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Work flow for solo total production Condenser Microphones
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Lives for gear
Work flow for solo total production

As a home recording musician who does it all. Start to finish what do you think is more productive to start and work until a song as finish pushing through the burnout or doing each part a process unto its self such as tracking a dozen songs then editing and mixing each one then mastering jumping back and forth.

It always seems for me if i don’t finish the song all in one go i come back to mix a few weeks later i get pissed off and discouraged. I know its all subject to personal preference but just wondering what other people do who do it all.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I work on one at a time, two at the most. Partly because my interest runs in spurts, partly because that's how I write them, partly because I like every song to sound like its own thing. It's not like I'm an artist or band that has to have an identifiable sound and brand.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer81 View Post
doing each part a process unto its self such as tracking a dozen songs then editing and mixing each one then mastering
this is how many bands work in the studio, but I think is mainly because they are paying by the hour. If it takes a band a couple hours to get mics set up for tracking, get levels and then it takes them half an hour to run 3-4 takes of the song, what are they going to do, break down their 2-hour setup to start overdubs? Then spend 2 hours getting levels the next day? It's more "efficient" to consider this day your "tracking day" and once all the songs are track, set everything up for a "mixing day" IOW, create that 'assembly line' system.

But first of all this presupposes a band, second it presupposes that all the songs are all already written and rehearsed, third it presupposes that they are paying by the hour for studio time, and it also assumes a group of songs - an "album" - is the end goal. I keep hearing that the album is dead and singles are what everybody is doing. Maybe it's true.

As a solo individual with your own gear, you are under almost no pressure to be "efficient" with your use of studio time. If someone had a wealthy band and had unlimited money for studio time, maybe they would move away from the assembly line approach.

Quote:
It always seems for me if i don’t finish the song all in one go i come back to mix a few weeks later i get pissed off and discouraged. I know its all subject to personal preference but just wondering what other people do who do it all.
you have to do what works for you. Your creative flow is the most important thing. The only other 'benefit' I can see for doing all the tracking, then doing all the mixing, etc is that it might encourage more consistency from song to song if you are making an album. A song that was "finished" in March may not match a song that was finished in June. Conversely if you mix all the songs the same week, you have more of an opportunity to make them sound similar. If that's even a goal!
Old 1 week ago
  #4
There's nothing like a "finished" song that you can sit back and just listen. Give your ears a little break before moving to the next tune. If you're paying by the hour, it's a different deal and efficiency becomes a factor. On your own, set your own style, see what works for you. My experience has been that I have a tendency to use the same "tricks" when tracking a bunch a songs at once, sometimes without noticing until it's done. Enjoy the ride.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
I try really hard to finish one thing at a time.

It’s really easy to make 1000 unrelated but cool 4 bar loops and never take the discipline to expand them into completed songs.

I try to limit myself to 5 compositions or so at a time, and delete projects that stagnate.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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sounddevisor's Avatar
 

I think almost every creative person struggles with finishing things at one time or another. Without some sort of external deadline, it's easy to avoid making hard decisions and stay in a perpetual state of "almost done."
To the OP - as a solo, do-it-at-home artist working for your own pleasure, one thing that can help is to create an artificial deadline for yourself, something that will force you to push through the slow point(s) of your process. One idea might be to tell a few friends "Hey, I'm gonna have a new track next week (or month, or whatever) and I'm really excited for you to hear it!" Knowing that your friends are expecting to hear it can be a powerful way of motivating yourself to get to the finish line!
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DomiBabi View Post
I try really hard to finish one thing at a time.

It’s really easy to make 1000 unrelated but cool 4 bar loops and never take the discipline to expand them into completed songs.

I try to limit myself to 5 compositions or so at a time, and delete projects that stagnate.
I go along these lines too, but will limit to about 3. Must take your advice and delete stagnant ideas though...save me some money on hard drives!
Old 6 days ago
  #8
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A perfunctory approach to organizing a recording is not the loose, free form creative process that many covet: however it sure will avoid the clutter of over producing a failed vocal effort to sell a lyric. A "session ready musician" will be able to lay down a clean rhythm track on piano or guitar for a singer to work with. (if a production decision has been made to use a drum kit, I work with pro loops that can be massaged to fit the appropriate tempo from the starting point) For me it works best when the singer sits beside me at the console with AE5400 hand held mic and will sing a scratch track of the lyric while the rhythm player is in the tracking room laying down the track. This is where the rubber hits the road and 95% of the time I can tell if the song will work based on the ability or the singer and player to bring to life, and successfully sell the lyric at that point. The next step is to move the singer to the tracking room to lay down a finished lead vocal with one of my tube mics and at that point decide on what, if any, further additional embellishment is needed.
This is also the MO for my personal guitar/vocal recordings but I use a single Flea47 next to capture both guitar and vocal simultaneously while monitoring with my tracking headphones. If it works I am in business if not I will try re-dos a couple of times but have no reticence in putting the tracks in file 13 if I haven't sold the lyric.
This rigid protocol may appear to be lacking in creative latitude but it sure does eliminate over producing and wasting a lot of time on lame vocals. 50 years in and around the recording business has clearly helped me to understand that a great recorded performance is usually made with minimal effort by session ready musicians and a singer that knows how to sell a lyric: The projects that "bog down" usually never had a chance from the git go!
Hugh
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

I do agree that tracking a vocal right away is a good idea. Don't really see the point, though, of beating up the singer (possibly myself) to get a keeper vocal when I might realize a little further into the process that the whole song isn't a keeper.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
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mappee's Avatar
It would be nice to have a formula, but hey this is art.
Has anybody seen the formula? ?? ???
Old 6 days ago
  #11
Here for the gear
 

dont ever finish anything, it would be dying, go ahead...the walk is the goal. does your finished tracks makes your living? every morning i wake up on the wrong side of capitalism! express yourself. music is no competitive sport, its art.
Old 6 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Art for arts sake is a circular process that I do not have time for. One of the great advantages of a long and somewhat successful career is the ability to know when a lyric is sold when you hear it. It is with out question a very subjective decision however in the event I do not know the singer well I determine the level of interest I have in working with them on my nickel with the understanding that the effort will be mutually agreeable or we can go our own way. The only thing any of us have that we can not replace is our time and wasting it on a song that does not speak to you is not beating up a singer: it is called having the courage to follow your instincts honestly. In the long run it is a much more civil method of conducting a professional process because when you spend a lot of time on a song that is going no where the end result becomes a lot more complicated,IMO.
Hugh
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I do agree that tracking a vocal right away is a good idea. Don't really see the point, though, of beating up the singer (possibly myself) to get a keeper vocal when I might realize a little further into the process that the whole song isn't a keeper.
or that it needs to be a little faster

getting a scratch vocal early on is imperative - so you know what the song is 'about' (in every sense of the word), so you know what verse you are in, so you know whose voice you are matching with your guitar tones, etc etc

getting a keeper vocal early on is one approach among many. People can say it is an imperative to them, but they can't say it is an imperative to me.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
icw
Here for the gear
 

I find it, in general, super difficult to commit to the completion of a project bc i feel like I'm constantly improving my craft and through listening at various stages, I want to make changes. I got to the point recently with a track where I was so sick of working on it and had so badly wanted feedback (terrible idea) that I pushed it out in what I thought at the time was a pretty listen-ready state. Flash forward like a week and a half and I'd totally regretted it. I basically sank the track for 2 months and just last week got renewed energy. Retracked the vox after tweaking the melody and immediately started to like it again. That being said, I think if I sent this to friends or posted to soundcloud, I'd again regret it in three weeks.

To the OPs original idea, as a one-person show, it's so unbelievably time consuming at every level that I have a hard time finishing anything without craving working on something new. But at that pace, I never finish anything.

Not sure I have any points at all, but really liked the topic and was appreciative to all those who commented as it's super interesting to hear how folks work.
Old 6 days ago
  #15
Here for the gear
Completely agree with the point of getting a quick reference vocal down early.

I often think that in the case of stalling on ideas which I like, or think have potential, I would love a collaborator in production/songwriting. What's a bit stale and familiar to you may be fresh to someone else.
I still think I'd work best in a distant-collaboration style workflow (like send stuff and each work on it alone)...but then again, I don't know anyone I'd trust enough to let loose on my own music. Would have to stop calling it simply "my" music for a start!
Old 6 days ago
  #16
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post

getting a scratch vocal early on is imperative - so you know what the song is 'about' (in every sense of the word), so you know what verse you are in, so you know whose voice you are matching with your guitar tones, etc etc
I mostly think like this too, but then I watched a recent Deep Purple documentary.

Key chosen, arrangement finalised, parts written and recorded before lyric written and any vocal recorded.

It seems to work for them, but the idea of it weirded me out

John
Old 6 days ago
  #17
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Caf View Post
I mostly think like this too, but then I watched a recent Deep Purple documentary.

Key chosen, arrangement finalised, parts written and recorded before lyric written and any vocal recorded.

It seems to work for them, but the idea of it weirded me out

John
wow

what if the lyrics sucked?

Did they specifically SAY there were no lyrics as they tracked all the instruments? Could it be just an impression generated by how the movie was edited?

I have had bands come in to the studio with the song 'done' in the sense that they have all played it together many times. But that included the vocals and the lyrics.
Old 6 days ago
  #18
Gear Head
 

Yeah, they did! The last bit of the doco dealt with the lyric writing process over the top of the "completed" song.
Old 6 days ago
  #19
Lives for gear
I think i do have a process or a formula i was just asking what everyone else does. Usually its get the arrangement down drum parts perfected scratch rhythm guitar. First night, Bass 2nd then a left and right guitar track 3rd night. a lead guitar two or three nights keys or other spice tracks then vocals till im sick.

all lyrics are written before i ever start i dont think i could do the deep purple method because ive had songs that started with a couple lines of lyrics no music. I think that cuts off a line of expression.

and I honestly think ill start doing vocals sooner after i get the drums,bass and scratch guitar. because thats been my biggest issue is it sounds like im singing over a backing track instead of inside the track. I do it cause i hate my voice put it till last. But maybe it’ll blend better.

Thanks to all of you
Old 6 days ago
  #20
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer81 View Post
I think i do have a process or a formula i was just asking what everyone else does.
Sounds like you've found what works for you. Everyone works differently.

My formula is in having the studio setup so that I don't think much about gear. When I get an idea, I'm hot to hear it now, and the last things I want to think about are comp ratios, digging in the mic locker or searching for cables. That's a buzz kill, and the heat of the moment disintegrates pretty quickly behind the tech BS.

I try to have the arrangement locked in my head first before going in, so I can usually slam through tracking everything in a few hours. And I find out pretty quickly how well my preconceived image is gelling in the real world. If it's fighting with me, I jump ship and move on, no regrets. Some days, the bear eats you, and some days...
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