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Drum loop from hell! [or... Is it wrong for a man to be in love with Dave Derr?]
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Fletcher
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#1
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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Drum loop from hell! [or... Is it wrong for a man to be in love with Dave Derr?]

I was sent one of the most "challenging" things I've ever encountered to mix last week. One of those mixes where you can get it sounding like a really 'strong demo' but it seems like you just can't get it across that line to sound and feel "like a record".

I ended up taking 3 shots at this thing... the first was OK... nothing special. The second shot was better... but not "there". The third time, I was pissed and there was no way this fukking song was going to beat me... this shit had turned personal.

Now the first problem with this bad boy is that the moron that "tracked" the thing gave me the "drums" [machine kik and snare] on one track. Normally, under an hour of work [and a little under the breath grumbling] with a Drawmer DS-201 to separate the two... but this fukkin' MENSA candidate used a different sample for the 1 & 3 kik drum hits which made it damn near impossible to get the "3" hit to separate from the snare drum.

Out came the equalizers for the side chain on the noise gate.

First I tried going through an EQ-2NV... boosting the shit out of the bass, lopping off everything else with a wide bandwidth. Got the "1" hit no problem but couldn't get the "3" for love or money.

Focused on listening to the "key" line... and it sounded like a bad rap song blaring from a ghetto cruiser. "Boooooom.... Boooom". I had taken the bottom to the point of distortion; which wasn't helping my cause a damn bit as the harmonics from the distortion were adding to the trigger problems.

So now I took another tact... I threw a transient design on the input to the EQ to get rid of as much sustain as possible on the "boom" and sharpen the "point" of the kik a bit. It worked better... I now had a remarkably clear kik hit on "1" and a bitchin' snare whack on 2 & 4... the only thing missing was "3".

Motherfukker!!

The snare had a nice bit of the 150Hz 'chest whump' in it... and very much liked the shit I had applied to the key line of the gate in an attempt to pull out the bottom of the kik [the sample on 3 was decidedly bottom light... something to be addressed way later in the pogrom].

Alright... so now I'm sitting there about as evil as an Eskimo boy can get... I'm pissed. I think OK... what on this fukking snare is triggering this key line and what about "kik-3" is MIA? I decide to try an Empirical Labs "Lil Freq" on the key line to see if I can isolate the what's causing the snare to trigger but left 'kik-3' in the witness protection program.

I found the bottom point on the snare drum with low mid band without too much struggle... I found the mid point on the snare drum with the hi mid band with no struggle at all... there wasn't anything over like 1kHz that existed on this key line so I figured it was time to give it a go again.

The good news... the snare is gone!! The bad news... 'kik-3' is still missing without a trace. Second "Lil Freq"... I find one thing that is remotely unique about "kik 3"... boost the fukk out of it with two bands on the "Lil Freq"... Eureka!! I think I got it... but there is still a little snare in there that could be a problem.

So I run it... and yeah, the snare is still an issue. Now I'm at a crossroads... I'm starting to get the idea that this drum trigger shit won't be something I can count on in "real time"... ugh.

Then it dawns on my... print a "trigger track" that is just "schrit"; ___ ;"schrit"; ___, then go back and get the "drum sounds" on another pass... so I better find a couple of tracks and start printing [and dear Lord... don't let this happen] edit if necessary.

I found two tracks where my buddy the MENSA candidate printed some vocal effects I wouldn't have used at gunpoint [the backing vocals were cool as fukk... but these printed "ld vocal effects" were just shitty]... which now gave me a free "kik track" and "snare track". Shit was starting to look up at this point.

I got the snare out to the point where it wasn't a real issue in terms of 'false triggers' on the gate opening [it did a bit but nothing that couldn't be filtered out in the next phase of the operation... the "printing of the kik drum(s)"].

Out came the Drawmer 501 [thought I'd try the 'peak punch' thing again]... and it still wasn't as selective as the 201 so back I went to 'old faithful' [the 501 was abso-fukking-lutely the most excellent machine for the snare job... but it was sucking ass for the kik at hand].

I slid the trigger track up a smidge so the gate would be open by the time the kiks hit... and closed before anything else would be an issue [using the 'hold' / 'decay' functions of the 201]. The first kik was the dog's bollocks... the second was a bit anemic for my taste.

I was already dealing with samples... and I kinda figured that these samples were the samples Mr. "Artiste" wanted... and in the order he wanted them [1 & 3 on two different kik drums? I'd shoot any motherfukker who tried to play that on any record on which I was working... unless you're Prairie Prince there will be only ONE kik drum in the kit if y'all don't mind... none of this "one kik for the '1' and another kik for the '3'... but I digress].

So the next question was how to keep the "integrity" of the kik drums without altering what I perceived to be "the wiz kid"s artistic statement [not that he probably would have noticed... but I thought it my job to preserve as much of what the schmuck wanted as I could]. So... out comes my shiny new Distressor [serial # 11,069... the 10,000 and 69th ever built!!]. I set it with a medium attack and a fairly quick release and even out 1 & 3 to be somewhere near the same velocity. Different sounds, but at least they had similar levels.

The lack of bottom was kinda bugging me on the second kik. Between a channel of transient designer and a good measure of "Lil Freq" I had kik drum 1 breaking ribs... but kik 3 sounded like my daughter hitting a rack tom... not good.

This is still on one track... so the new goal is to get kik '3' to beat the shit out of me without going over the top with kik '1'. Using the second "Lil Freq" I found where the bottom point was on kik '3' [which wasn't going to push kik '1' over the edge]... the Distressor holding them together, the Lil Freq pushing them apart... I was fukking onto something!!! Now the high Hz front end point [click] of the first kik was sitting pretty... but it wasn't cutting it on the second. A little EQ and the second was really coming to life... and the first one was tearing my fukking hair out and making my eyes water.

Enter the magic "High Frequency Limiter" on the Lil Freq. Oh my word this was just was the Dr. ordered. I don't think I ever wanted to perform fellatio on a man nearly as much as I did for Mr. Derr at that moment. I got two kiks on one track, both kiking ass, both taking names, but both distinctly different.

The snare had taken like 2 passes to get separated with the DS-501... so now I had a kik track and a snare track that could be made to sound like a kit... that could work in a song... and most importantly... get shkugged around so I didn't have to deal with the **** marching machine/Teutonic stiffness of the man with zero programming chops.

I brought up the synth bass sequence then slid the kik and the snare up and back until they almost fell into a 'swamp groove' when relative to sequenced bass track. 4-5 hours after I sat down with the son of a bitch it finally started to feel like fukking music... but it still wasn't right.

The kik and the snare... while they were 'feeling OK' with synth bass... they didn't "sound" connected. They sounded like different and random samples next to a synth bass [gee... what a surprise].

So I rubbed my chin and thought about it for moment and said to myself "self, you need to get these bad boys on the same plane... I think this calls for a little common reverb". So I messed around with some short plate stuff [like .9 seconds with 15 ms of pre-delay]... not bad. Not great... but not bad either. I thought about it a bit and decided that a little taste of something like a "non-lin 2" patch could lengthen out the drums a little bit while giving the .9 plate verb the opportunity to cover the 80's vibe "cat sneeze" shit... so a little 'non-lin 2' and I was in business.

Not bad at all... except [isn't there always a fukking "except"] the low end from kik '1' was kinda gumming up the works while it was putting a nice feel the snare and kik '3'.

Fukk me. What a day this has been.

It's like everytime I see a light at the end of the tunnel it's another fukking train.

Alright... let's go to Dr. Idiots book of stupid pet tricks to get my ass out of this one... ah yes... page 273; chapter 7... selective expansion/ducking. Patch in DS-201 noise gate... add external EQ [to the onboard filter section] find the low point exclusive to kik '1'... gate only opens on kik '1'... now we're home free. I pulled the gate off that track and put it on the send to the 'non-lin 2' patch on the reverb... flicked the switch to "duck" on the gate... and ducked [turned down] the send of kik '1' to the 'non-lin 2' verb by like 3-4 db on only that one kik drum hit... and there it was!!!

Hallelujah

Praise Jesus.

I had been delivered to the promised land!!!!!

Another half dozen hours of balancing, cajoling, slicing, dicing, blending and making Julienne fries... and this 4:30 boring as sin; demo quality; piece of asshole horseshit had given birth to a 3:20 pop tune worthy of attention. The fact of the matter is that without that fukking high frequency limiter [and the EQ in general!!] on the 'Lil Freq' doing such an un-fukking-believably wonderful job I'd still probably be sitting there ready to blow my fukking brains out. Best damn parametric EQ and HF Limiter/De-esser system I've ever touched!!!!!!!

Thank you Dave Derr.

You are my hero.
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#2
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
I don't think I ever wanted to perform fellatio on a man nearly as much as I did for Mr. Derr at that moment.
That might be a little wrong
#3
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
  #3
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well, i think Mr. Derr just got a good dose of literary fellatio.

Does that make you gay?

#4
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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Quote:
while giving the .9 plate verb the opportunity to cover the 80's vibe "cat sneeze" shit...


R.
#5
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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The Lil' Freq is indeed a badass piece of kit.

Used 'upstream' from compression, it is extremely effective on lead vocals for de-essing and the typical "carving" tom-foolery. You really can get some dramatic twists and still sound like music.

I'm gonna hafta get another one at some point, because I usually can't take it off the vocal chain without bumming out.

As for Fletcher's post..... I don't want to have any flavor of sexual congress with Dave. But I will point out that he is indeed LOVED. And, in my estimation, his products are so effective because he is a crackerjack AE himself, and in this way has a 'real world' practicality to his designs which are often missing in other folks products.

Best regards,

SM.
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#6
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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A little man-love never hurt anyone.

But Fletcher - can we hear the track before and after? I'd love to check out the difference. If your Mensa-boy is up to it, perhaps we could post it on our website and use it as a nice example of EL8tion...? Promote his project, your chops, and ELI hardware at the same time? Make it a marketing ménage à trois?
#7
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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have you tried Logic & NI Battery for drums ??








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#8
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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That was great! No you just gotta find the kid that tracked it and kill him so he doesnt ever do that again
#9
8th February 2006
Old 8th February 2006
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FLETCHER, YOU SICK BASTID

Ha Haaaaaaaa Fletcher. I got a suspicious email with this link and came here and wasn't sure what the Hey I was lookin at from the thread title.

Those sure are some nice words there... now that I figured out this wasn't a site for Gay Online dating. THANKS! It makes me happy when our overpriced...errr... I mean... when our "high ended" gear actually proves useful.

That being said, I'm not sure I'm going to show this link to anyone I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Enter the magic "High Frequency Limiter" on the Lil Freq. Oh my word this was just was the Dr. ordered. I don't think I ever wanted to perform fellatio on a man nearly as much as I did for Mr. Derr at that moment.
You should know this kind of thing is NOT appropriate for the professionals that visit GEARSLUTZ. This is an AUDIO GEAR FORUM. SHEESH!

Dave Derr
PS. Fletch, You know I love you too, Brother... but not in THAT way
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#10
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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I would have just asked for the midi file.

Or played in a midi track that was just the snare - and then used that with a midi gate to split the track into kick and snare.

Or just created some fader automation. If the track was based on a grid (by the sound of it) you could probably cut and paste the automation after you've done one bar.

Or - convert the audio track to midi (with software, or a drum brain) - who cares what notes - and then it would be easy to manually delete the snare hits and either trigger a sample, or midi gate the track to split it.

Or used HitPoints in Cubase and clone and delete to make two tracks.

Obviously i'm not slutty enough.
#11
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Come on Fletcher, let's hear a sample! I want to hear what all your hard worked accomplished in the end, other than a dry cleaning bill.
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#12
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
I would have just asked for the midi file.

Or played in a midi track that was just the snare - and then used that with a midi gate to split the track into kick and snare.

Or just created some fader automation. If the track was based on a grid (by the sound of it) you could probably cut and paste the automation after you've done one bar.

Or - convert the audio track to midi (with software, or a drum brain) - who cares what notes - and then it would be easy to manually delete the snare hits and either trigger a sample, or midi gate the track to split it.

Or used HitPoints in Cubase and clone and delete to make two tracks.

Obviously i'm not slutty enough.
First yer gonna hafta remove the gum shoes and velcro mittens, mate.

It appears you would have used what YOU have available in the heat of the moment.

Just like Fletcher did.

And somebody else would have done something else entirely.

Amazing, huh?

SM.
#13
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Derr


But um... How's Friday Nite looking?



oh no, its really gone to hell around here
#14
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Somebody wants to sell some haaaaaaaaaardwaaaaaaaaaare....

And now IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII wanna buy some of that very same hardware....
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#15
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Ya gotta admit...

Dave looks quite fetching in his avatar!













































Cue the music!


"Love...

Exciting and new..."
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#16
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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So the soundtrack to this movie would have wah/wah guitar, some sleazy fender rhodes and seventies funk drums.
The scene opens with a swarthy but handsome gear designer visiting the studio of a naive but attractive engineer with a urgent problem.
The dialogue would run a long the lines of " Handsome gear designer, how can I ever thank you ? You really saved my ass on this one I desperately need to show my appreciation."





In the end it's all gear porn.

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#17
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Great post man.



Ill suck him off if you like.
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#18
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Enter the magic "High Frequency Limiter" on the Lil Freq. Oh my word this was just was the Dr. ordered. I don't think I ever wanted to perform fellatio on a man nearly as much as I did for Mr. Derr at that moment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Derr
But um... How's Friday Nite looking?
Sorry bro... while I'll love you forever... the moment has past. "I was in the right place... but it musta been the wrong time" [B. Preston]

Quote:
Originally Posted by dobby12
Come on Fletcher, let's hear a sample! I want to hear what all your hard worked accomplished in the end, other than a dry cleaning bill.
I'll see if I can get clearance from "Le Artiste"... I can't get in trouble for the post... "MENSA candidate"; "Artiste"; Moron; [not to mention 'asshole' and 'cocksucker'] are all things that were mentioned over the course of time and communication... the brother knows they're used with the friendliest of intention so that's not an issue.

My only other struggle besides that is that I have no idea how to post a "before and after" [this was a single mix... the album mix was in the can long ago]... it'll be the combined question of 'artist/label clearance' as well as 'how the hell do you do that?'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwiburger
I would have just asked for the midi file.

Or played in a midi track that was just the snare - and then used that with a midi gate to split the track into kick and snare.
You're far more advanced than I am... I have no idea what any of that shit is.

Quote:
Or just created some fader automation. If the track was based on a grid (by the sound of it) you could probably cut and paste the automation after you've done one bar.
You're gonna 'automate drum hits to a grid'? ...and we wonder why records suck these days.

Quote:
Or - convert the audio track to midi (with software, or a drum brain) - who cares what notes - and then it would be easy to manually delete the snare hits and either trigger a sample, or midi gate the track to split it.

Or used HitPoints in Cubase and clone and delete to make two tracks.
For that matter I reckon I should have called out for a couple hookers and some coke... oh, right... you need access to stuff in order to employ it... I forgot about that minor thing called "reality of the situation"... never mind.
#19
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Damn man, you're already up posting and I haven't even gone to bed yet, AND I don't have any hookers and I don't do coke anymore... what gives! I guess it's all that waiting up to do to see if our Europeans friends had anymore suggestions in my XY mic'ing thread... I went from having 1 response to have 5 in a matter of minutes... I guess all your Europe folks log on and post pretty early in the morning too, or is it afternoon there yet I'm out... bed time. Later.
#20
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Sheesh! Get an anechoic chamber you two!
#21
9th February 2006
Old 9th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
You're gonna 'automate drum hits to a grid'? ...and we wonder why records suck these days.

Well, you *did* say it was a drum machine...if they're not already snapped to some grid yer boy's more of a moron than even your original post let on!

And I thought "Right Place, Wrong Time" was Dr. John, not Billy Preston?
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#22
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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D'oh... yes, it was Dr. John not Billy Preston... my bad.

We got the song as flattened broadcast wave files... so whether there was a "grid" or not I have less than no clue [see signature file for my feelings on grids].

Part of what I did was to "de-machine" the drum tracks by making the kik greasy on the 1-3 and the snare a little less greasy than the kik but greasy none the less.

Every beat has an arc... the little bit in front of the beat is "bright on the beat" the little bit behind the beat is "greasy on the beat"... both will change the feel of the song. To the best of my knowledge, neither can be accomplished with a "grid"... this particular song needed some bacon grease to feel like fukkin' instead of jerkin' off.
#23
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
  #23
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Quote:
this particular song needed some bacon grease to feel like fukkin' instead of jerkin'
Classic! How long before this shows up in someone's sig?
#24
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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I would have just done an "audio to Score" on the drum track, sampled the two kiks and one snare from the original track and then layed them over the score that was created. 10 minutes.
Good story tho, you're migiver with 2200$ paper clips and sticks of gum. Empirical labs stuff is definately the best stuff around. Its good to hear how other people are creatively using their stuff. havent heard the lilfreq tho.
#25
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchcraft
I would have just done an "audio to Score" on the drum track, sampled the two kiks and one snare from the original track and then layed them over the score that was created. 10 minutes.
Good story tho, you're migiver with 2200$ paper clips and sticks of gum. Empirical labs stuff is definately the best stuff around. Its good to hear how other people are creatively using their stuff. havent heard the lilfreq tho.
Eh, I don't get it. I would have just called the guy and asked for a separate bounce of the drum parts. If the producer can't get that or just used a "library loop" then he doesn't deserve to have an urban single in the charts (I'm assuming it's some kind of urban track from your description).

Or would that be too easy?

Go on admit it Fletcher, you LIVE for this stuff. In reality, the MENSA candidate should be the one getting your man loving. Even at this stage of your career you're learning! That's gotta be worth some kind of "Brokeback Action".

//m
#26
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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Nice ad copy. Well written stuff from the standpoint of entertainment.

Dave Derr is great as an engineer and as a person, BTW.
#27
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
... this particular song needed some bacon grease to feel like fukkin' instead of jerkin' off.
If I needed to get here with a song, I don't think I would start with the computer.
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#28
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switchcraft
I would have just done an "audio to Score" on the drum track, sampled the two kiks and one snare from the original track and then layed them over the score that was created. 10 minutes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt_tricks
Eh, I don't get it. I would have just called the guy and asked for a separate bounce of the drum parts. If the producer can't get that or just used a "library loop" then he doesn't deserve to have an urban single in the charts (I'm assuming it's some kind of urban track from your description).
Golly... where were you guys when I needed you?

First; I haven't the faintest fukking clue what an "audio to Score" is. I know what "audio" is... it's what I do for a living. I know how to "score". I've "scored" in cities all over the world... all you need to know how to do is look at a street and read the players... it's an experience thing... but what audio and a score have to do with each other is a mystery to me.

I guess it's kinda like how you can smoke hash and you can smoke beef but you can't smoke cornedbeef hash...

As for calling the producer/label/artist and getting separate bounce of the drum tracks... what I great idea!! Damn. That would have been the balls. When I tried that I was told that what I got "is what it is"... but maybe y'all could have worded it differently and gotten better results.

Before some other cosmic advisor chimes in... yes, I am fully aware that I could have gone in and edited every hit onto separate tracks... maybe even built a loop with the edited tracks and done all this groovy shit in the computer. The problem is that I'm a recording engineer, not a computer programmer.

I would rather rip out each and every one of my teeth with a pair of channel lock pliers than have done anything like what that implies.

It only took me like a half dozen hours to put this shit together so it sounded right. It would have taken me two-three days to try and learn that much computer shit... so maybe I should have had one of the kids come in to play computer jockey while the old man sat in the back of the room with the drool cup... but that's not what happened.

I realize many [if not most of] y'all are way more expert at this kind of thing than I am... I've never seen [heard?] anything delivered this way.
I've delivered drum tracks to some "famous mixer dudes" with the drums on two tracks ["Drums Left" / "Drums Right"... all reverbed and exactly the way I wanted them to sound in the mix with the hope that they wouldn't take the half dozen hours to weed the shit out and replace my shit with samples]... but I'd never had it done to me before.

I've had to weed shit out before... but nothing quite like this. If I had any options I would have excercized those options. Sometimes what gets sent to you is what's been sent to you. With the great "democratization" of professional audio all ablaze with all kinds of geniuses doing the shit at home because the label says "dude... you can do this at home and we'll send it out to get mixed"...

I've have more and more incompetent crap floating through my world which demands I engage many of my skills to correct the inept shit that somehow turn some of the crap that qualifies as a "recording" into music. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the challenges and they do sharpen my skills... but there are times when I feel like I'm building a racing suspension for the car of a suicide bomber.
#29
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
Golly... where were you guys when I needed you?

First; I haven't the faintest fukking clue what an "audio to Score" is. I know what "audio" is... it's what I do for a living. I know how to "score". I've "scored" in cities all over the world... all you need to know how to do is look at a street and read the players... it's an experience thing... but what audio and a score have to do with each other is a mystery to me.

I guess it's kinda like how you can smoke hash and you can smoke beef but you can't smoke cornedbeef hash...

As for calling the producer/label/artist and getting separate bounce of the drum tracks... what I great idea!! Damn. That would have been the balls. When I tried that I was told that what I got "is what it is"... but maybe y'all could have worded it differently and gotten better results.

Before some other cosmic advisor chimes in... yes, I am fully aware that I could have gone in and edited every hit onto separate tracks... maybe even built a loop with the edited tracks and done all this groovy shit in the computer. The problem is that I'm a recording engineer, not a computer programmer.

I would rather rip out each and every one of my teeth with a pair of channel lock pliers than have done anything like what that implies.

It only took me like a half dozen hours to put this shit together so it sounded right. It would have taken me two-three days to try and learn that much computer shit... so maybe I should have had one of the kids come in to play computer jockey while the old man sat in the back of the room with the drool cup... but that's not what happened.

I realize many [if not most of] y'all are way more expert at this kind of thing than I am... I've never seen [heard?] anything delivered this way.
I've delivered drum tracks to some "famous mixer dudes" with the drums on two tracks ["Drums Left" / "Drums Right"... all reverbed and exactly the way I wanted them to sound in the mix with the hope that they wouldn't take the half dozen hours to weed the shit out and replace my shit with samples]... but I'd never had it done to me before.

I've had to weed shit out before... but nothing quite like this. If I had any options I would have excercized those options. Sometimes what gets sent to you is what's been sent to you. With the great "democratization" of professional audio all ablaze with all kinds of geniuses doing the shit at home because the label says "dude... you can do this at home and we'll send it out to get mixed"...

I've have more and more incompetent crap floating through my world which demands I engage many of my skills to correct the inept shit that somehow turn some of the crap that qualifies as a "recording" into music. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy the challenges and they do sharpen my skills... but there are times when I feel like I'm building a racing suspension for the car of a suicide bomber.
Now THAT is why I come to Gearslutz! thumbsup I'm sooooooooo tempted to make that whole post my signature.

The only other thing Fletcher needs to add to that is this:
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 ScrewUGuysI'mGoinHome.mp3 (63.4 KB, 128 views)
#30
10th February 2006
Old 10th February 2006
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletcher
so maybe I should have had one of the kids come in to play computer jockey while the old man sat in the back of the room with the drool cup...
Visualized that one and pissed myself. Goodun.
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