Song – O Lord, How Majestic

OK, here’s another song which I have recorded as part of my quest to improve my recording and mixing technique. This was one I started a few years back as part of a collection of songs that people in my church (which was then West Street Baptist Church in Dunstable) had written. I never got round to finishing them because I had planned to get some other people to do the vocals but I moved to Southampton before I got the chance.

[audio:o-lord-how-majestic.mp3]

This one was written by Katrina Peacham probably some time in the 1980s, and is based on Psalm 8. The melody is simple but effective. Its perhaps a bit dated now, but I still like it.

Lyrics

O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth
O Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth
You have set your glory high above the heavens
From the lips of little children
You’ve established praise
When I see the heavens, the wonders you have made
How majestic is your name,
How majestic is your name
How majestic is your name in all the earth

Recording

I started with the original I made a few years back, and stuck with the arrangement I had decided on back then. I completely re-recorded all the parts, as they were either out of tune or had mistakes.

– The rhythm guitar effect was from my Behringer V-Amp which did a good job of recreating the original Boss ME-8 patch I had used.
– The guitar solo was recorded completely clean, and I used the excellent Free Amp SE VST plugin for the distortion.
– The piano part was from the Yamaha P200, and I tried to follow the advice people gave me from “Holy Spirit Will You Be” not to put too many bass notes in.
Vocals were of course me (sorry), and I realised a little too late that it would have been good for me to raise the pitch of the song by a tone to suit my vocal range better. Effects were my new Kjaerhus GUP-1 compressor plus the free Anwida reverb. The vocals at the end used a band pass filter (courtesy of Kjaerhus Classic Filter) plus a delay with automated mix level.
– As usual, the drums took up far too much time. Again I used the Natural Studio kit lite through sfz. This time I decided I would bounce each part down to a separate audio track before applying effects to each one separately. Big mistake – it was a painfully slow process. I now know why people shell out the extra money to get drum samplers with multiple outs. Once they were finally out, I used GUP-1 compression and a Cakewalk room reverb. I was able to set the compression for each drum separately, but I still struggled to get the kick drum to cut through the mix the way I wanted it to. Percussion (tambourine and bongoes) were provided by hypersonic. I did record my own tambourine but the hypersonic tambourine’s jangle was at a much higher frequency which sat better in the mix. You will notice that it is more or less the same drum loop throughout the song. I had used some drum-loop WAVs when I first put the song together but they were never going to be used for the final thing as each variation seemed to have a subtly different snare, and also I couldn’t find a single-hit crash that matched for the transition to a slower tempo at the end. However, recreating the loop in MIDI took so long that I decided I wasn’t going to program any pattern variations for different parts of the song.
Synth sounds were provided by Hypersonic, and the arpegiated synth for the third verse is an example of how the tempo-syncing just works with soft-synths in a way that was far too much hassle with hardware synths (maybe I’m just lazy though).
Bass guitar was my Yamaha plus GUP-1 compression
Final Mixdown: Reverbs were done on the 2 aux busses in SONAR rather than per-track, which was a first for me. Kjaerhus Classic Master-Limiter added the finishing touches.

I thought that this was going to be a fairly quick track to do, but it ended up taking slightly longer than the last one. Still, I feel I have learned a lot, and am slowly edging closer to being able to make mixes that I am actually happy with.

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