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Multi-track Fundamentals
Old 19th November 2009
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Multi-track Fundamentals

Hello everyone,

I am a lifelong musician, recently getting into bedroom production. I started getting into studio style recording simply in the interest of improving my 2 track field recordings. I like to record bands that allow audience taping, and the raw results usually leave a lot to be desired. So I started reading up on compressers & limiters etc, and next thing I know I am head over heels into the post-production aspect of field recording. I started using CoolEditPro>Adobe Auditionk, and recently taught myself Ableton Live, which has opened a lot of new worlds for me, specifically MIDI, and quick & easy cut/copy/paste based arranging. I love it so far.

I have in the past produced a couple of very basic tracks for friends, ie just vocals & guitar, and I think they've sounded OK.

So another friend has asked me about recording a more in depth demo, which I am planning on building a track at a time, guitars>vocals>bass>lead guitars>drums. This is partly based on band member schedules, and party based on the fact that I'd like to do most of the tracking (outside the drums) in my bedroom studio, then go to the bands rehearsal space to track the drums last, hopefully once the song is 90% complete on all the other parts.

So I could absolutely hack this thing together with the knowledge I have, and it probably would not sound god awful. But I'm looking for a sort of fundamental roadmap to recording like this. Key things to watch for, maybe where you'd typically place compressers for tracking, would I be better off using my SD Schoeps for vocals or my LD B3, even though it's 1/20 the cost of the Schoeps. What should I track in mono, and what should I track in stereo? Where should the levels average so that I don't blow them out once I mix it down to a stereo track?

Oh yeah, the band will consist of:

1. Lead Vocals
2. Rhythm guitar
3. Background vocals (x2)
4. Lead Guitar
5. Bass
6. Drums
(Possibly 7. Keys)

I know that is a lot of questions & info, but usually the questions asked around here do not have ENOUGH info provided to generate a good response.


Here is the available gear for the project (just mine, band has their own instruments):

Mics: Schoeps mk21,mk4,mk41 (pairs), Schoeps CCM41 (pair), AKG 414 (pair), as well as a number of other cheaper mics including a Studio projects B3, Sm57 & SM58. Oh, and as cheapo Audix 7 piece drum mic'ing kit. I also have access to a ton of AKG 460/480s, and fe wpairs of Geffels/Neumanns.

Preamps: Lunatec Grace V3, Nbox (custom built pre that runs a pair of Schoeps caps, fixed 20db gain) Apogee AD1000, Oade Brother M148, M-Audio Fast Track Pro, buit in preamps on my Alesis interface.

Interface: Alesis MultiMix8 USB 2.0

Computer: Pretty basic Dell, but enough horsepower to run 5 tracks of 16/44 audio for a couple hours at a time with no glitches.

DAW: Ableton Live 8

Monitors: M-Audio BX8A

Plugs: the Basic Waves bundle (forget what the name is), T-Racks III Deluxe

Random outboard gear:
-Electrix Repeater
-Electrix Mo-Fx

Instruments:
-Roland RS-5 synth
-Roland SPD-6 drum pad
-Alesis Control Pad
-Dean Edge 4 string bass
-Galien Krueger Backline 250 head
-Ampeg 2x10 cab

Pics of the room:





Thanks everyone! I'm a new slut, but have been lurking & learning a lot.
Old 19th November 2009
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Oh yeah, you can hear a lot of my 2 track field recordings here. Some are awesome, some not-so-much.

Internet Archive Search: taper:"Matt Quinn"
Old 21st November 2009
  #3
Lives for gear
 

4 things:
1)Whats the size of your room? looks small and acousticly untreated which may not bother you when it comes to monitoring but can impose all sorts of ringing and recording miced instruments. my moto for recording in small rooms -> Dry is best.

2)You have got a very nice microphone and instrument collection.
(whats the deal with all the schopes mics? by the look of your gear list you dont seem like a clasical music player nor a nylon/acoutic guitar player) edit: Now I realise you use them to record your live gigs which sound cool btw. thumbsup

3)You interface is not on par with the rest of your gear (mics and pres),
Seeing you have the Grace pre with onboard AD convertion I would look into a cheap interface which allows for digital input such as SPDIF ,or a more expenssive card which will allow for AES and will be also clocked to this unit.

4)These
Quote:
fe wpairs of Geffels/Neumanns
Sound like good options for LDC for lead vocal.

I cannot tell you what to record in mono and what in stereo since it has to do with arrengment and production.
Some songs which feature solo guitar and vocal may sound really intimate in mono using just one mic a bit further away and some will benifit from stereo guitars spread wide recorded in X/Y or MS and overdubed vocal.

Generally speaking 99% of the time lead vocal and bass are recorded in mono.
Vocals usualy become more "stereo" not by means of stereo recored but by additional overdubed mono recordings panned hard L and R.

Hope this information helps you out and good luck with your bed room studio.

Tomer.
Old 21st November 2009
  #4
If you're doing one instrument at a time, it would be best to track to a click, especially if drums isn't first.

I'd agree that acoustics is your weakest link. A couple gobos even could go a long way, especially when doing instruments one at a time. You can DIY very easy, check the link in my sig.

I can't figure out why you're even using the Multimix when you have the Fast Track Pro, it can do the same thing, but it looks to me like it has much better features. If you're running more than 4 mics for something like live drums, I could see maybe using the Alesis to submix something, but I'd definitely track primarily through the Fast Track Pro with one of your other external pres running into the line inputs. If you plan to track live drums, you'd be well served to just upgrade to something with 8 I/O.

Do you have a seperate audio hard drive in your PC? This is CRITICAL. When the pointer in one drive has to bounce constantly between system and audio tasks, this greatly limits your track count before dropouts. Track count won't be an issue at all with a second drive because then there's two pointers that don't have to move nearly as much. This should also increase hard drive lifespan, so it's absolutely a no-brainer.

Oh...and work hard, don't go Galt. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #5
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the responses. Acoustics are definitely an issue, but being an apartment dweller, there is not much I can do about it, going to just have to live with what's there for now. I probably gave the impression that a lot of this will be mic'd, I expect almost all of it will just be recorded directly, at least initially. Once we have a solid base down, I can re-record parts in better acoustic environments.

>If you're doing one instrument at a time, it would be best to track to a click, especially if drums isn't first.

Yup, that is definitely the plan.

>I can't figure out why you're even using the Multimix when you have the Fast Track Pro, it can do the same thing, but it looks to me like it has much better features.


I've found them to be pretty comparable as far as sound goes....do you think using the line inputs in the FTP would be much better than the Multimix? Any reccomendations for a new interface? Would definitely like to step up to something with digital inputs as well as a MIDI input. I primarily make electronic music, so I don't need a ton of inputs.


>Do you have a seperate audio hard drive in your PC?


Negative...my next big purchase will be a dedicated audio computer, but for now just using my regular desktop. Track count shouldn't be an issue though, most I'd be doing at once will probably be 4-5, and I've done that before with no issues.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #6
Here for the gear
 

maybe a stupid question, but - where does the band practice?
Couldn't you do a simple recording of them (to a click) at their practice space for them to listen to in their headphones as they play their parts? It seems like without something to play along with it could be really weird to track guitars first.
Old 23rd November 2009
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebstaler View Post
maybe a stupid question, but - where does the band practice?
Couldn't you do a simple recording of them (to a click) at their practice space for them to listen to in their headphones as they play their parts? It seems like without something to play along with it could be really weird to track guitars first.

They have a practice space, but in my limited experience doing this, I've found that if you do a whole band scratch track kinda thing, it's a real PITA to get a take everyone likes, even when you're just playing for rhythm. I'm trying to be more methodical about getting an accurate tempo down first. The guy playing guitar is also the lead vocalist & songwriter, so I figure he & I can hash out any issues one on one a lot more effectively than having 4 other people in the room. It's really his vision for the song, so I want to hammer that out as much as possible, then work around it.
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