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So what does a completed project look like?
Old 2nd August 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 

So what does a completed project look like?

This is my first post here, and it's about something that I've always wondered for some time.

After browsing the forums here for awhile, I notice alot of people talking about huge projects with 64+ tracks... and I've just always wondered... how do you people get up to that insane number of tracks in a song? What do you fill it up with?

So, I figured that I'd actually just be better off to register in the forums and ask the damn question.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I am doing a standard rock style album...for an Independent artist.

Typical track count per song is 35-40.

My basic template when I mix songs is like this:

1.Kick
2. Kick mult
3. Snare
4. Snare mult
5. HH
6. Tom L
7. Tom R
8. OH L
9. OH R
10. Bass
11. Acoustic G 1
12. Acoustic G 2
13. Piano L
14. Piano R
15. Electric 1
16. Electric 2
17. Electric 3
18. Lead vox
19. Bkup 1
20. BKUP 2
21. BKUP 3
22. BKUP 4
23. Harmony 1
24. Harmony 2
25. Harmony 3
26. Harmony 4
27. Synth 1
28. Synth 2
29. Synth 3
30. Drum SUB group
31. Acoustic SUB group
32. Electric SUB group
33. BKUP SUB group
34. Harmony SUB Group
35. Midi track 1
36. Midi track 2
37. Midi track 3
38. MISC
39. MISC
40. MISC

That is pretty standard for me for this particular production.

BTW...This does not include Effect returns which for all intents should be counted as tracks IMO.

Of course I could always bounce...and If I was using my SX-1 I would have to...This gig I am running Nuendo for the lions share.

P&B,
Old 2nd August 2005
  #3
Well, I started on tape, so I came up squeezing as much stuff as possible into a given track (and Pro Tools LE folks still have to)... I worked on a lot of 16 track tape projects, more than a few 8 track projects (hard to conceive, these days, of a studio with a live room and piano only having an 8 track, but that's how it went at the very low end in the 80s), and not enough 24 track projects to ever get used to "all those tracks" (we filled 'em up anyway).

When I finally got my own rig up to 16 tracks (a pair of ADATs) I was already using a huge amount of MIDI synched to the tape machines (or vice versa... it's all so hazy, now)...

My typical projects these days seldom have more that 15 or 20 audio tracks (that aren't generated from MIDI VI's).

Now, if I was tracking drums, you'd probably have to throw another 8 or so tracks on there. (Each drum mic with its own track... that's a luxury I had like twice back in my studio days. Damn... I sound old. Wait. I am.)
Old 2nd August 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 

some guys who mix on analog consoles do a lot of mults.
Old 2nd August 2005
  #5
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
The illusion of having a lot of tracks at mix time comes from not bouncing the way we had to with tape. Because we have lots of DAW track space, we can keep everything seperate for quite a long time, and archive it as seperate if we ever want to change anything.

I can build up a LOT of tracks doing even the simplest BGV's. However, I will then bus them off or bounce them and archive, mainly for simplicity come mix time, and because I like to commit early.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
SoulSpace's Avatar
 

Simplicity

For my money, simplicity is the answer now. Just because you have unlimited tracks doesn't mean you have to use them. For my new projects I am striving to RECORD tracks the best way possible (hence gearslutz...), then I don't think I should need an "insane" number of tracks and/or mults/doubling. I think that with my last projects it just got out of hand and too busy. So I am striving for a more "organic" sound and not so busy as can be the case with unlimited track count/options. Especially with BGV's...
Old 3rd August 2005
  #7
yeah i try to stay away form insane amounts of tracks

BVs 4 tracks per voice, at 3 part harmony thats 12. if u have a counterline then maybe another 8

guitar/synth 1-2 tracks
piano 1 track
bass 1 track
drums 4 tracks
strings 1 track
percussion 3 tracks
lead voc 1-2 tracks

so thats what.. 34 tracks total? sometimes more if there are horns or whatever else you are using

after messing around with arrangement and recording lots of takes everything looks really messy, i often copy the takes we ended up using and paste them into a new song so its all clean and easy to work with

sometimes bounce BVs into a smaller number of tracks or use folders to pack them up
Old 4th August 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Telecastr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djui5
64 tracks of rythm guitars has happened. I think on Hysteria they had 100+ guitar tracks?

That's just absolutely stupid. There's no need for 64 tracks of rhythm guitar. Just capture one or maybe two really good performances and be done with it.

I find that my track counts are in the 20-26 range. Sometimes 32 if there are a lot of layers. I do mostly indie rock stuff.
Old 4th August 2005
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Nothing is insane. Is a chamber quartet necessarily better than a full orchestra? It just depends on what you're doing. Now, that said, a lot of people aren't really working with any real reason and all those tracks are just piling crap on crap. But often you need all those tracks to fill out a production and take it to where it needs to go.
Old 4th August 2005
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecastr
That's just absolutely stupid. There's no need for 64 tracks of rhythm guitar. Just capture one or maybe two really good performances and be done with it.

I find that my track counts are in the 20-26 range. Sometimes 32 if there are a lot of layers. I do mostly indie rock stuff.
Have you heard Hysteria? Or Pyromania?...

Man....That production floors me.

I look at the 'production fits / serves the song idea'...I also love single Telecaster Stever Cropper style playing and simple Mike Campbell approach.

But...Holy smokes Mutt knows how to rock a wall of guitars IMO!

P&B,
Old 4th August 2005
  #11
Lives for gear
 
doorknocker's Avatar
Funny thing is, a lot of the same people that fill up 64 tracks or more will then complain about the PT mix bus 'choking' the mix - there's only so much room in a stereo picture.

You can't generalize though because it's all about arranging and that's why Mutt's 281 tracks might end up sounding much clearer than your 16 tracks.

But still, simplicity is the key for me, I very seldom go past 20 tracks.

Listening to the radio these days makes me seriously doubt the usefulness of unlimited tracks, unfortunately more tracks= less dynamics is often true.

Andi

www.doorknocker.ch
Old 5th August 2005
  #12
When I am doing sound design projects, there can normally be 100+ of tracks, when spotting effects. I try to limit though as having one track for a car door slam can be a bit excessive. In this situation automation is key.

Also some orchestral session run in to hundreds of tracks, and even more when using sample orchestras, where it is common to have one track for different perfomance characteristic per instrument and then to have a track for each individual instrument.

But if I am tracking a normal rock band etc I think I would never normally use more that 32 max, 24 being the norm.

All the best

Brucie
Old 6th August 2005
  #13
OT: Orchestral recordings (and I'm thinking of real, multi-player orchestras, here, not so much layered up studio creations) that employ large numbers of mics seem to be problematic, in my sense. (Maybe only some of them. Maybe I only notice the weird time and phase issues when someone misuses lots of mics.)

A lot of studio symphonic recordings from the last 20 years (as well as some live recordings I've heard) sound weird to me. I see 7 live symphonies a year (and have for over a decade), so the sound of a real, unamplified orchestra from an audience perspective is something I've come to know pretty well. But a lot of contemporary recordings have tended to sound 'over-detailed' as well as very poor blended, time-wise.

Orchestras are spread out over a large area, and players toward the back, particularly the percussionists, adjust their playing to the conductors visual cues in order for their parts to 'sync' with the front rows, as much as 30 or 35 feet (35 ms, roughly) away.

When you start close miking small clusters of instruments, it can throw off that near-instinctive time-adjusted blend, unless the engineer is careful to time-align everything correctly.

At least, that's what I think is going on with a lot of recordings from the last couple decades. Anyhow, even with some great orchestras, they don't always sound right and I'd often rather hear a 3 mic recording from the 50s...
Old 6th August 2005
  #14
Gear Nut
 

That's interesting point man, I have copies of orchestral stuff recorded in Abbey road sixties years + ago in mono and with the exception of some Yo Yo Ma stuff it has more reality about it and depth than modern ultra precise recordings. But on the other hand is all technology not missused / over used initially. Till novelty wears off and someone with common sense comes along. Interseting thread man.
Old 6th August 2005
  #15
Gear Nut
 
audiomastermind's Avatar
 

and I've just always wondered... how do you people get up to that insane number of tracks in a song? What do you fill it up with?





you can fill it up, for instance, with a few gigastudio's: vsl stuff, etc...
(working with a lot of detail/layering)

brgds
philip
Old 6th August 2005
  #16
Lives for gear
 
doug_hti's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Telecastr
That's just absolutely stupid. There's no need for 64 tracks of rhythm guitar. Just capture one or maybe two really good performances and be done with it.

I find that my track counts are in the 20-26 range. Sometimes 32 if there are a lot of layers. I do mostly indie rock stuff.

dumb millions of people that bought that record, dumb.

mutt needs to learn how to produce "properly" and be "done with it"

Old 7th August 2005
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodney Gene
Have you heard Hysteria? Or Pyromania?...

Man....That production floors me.

I look at the 'production fits / serves the song idea'...I also love single Telecaster Stever Cropper style playing and simple Mike Campbell approach.

But...Holy smokes Mutt knows how to rock a wall of guitars IMO!

P&B,
I second that statement.

And if you do a search for 'shipshape' right here in Gearslutz you will learn how it was done, why it was done, the gear they used, and the hard work and thousands of hours it took to create that sound. Those albums had amazing depth and I highly doubt that sound could ever be created with modern technology.

Shane
Old 7th August 2005
  #18
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robdarling
Nothing is insane. Is a chamber quartet necessarily better than a full orchestra?
i dont think i would spot mic every member of the orchestra... high track counts are ridiculous.


and i dont think effects returns or even mults should be counted as TRACKS.
Old 7th August 2005
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Kestral's Avatar
 

I once did a song that was just supposed to be "basic drum bass guitar rock".

The final result:

27 Tracks of Drums (real + Sound Replacer hits)
1 Bass
1 Guitar
1 Keyboard
2 Vocals (1 lead, 1 bg)

The Pro Tools LE system was screaming for mercy. It did sound FAT though, especially the rhythm section heh
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