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How do the pros track?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #31
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12ax7's Avatar
 

There are many ways.
Here's one example:
The Stones working up 'Sympathy for the Devil' in the studio (1968)
.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #32
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JayTee4303's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post



A monkey could make a great record if they had Abbey road and its gear at their disposable for 12 months with a record company footing the bill. That would be a cakewalk. It's like I stated previously, try making the Wall with dive bar musicians in a random basement studio with lowend gear. Good luck with that. Most of these reason Classic records sound so good is because of the equipment and the rooms they used. Why do you think people spend so much money on classic gear and room acouGive me Abbey Road or Oceanway locked out for 1 year along with an $advance$, free food, hookers and free drugs. I will produce the best sounding record ever made. No problem. It would be easy.
...said the tombstone above the monkey who blew his own brain slammin Tina just to shut the hookers up...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #33
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JayTee4303's Avatar
An extra ADDA loop ain't that expensive, but there's no gain in wasting it. Comp on the way in if you know you're gonna.

If not, not.

Quit worryin about what "pro's" think and just make music.

:-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
Give me Abbey Road or Oceanway locked out for 1 year along with an $advance$, free food, hookers and free drugs. I will produce the best sounding record ever made. No problem. It would be easy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
In the end, recording is all very scientific and formulated. That means given the proper tools, environment and ample amount of time, the formula can be easily repeated time after time.
Apparently the rest of the music making world haven't discovered the formula as yet....
Old 4 weeks ago
  #35
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC335 View Post
He did say great band.
I agree with everything he said.
Obviously music comes first.
Great rooms, great gear and time to burn isn’t going to produce anything without a good song.
That is what I understood from his post..
I also agree with a lot of it. Stuff like "micing is formulaic" is actually very true. I have my micing formulas that work, and I use them... until I don't. Then I go back, because they nearly always (with minor variations) work, and allow me to focus on song and performance.

Just the part about a monkey being able to make a masterpiece of an album if it had Abbey Road blocked out, food and hookers. First, I don't think monkeys react to hookers the way human men do.

But more to the point, there are too many examples of artists who had everything imaginable at their disposal for unlimited amounts of time. No restrictions. And they produced poop. I won't point to any specific examples, but there are plenty. There's more to creating a masterpiece of popular music than gear, time and happy artists. The reasons are nebulous and ephemeral; not so easily explained or defined.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro View Post
Just the part about a monkey being able to make a masterpiece of an album if it had Abbey Road blocked out, food and hookers. First, I don't think monkeys react to hookers the way human men do.
Personally I think the monkey and the hookers part was being facetious and
I did not take it too seriously.
Seriously though, there are a lot of well informed people on these boards.
I think put in the situation a lot of them could make a great record with the fab four locked away in Abbey Road with time to experiment.
The real truth in my mind is that George Martin was way too humble in his recollections of what made the sessions so very special.
He was an educated and talented mentor to the very young Beatles at the time.
Music comes first. He brought a classically trained eye to the sessions.

In the first couple of albums I think it obvious there is a band full of talent and exuberance that has been crafted into something special by a trained hand.
Later on I think it is also obvious the band had absorbed a lot of the musicality of George Martin and started to bring their own well trained musical finesse to the table.
I am not an engineer but a musician. I am surrounded by people who call themselves musicians but do not know what a triad is or how to play one on the guitar. Yes talking about guitarists.
I read often on this site that the engineers have to deal with people who can't intonate properly or even tune their guitar.
You cannot make a great record with these people.

Yes you need a great band and great ideas first.
Sadly not so common anymore as most kids with a daw think that making music is just like learning Photoshop.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #37
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
There are too many variables to hang it on a simple formula is what I'm saying...If it was so easy everybody with enough money would be making massive hits everyday.
No its not easy.
Great band is the part that matters.
Not easy to find these days.

Old 4 weeks ago
  #38
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
I honestly think any band that can write decent songs can also record masterpiece if give the time and equipment.
That is like saying anybody who can run the 100 meters in 6.3 seconds can win a gold medal at the Olympics. Songwriting is the Great Filter.

Quote:
IMO making a commercially successful record is all about following and fitting into trends,
and luck!

Quote:
I really do think anyone can make a great sounding record at Abbey Road or Ocean way.
It kind of depends on how stubborn they are and how full of themselves they are. I have seen artists over-rule their engineers and "producers" to the huge detriment to the sound of their final project. Don't underestimate the pigheadedness of the delusional artist.

And are they using the house engineers at Abbey Road, or their "friend" who just got his Certificate from Audio School?

Quote:
Great sound and production is about great gear and great acoustics.
this is only true if there is someone who knows what he is doing at the controls. The monkey cited above can push the "wrong" button. Even when that button is on the "right" gear. We all know a trust fund kid whose daddy bought him a studio, who has no day job he needs to work at (unlimited time) and still produced crap.

Quote:
Even bands with minimal music performance talent can be coached and molded into something great in the studio, if given the time.
I think there is a limit and I think we have seen and heard the results of hitting that limit over and over and over. Big money behind a talentless, but good-looking band with the "right" haircuts and not much else? A big flop? Happens all the time.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #39
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As usual, there's no consensus. There are so many possible combinations of parts and recording gear and instruments and rooms and players and "pros" and, let's not forget, personal taste that what best serves the song and workflow of everyone involved is really just up to the individuals working on it. That's why there are so many interview series with everyone involved, sometimes about specific songs, even.

And all the time in these interviews you hear someone saying "well, normally, I like to do X this way, but for this song I did something else instead because it worked better."
Old 4 weeks ago
  #40
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kennybro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC335 View Post
Personally I think the monkey and the hookers part was being facetious and
I did not take it too seriously.
Yeah, of course. But put a monkey in a room with endless food, and nothing productive will get done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC335 View Post
Seriously though, there are a lot of well informed people on these boards. I think put in the situation a lot of them could make a great record with the fab four locked away in Abbey Road with time to experiment.
The real truth in my mind is that George Martin was way too humble in his recollections of what made the sessions so very special.
He was an educated and talented mentor to the very young Beatles at the time.
Music comes first. He brought a classically trained eye to the sessions.

In the first couple of albums I think it obvious there is a band full of talent and exuberance that has been crafted into something special by a trained hand.
Later on I think it is also obvious the band had absorbed a lot of the musicality of George Martin and started to bring their own well trained musical finesse to the table.
Sure, I always thought that Martin was like the 5th Beatle. Or more like the mentor who helped them break through simple (but great of course) pop music into deeper, insightful aesthetics. He pushed them to create meaningful music, and showed them how they could get past Fab Four into something that would last for decades or longer. They were so talented, and quick learners. This would not have worked with any band. They had the smarts and talent to realize the concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC335 View Post
I am not an engineer but a musician. I am surrounded by people who call themselves musicians but do not know what a triad is or how to play one on the guitar. Yes talking about guitarists.
I read often on this site that the engineers have to deal with people who can't intonate properly or even tune their guitar.
You cannot make a great record with these people.

Yes you need a great band and great ideas first.
Sadly not so common anymore as most kids with a daw think that making music is just like learning Photoshop.
Players with zero of very little technical proficiency certainly can gum the process. Hence, we have the Wrecking Crew, Swampers and Funk Bros.

But there are a few, just a few, examples of non-technical players who produced amazing albums. Maybe Stooges, Funhouse. But then, every band doesn't have an Iggy driving the bus. Without him, Stooges would have been less than a footnote. Maybe Ramones Rocket to Russia. But these are the exceptions, from artists who had a message for a generation. The Grandma Moses' of rock n roll. Raw talent, not needing technical prowess. Iggy understood this when he named Raw Power.

True, IMHO, that crap players generally make crap recordings. Very few players at large, no matter how amazingly technical, have a message of valid and original content to deliver.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #41
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joeq, in post #3 , has delivered sage advice: Whether deploying 24 or FP32 bit depth the amount of available head room today is huge. Given the nature of the digital lower noise floor there is very little or no reason to engage compression while tracking for D R purposes. Printing ancillary embellishment of any type while tracking is fools gold. Synergistic post production needs to start with an "empty FX canvas & a palette of rich musical colors".
Hugh
Old 4 weeks ago
  #42
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

i'm of the mindset that the mix starts from the tracking stage. i'm choosing mics and processing on the way to the multi track to get the most appropriate sound for the client. do i present a blank canvas? no. do i practice good judgement with gain staging, levels, and headroom? yes.

while i'm not one of the big boys, i do make records as my profession and this is in my opinion.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobC335 View Post
No its not easy.
Great band is the part that matters.
Not easy to find these days.
If the formula is true than it's very easy indeed, all it takes is money.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #44
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Question for Blaine Misner, What do you mean by "getting the most appropriate sound for the client"? Every digital front end I have worked with over a very long career has offered cue fx for artist tracking taste but pre only tracks for printing. The post production process is the ideal stage to embellish the tracks for a synergistic two mix. Printing embellishments of any type on the way in requires a confident clairvoyant vision that is well beyond my pay grade.
If the artist and their team is pleased with the cue mix while tracking the capture task is complete. The real acid test is their acceptance of the final two mix that is, for the most part, a separate protocol.
Hugh
Old 4 weeks ago
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
The post production process is the ideal stage to embellish the tracks for a synergistic two mix. Printing embellishments of any type on the way in requires a confident clairvoyant vision that is well beyond my pay grade.
I too work with the principle that the mix starts when I start the recording, and this is even more so when I'm the producer. Having a clear vision of where we want to end up is important and I spend the time necessary to setup the the instruments, backline, microphones, gobos etc to get as close to 'that' sound as possible. After that I'm twisting knobs if necessary. If something changes, we deal with it then.

By the time we get to mixing it will be mostly balancing and sweetening, mixing is one part of the production process, not the stage to remake the song. This is by no means about being inflexible, but if we decide to go east, I turn to the east and start walking, and if at some point we decide to go north-east, or even west, we'll move in that direction then.

This is just the way I prefer to work, because I think it takes some of the uncertainty out of the work, obviously it's not written in stone and I take my cue from the musicians and producer. But it beats the: we can decide in the mix attitude.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blaine Misner View Post
i'm of the mindset that the mix starts from the tracking stage.
Though a novice home recorder guy, I tend to agree. Last year I did songs that sucked to mix and some where I finished mixing in virtually a handful of mouse clicks.

I put it down to tracking...getting the tone as nailed as you can going in.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #47
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ty45 View Post
One thing I have not figured out yet is how the pros track and record their musicians. I've been searching in regard to my favourite bands (RHCP, Led Zep, Pink Floyd) and cannot seem to find how the engineers set up the tracking chain.

People often talk about the mics they've used and the rooms but what about the way it was recorded in? I find this information hard to come by.

I've heard people say they track with no dynamics or eq and then I see Ryan Hewitt talk about how he comp'd the sh*t out of the lumineers tracking them.

It also seems like something favorable to record and track guitar and bass with compression to prevent any clipping from big dynamics in playing no?

Does anyone know the real way the pros set up tracking for all band instruments?
There are a lot of videos on youtube in which what you are looking for is shown and explained by the pros themselves
Old 4 weeks ago
  #48
Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Question for Blaine Misner, What do you mean by "getting the most appropriate sound for the client"? Every digital front end I have worked with over a very long career has offered cue fx for artist tracking taste but pre only tracks for printing. The post production process is the ideal stage to embellish the tracks for a synergistic two mix. Printing embellishments of any type on the way in requires a confident clairvoyant vision that is well beyond my pay grade.
If the artist and their team is pleased with the cue mix while tracking the capture task is complete. The real acid test is their acceptance of the final two mix that is, for the most part, a separate protocol.
Hugh
Without wishing to answer for Blaine, I do a similar thing too. With your workflow (digital board) I possibly wouldn’t commit anything either, but with mine (analogue outboard) I’d always commit sound shaping. It doesn’t require being clairvoyant; the idea is you have a vision for the sound of the mix and you’re not just randomly capturing the instrument!

I mean - you place mics with an idea of what sound you want don’t you? Hell, you choose instruments with an idea of what sound you want! It’s just an extension of that.

Nothing worse as a mix engineer than receiving a very clean, plain and characterless tracking session. Well there is, it’s receiving an unusable one, but from someone competent, a characterless recording is basically giving the producer reins to the mix engineer. Have some commitment!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #49
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NamelessUnknown's Avatar
I am not a “pro”.

With talented songwriters/musicians, you can definitely get great recordings with cheap gear, in a less than stellar room. Even if you (as an engineer/producer) don’t really know what you’re doing.

A talented engineer/producer can get great recordings out of not great talent (as long as they possess some passion and ability), and cheap gear, in a less than stellar room.

Technical proficiency aside, it is a creative endeavor. I made fine recordings with cheap gear, crappy musicians (myself as one), little experience, no knowledge, and in a less than stellar room. Because, even before I got an education, gained some experience, treated my space, and bought some great gear, I had vision and a good ear... I guess in short that is what it takes: vision and a good ear... and an open mind. IMHO. The most important part about making great music is the “making” part.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessUnknown View Post
I guess in short that is what it takes: vision and a good ear... and an open mind. IMHO.
It takes a lot more than just this in my opinion...I don't even know what the generic "good ear" means. Plus there's a difference between good sonics and a good record, The two are not mutually exclusive...lots of great records don't have good sonics and there are some less than good records with excellent sonics.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #51
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NamelessUnknown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
It takes a lot more than just this in my opinion...I don't even know what the generic "good ear" means. Plus there's a difference between good sonics and a good record, The two are not mutually exclusive...lots of great records don't have good sonics and there are some less than good records with excellent sonics.
I didn’t mention Sonics. I mentioned vision, and a good ear. Vision is the ability to see where a project is going, and how to get there. A good ear, generically means: able to comprehend the complexity of a multi timbral recording. As well as spacial, phase, and compression artifacts, either consciously or instinctively. For our purposes, it is also important to be able to manipulate these, and other factors, in order to create a balanced, and generally pleasing piece of music.

So you say “just this”.... when it’s kind of a lot actually. And then to get everyone involved on the same page, nearly impossible, which is why most records are not amazing.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #52
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The OP's original question deals explicitly with printing dynamic and eq filtering in the initial capture. An in depth understanding of the acoustical properties of your tracking space and a corresponding choice and placement of mics is a given in any well run studio environment. These along with intelligent gain staging are the primary ubiquitous requirements of pro tracking. The OP is asking about adding ancillary dynamic and/or eq filtering embellishment to the initial tracks.

The first 30 years I spent in recording was with the available analog desks and hard wear, with their well known limitations, and to this end I fully well understand "the get it right from the get go" protocol that was the mantra in those days. Today's digital processing has opened new and IMO better alternatives to yesterdays lock down front end capture. The vintage instruments I work with need careful mic choice and placement, not eq filtering and the session players I chose generally do a great job of controlling their own dynamic range. Singers can be a much more difficult capture and for this and many other reasons I have developed a protocol to address lead vocals as the first order of track layering in the studio.

20 years ago with my first digital recording gear (an Alesis HD24) I began to multi-track recordings of my live shows. The random nature of various venue acoustical environments and the appropriate filtering to reach optimum sonic FoH quality did not translate very well to the recordings. This is when I began printing the "pre only" tracks for post production. It also began a process of major changes in mic choices for live performance improvement that has become the exclusive use of single tube mics for each performer.
(better in, better out)
Substantial differences exist between studio VxS venue acoustical environments however I have worked toward a protocol that requires very little filtering and ancillary "sweetening" in my studio productions and live capture as well. The decisions pertaining to horizontal placement (panning), compression and supplemental reverb are last stage not front end activities for me.

Todays project studio generally requires the owner to wear many hats: producer and recording engineer are at the top of the list. There are many ways to get from point A to point B and there is no right or wrong way. The most important factor is understanding your limitations and working within them.
Hugh
Old 4 weeks ago
  #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
There are many ways to get from point A to point B and there is no right or wrong way. The most important factor is understanding your limitations and working within them.
Hugh
The most important factor for me is knowing where the end-goal is and getting as close to it as possible. As mentioned before, studio choice, mic placement, musician and instrument choice are exactly about working toward the end-goal, printing with processing is just an extension of the process.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessUnknown View Post
I didn’t mention Sonics. I mentioned vision, and a good ear.
I know you didn't, but I thought it was necessary to separate sonics from the song because people are always mixing and confusing the two as if they are the same thing or thinking that they are mutually exclusive...they are neither.

Quote:
Vision is the ability to see where a project is going, and how to get there. A good ear, generically means: able to comprehend the complexity of a multi timbral recording. As well as spacial, phase, and compression artifacts, either consciously or instinctively. For our purposes, it is also important to be able to manipulate these, and other factors, in order to create a balanced, and generally pleasing piece of music.

So you say “just this”.... when it’s kind of a lot actually. And then to get everyone involved on the same page, nearly impossible, which is why most records are not amazing.
It all sounds so much like a formula or recipe when reality says different...The variables are too many and too complicated to attribute greatness and success to a simple formula.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #55
Gear Nut
 
NamelessUnknown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
I know you didn't, but I thought it was necessary to separate sonics from the song because people are always mixing and confusing the two as if they are the same thing or thinking that they are mutually exclusive...they are neither.


It all sounds so much like a formula or recipe when reality says different...The variables are too many and too complicated to attribute greatness and success to a simple formula.
It’s the opposite of a formula, very general necessities, and an open mind for adaptation. It seems like your just making **** up to disagree with me.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessUnknown View Post
It’s the opposite of a formula, very general necessities, and an open mind for adaptation. It seems like your just making **** up to disagree with me.
Sorry, didn't know I was supposed to agree with you...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #57
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andychamp's Avatar
Recording with compression and EQ may have been born from noise floor considerations with the tape medium, but it also imparted a sound that‘s become part of a cultural heritage.
I see nothing wrong with persuing this aeathetic nowadays, if that‘s what floats your boat, even if the technical necessity is gone.
And I agree that the workflow that comes with it tends to make for more focussed records.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #58
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andychamp's Avatar
I just read THIS. Might be of interest.

Last edited by andychamp; 3 weeks ago at 05:55 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #59
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Blaine Misner's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hughshouse View Post
Question for Blaine Misner, What do you mean by "getting the most appropriate sound for the client"? Every digital front end I have worked with over a very long career has offered cue fx for artist tracking taste but pre only tracks for printing. The post production process is the ideal stage to embellish the tracks for a synergistic two mix. Printing embellishments of any type on the way in requires a confident clairvoyant vision that is well beyond my pay grade.
If the artist and their team is pleased with the cue mix while tracking the capture task is complete. The real acid test is their acceptance of the final two mix that is, for the most part, a separate protocol.
Hugh
others have chimed in and their responses are likely stated better than mine will be. especially @ psycho_monkey 's.

i am more than confident in making sonic decisions during the recording process for many reasons, namely:
1) an in depth understanding of the equipment i use daily

2) an intimate familiarity with the acoustic properties of rooms in the Complex

3) a better than conversational understanding of several genres and their individual stylistic trappings

4) an ability to communicate with my clients and accept their feedback


i personally do not think anyone needs to be clairvoyant to make a good recording, only confident. also, when the artist walks into the control room i want the takes to sound like a record and not a scenario where they will need to 'use their imagination'

as far as printing fx, only things i wont have access to later: plates, chambers, 480L, rmx16 etc
Old 4 weeks ago
  #60
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Plenty of great examples are on YT:







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