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How many tracks are you using per beat?
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KevWest
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#1
4th April 2012
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How many tracks are you using per beat?

Random question of the day: What in the world are you people doing to get these high track counts? I always hear about people having 40-50 tracks in a beat. I get you are layering but seriously how much layering do you need? I tried to eat up a bunch of tracks and still didn't get beyond 5-10 with layers. I don't get it.
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4th April 2012
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I only use like 10 - 16 tracks.

1. Kick
2. Snare
3. Cymbals
4. Percussion
5. Mid Synth
6. Lead Synth
7. Chord Synth
8. Sub Bass
9. Mid Bass (sometimes)
10. Random Things to fill up the spectrum

and that's it really.
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4th April 2012
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kick
2nd kick
snare
2nd snare
3rd snare (sometimes)
hi hat
2nd hat
open hat
perc
perc
crash

chord
layered chords
bass
lead
2nd lead
3rd lead
4th lead (sometimes)

fx
2nd fx (sometimes)

around 20-25 tracks
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4th April 2012
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1. Kick
2. Sub Bass
3. Clap
4. Windchime
5. Windchime #2
6. Windchime #3
7. Ethno
8. Ethno #2
9. Synth
10. Pad
11. Crash
12. Windchime #4
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4th April 2012
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cowbell
cowbell 2nd layer
cowbell 3rd layer
reverse cowbell
reverse reverse cowbell

Now seriously, of course it depends very much on the style of beat and also on how you organize it.
You can comp your 3 kicks onto 1 track or leave them seperate. Most of my beats have probably anywhere from 5 to maybe 25 tracks in the end.
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4th April 2012
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1. crash
2. hihat
3. tom/s
4. snare
5. clap
6. kick
7. the kick's attack
8. bass
9. sample/lead sound
10. additive sounds or 2nd instrument/sample variation
11. hook-stuff :-)
...

that's it... in most cases.
sometimes I am happy only with a hihat, kick, snare and a sample.
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4th April 2012
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Im in the same boat as the OP. I only use a couple tracks. All these people just layer the hell out their drums. I only ever use 2 kicks and 2 snares, 1 hat & maybe a shaker and\or tamb and then the instruments. Once you start tracking vocals, thats where alot of these dudes get all these tracks from.
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4th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 03.31.83 View Post
cowbell
cowbell 2nd layer
cowbell 3rd layer
reverse cowbell
reverse reverse cowbell

Now seriously, of course it depends very much on the style of beat and also on how you organize it.
You can comp your 3 kicks onto 1 track or leave them seperate. Most of my beats have probably anywhere from 5 to maybe 25 tracks.
maybe thats it i do see the common thread lots of drum layering and unlike me I don't think many comp their drums to one track. I do a lot of comping
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4th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChadDub View Post
I only use like 10 - 16 tracks.

1. Kick
2. Snare
3. Cymbals
4. Percussion
5. Mid Synth
6. Lead Synth
7. Chord Synth
8. Sub Bass
9. Mid Bass (sometimes)
10. Random Things to fill up the spectrum

and that's it really.
Yup this is how I usually do mine.
Fairly simple. Allows more room for vocals I feel.
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4th April 2012
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Those people are usually talking about full mixes, not just the "beat".
Modern pop arrangements can get O.C.
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I just had a (pop/electronic) track to mix that had something like 72 tracks. I've heard of lots of pop mixes going into 100+ track territory. I try to consolidate as much as I can though within reason.
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In my experience as a mix engineer and producer high track counts are usually counter productive to good sounding mixes...keep it simple...

But whatever works though...
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KevWest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
I just had a (pop/electronic) track to mix that had something like 72 tracks. I've heard of lots of pop mixes going into 100+ track territory. I try to consolidate as much as I can though within reason.
I am assuming that is with vocals? I still can't see how you end up with 72 vocal tracks. That is a ton!
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrides View Post
Those people are usually talking about full mixes, not just the "beat".
Modern pop arrangements can get O.C.
I bet they can and quickly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studio507 View Post
In my experience as a mix engineer and producer high track counts are usually counter productive to good sounding mixes...keep it simple...

But whatever works though...
Yeah too busy too much going on I can see that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWest View Post
maybe thats it i do see the common thread lots of drum layering and unlike me I don't think many comp their drums to one track. I do a lot of comping
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I just mixed a beat of mine that was 45-50 tracks - but about 60% of the sounds are three layers.

Average is probably between 10-25
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4th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWest View Post
maybe thats it i do see the common thread lots of drum layering and unlike me I don't think many comp their drums to one track. I do a lot of comping
What do you mean by comping? Compressing?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariesk007 View Post
What do you mean by comping? Compressing?
Comping = Compiling.

It can be bouncing the tracks into groups (which I call stems) or taking multiple sections from different takes to make one good take.

As an example -

Taking all drum tracks and making them one file.

or

Say I make an 8 bar loop, and I have it on loop record. I record 4 passes of my playing the loop, and then at the end, I like bars 1 and 2 from take 4, bars 3 to 5 from take 2, and bars 6 to 8 from take 1, so I cut each section out of the loops, and make my own full take of 3 different sections.
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He probably means comping as in routing all drum sounds to a drum bus in this case though. So you can go from 5-8 tracks or something to 1. I tend to veer away from doing that lately because it's a pain to make changes later on without digging back up an old save or the original session. Eventually though everything hits a drum bus.

@kev west - yeah it included vocals but not as many as you'd think, maybe 15 tracks.
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8-16 tracks in the end for me, but I comp everything down as much as possible, and honestly don't even count or pay attention to how many tracks/takes/layers etc I started with. Multiple layers and multiple takes shouldn't be counted as separate tracks. I think thats where ppl are confused when they say they have 50-100+ tracks. A track to me is 1 instrument part. If it took you 10 takes to get that 1 part right, thats not 10 tracks, thats 10 takes for 1 track. If you layer 5 kick drums into 1, thats not 5 tracks, thats 1 kick drum track.
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I'm not confused :P I'm talking about comped vocal parts/layers/harmonies/instruments etc that are all intended (though some might not make it in there)to make the final mix. 100+ tracks is more and more common.

If you have a 4:30 min pop song with a lot of vocal automation, drum changes etc it piles up super quickly.

If we were talking just takes it could be something like 400+ tracks which is insane, and why I clean up my sessions regularly as I go, then print them when I'm done so I can get rid of all the extra crap eventually.

Also, in todays era of beastly computers it probably makes more sense to do something like keep every random little fx track separate instead of doing a bunch of automating and bypassing so that different fx can use different effects at different times. If you apply this concept across the board it's easy to see why track counts are so high. Hip hop track counts are notoriously low compared to other genres unless they use some kind of live instrumentation generally. However, you sometimes get a LOT of takes in hip hop, so you better be organized with em

Check out this thread too - might be my highest track count yet
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I'm usually around 20 to 30 tracks for a beat and that's before I export for mix and get into vocals, parallel processing etc.

However it also depends on the kind of beat I'm making.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
I'm not confused :P I'm talking about comped vocal parts/layers/harmonies/instruments etc that are all intended (though some might not make it in there)to make the final mix. 100+ tracks is more and more common.

If you have a 4:30 min pop song with a lot of vocal automation, drum changes etc it piles up super quickly.

If we were talking just takes it could be something like 400+ tracks which is insane, and why I clean up my sessions regularly as I go, then print them when I'm done so I can get rid of all the extra crap eventually.

Also, in todays era of beastly computers it probably makes more sense to do something like keep every random little fx track separate instead of doing a bunch of automating and bypassing so that different fx can use different effects at different times. If you apply this concept across the board it's easy to see why track counts are so high. Hip hop track counts are notoriously low compared to other genres unless they use some kind of live instrumentation generally. However, you sometimes get a LOT of takes in hip hop, so you better be organized with em

Check out this thread too - might be my highest track count yet
^That many tracks is unnecessary. If you wanted, you could separate every note of every bassline, chord, melody, etc into its own track and get REALLY creative in the mix, lol. Its just not necessary and not really logical. 100+ track counts might be common today but doesnt mean its necessary, or good to have. Its not just hip hop that has lower track counts, and not all pop has that high of track counts. Go look at all the classic r&b, rock, and pop records done on 16-24 track recorders. If all those great records could be done under 24 tracks, that shows thats all you need.
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Anywhere from 20 to 70. I usually, unintentionally, keep it around 30-40 though and bounce or comp stuff. Usually that's layered drums, synths, guitars and samples.
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16 - 20 on avg
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Drums
Bass
Guitar
Keys 1
Keys 2
I could get by on 8 tracks total. I rarely go over 16, like ever. Unless I'm recording vocals for a full song. A beat 8-10.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_ View Post
^That many tracks is unnecessary. If you wanted, you could separate every note of every bassline, chord, melody, etc into its own track and get REALLY creative in the mix, lol. Its just not necessary and not really logical. 100+ track counts might be common today but doesnt mean its necessary, or good to have. Its not just hip hop that has lower track counts, and not all pop has that high of track counts. Go look at all the classic r&b, rock, and pop records done on 16-24 track recorders. If all those great records could be done under 24 tracks, that shows thats all you need.
so you'd refuse to mix for someone who hired you to mix a session because it was too big?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
so you'd refuse to mix for someone who hired you to mix a session because it was too big?
That's what i was thinking.

Also - your only using four track recorders right? The Beatles did it, and man were they famous. Why should we advance technique just because we advance technology?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonGherkins View Post
so you'd refuse to mix for someone who hired you to mix a session because it was too big?
I'm not a mix engineer.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoRillo View Post
That's what i was thinking.

Also - your only using four track recorders right? The Beatles did it, and man were they famous. Why should we advance technique just because we advance technology?
Who said I was using only 4 track recorders?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flip_ View Post
Who said I was using only 4 track recorders?
Your post in response to the 100+ tracks was that it is unnecessary. You can boil just about anything down until it's just one microphone recording a whole band down to tape in 1 take if you wanted to. So what really is "necessary"?

Why keep it basic if you don't want to create something basic?

I completely understand you saying 100+ is unnecessary, I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just saying that want and need are two very different things, and I don't see a problem with people pushing the limits of the things we have today. If we can record 100 tracks, why not try it and see if you like it, ya know?
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