How many of you still use a click to track?
#121
16th February 2012
Old 16th February 2012
  #121
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Quote:
Originally Posted by js1 View Post
I guess I don't get it....

When you record good bands together, don't you select takes based on which one FEELS the best?

And you're saying that the feel of a good band is the same with a click as playing without the click? That the subtle tempo breathing is something that a good band wants to avoid?

That Sly, Funkadelic, Funk Brothers, and Tower of Power would have been better with a click?

The click is a feel. A hot band playing without a click is a different feel.

One guy's opinion.

js
Most of the songs on "There's a Riot Goin On" had a rhythm ace drum machine laid down first. So you have Sly and the band playing to a click track on that whole record. And yet it still feels loose and funky.

A good number of Parliament and Funkadelic songs were played to click tracks. I DJ, and a lot of these songs align perfectly with absolutely no work on my part.
#122
16th February 2012
Old 16th February 2012
  #122
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Showcase's Avatar
 

I think its pretty much 50/50 here... make a drum/bas take (maybe some trash guitar/song etc) with and without click, LISTEN and compare, still not sure, same procedure again until you see whatever the band will benefit from,
How hard can it be?

And if you dont have the time to waste any time on this, I suggest go with the click so you can cut and paste aswell!

It just doesnt make any sense to me saying this and that was recording with click and that was not!
#123
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #123
Gear interested
 

Drumming to click is a skill that has to be learned. If the drummer is unable / uncomfortable playing to metronome, it is often better to skip it. There are few things that need to be practiced:

1. "Not listening" to the click while playing to it, but listening to the music.
2. Not changing the groove while playing to click
3. Gradually and carefully re-syncing after rushing or lagging (this may or may not be done on purpose, but the method is the same). It's easy to almost unnoticeably go slightly out of sync but it takes some skill to be able to go back without creating "skips".
4. Not distorting original dynamics of the grove (for example, the drummer could subconsciously put accents on the click notes, where they were absent without the click)

If the drummer can't play like that, there are 2 ways to go:
1. Send him back to the practice room, tell him how and what to learn and ask to come back in a few weeks.
2. Do not use the click and inform the band about the post recording editing limitations (inability to cut&paste, difficulty syncing oscillating effects and delays, etc)

In addition to the above, some songs are composed the way they require some unusual or frequent tempo changes and in that case it doesn't make much sense to program a tempo track for them.

And of course, click doesn't kill the groove, the drummers sometimes do.
#124
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #124
Gear nut
 

clicks make things sound so much tighter, cant be beat imo
#125
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejvazquez View Post
clicks make things sound so much tighter, cant be beat imo
As long as the drummer can play to click. For example, I've heard this 1000 times: the guy goes slightly out of sync, and when he realizes that, he makes a sharp correction. Almost like driving on the highway, and pulling slowly towards the shoulder, and then making a sharp correction. Very unpleasant experience for all passengers
#126
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #126
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ears2thesky's Avatar
I think drum editing has more to do with the robotic feel of much contemporary commercial output. Whether or not a tempo reference was used in the tracking phase seems less relevant to the finished product's feel than editing the performance after the fact.

IMHO, that is.
js1
#127
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #127
js1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdsowa View Post
Most of the songs on "There's a Riot Goin On" had a rhythm ace drum machine laid down first. So you have Sly and the band playing to a click track on that whole record. And yet it still feels loose and funky.

A good number of Parliament and Funkadelic songs were played to click tracks. I DJ, and a lot of these songs align perfectly with absolutely no work on my part.
Well, I much prefer the feel (and the songs) of Stand, where a click track wasn't used. The absolute joy of the band comes through.

As far as Parliament/Funkadelic - I've haven't been able to find any evidence that they recorded to a click on their classic stuff. Not saying that they didn't, but could you point me to something?

js
#128
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Roddey View Post
You can check it by importing it into the DAW and finding the tempo and seeing if it lines up.
I was just working on the Ray Charles tune "I don't need no Doctor". I imported it into the DAW to use as a guide so I could set up my own practice tracks. It was right on the tempo right up until the bridge part and then speed up a tiny little bit. Weird, it was like it was done to a click, but obviously it wasn't. Of course, that was Ray Charles' band.
#129
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #129
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saltydog2012's Avatar
 

a good drummer knows how to 'sit back' on the beat, 'push' the beat, or 'sit right in the pocket'. a good drummer can use the click as a reference to determine the 'feel'. a bad drummer needs it to stay on time...
#130
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #130
Quote:
Originally Posted by ripgtr View Post
I was just working on the Ray Charles tune "I don't need no Doctor". I imported it into the DAW to use as a guide so I could set up my own practice tracks. It was right on the tempo right up until the bridge part and then speed up a tiny little bit. Weird, it was like it was done to a click, but obviously it wasn't. Of course, that was Ray Charles' band.
It could just be a splice, where they used the second half from another take.
#131
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #131
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Salty James's Avatar
I think it greatly depends on the material.
Rigid beat/marching tunes need it.
Mediocre rock bands need it. Great ones DON'T (and NO, Rush is not Great -theyre good though.) Does anyone think AC/DC or Led Zep would have been improved with a click!?
Folk acoustic music goes both ways. It depends ON THE SONG!!
Is it helping? Or is it taking away subtle movement?

But approaching it with, "clicks always need to used" even if adding the phrase, "wherever possible" is deterministic and simply uptight. If you got guys that can play well to a click then you've got guys that prolly got pretty darn good time. Let em groove. Turn the click OFF!!

To push music onto a grid is very unnatural and I am convinced will largely go away. It greatly losses a very large part of the emotion.

I recorded a singer piano player whos time would drift over about 3-8 BPM (I noticed this immediately) BUT everyone -everyone that heard her material was reduced to stunned silence and very often tears. Her timing pulls was something she used (unconsciously) to create incredible emotion.

Now , before I track I examine a raw take of the music and try to line it up/take a real good look at where the feeling is coming from time wise. Every time (If I really listen) I see/feel very important things happening timing wise.

Time
Touch
Tone

I want all 3. Clicks most often (if you really examine a raw track) will remove the REAL time of the writers intent.

Of course, I always use a click though because it make copying and pasting my parts around SOO much easier. SO don't think I am some snob here..
#132
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #132
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shatz's Avatar
Beethoven used a metronome. I think if a drummer can play to it then it should be used. If he can't then the obvious is to take it off. It's easy to groove on time, ahead or behind the click. The click just sets the tempo. Once you're on it you can't even hear the click anymore, it completely disappears.
#133
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #133
Gear maniac
 

Surely if the drummer is worth his salt he could not play to a click, yet his track would perfectly align to a click grid if analyzed?

Drummers should have such good timing that they can stare at the second hand of a clock, then not look at that clock (or any clock) anymore and tell you exactly what the time is 20 minutes later - down to the second. It's basic musicianship - innate drumming timekeeping talent. All drummers should have it, but sadly they don't seem to nowadays.
#134
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #134
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NYCruiser's Avatar
All musicians should be practicing to a metronome. This is music 101. This is where that "innate drumming timekeeping talent" is developed. It doesn't just happen. And, drummers aren't the only ones that should have solid time. The entire band should have this "innate timekeeping talent". There are no shortcuts to developing it.

I won't record a band without a click. Period. Ultimately, it is my responsibility as the tracking engineer/producer to decide when I have a take from a player for the project. Nothing worse than having to go back and "fix" a drum track, or try to re-record one, after everyone else tracks because a timing error is stopping the track from popping.

It's amazing how many problems I find with musician's that think they're great until the click comes in (LOL!). It's not about ease of editing for me. Its about the quality of the finished product. Time drift of a rhythm section can just destroy an otherwise great recording. Drifting time will suck the life out of a groove a lot worse than an amateur musician struggling with a click. I'm not talking about creative behind/ahead of the beat feel stuff. I'm talking about a drummer losing track of where the "one" is. If the player can't play around a click track, they aren't ready to record and are wasting their money. I will actually explain that to them and offer to let them re-schedule the session instead of running up studio charges practicing.

If a band wants to record an album with me, and not play all together, I usually start by getting the drum tracks for the songs. Bass/guitar direct in for reference so the drummer isn't playing alone. Gotta get that musician interaction into the drum takes. Click track in all of their headphones. I won't let the band proceed with the project until I have a set of drum tracks that are in time. Then I scratch the direct bass/guitar and proceed with tracking the other instruments using the in-time drum tracks.

Really would make me wonder why a band would request "no click track". Like, what are they telling me. I have worked with some players that have stellar time, but none of the really great players have ever had any issue with a click track running. Seems like those are the players that like to have it there the most so they can really get out there and still know where the time is.
#135
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #135
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craigdouglas's Avatar
 

I use a click everytime. Music usually does sound better played in time
#136
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #136
Gear Head
 

I try to avoid them when possible, sometimes they are more trouble than they are worth, sometimes they are a PITA, sometimes they are necessary.. Every situation/song/act is different
#137
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #137
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olliejohn's Avatar
 

I personally think that this argument is a little redundant as we all record different styles of music and a click is far more suitable for some than others.

I know that if I put a click on for my clients (mainly blues and soul acts), most of them would leave the studio and never come back again, but someone who works in a more modern studio than my own would possibly get the same reaction if they refused to put on a click.

Just my $0.02
#138
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #138
Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
Surely if the drummer is worth his salt he could not play to a click, yet his track would perfectly align to a click grid if analyzed?

Drummers should have such good timing that they can stare at the second hand of a clock, then not look at that clock (or any clock) anymore and tell you exactly what the time is 20 minutes later - down to the second. It's basic musicianship - innate drumming timekeeping talent. All drummers should have it, but sadly they don't seem to nowadays.
No, drummers are actually human beings and NO human has perfect time. However a good drummer should have consistent time, and consistency in his playing. There are times when a click should be there and times when it shouldn't. We as engineers have to deal with that either way and capture the best performance we can
#139
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #139
Gear interested
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ears2thesky View Post
I think drum editing has more to do with the robotic feel of much contemporary commercial output. Whether or not a tempo reference was used in the tracking phase seems less relevant to the finished product's feel than editing the performance after the fact.

IMHO, that is.
This is absolutely true.
#140
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #140
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post
Drummers should have such good timing that they can stare at the second hand of a clock, then not look at that clock (or any clock) anymore and tell you exactly what the time is 20 minutes later - down to the second.
I assume you are exaggerating for effect. If you are not, I think you need to provide an introduction to the human being that can do this, if you expect anyone to take you seriously.
#141
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #141
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Salty James's Avatar
ok ma yb ep ut ti ng ev er yt hi ng on ag ri dd oe ss ou nd be tt er .I me an wh oa re th es eh um an sa ny wa yt ha tt he ir fe el in gs sh ou ld ma tt er .I sa yw ed oa wa yw it ht he m.

-t he gr id
#142
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #142
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Tom Higgins's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
ok ma yb ep ut ti ng ev er yt hi ng on ag ri dd oe ss ou nd be tt er .I me an wh oa re th es eh um an sa ny wa yt ha tt he ir fe el in gs sh ou ld ma tt er .I sa yw ed oa wa yw it ht he m.

-t he gr id
What a great post!
#143
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #143
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olliejohn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
ok ma yb ep ut ti ng ev er yt hi ng on ag ri dd oe ss ou nd be tt er .I me an wh oa re th es eh um an sa ny wa yt ha tt he ir fe el in gs sh ou ld ma tt er .I sa yw ed oa wa yw it ht he m.

-t he gr id
That made my day
#144
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #144
My approach to clicks is; if the drummer can play to a click, we don't need one. If the drummer can't play to a click we need one, which will involve lots of preproduction rehearsals with a click.
#145
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #145
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initialsBB's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Salty James View Post
ok ma yb ep ut ti ng ev er yt hi ng on ag ri dd oe ss ou nd be tt er .I me an wh oa re th es eh um an sa ny wa yt ha tt he ir fe el in gs sh ou ld ma tt er .I sa yw ed oa wa yw it ht he m.

-t he gr id
I think you have that backwards. What you typed is without "the grid" and proper spacing, capitalization, spelling and punctuation are the equivalent of the grid.
#146
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #146
Gear maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by krizzz View Post
This is absolutely true.
Concurred. Whether I use one or not depends entirely on the band. The band I actually play in, we use one, even live- we have programmed electronics and stuff that needs to sync up. Our drummer actually insists on the click even for songs without sequences where he triggers all the electronic stuff live.

Having done all the comps/edits for our recorded material, I only moved a handful of hits to keep them from flamming against the drum machine track when applicable- added after the drum tracking- and we got comments for the juxtaposition of organic sounds and live drumming against the electronics. He's pretty well dead-nuts on to the click anyhow. And he's far from the only one I know. Hell, my studio collaborator is a fine drummer in his own right- mostly metal stuff- and I've tracked his projects a bunch of times and he's right on with the click with 16th note doubles for solid several minute chunks of song at a time. There's no point in editing guys like that; you pick a take and move on. Editing for the sake of editing is silly.

I use one more often than not, and always with my own stuff (though if I'm tracking myself without live drums I'll use programmed drums; I can't play to a click worth a damn- something about the sound of it. I need the kick and snare to get the groove right.) but it's never something I'd insist on. I ask people if they're comfortable with one or if they'd want one- if it's not totally obviously inappropriate.
#147
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #147
If the drummer can't play to a click, that is fine, let me just remove all these tom drums real quick.
#148
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #148
On the Beethoven playing to a click thing, clearly all musicians should *practice* to a metronome obviously. You want to develop a solid time sense. But, in theory, the purpose of developing a time sense is so that you can be flexible with time when you actually play, without it being a mess. I doubt very seriously, had recording technology existed at the time, that Mr. B would have used a metronome to record. And I doubt his performances drifted aimlessly tempo-wise when he played live.
#149
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #149
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steelyfan's Avatar
 

As someone who plays a few instruments, playing to a click is helpful. But the sound of a click drives me batty, so I usually start with a nice electronic drum sound from a synth/beat machine. After laying down bass, guitar, etc., I'll then go back and bring down the sound of the synth beat and play to the tune with real drums. This lets me respond to the music in a .... well, a musical way. I can spot music where the drums where tracked first (to a click) and then the band plays over it a mile away, it sounds sorta fake. Pop music I speak of, sounds fine for electronic material.

However, some of the most interesting grooves/feels I've managed to record have been me playing drums without a click, and then trying to swing with it on the other instruments multi tracking. I love the results, but if you put a click to it.... would be humorous at best. But you never notice that anything is out of place, everything seems to flow together.

steelyfan
#150
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
  #150
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Drumsound's Avatar
 

I tracked a solo acoustic and voice to a click this weekend because we're using those tracks as a guide to build on. Those parts with be rerecorded later. I've had to add instruments to things tracked like that before and it's not fun.
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