There’s still a ton of EQ work to do, but that’s not too terrible. Again, recreating all the weird effects takes a lot of time and patience. And going along with that, I’m constantly having to compromise the sound, but not in a bad way. Like, you have the 2008 version of these songs, which sound pretty crappy, but I’ve listened to them a million times and that’s how I want them to sound to some degree. And then you have the 2015 versions, which sound TOO good. Everything is super clean and crisp sounding. As a side note, I’ve decided that’s part of what I didn’t like about how Heat Stroke and even the Punk Rebel Renegade remaster sound. There’s relatively little distortion and reverb, and that makes it sound slightly cheap maybe. Either way, I’m making them sound better than they used to, but not as “good” as they could be.
There’s a song called “Balls” that is a good example of what I’m talking about here. The OG mix of it sounded pretty bad…here, have a sample of it:
Do you hear how blown out and gross everything is? Yeah. Pretty much every song on Boobs, Butts, and Feets is like that. Well, they were. When you hear it, it will sound good. After I’m done mixing it and after it’s done being mastered, it’ll sound awesome.
Come back next week for more tidbits and tadbits about the trials and tribulations I’m having with getting Boobs, Butts, and Feets into everyone’s ears…finally.