The recording process - how do you go about it?

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  • HaychHaych Frets: 534
    andy_k said:
    sounds good to me, nothing wrong there, just to say, when we mix-we will tend to be highlighting frequencies that are lacking in our monitors / headphones. I'm listening through a Laptop, so what I hear might not be what you intend-which is why I use soundcloud as an easy way to try things out through other platforms.
    Headphones are another area that can create problems, the acoustic imaging is very exaggerated and things can sound a bit weird played back through speakers, and unless they are good mixing headphones ( ie expensive) there will not be enough detail to allow the frequencies to be balanced.
    The more mixing you do, with the same equipment, you will learn how a sound translates across different monitors, just by experience, and I find it is worth going back to old mixes to see where things have improved--they will, it just takes practice, and knowing what you want to achieve.
    Carry on  doing what you are doing--- nothing is ever really finished anyway.
    Thank you mate.  I haven't done any mixing yet, per se.  Before I bounced it to SoundCloud I bounced it into iTunes with all the same settings.  I don't know why but listening to it in iTunes the bass is much more pronounced than the SoundCloud version.

    I don't really enjoy using headphones, although I guess unless I'm sat in an acoustically treated room then they're probably more 'accurate', for want of a better word, than nearfield monitors.

    My headphones are quite expensive but their intended use certainly isn't mixing so they're probably not the best tool.
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 534

    Helix Native caused me no end of grief too. You're not alone there! I ended up not purchasing the full licence and am likely missing out, but am really enjoying the other plugins I use anyway.
    Ah, so I'm not alone then.  I'm quite glad, in a way, that the issues I'm having aren't isolate to just me.  I've had to remove the plugin file from $/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components or Logic just won't start!

    The internet doesn't seem to offer anything on the issue either, but then it is quite new I suppose.
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  • thecolourboxthecolourbox Frets: 3317
    I find stuff sounds different on SoundCloud to when I listen to the same song on my phone via an mp3 or wave, which is quite annoying as you then don't know what other people are hearing compared to what you heard before you uploaded it

    Water, come drown me, I'm done

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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 12193
    On the subject of headphones...this plugin's supposed to be pretty good at compensating for the immediacy of using cans as opposed to a well-treated room and good monitors:

    https://goodhertz.co/canopener-studio?fbclid=IwAR0V1Nmhm01AfLCSPUR5wNIepTJe_oWFM6wzp6dhFDw3jJi_5Q4Wxfi7xO4

    I haven't tried it myself yet due to lack of time, but it could be useful and gets good reviews...
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 964
    Haych said:
    Righto, I seem to be getting somewhere with the guitar tones.  Please be kind, this is rough as and I've only heard it through my headphones so have no idea what it'll sound like on anything else:


    Sounds fine on iPad, about what I would expect, I’ll listen on monitors later...I wouldn’t get too hung up on keeping a perfect mix as the track progresses, you will have to revisit all of it when it’s complete anyhow 


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
    Presonus Studio One Pro.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 13
    This is why mastering is a 'Dark art', the conversion to MP3 will affect the mix, Itunes will affect the mix with normalisation if it is turned on, and Soundcloud has its own rules-as do they all, all different.
    I have been using a website, called loudness penalty report, which tells you, and shows you the effect each of the main streaming sites have on your track.
    Our mixes have to 'fit' a very specific set of criteria for them to sound 'right', most of what we like is in the mid-range, so that area gets pretty congested--which is why good mixes tend to have carefully crafted eq on all the mid-range sound. I look at my own stuff with SPAN on the output, frequency analyser, which lets you see each instruments range, surprising how much bass and middle there is in a cymbal, which can be cut out--leaving room for the stuff that needs it.
    Its hard to make good mixing decisions based on MP3 and I tunes, because the conversion is a bit vague, but its useful to compare these things. 
    I did a 5 min track yesterday, that Reaper converted to a 320bit MP3, which came out at about 12 mb, which I thought was a bit big, but I think it was because I chose one of the more accurate conversions-hence a larger file.
    Also, when converting to Mp3, you need to allow for some distortion that is introduced, so leave more headroom on the mix bus-at least -3DB.
    all good fun anyway.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 13
    Sorry, I didnt mean to ramble off topic, I try and treat my mixing as a way of creating a 'canvass' to allow my guitar to fit well, but when you look at the whole mix-you see there isn't much room to show off our meticulously crafted tone. and things like MP3 and streaming tend to squash things even further.
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  • On the subject of headphones...this plugin's supposed to be pretty good at compensating for the immediacy of using cans as opposed to a well-treated room and good monitors:

    https://goodhertz.co/canopener-studio?fbclid=IwAR0V1Nmhm01AfLCSPUR5wNIepTJe_oWFM6wzp6dhFDw3jJi_5Q4Wxfi7xO4

    I haven't tried it myself yet due to lack of time, but it could be useful and gets good reviews...
    I have it, I think it’s good. I’ve only used it with open back headphones, but it helps with my DT880s as otherwise it can be hard to balance the centre against the sides.
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 11140
    My preference is to record keyboards first, either one long take or do it in a few pieces. I see keys as the backbone of the rhythm tracks that I do and I like to adjust the ebb and flow of timing. After that I drum along to the backing track using midi drums, which allows me to fix the odd dodgy note. Either rhythm guitars or Bass next and then the lead guitar (I only do instrumentals) is usually a single live take whilst videoing, so I can use it on my YouTube channel. 
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 534
    axisus said:
    My preference is to record keyboards first, either one long take or do it in a few pieces. I see keys as the backbone of the rhythm tracks that I do and I like to adjust the ebb and flow of timing. After that I drum along to the backing track using midi drums, which allows me to fix the odd dodgy note. Either rhythm guitars or Bass next and then the lead guitar (I only do instrumentals) is usually a single live take whilst videoing, so I can use it on my YouTube channel. 
    @axisus ;PM me your YouTube channel please bud, I'd be interested in taking a look?
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  • axisusaxisus Frets: 11140
    Haych said:
    axisus said:
    My preference is to record keyboards first, either one long take or do it in a few pieces. I see keys as the backbone of the rhythm tracks that I do and I like to adjust the ebb and flow of timing. After that I drum along to the backing track using midi drums, which allows me to fix the odd dodgy note. Either rhythm guitars or Bass next and then the lead guitar (I only do instrumentals) is usually a single live take whilst videoing, so I can use it on my YouTube channel. 
    @axisus ;PM me your YouTube channel please bud, I'd be interested in taking a look?
    Strictly amateur stuff, my playing is cheap and cheerful so not of much use to someone looking for inspiration. I use other people's BTs quite a lot these days, and it's all Christian stuff so I guess you'd call it 'special interest'.
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9153
    I usually: muck about with a rhythm part until I've decided the song structure. Then I program the Alsesis SR16, and play my rhythm part to it until I'm happy. Then I record the drum pattern on tracks 9:10 of my Yamaha AWG-16. Following which a (maybe guide) rhythm part on track 8. Then I lay a bass part down on track 7. That's where I usually need to do some edits. Each track on the Yamaha machine has 8 "virtual" tracks associated with it so I can record on one of those to correct or play a better bass part over the bars I'm not pleased with in the original. Then I copy those better fragments into the relevant place on the original recording.
    Similar applies to other parts: I may have stereo keys on tracks 11:12, more guitar rhythm stuff on tracks 6,5,4 or solos on 4,3,2 or vocals (if necessary) on 3,2,1 depending on requirements.

    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 2424

    @Haych good topic!

    LIke you, I'm a time pressured amateur, but I do record as much as I can. A great hobby.

    Yep, my tracks very rarely come out anything like the idea I have in my head either. But, I can live with that. Have to start somewhere.

    For me there are two main challenges - the actual composition. As in, just making the whole thing interesting enough, not repetitive etc

    Then the second is the recording - getting it to sound half decent.

    I've not got either right, after maybe 20 years of working with computers and music, and I doubt I ever will. I have come to accept this!

    All the things you've listed, I do.

    Usually a track starts (for me) with a melody or a chord sequence. Often I will record an entire piece in one take on the guitar of keys. I use a drum beat to play to as I find that easier than a metronome for groove etc. If its an ambient type thing, I will use the metronome.

    Drums - I adjust to towards the end. Overdubs etc I will do if not happy with my first take. Often its the bass I need to redo as that need to be super tight and even IMO.

    Cut and pasting - yes, have done that and do that if the section is right for it. Depends on the track. If it has guitar and bass and vocals, cut and pasting tends not to work as well, sounds too clinical. If its electronic, much easiser to get away with, especially for grooves.

    I group my instruments into different busses too. So, I will have one for drums, vocals, bass, bass keys, synths (pads), synths (leads) synths (arps), guitars and then fx type stuff. Each bus will have its own EQ and FX groups like say high pass, low pass, reverbs, delay, comps, whatever. I might end up with a handful of busses for this.

    Mastering - not so much a learning curve as a learning vertical wall with a ladder that I am climbing with one leg and broken arms!! I tend to have a mastering chain set up on my master bus that I will use on and off when recording and mixing to make sure I am not overcooking the mix etc. I try to keep my unmastered mix at around -6db so that I have as much headroom as poss when it comes to the master. I often find though that things like my kick drum will knacker my mix by being too big and fat, so that the overall gain on the mix gets too hot, and the master is then too compressed or clips.

    All in, I accept I am not Tony Visconti when it comes to the studio side of stuff, and I certainly ain't Bowie when it comes to composing!! I don't care: for me, its all about the hobby, and the learning. I am happy with that!!

    there are times when it all really gets on my pip and I throw a fit and want to bin it all. Then I take a break from it for a bit.



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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 13
    One thing I have found helpful, is to use instrument busses, as explained above, which go to a MIX bus, before the output bus, the only plugins I use on the output are things like SPAN, or loudness monitoring, the idea being everything is kept in check at the bus stages, ie, if compression on the kick drum is too hot, the drum Bus will help reduce that before it gets to the final Mix bus, which will have some form of mastering compressor / limiter on it. if it clips the output (which it shouldn't ) the Mix bus can be knocked back a bit before the output is bounced out.
    I am getting more consistent results by mixing into the Mix bus from the start, I think.
    YMMV
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  • HaychHaych Frets: 534
    yeah, buses are something else I haven’t quite got my head round, to be honest. I see them but don’t really understand them - I’m sure it’s quite simple and I just need to google it a bit, but the only bus I understand is the X59 into the centre of Cardiff :D
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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 18865
    Haych said:
    OK, this question isn't really aimed at professional studio engineers - I'm a one man home studio novice so want to understand how other home studio bods go about putting their ideas to hard disk, or SSD, or whatever your preferred media is :)  Not that I don't think I can learn from the professional way of doing it, of course.

    ...

    Thanks in advance and apologies for the lengthy post :)
    When it comes to making buying decisions transducers are the place to put your money- basically monitors and microphones.
    You will also end up spending a lot of money on things that are essential but boring- cables, acoustic treatment, DI's and such.

    If you are serious about recording then IMHO everyone should own a really excellent mic preamp and compressor, maybe an EQ. It will pay for itself many times over- 1073, API 512, Distressor level stuff.

    When it comes to playing I try to create complete performances with as few drop ins as I can manage.
    I start with guitar/vocals or keys/vocals and then build up a guide drum track using samples/VI's.
    I try to do a minimal amount of editing.

    After a few years of only really using modelling and plugins I've headed back to using hardware- it is a combination of workflow and sonics that led me there.
    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3558
    Safe in the knowledge that no one particularly cares what I do (which is fair enough because I'm not an A-list producer)...

    When I start recording, I start these days by recording an acoustic guitar and a vocal track plus any vocal harmonies I think are important. Occasionally it'll be piano rather than acoustic.

    Sometimes the acoustic guitar part is a bit threadbare, because it's often simplifying and recreating what in my head is a much more complex arrangement. But by forcing the entire song onto a single acoustic guitar performance, it forces me to make sure that the underlying melody and harmonic content is compelling - that pre-choruses push you forward musically into choruses, which in turn aren't being overshadowed musically by the verses etc... it's an interesting mental exercise. Quite often I know the song's worth working on because as soon as it exists, whole aspects of the instrumental arrangement arrive in my head at the same time.

    Regardless, I do this basic recording no matter what stage the actual song is at - it might be I had the idea that morning and all it consists of is that acoustic and vocal. It might be it's a well fleshed out song that has already been played live with drums, bassline, guitar arrangment... no matter, I'm boiling it down to the bare bones of what it is.

    And while I'm recording the acoustic guitar in, I'll add markers and create a tempo map that makes sense to me - maybe the choruses will be 2bpm faster, a little dip in the section between chorus 1 and verse 2, whatever... I'll play through sections and see what feels right.

    From there, I'll have a DAW session (recently I've been using Harrison Mixbus 32c) with tempo map, section markers and the simplest arrangement of the song. From there, I build up the arrangment. The next thing for me is drums and the bass groove, usually. I play drums, so I'll already have built an internal rhythm into the acoustic guitar track and vocal performance that helps signpost a drum pattern that supports and enhances the song, and once drums are there, the bass guitar becomes the bridge between the beat and the harmonic content of the song, so I like to get it down before filling up the space with guitars.

    Ultimately, once they've served their purpose the rough acoustic and vocal tracks get muted then removed.

    As to how and where I record each instrument, it just depends. In the past I did a lot at my band's studio space. Now that's gone, I've done a lot of recording at home. I've also rented studios for 1 or 2 days just to get a bunch of drum tracks down. I still prefer real drums, because I'm a player and I like to feel my way towards the right groove, rather than clicking dots onto a grid. Might be in the future I get an electronic kit.

    Different people lay down their tracks in different ways, based on preference. Some like to record all the way through until they get a single great take. Others will punch in small sections within a generally good master take to touch things up. Others prefer to go section by section. It really just depends on what you feel works best for you and what the energy in the room is on that day. I don't think there's a better or worse way to do it. Personally, since I usually end up writing the parts as I go along, I'll start the song not knowing *exactly* what I'll do in certain places, and that means quite often I'll wing it, fuck up, stop recording, roll back 8 bars and start playing again. I'll just keep going until I get a whole song that feels good to me, sometimes it's one take, sometimes it's 20 different sections.

    Once the arrangement is all recorded, I mix it. I do mix quickly as I go along because it's inspiring if the parts you're playing along to sound good, but I always strip it all off and start again when it's time to mix properly.

    Captain Horizon (my old band);
    Very (!) Occasional Blog
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  • duotoneduotone Frets: 288
    Am only doing basic instrumental stuff, but usually follow this route:

    1) Drums
    2) Chord progression (Rhythm guitar)
    3) Riffs/solos (Lead Guitar)
    4) Bass
    5) Piano - if any

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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 125
    I'm involved in two different projects atm - number one is a band situation with a bass player and a guitarist with myself on synths and recording into Cubase. We jam out a few parts with a quick drum groove and get it recorded with hopefully a guide vocal in a 3 to 4 hour session. Then I spend a few days tarting up the drums etc, then we re do anything that needs it and finish the arrangement and give it a rough mix. Then some time later we go back and iron out any little wrinkles with a relatively fresh ear. Files are shared and backed up using Google Drive.

    Project number two is a solo electronica kind of thing for which I use Ableton Live - I have an Akai pad controller which makes recording into Ableton a cinch and also a couple of analogue synths plus a goodly collection of soft synths. Tunes, such as they are, usually start with bass synth, then some kind of drummy thing and a few tracks of synth noises from Absynth, Kontakt, Reaktor or an Arturia synth. I also use a few iPad apps such as Moog Model 15, Samplr and Lemur. I try to limit the number of tracks to 8, which is how many rows I've got, with usually no more than 4 at once to allow some development. Then I use the Akai controller to record an arrangement into Ableton which I then edit and mix as required. Annoyingly I can't get Ableton to export an MP3 so I export a 24bit wav then use Cubase to convert to mp3.

    As someone who started recording in the 80s, it amazes me that I can carry a complete mobile system in laptop bag - what times we live in!
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  • wave100 said:
    Annoyingly I can't get Ableton to export an MP3 so I export a 24bit wav then use Cubase to convert to mp3.
    No problems here...what version are you on?
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 125
    wave100 said:
    Annoyingly I can't get Ableton to export an MP3 so I export a 24bit wav then use Cubase to convert to mp3.
    No problems here...what version are you on?
    9.7 Standard I believe.
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  • wave100 said:
    wave100 said:
    Annoyingly I can't get Ableton to export an MP3 so I export a 24bit wav then use Cubase to convert to mp3.
    No problems here...what version are you on?
    9.7 Standard I believe.
    Ah...I think they added it in 10!
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 125
    Just checked the export menu, the only options I have for file type are WAV and AIFF. Is there something I'm missing? I'm on a relatively aged Macbook Pro, if that makes any difference.
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  • wave100 said:
    Just checked the export menu, the only options I have for file type are WAV and AIFF. Is there something I'm missing? I'm on a relatively aged Macbook Pro, if that makes any difference.
    No...I recall it not being there in 9...but it is present now in 10.

    +1 for reasons to upgrade ;-/
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