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I run a "Fankenstein factory" business
Old 28th February 2003
I run a "Fankenstein factory" business


I admit it.

I usually monkey around extensively with the tuning & timing of a lot of the material I produce.

Today while one assistant was tuning vocals in the live area room on an M Box / Laptop rig, I had a freelancer tightening up the same bands tracks for me in the control room on the main PT rig.

For 3 songs I would say there were at least 24 - 30 man hours spent 'tweaking".

I get an assistant to do most of it. Or hire in my ex assistant I like to mix alone so it gives them something to do in the next room, towards the end if a mix I get notified that the tweaked vocal is 'ready' - then replaces the one I have been working with and usually sounds way better...

Fixing performances has come up here a lot on Gearslutz posts, so I am offering an amnesty for the 'editing Smith & Jones's' out on this thread... But remember to wear your gun elsewhere on Gearslutz! I cant guarantee your safety outside this thread!

Old 28th February 2003
Gear Head
midihell's Avatar

Ah the joys of the digital domain... Sure beats getting out a razor and some splicing tape to tweak things

I find that sometimes I tend to get real anal about editing in the digital realm.. But I guess thats part of wanting to get the ideal sound and mix.
Old 1st March 2003
Lives for gear
cajonezzz's Avatar

I'd love to hear the before and after versions of this session to know what (in your mind ) constitutes a need for "tweaking". To what bar are you holding these artists. I don't think 8 hour per tune is that off the charts. Try 8 hours on just one vocal....(shoot me now) that vocal being the best comp of 5 tracks.....she sucks. she payed cash up front though(actually a nice gal, you kinda rooted for her, but the tracks were TORTURE)

One mans "tightening up" is anothers sterilization.

That being said (puts gun back in holster :

I've had to do way too much of just the same thing for some "trash for cash" clients.
Mind numbing work when it's "turd polishing for dollars"
thankfully, that kinda work won't be falling in our laps much more (by choice)

I spend alot of time that I know other guys would just take the money and run on because I refuse to let crap out with my name on it. As for really tweezy drum edits (tightening up) I'll often copy the track and do a second version with some creative tightening/retriggering/ low fi ing that I will discreetly run by the powers that be....kinda like:
"I just thought I'd try a couple things for fun" Often times they'll jump for joy....I only do that when I've been given some room to move as the Producer, otherwise I think it's pretty presumptious to do any deep editing. It's your opinion really. (but , being the producer,that's your gig at times)
One mans "Raw and loose" is anothers Crap.
I always have to "check myself" and ask if what I'm doing is making the artist into something they're not (or could ever be) And that could include tightening/tuning the traks.
Old 1st March 2003
Here for the gear
mdvirtual's Avatar

Most of the editing I do is comping together rhythm sections takes, or comping/finessing vocals and instrumental solos. I rarely get into any extensive tightening of overall drum feel, but I often patch up isolated problems (off-time hits, stick clicks, etc)

I find this often gets into the area of studio psychology. Some clients get very offended at the suggestion that something about their performance needs to be "fixed". Others are overjoyed at the possibilities that DAWs offer, and want me to do extensive editing and cleanup on the tracks.

I just recorded a very breathy vocalist (ala Kate Bush) and we had a lot of trouble with mouth noises. She was just coming off of a cold, and we couldn't find a mic/mic position that sounded good without emphasizing the noises. I ended up spending about 4 hours editing the lead vocal and 4 layers of harmonies to comp takes, remove clicks, bring down breaths, etc. The result was well worth it, and she was thrilled.

i did a rock project last month where we ended up spending a huge amount of time on the vocals, and the tracks still had horrible pitch and timing problems. The singer was inexperienced (and very insecure), and kept insisting that he could "get it on the next take". He was offended at the suggestion that I could adjust pitch or timing. I worked with him until he was satisfied with the performances, then did some subtle tweaking as I was mixing to make things at least listenable. I usually get the mix to a certain point before I have the band in to hear it, so I was able do the edits without him being aware of how much repair work I had to do. I just couldn't bear to let the project out the door without a little damage control!

Old 2nd March 2003
Lives for gear
adam_w's Avatar
Wow..pretty brave of you guys.

I have to admit that I've worn my punch in button smooth, the paint is blistered near that part too, and I only edit pretty big timing things, as I've generally beaten, cajoled and begged people into pretty solid tracks by the time a take is down, and the kind of sessions I do don't lead themselves to stopping so I can do some editing, or have the budget to do offline stuff (unless I do it on my time after they've gone..) My old school tendancies tell me to just do "one more take"..

Sure, I comp vocals & different drum takes, but maybe I should edit a little you guys save a lot of time ? Is the finished result better that beating the artists ?

Got to admit I didn't upgrade auto-tune when I went to HD..and then one day the singer from hell arrived..and after mucho pain out came the credit card came out the second he was out the door..
Old 4th March 2003
Gear Addict
cymatics's Avatar

Jules, if you have any before/after mp3s I would be very curious to hear what your idea of 'tweaking' a performance is. The reason I ask is because I've never worked on a DAW based session, so I have no idea what the potential is for 'frankensteining' stuff after the fact. If anyone else has good examples of a before-and-after time-aligned/auto-tuned type of thing that would be cool to hear.

Maybe that should be the next Gearslutz competiton...

The most skillful 'fix'of the least skillful performance?

- jon
Old 4th March 2003
Old 4th March 2003
Here for the gear
mdvirtual's Avatar

I'd get in on that one!

Some of my most serious Frankenstein jobs have been on corporate dialog editing pieces - CEO's who can't string 3 words together, etc. Would those qualify?

(have some pretty horrific music stuff as well)
Old 4th March 2003
Gear Addict
cymatics's Avatar

Have you ever heard the outtakes of Col. Sanders (of Kentucky Fried) trying to do a radio spot? It's piss your pants funny... and kinda sad too. Check it out here.

- jon
Old 4th March 2003
Moderator emeritus

Originally posted by cymatics
Have you ever heard the outtakes of Col. Sanders (of Kentucky Fried) trying to do a radio spot?
I prefer the Orson Wells voicovers, I think...
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