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Bump Music
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3rd April 2006
Old 3rd April 2006
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Recalling a mix

I've started building up my outboard gear and plan to buy some more, but I always wondered:

1) How do you recall mixes when using a lot of outboard gear?

2) How long does it take?

3) Is there any easy way around it?

I worked on a record with Brad Haehnel (he mixed Nelly Furtado's first two albums) and he just printed all of his tracks with the outboard effects.

I'd love to mix completely otb but I'd hate to recall a whole session with outboard gear.

Any thoughts?
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3rd April 2006
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I do it all the time. Takes me about 20 minutes, sometimes less. I just write down all my settings while I'm printing mixes and keep them in a folder related to each project.
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3rd April 2006
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I mix in a hybrid approach........In nuendo using some plugs and automation.........then through my Neotek console out to a bunch of hardware comps and EQ,s...........what I have done is make a master sheet for compressors and EQ and FX units...list each unit on the left side leaving a bit of room for info for where it is used.....example smart c2-stereo Buss.........Manley Massive Passive Lead Vox ..........then I draw horizontal lines between each unit so there is plenty of space so there is enough room to write in any preset # and also edit parameter changes........also each master sheet is a different color for comps,EQ or and FX so I know right away where to look should something needs to be changed.
I also have made a layout master sheet for my Neotek console that will show any bussing or eq or routing configuration.....since I leave all my faders at 0 DB because I am automating volume ITB notating most volume and panning is not a issue.
I also have 1 other sheet that I call my Universal Layout sheet which basically tells me at a quick glance what instruments or stems in Nuendo are routed to which outputs on the console.
It takes me about a hour or so to write down all the different settings for my analog gear and console and about 15-20 minutes to do a analog recall on a complex mix........... It sounds like a lot of work but once you take a evening and make your master sheets writing down the info gets pretty easy and will save your ass on a big project! Just last week I had to recall a big mix I did last month in about 20 minutes I had it 95-98% there a few minor tweeks here and there and we were ready to go.(That was a mix it took about 7-8 hours to do)..................Again not as easy as ITB but to my ears well worth it ......I hope this helped.



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3rd April 2006
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I'm always printing outboard tracks. Too risky otherwise.
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3rd April 2006
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I take pics of everything with a digicam and import them into the song folder.
Takes about 10 mins.
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3rd April 2006
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this ones simple, it's 2006 people, PRINT STEMS!
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3rd April 2006
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I just take digital pictures and put them in the folder of the band on the computer.
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3rd April 2006
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But what if you want to change something that's been bounced to a stem?
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3rd April 2006
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During tracking, I have created or found on the web some recall sheets and I just make a note of the setting when I think it's the right one. There are also lots of comments, (mic, etc) and pics of the mic placement.

During mixing, for the outboard its pics with a digital camera, recall sheets from during mixing and lots of comments as well!

The worst thing to recall is usually the patchbay setup.
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3rd April 2006
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what do you do about curvature of the image with the dig pictures? Do you shoot each section of the gear so you get an accurate image?
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toolskid
what do you do about curvature of the image with the dig pictures? Do you shoot each section of the gear so you get an accurate image?
It is more accurate with neately done recall sheets. With dig camera, I shoot the equivalent of 3 or 4 rack units at a time, It's good enough like that...

Anyway, after recalling, it never sounds exatly the same, so...
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aevan
But what if you want to change something that's been bounced to a stem?
I print a lot of stems(seriously, with hip-hop/r&b literally kick and snare stems). You can usually tell somthing that might need it's own stem, and just print it...Seriously, do the normal stems, and when the client comes into approve the mix(before printing) you learn to intuitavely tell what might need to be changed(if you can tell they were questioning the cowbel, print a cowbel stem). sounds extreme but I can't tell you how often this saves your ass, I have my normal stems I print, and then from there on it's a case by case bassis based on what they seem to be questioning and what I think they may want to change later.

I think clients expect you to be able to make reasonable changes for them after the fact these days...which kinda sucks, they got used to engineers printing stems. I also have the assistant document all the outboard gear too just in case, but in the last few years, ALL my recals have been stem recalls...it just seems to be the way the world works now..
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail
I'm always printing outboard tracks. Too risky otherwise.
That`s what I`m going to start doing as well.

Makes sense because if you only need to change a few things you have both the processed and unprocessed tracks there handy to tweak.
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3rd April 2006
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another vote for digital camera

I put a recall folder in each songs' folder, and include a word file of the patching and things and pics of the rack and console. Although it kinda looks a bit tacky, I used a p-touch machine and labelled the channels at the top of the console by the gain knob, so when I take a picture of the gain/line and EQ settings(I usually take pic of fader pos./ channel designations, EQ/gain settings, subgroup settings, a couple of rack) it shows which channel they pertain to. Much easier than those big template pieces of paper and penning all the settings...
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail
I'm always printing outboard tracks. Too risky otherwise.
Does this not mean that your adding another A-D and D-A stage into each channel you process?
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picksail
I'm always printing outboard tracks.
Me too. I'm just tired of taking so much notes, and not letting creativity flow because of all the trouble it brings. I may open several sessions in the same day... Can you imagine what it would be like making so many fine adjustments in the outboard...?! The only thing I sometimes still have some energie for is the mixing desk when working as a summing device...
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by castle
Does this not mean that your adding another A-D and D-A stage into each channel you process?
Yes. So what?
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bump Music
I've started building up my outboard gear and plan to buy some more, but I always wondered:

1) How do you recall mixes when using a lot of outboard gear?


The old stand by way...by hand with sheets.

A digital screen shot is cool but if the gear is far away you can't have it near the gear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bump Music

2) How long does it take?
Depends on how much gear you have or use.

Sometimes and hour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bump Music

3) Is there any easy way around it?

Sure...

Hire and assistant or two.

One documents the settings the other goes back over it and double checks it.

Or you could do what i've been doing lately, use the same gear with similar settings for each mix and just tweak slightly to fit the song.

I don't even pull the patches out unless necessary.
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDN

I think clients expect you to be able to make reasonable changes for them after the fact these days...which kinda sucks, they got used to engineers printing stems.

No its not because of the stems but because of the DAW and the idea where you can recall a mix in an instant.


Everyone has one so in their minds they think if i can recall it at home and make changes why can't the guy in the studio do the same?
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix
I do it all the time. Takes me about 20 minutes, sometimes less. I just write down all my settings while I'm printing mixes and keep them in a folder related to each project.
me too. i created a handy excel spreadsheet and my own kind of 'short hand' that makes recording the settings/moves quick & brainless (which is very handy at 3am). re-calling some mixes can still be challenging, i.e. despite detailed notes, there's a bit of art in quickly turning an aux knob up & down to create a nice reverb tail on just one word or syllable. since the majority of the other studios around here mix itb, i've found it necessary to inform perspective clients that printing a mix here is a real-time, dynamic event - not just a computer rendering/bathroom break exercise, and that in the analog domain, no two mixes are exactly alike.
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marjan
Me too. I'm just tired of taking so much notes, and not letting creativity flow because of all the trouble it brings. ...
I agree.

I feel like a wimp sometimes because it really only takes about 15 minutes for me to write down/recall a session but it`s such a boring pain in the ass compared to the rest of the recording process.

The other thing is no matter how carefully I take the notes the mix allways seems to be screwed up when I recall it. Maybe I just rush through and I`m not accurate enough but I think all those little tiny EQ adjustments add up and when they`re just a bit off it can start to change volumes fairly quickly.
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I have a master recall sheet that is for whats on the console, and the patches and sends. I have individual sheets for all the compressors and eqs. The fx settings also go on my master sheet. I can get a really high track and input mix back in under 2 hours.
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3rd April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinc
I agree.

I feel like a wimp sometimes because it really only takes about 15 minutes for me to write down/recall a session but it`s such a boring pain in the ass compared to the rest of the recording process.

Worse than reprinting tracks ? I can document the whole mix while printing the various mix versions. Maybe 15-20 minutes versus reprinting 20-30 tracks of outboard on a 4 minute song. It's a no brainer for me. Not to mention my creativity would just halt if I had to reprint every outboard track, plus the extra conversions, and then the extra stem B.S.

No thanks, I'll do it old school and still get done quicker.
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4th April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thethrillfactor
Or you could do what i've been doing lately, use the same gear with similar settings for each mix and just tweak slightly to fit the song.

I don't even pull the patches out unless necessary.

I think I like this idea best. It doesn't have the flexibility, but I'm a lazy s.o.b. Plus, I think it'll be awhile longer before I go COMPLETELY otb. Plugins will be used - for now.

Thanks for all your help
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4th April 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmix
Worse than reprinting tracks ? I can document the whole mix while printing the various mix versions. Maybe 15-20 minutes versus reprinting 20-30 tracks of outboard on a 4 minute song. It's a no brainer for me. Not to mention my creativity would just halt if I had to reprint every outboard track, plus the extra conversions, and then the extra stem B.S.

Yeah that is true.

One thing I did once that worked pretty well was to simply take a sample of a guitar solo that the artist thought was a little low and line it up correctly in the DAW next to the stereo mix so I could make it just a little louder without altering anything else. (idea curtousey of Nutmeg) If I had to do ten instruements like that it`d be ridiculous and I`d have to do the whole mix over but for just an instrument or 2 that gets buried it works fine. Just a little volume boost that didn`t really effect the overall sound of the solo that much.
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27th May 2006
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i like to create my own reality wherever possible, so i have a very simple and straightforward contract with clients: when we agree the mix is final, there is no turning back. the console gets zero'd, the comps get zero'd, the moment has been crystallized, the next song gets pulled up.

i also have a single revision limit. it's never been a problem, as often as not they're thrilled with the first mix i send them. any changes requested tend to be minor, reflections of personal taste.

i always have bands select one or two songs by other artists that they feel are of a similar vibe and character to what they want from the tune we're working on, and listen to them in advance. this gives me a concrete path to start down, and seems to eliminate the 'same planet different worlds' syndrome.


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29th May 2006
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I'm lucky enough (or unlucky enough?) to work on one project at a time, and I also try to keep a consistent track layout for a whole project so I'm not having to re-invent the whole mix for every song. If I can't do this then I patch things around so the console layout stays the same. If I need to do something else then I'll use the return side of the board for some quick tracking or mixing if I need, and use outboard pres, but leave the main side of the board set up for my 'main' project. That being said, I write down all of the settings after the first song, then again, after about the third or fourth song, and also write down any changes from song to song. Sometimes I have notes like 'set comp 1 for 15dB gr at 1:34 on ld vox' or something like that so it's not always just a setting, usually on stuff that I tweak for sound.
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29th May 2006
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a good assistant, who takes METICULOUS notes.

takes about an hour to reset all the outboard and a 32-40 input desk.

and really takes about that long to write it all up, as well.
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