This is my cover of a single released in 1974 by Steely Dan and the opening track of their third album Pretzel Logic. It was the most successful single of the group’s career, peaking at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1974.

The guitar solo on the original is by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter who would soon go on to join The Doobie Brothers.

Donald Fagen revealed that the “Rikki” in question was simply a woman he’d had a crush on in college [writer Rikki Ducornet].

This version performed, recorded and produced at Baselines Designs Studio by Steve Keith.

This song, ‘Shine, Shine’ was written back a few years ago and refined several times. I played all the instruments and programmed the ones I don’t know how to play (horns). I always was proud of the way this song came out. This will be the first cut on my new instrumental album.

Here’s a video that goes with this song.

This is from the Private Lightning album released in the early 80s. I play bass on this. The picture is three band members on top of the volcano on the island of Montserrat where we recorded.

This is my cover of a great Paul Simon song from his 1986 album Graceland. It was the fifth single released. I was completely surprised that I didn’t know (until now) that it was Linda Ronstadt singing the female harmony. On my version, @kiwichrys from Bandlab does the honors.

Here’s a jazzy metal song, a collab between Plop @backontrack, Steve @steve2k2 and @the_m_project. Plop and @the_m_project shared in the song parts and in solos but he built the melody and @the_m_project mirrored it while I played bass and mastered the mix.

This is a trick I use often and I thought you might find useful.

The Sonitus Compressor that comes free with Cakewalk is the most clear  picture of what each of the compressor parameters do in my opinion.

Here you see a spike in a clip.  I put the compressor on this and set the attack time at zero so it gets activated right away.  I set the release to 1ms because I want it to stop acting really quickly.  I just want to blunt the peak.

The two gauges on the left (input) show you the signal level.  Here in this snapshot you can see I just passed the peak when I took this snap shot, but it was captured as two green lines where the peak was.  I set the little pull down button just below the peaks (here about -10 db).  I set the Ratio at 3:1 and the knee to hard, which you can see on the nice graph.  I set the limiter on as well.

Now, the peak will be reduced.  You may need to adjust the Attack time and the Release time depending on the peak you want to cut.

I’ve used the Sonitus Compressor for over 30 years and it never fails me.

For this version of the Gloria Estefan song, Madame Z adds her vocal. Check out her new album release, produced by Baselines Designs https://baselines.com/?p=5629 – All of the music and other vocals are done by Steve Schreiber, except the marimba, which I added. Bandlab is wonderful!

There were a series of distinct pops in this vocal track. The first screenshot shows them and the second screenshot shows the fix. They are the 5 bars that go up the whole frequency spectrum about a quarter of the way over from the left.

I did this really quickly and it sounds acceptable. If I spent a lot of time I could probably get it perfect.

It was as easy as highlighting sections of the noise bars and cutting them out of the track. Then highlighting what remained and hitting delete. The delete function brings those sounds down without fully erasing them. I hit delete a few times and it mostly fixed the issue.

Sometimes a track will sound great with a few exceptions, where the player hit a note a little too strongly. Here’s a good way I’ve found to make these spikes better without having to record again.

This is not a radical example here – the spike shown is probably mostly under control, but I’m using it just to demonstrate that sometimes your eyes are almost as good as your ears.

Here is a bass note recorded into Cakewalk by Bandlab. You can see a small spike near the beginning of the note, particularly on the bottom side..

Looking at the rest of my track, this only happens in a few instances. In order not to affect most of the track, I cut so that I am only processing this one note.

In Cakewalk, I really like the simplicity and the quality of their free Sonitus plugins. You can right click on the little cut track of the note and then insert an effect only on to this clip. I’m going to put the Sonitus compressor on it.

Here’s how the plugin looks. I’ve already set some of the parameters, which I will detail below. There’s a small square in the right hand top corner where you can get to the plugin you loaded on the clip.

I’m just trying to get rid of the spike above where my cursor is. I set the attack to zero because I want the compressor to act right away. I set the release to 1ms because I only want the compressor to work for a short period of time, so that the rest of the note is not affected.

I played the note to get an idea on how loud the input is.. You can see on the bars on the left what the level is. I slide the threshold control (on the colored volume bars) down just a little to -3.3. I set a pretty hard ratio of 5.0:1 with a hard knee. There is a limiter button also, which I usually keep on.

All of these values are trial and error. Once you get something that will work, you can apply it to the note segment (select the segment, right click and bounce to clip), and the waveform you see will change. I did this here, and this is what the wave segment now looks like.

You can see that the spike is somewhat reduced. If you find that things are flattened out to much, like in the image below, you can always edit->undo in Cakewalk and get back your original waveform.

It’s a little bit of trial and error, but at least you have a visual indication of what you are working with.

This can also be done for a whole track if you need to, but it is always a good idea to try to not affect anything other than what you need to fix.

Here’s a before and after side by side.

@thelonewulfproject and @chry-me-a-river on vocals. I play the instruments. If the video does not show, there’s a local link to it below.

http://www.baselines.com/wp-content/uploads/all-songs/movies/hcts conv.mp4 [Download]

Here’s a new release by the band Without Focus. Written by Dave (@eipi) at Bandlab, with Robert Foy on keys and Mike (@Smokeytoobs) on Bandlab on Electric Guitar. Dave plays acoustic and does the vocals. I did bass and drums and produced the song.

A song about a TV Show from a few years back that I binge watched. The great @darrengarrett on vocals. He sings along with the Morgan Tabernacle Choir at the end of the song.

Waking up this morning and I’m lacing up my shoes.
Gonna take the boat on a midnight cruise.
Gotta get supplies, set it up like I should.
I got a feeling Angel, there’s gonna be blood.

Rita’s got the baby and she’s packing up the kids.
Gonna take a breather down in south Madrid.
Dad is riding shotgun and he’s going through the code.
Me, I’ve got my needle, and my eyes are on the road.

Rudy’s got a problem, he’s been taking folks apart.
Now he’s got my sister and he’s going to break her heart.
He’s been incognito, he’s been doing it so well.
But now he’s on my table and I’m sending him to Hell.

A new song by Without Focus. That’s @eipi who wrote, sings and plays acoustic guitar, @smokytubes on electric guitars, @rabbitwithmachinegun on keys and myself on bass and drums. I handled production chores on this one as well.