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Clicktrack, how do you guys deal with it? Drum Machines & Samplers
Old 29th May 2006
  #1
Clicktrack, how do you guys deal with it?

simple question:

if the band cant provide a clicktrack, what are your steps to get one, program one?

Ive had a band in, with up to 4 tempochanges for one song.. and they didnt HAD a clicktrack so I was f*****

any help appreciated.
Old 29th May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I don't think click tracks are a must. What sucks about them is that drummers that play best to them already have the best time and you may be messing with their feel. Bonham didn't use one for sure (he had better feel than time). Drummers with bad time chase it which kind of defeats a lot of the purpose becuase you still hear time fluctuation. I do like that it keeps songs from slowing down though. That's the worst. Multi-tempo click tracks are not really worth the effort unless you've got tons of time. You can do them in Nuendo relatively easy but getting them to feel right is another story. Another thing you can do is actually have the click chase the music.
Old 29th May 2006
  #3
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Achim L's Avatar
 

Assuming the tempo changes make any musical sense

I record the parts on its own. Always with 4 bars of the part before and after on the new tempo. Then cut the parts together. Be careful with cymbal hits, drummers tend to play different cymbals when you split it up like this.

Hope this helps
Achim
Old 29th May 2006
  #4
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Mark O's Avatar
 

I use a click plugin in pro tools,
grid to tempo,
add/program tempo changes on the timeline where they cue,
give them a 4 or 2 bar count in,
record it to an audio track if they need to do a few takes,
or copy the changes in sequence on the timeline.

easy done... if theyre good enough there shouldn be any problems... but it might take a few goes..

ali's also on the right track, just do the changes separate, then crossfade them together...
Old 29th May 2006
  #5
SK1
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SK1's Avatar
 

If at all possible I like to address the click track in pre-production, rather than risk it being a session downer.

The tempo map in logic is super ez ( tempo, time sig, )... so I don't mind making one for the band. I like them to at least hand me the structure.

I like to know before hand if they'll be able to pull it off .... the clients skill with a click ( or lack of ) changes how I approach the session.

I've heard so many people blabbing about a click ..... "ruins my feel" ..... blah blah blah .... they're FOS .... couldn't play to a click to save they're lives .....

Playing to a click should be a CHOICE ..... if they can't play to one there really isn't a choice.
But I'll take the $$$.
Old 29th May 2006
  #6
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doorknocker's Avatar
I use a Boss DR-770 drum machine that's started via MIDI by Pro Tools (my only MIDI use). So the talent's got the choice between all kinds of percussion sounds/patterns, though I must say that COWBELL is by far the most popular.

I don't think that click tracks are always necessary but as a 'modern' musician you absolutely need to be able to play to a click without being inhibited by it. I learned this quite early by seting a metronome to 2 + 4 and practicing along to that. It's amazing how many musicians don't understand this simple concept.

I can tune my own guitar but I still will use a tuner, it's the same with click tracks.

But in the end the question is how the recording is gonna evolve eventually. If it's an acoustic thing, live band with just vocals being added later,etc then I wouldn't use a click unless the band's timing is really lacking.

But for 'regular' rock/pop stuff, where you'll add tons of overdubs, it's really a no-brainer for me to use a click track. I often record stuff where a songwriter lays down a basic track all by himself and though it might sound 'organic', it can be a nightmare for musicians to play along to a even marginally unsteady track eventually.
Old 29th May 2006
  #7
thanx guys,

I am talking about "amateur and semipro"-bands.. and we are talking about metal (black and speedmetal).. so I think its important

thanx for the tips so far.. I am a bit confused by the clickprogramming in Nuendo but will have another RTFM-time.

cheers
Old 29th May 2006
  #8
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tamasdragon's Avatar
 

Click programming in nuendo is one of the simpliest things in lifeheh
You can make a tempo track, where you can change the tempo as many times as you want, and the clik will follow.
Regards Tamas Dragon
Old 29th May 2006
  #9
Gear Head
 
Achim L's Avatar
 

no clue about Nuendo.
In ProTools just throw your cowbell sample (or whatever you prefer) on the grid. Make 4 beats and repeat them. If you want subdivisions, duplicate the track and nudge the track a 8th note back, adjust the volume. Ready.

Achim
Old 29th May 2006
  #10
Quote:
Click programming in nuendo is one of the simpliest things in life
You can make a tempo track, where you can change the tempo as many times as you want, and the clik will follow.
Regards Tamas Dragon
thanx I didnt write down I'm smart.. I just wanted to program click-tracks

will check it!

cheers
Old 29th May 2006
  #11
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Rufuss Sewell's Avatar
I love clicks :)

I pretty much insist that bands record to a click nowadays. I've recorded around 100 bands now and 90% of them were to a click. I've had a lot of drummers bitch about it, but never had a drummer who couldn't do it. All of those who did use a click thanked me afterward for forcing it on them. Most of those who didn't really wished they did after they hear the tracks. Maybe Led Zeppelin and Tool sound better without a click, but the kind of bands I record generally don't have that skill.

So here's my formula:

The band comes in for a day specifically to make the click/scratch tracks.

An sm58 for the vocalist, bass direct, guitar direct into NI Guitar Rig 2 with a real distortion stomp box to switch between clean and dirty.

For each song I have the band play the song with the drummer clicking his sticks for the tempo. I get a tap tempo from the song and map it out counting the measures. Typically the whole song will have one tempo and one main beat.

Then I program that beat with DFHS and loop it.

The band plays their song all the way through, making sure the tempo feels right. I record it so that the drummer can play to those tracks during his session.

I use Logic for tracking. Dealing with tempo changes in Logic is really easy. So if there is a tempo change I program the new loop and have the band punch in at the change.

Often I'll add a tempo fade with the proper curve to allow the song to glide up to the next tempo over a bar or so rather than just having the new tempo abruptly come in.

Side note: {Before I got Logic, I used to record with a Roland VS-2480 hardware multitrack. It didn't have a sequencer at all so I did the same thing but used my Kurzweil K2600's sequencer. It worked the same way though. I just had to record the click in as an audio track, which was a bitch if they decided to change a tempo.}

Since the backing tracks were recorded to a beat, they're generally in good time. Then I turn off the beat, turn on the click in Logic and burn a CD with the click really loud.

I make sure this session is a few days before the tracking of the drums so that the drummer can take the CD home and practice with headphones. If I talk with the band and the drummer is a little worried about recording to a click, I'll make it a couple of weeks before the drum session.

By the time the drummer has a few whacks at it at home he's usually not intimidated in the least by the click. In fact it always makes them feel more comfortable being that they've had a chance to practice and know exactly what they're going to be playing to.

Recording a band live is not my thing. I like to focus on each instrument one at a time. I've been in prog rawk bands my whole life with 15 minute long songs that rarely stay in a meter or tempo for more than a few bars. I've made so many of my own crazy click tracks that programming a few tempo changes is like playing Mary Had a Little Lamb.

I can't imagine recording the different tempos all separately and pasting them together sounds very natural. Often times a band will build into a tempo change. Get off your butt and program the sucker. It ain't hard.
Old 29th May 2006
  #12
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superburtm's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali48343
Assuming the tempo changes make any musical sense

I record the parts on its own. Always with 4 bars of the part before and after on the new tempo. Then cut the parts together. Be careful with cymbal hits, drummers tend to play different cymbals when you split it up like this.

Hope this helps
Achim

Hey very good info! Thanks. THis is applicable to a project I'm about to begin.
Old 29th May 2006
  #13
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Achim L's Avatar
 

Old 29th May 2006
  #14
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Rednose's Avatar
Its called tempo mapping.
any daw with midi can do it.
Generally, try to slope the tempo a bar before the change so its not so abrupt.
Old 29th May 2006
  #15
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lofi's Avatar
 

Quote:
Generally, try to slope the tempo a bar before the change so its not so abrupt.
...or if you want that "abrupt" feeling then edit that part on the spot so the drummer can hear how should that tempo change "feel" and force him to play it again with "a mechanical cyborg" feel heh
Old 29th May 2006
  #16
Smile Direct input of Click a real winner!.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuntz
I don't think click tracks are a must. What sucks about them is that drummers that play best to them already have the best time and you may be messing with their feel. Bonham didn't use one for sure (he had better feel than time). Drummers with bad time chase it which kind of defeats a lot of the purpose becuase you still hear time fluctuation. I do like that it keeps songs from slowing down though. That's the worst. Multi-tempo click tracks are not really worth the effort unless you've got tons of time. You can do them in Nuendo relatively easy but getting them to feel right is another story. Another thing you can do is actually have the click chase the music.
Click follow is a real problem as some drummers are obviously deaf!. A good get around is to use those little high voltage exercise pad thingys attach them with gaffa to the drummers temples and with a soldering iron and an old Kenton
midi to CV and gate kit, a good fast high voltage relay can be wired into the gate
socket. Power the relay from an old EHT generator from a TV set. Voila you now have a reliable way of getting a death metal drummer to respond to click. Beyond this simple mod you can get four kenton kits and have the four relays wired to pads attached directly to the death metal drummers arms and legs then you can after setting up four midi channels, programme the drums. Key mapping won't work as with gate any note triggers it. I am amazed the Swiss did not think of this first, what with their interest in clockwork automatons etc.
Regards.•:*¨¨*:•. ¸¸.•´¯`•.Mark Fairfax-Harwood, Engineer Springvale Studios
PS Drummers feel no pain you know.
Old 29th May 2006
  #17
drummer from band XY:
"hei, the studio guy George was very cool, he attached electricity on my body and I was able to feel the pulse of the music!!.. he rocks!"

nono.. no option for me
Old 30th May 2006
  #18
Gear Head
 

Pre-production.
Old 30th May 2006
  #19
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The Reel Thing's Avatar
 

I try to prepare clicks, tempi, tempo changes and all in pre production. But still I'll have an AKAI MPC60 running on SMPTE during the sessions. It's sync is rock solid, and it's got tap tempo. I'll have different click sounds (sticks, cowbells etc.) loaded, depending on what the drummer might prefer for a particular song.
So if the band wants to try something different or I feel a song needs to be faster or slower, it's a matter of un-muting a channel to be able to do that.

The other good thing is, if the band jams and they do a riff or something and it feels good, I'll just tap a couple of times and will later be able to tell them at which speed it felt right.

Some bands and some songs don't need a click, some demand to be recorded without one. But it's nice to have one at the ready, be it for just the first 4 bars or be it for the drummer's feeling safe in that he can always say 'nah, better switch the click on' and not have it take an hour.

Clickclickclick,

Tom
Old 30th May 2006
  #20
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

How do I deal with a click track? I don't. I hate the friggin things, and I'm sick of listening to music that has been cut to a click, even if the musicians are good at playing with one. IMO, music was not meant to be played at exactly the same tempo throughout the whole song and you can't calculate ahead of time at which points the tempo should slightly increase or decrease to let the music "breathe." It's like trying to program ahead of time how you're going to have sex. :D It's something that just has to happen instinctively and if the musicians are good and the vibe is there, it will happen. And if the musicians suck, they won't be able to follow a click very well anyhow.

Yeah there are specific songs and such where it works but overall I'm ****ing sick of the things and I would NEVER insist that a band use one. I'll provide it if requested. If all you're trying to accomplish is making it easier to edit tracks (a whole other can of worms), with tools like Beat Detective you can use it to create a tempo map after the fact, based on what the drummer actually played, instead of lining up the drums with the click. Let the humans run the show instead of machines, now there's an idea.
Old 30th May 2006
  #21
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Slaytex's Avatar
 

I use Nuendo and "Groove Agent" as my click track. I sit down with the band and in about 5 min. I can lock the song tempo into the transport bar and also adjust for tempo changes in the tempo map. Groove agent locks to Nuendo's tempo and the guitar players love it as they feel they get to play along with a real drummer instead of a beep. I actually record drums last this way, and get great results.
Old 30th May 2006
  #22
Guest
Guest
Quote:
am talking about "amateur and semipro"-bands.. and we are talking about metal (black and speedmetal).. so I think its important
Good luck! If they are not used to it, the music WILL suffer. Period.
It is important, but not as important as the song itself. Be careful with this.
If the drummer is up for trying it let him. If it is the first time the band has done this track it both ways and listen. There are plenty of iffy tempo songs in the world that are great.


Quote:
I pretty much insist that bands record to a click nowadays.
Wow! I tried this for a while back in my militant days. I found for the most part it wastes tons of time and makes drummers feel bad. In turn, ruining and vibe and detracting from the song. Tuning (drums included) is about the only thing I still get hard about.


Personally as a drummer, even though I am able to follow a click, I find it to be a vibe sucker. I prefer to get some basics (tracked to a click) like grt, vox, and bass track. This can all be done quick and in the CR direct. Then blend this with a little click and you have a choice track to follow that will not kill the feel of the song.

Also, always record your click to a track.



Good luck!


D
Old 30th May 2006
  #23
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpasch
Personally as a drummer, even though I am able to follow a click, I find it to be a vibe sucker. I prefer to get some basics (tracked to a click) like grt, vox, and bass track. This can all be done quick and in the CR direct. Then blend this with a little click and you have a choice track to follow that will not kill the feel of the song.
Actually, I still think it kills the feel, simply because no matter what, the musicians have to follow the click. I don't know who came up with the idea that music has to follow tempo absolutely rigidly, but IMO, it's a dumb idea. Imagine telling a singer or guitarist that every note must be sung or played exactly on pitch and no bends were allowed, unless they were programmed in ahead of time. That's about how much sense a click makes to me.
Old 30th May 2006
  #24
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mtstudios@charter's Avatar
 

I buy music that was recorded to clicks and music that was not. It has no bearing on whether or not I like it. I record drummers to clicks if they sound good playing to one, if they don't I loose the click. Some songs or genres don't sound right with a click. If a click is the way to go, I send Midi Beat Clock from Pro Tools to a SR-16 and choose the sound and the type of click that works for the drummer. Sometimes I do gradual tempo changes. It is just that simple.

www.bluethumbproductions.com
Old 30th May 2006
  #25
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doorknocker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lflier
I don't know who came up with the idea that music has to follow tempo absolutely rigidly, but IMO, it's a dumb idea. Imagine telling a singer or guitarist that every note must be sung or played exactly on pitch and no bends were allowed, unless they were programmed in ahead of time. That's about how much sense a click makes to me.
With all due respect, but this is total BS. Playing to (not following) a click DOESN'T mean 'stiffness' or 'lack of feel'. Groove can only happen when the small details like playing slightly behind or in front of the beat are 'referenced' to a rigid timeline. Same with swing, it swings because it 'plays' with the straight time. The straighter the time, the better that distinction is hearable.

Sure, a great drummer/musician might be able to do this without a click but more often than not, SOMETHING played to a click will help.
It was Tony Williams who said 'the most swinging time is metronomic' and I absolutely agree!

I favour the method mentioned in a post above. A guide track, often an acoustic guitar in my case, is played to a click and the rhythm section will play to that. So they have the choice of hearing just the guitar (trhat was recorded to the click) or the guitar along with the click. In most cases, especially the drummers prefer hearing the click.

Sure, doing it this way isn't always possible but I got real good results with it and often was able to talk a band into doing it that way.
Old 30th May 2006
  #26
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
With all due respect, this is total BS. Playing to (not following) a click DOESN'T mean 'stiffness' or 'lack of feel'.
But if you play to a click you really have no choice but to "follow" it. Sure you can do subdivisions in front of or behind the click and that helps, but you're still locked into the tempo of the click. There are some songs on which that's the way to go but IMO there are many, many more songs cut to a click than are best served by having a rigid tempo.

Quote:
Groove can only happen when the small details like playing slightly behind or in front of the beat are 'referenced' to a rigid timeline.
Totally disagree. And try telling that to a jazz or blues band. Or try pulling up a James Brown record in a DAW and see how far the tempo varies. I could go on and on with how many classic rock and R&B records are considered to have the ultimate groove and yet have tempo variances.

Quote:
Sure, a great drummer/musician might be able to do this without a click but more often than not, SOMETHING played to a click will help.
It was Tony Williams who said 'the most swinging time is metronomic' and I absolutely agree!
Well, again this is a matter of opinion and I have to totally disagree with all the above.
Old 30th May 2006
  #27
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crypticglobe's Avatar
Yup... this is crazy easy in Nuendo. Just be sure "tempo"button is on in the transport... then the project will follow the tempo track. To edit the tempo track... just ctrl-click on the "tempo" button. It will pop up. Just use standard editing tools to change tempo where you like. Super cool.
Old 30th May 2006
  #28
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker
With all due respect, but this is total BS. Playing to (not following) a click DOESN'T mean 'stiffness' or 'lack of feel'. Groove can only happen when the small details like playing slightly behind or in front of the beat are 'referenced' to a rigid timeline. Same with swing, it swings because it 'plays' with the straight time. The straighter the time, the better that distinction is hearable.

Sure, a great drummer/musician might be able to do this without a click but more often than not, SOMETHING played to a click will help.
It was Tony Williams who said 'the most swinging time is metronomic' and I absolutely agree!

I favour the method mentioned in a post above. A guide track, often an acoustic guitar in my case, is played to a click and the rhythm section will play to that. So they have the choice of hearing just the guitar (trhat was recorded to the click) or the guitar along with the click. In most cases, especially the drummers prefer hearing the click.

Sure, doing it this way isn't always possible but I got real good results with it and often was able to talk a band into doing it that way.
i totally agree!
Old 30th May 2006
  #29
500 series nutjob
 
pan60's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lflier

Totally disagree. And try telling that to a jazz or blues band. Or try pulling up a James Brown record in a DAW and see how far the tempo varies. I could go on and on with how many classic rock and R&B records are considered to have the ultimate groove and yet have tempo variances.
any good jazz or blues player i have every seen needed a solid drummer to get the feel or groove happening.
a good solid drummer can swing but the since of time is still present, if not it would sound like bad timing.

swing is not an excuse for bad timing!
Old 30th May 2006
  #30
Riffer
 
lflier's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pan60
any good jazz or blues player i have every seen needed a solid drummer to get the feel or groove happening.
a good solid drummer can swing but the since of time is still present, if not it would sound like bad timing.

swing is not an excuse for bad timing!
Totally agree, and I can't stand working with drummers who have just plain bad timing.

That has nothing to do with what I'm talking about, though. Just because a drummer (or any musician) doesn't play a song with the exact same tempo all the way through, that isn't the same thing as having bad time. Like I said... you can try to put up a James Brown record on a grid and you'll find it varies quite a lot. Yet no one's going to say his band had bad time or didn't have a solid groove.

Subtle fluctuations in tempo are NOT the same thing as bad time and in fact are very often a good thing, that is my point.
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