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Discussion in 'The Tone Zone' started by blues_n_cues, Jan 1, 2015.
since we don't have a sub forum for it.
post 'em up.
A sub forum for this topic would be great. Or put this as a Sticky.
I don't have many tips to give as I'm a total novice. Haha
I think unrelated to knob twisting but that I am finding [finally] the importance of.. is patience. Up until recently I'd write a song, arrange it.. change things. Then I'd go in and quickly lay it down to "tape."
I'd do bass to a click (I am weak at bass) and if there was something not quite right I'd say, "F" it after a couple of attempts to nail it. Same with guitar parts, synth or solos.
When I'd listen later I'd be like, hot damn, you are one lazy mother-fookahlicious dude. They (errors) stand out no matter how small and the going back later never seems to materialize.
Now if it takes me 666 takes I will try and make that devil do what I say. At the end of the day something might still squeak by due to me playing to a click and not the actual drums. Maybe clicks work for you, not for me though. I like the actual drum parts. My boy (bassist) told me he's done it and there is a lot of wiggle room still for timing errors using a click.
The other part of patience I am still working on is: I try to get the best sound per instrument that I can squeeze out right now. Get the best you can. I record dry and then mess with effects later.
I would initially say "F" it, I will go back in later and redo with better guitar tone, bass tone.. etc. and I really fugged a song up this way when a singer I don't have a lot of access to did a killer sexy job on a song I was like, let me hurry thru this so she can do her thing. She was awesome, me, not so much. LoL. I guess to sum up:
Take your time, get the best sound and performance you can get right now. It'll give you a solid foundation to build on.
I can relate. the way I usually do bass is to lay it down then after I do the drum parts go back & redo the bass to fit w/ fills/rolls/accents etc.
my main problem right now is I have too many projects going @ once & a few things are bleeding over from project to project making them too similar.
Recent (personal) experience showed me that the most versatile combo in mic/preamp is a Sennheiser MD441 and API 512.
With a SM57 it will be cheaper, and its still a good mic, but the 441 is flatter, and can almost touch condenser territory. Great mic and pre amp.
I'd love to have a dedicated "Recording" subforum. It's been asked for before and hailed by many to be a great idea.
But deleting old threads seems to be a priority.
What is everyone's general recording process? Such as what do you record first?
I've heard many MANY times that drums and bass are always laid first. I've had a hard time actually putting a song together from some of the riffs I've come up with. No idea how to proceed without a drummer/bass player and/or instruments to cover these.
Great thread I second the notion for a sticky! Glad to be a part of it too, cuz I'm really getting serious about recording now. The cool thing is, everyone here is cool and not (for the most part) cork sniffers and all that.
I've been recording for years now and I've finally got a good foundation I believe as far as knowledge/experience.
I am right on the verge of getting one really good preamp. I will probably never record more than two tracks at once, so a single or dual channel pre would be just fine.
Right now, I'm eyeballing the FMR RNP, Golden Age 73, or the Warm Audio WA 12. I know the Great River ME 1NV is awesome, but I'm not sure if I am or ever will be, in THAT league
Stuck (at least if I did it right...it's my first sticky)
I used to record with a Presonus Inspire 1394. Easy to use, and it sounded great.
With the new computer...the interface would work, but the software wouldn't...so I figured it was time for a new interface anyway.
I got the Steinberg UR22. Spec wise...the preamps are way more sensitive and have a wider dynamic range. But when you record at the same levels...keeping everything out of the red...it sounds much quieter and nowhere near as full. Nice and crisp, but not as much balls. Anyone know why, and what I can do about that?
I used to always start with a complete drum track back in the days of analog recording (four tracks and eight tracks in my case), then lay down the rhythm tracks (all the way through in one pass), bass (again one pass from start to finish), then leads and 'noodley bits' last.
With DAWs, I no longer have those limitations. I'll often do songs in 'blocks,' where I'll get all the parts done for the intro, then move on to the next section, and so on.
As far as timing discrepancies, most of the major DAWs have the capability to correct timing issues by moving the waveforms around. This is a more advanced function than the basic "arm track, set levels, hit record" approach, but it becomes second nature once you get used to it, and it makes for a much more solid foundation to build on.
Equalization: The High Pass filter is your best friend. Learn how to use it, and you'll eliminate most of the mud in your mix, the bass and kick drum will punch through cleanly, and you'll have much fewer problems with overall headroom.
The rule of analog (where I started years ago) was to run everything as hot as possible to keep the S/N level as strong as possible, but digital doesn't have this problem.
It is actually better to run your tracks on the cold side (I use gain plugins on every track that are set initially to -6dB, which allows me to keep the actual track faders all at zero-this make volume automations much easier to deal with).
The lower track levels will make sure you don't have any headroom issues as your project grows, but the lower overall volume will appear to have less balls. To get those balls back, use a gain plugin on your output bus to kick the levels back up at the very end of the chain. That way you're not piling too much gain up over the course of your project, which can be a grade-A bee-otch to deal with if something starts clipping in the middle of the chain.
Thanks. I tried one of those but it seemed to distort things when it boosted. It as called "volume eleven". What do you use?
I just use the stock gain plugin that came with my DAW (Logic).
If you're having clipping issues on the two bus with the gain plugin, try just kicking up the volume level of your actual monitors.
I generally mix everything to where my output bus level is still well below zero dB, and then bring it up to just below zero with the final gain plugin. My mixes come out slightly quieter than most newer commercial CDs, but that's because most modern music is brickwall limited at the mastering stage to compete in the stupid volume wars (at the cost of dynamic range). My older CDs (mastered in the eighties) are at about the same volume level as the stuff I'm doing myself.
I do this using the master limiter plugin on Mixcraft. I remember somebody here giving me the advice of recording and mixing things on the quiet side and then raising the levels with a limiter. It may have been you. It works wonders for having a consistent volume on every song.
My big thing is coming up with what I think is a good mix, but then when you listen to it on a different sound system it sounds nothing like it did when you mixed it. I had that problem the last time I tried recording. Everything sounded good through the monitors I was using, but then when I finalized everything and listened to it on a CD in my car all the bass was gone. Pretty frustrating.
I use a MOTU 8 pre for my interface, its pretty cool and easy to use. One of the first things I learned about mixing was that although it is a good idea to not wake the rest of the house while doin late night recordings,trying to mix in headphones doesn't work for me, the bass signals always sound great in the phones but are not as fat in the mix when put through most other playback systems without a sub. And I gotta have the low end. Mixing/levels is an art form that I am not sure I will ever be consistant at,, frustrating at times but for the most I learn something new every time.
I was having the same issues with mixes as well, I had my subwoofer turned up just a little too much, so it was giving me a false representation of what was actually going on. I now have everything dialed in pretty well so that it sounds good through headphones, the monitors and sub, my laptops internal speakers, in my car, and through my phone with earbuds. A bit more acoustic treatment in the cave is still needed, but I'm used to the room now so I know how to work with it.
I would use a drum machine, then guitar, bass, vocals, then fill in leads
I use the same approach with a DAW, try to get it all in one take, unless there are clear break areas. Im using drum loops now
I am suffering from ADD at the moment as far as getting anything completed. The first few songs I ever did just came together and I was driven to get them done...nowdays I just hate it all and cant seem to finish anything
at the moment I use acid as a sequencer....lay a solid steady drum track. Import to pro tools....put guitar on it.
Well, thats what I just started doing...haven't completed anything yet
my goal is to send the guitar n maybe vocals back to acid, and revamp the drums to add fills. Then its hopefully dropping the new drums back in PT and it all syncs......????
I dont think I have enough CPU to run a drum plug in in pro tools...and I surely dont have the patience to learn one
Im really hoping to finish something soon...I have friends that just heard my old stuff and want a CD now....I need to get a few new songs done. I just cant seem to find the drive to get to it
I think this sticky is a good idea
I was just about to come ask some questions and this is the perfect place
Im interested in buying some plug ins,
easy to use drums and a great sounding guitar amp plug in
micing my amps is annoying
I can recommend Scuffham S-Gear all day long. Great, great amp sims, and not expensive at all. The only drum software I have experience with is BFD2 and BFD3, and the learning curve is a f***ing cow. It took me forever to get comfortable working with it. I've heard good things about EZ Drummer, though.
Great idea for a sticky if not a sub forum.. great to read what's here already.
If I've got a band ready to record (as in they / we already know how to play the tune) - then I really like to record drums bass guitar and guide vocals all live - with or without click track depending if it's necessary... Editing is much easier with a click track!
I have set up click tracks in the past that have speeded up and slowed down by 1 or 2bpm for verses / choruses as the song went through so that the live band could play the song to the click exactly the same way they do it live. Tricky - but it makes editing easier later.
If I'm using recording as an aid to composition then I'll lay down first whatever comes to me first!! If it was a guitar riff, or a bass groove or even a melody I'll stick that down and then see what happens when I pick up a different instrument.
I agree with Barfly in post 3 that it's a good idea to get the idea down as well as you possibly can at that moment. If you know you could have got the timing better - redo it. If you know the tone could have been better - redo it! Once you start building on something with crappy timing it can mess up the whole feel of the tune when you replace it.
my interface (M-Audio c400) has a pretty loud output as-is. it can distort the speakers in my AKG K240 phones.
if it's not loud enough you can get a headphone amp. your headphone may be the issue too.
I do everything @ -6 to -9 and keep the Master @ -3 to -6 so there's plenty of headroom for Mastering.
depending on what software you use for CD burning some have track levelling so it doesn't matter what each individual song ends up @ volume wise.
writing & recording-
I do a bass drum or bass drum & loose high hat click track depending on the song.
keys if any
guitar parts first with leads or @ least a scratch lead.
after that is bass then drums last & go back & fit certain bass parts to the drum fills better.
then comes vocals (when possible)
finally last,polish up the guitar leads & harmonies and maybe add some keys/string beds depending on the song.