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Track Counts- the less the better in ITB Tracking and mixing?
Old 2nd December 2014
  #31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
I think this is really a working style/philosophy issue. I started on 2 16-bit ADATs, eventually a 3rd. I got very comfortable with 16 and then 24 tracks. I hated the sound of the ADATs and the Mackie console. We replaced the console, and made other mic and outboard upgrades as we went. The boss was all for reinvesting in the studio. I eventually bought my first 2" machine and put it in the room, then a 1/4" deck. When I bough him out, they came with me. The console was replaced, but I opened my room with just the 24-track and 1/4". I eventually added a RADAR because people wanted digital (mostly they wanted to not pay for tape). I was still in a 24-track world.

I finally broke down and put in Pro Tools last year. My biggest reason was that I wanted mix recall. I would explain to people that once I was told a mix was approved and moved on to the next song that the old mix was gone. There would still be people who would ask for the second line of the second verse to be louder, but they wouldn't decide this until the rest of the record was done. We'd had the "do you want to pay me to take recall notes?" conversation, and they didn't want to spend that money. Anywho, I bought and learned Pro Tools.

When I'm making a record, I word exactly as I always did. Sometime I end up going over 24 tracks, but mostly I don't. I don't even think about it. I hear the song and I make suggestions for other parts, I try to make a compelling mix. I record the band at once with isolation, or sometime all in the room. I try to make it sound like MUSIC made by PEOPLE.

I do use some of the nice little features, like playlists. On tape I'd have to record 2-3 vocals and leave an open track to comp to. Or I'd record a take and punch a few things that needed it. I can use playlists and not keep an open track for the comp. I still punch into track often, and I erase a lot of things as well. If we hate something SHIFT/COMMAND/B and away it goes.

I like the automation, and recallability. I don't think what I do sounds all that different. I use the console for summing, and some outboard things, including an analog mix buss compressor. All outboard gets recorded into PT and the mix bus comp is the only thing that needs recall (it's switched).

On the live room floor!!!
Excellent-
I definitely think there is a sea change afoot-
Old 2nd December 2014
  #32
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Some food for thought - I recently started mixing a live radio show on Monday nights, and there's always a musical or spoken-word guest at the end. One or two performers max. They're right in the room with the host and the non-musical guests, and it's live to stereo. Next day, when the performers get copies of what they did the night before, their reaction is always "Wow! This is better than the record!" Having heard their records, or most of them, what's better to me is the simplicity and immediacy, and especially the adrenaline. The keen concentration mixed with a little fear that goes with "no do-overs" is a huge plus, I think.
Old 2nd December 2014
  #33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Some food for thought - I recently started mixing a live radio show on Monday nights, and there's always a musical or spoken-word guest at the end. One or two performers max. They're right in the room with the host and the non-musical guests, and it's live to stereo. Next day, when the performers get copies of what they did the night before, their reaction is always "Wow! This is better than the record!" Having heard their records, or most of them, what's better to me is the simplicity and immediacy, and especially the adrenaline. The keen concentration mixed with a little fear that goes with "no do-overs" is a huge plus, I think.
This is a very great post-

This is kind of what I've been alluding too- the DAW has changed the way we work which has changed the final product-

I'm interested in unpacking everything that has changed- not necessarily the X's and O's of conversion and summing!
Old 2nd December 2014
  #34
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cavern's Avatar
 

There's no silence between the notes anymore.With unlimited track capabilities,there's a tendency to put to much crap in a mix just cause you can.IMO
Old 2nd December 2014
  #35
Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
There's no silence between the notes anymore.With unlimited track capabilities,there's a tendency to put to much crap in a mix just cause you can.IMO
Yep-

Plus- if you get a really good drum and acoustic sound- it's easier to want to let it shine in the verses- but it it's crap, it's tempting to add in too much smoke and mirrors
Old 2nd December 2014
  #36
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gainreduction's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
There's no silence between the notes anymore.
Bam!

Old 3rd December 2014
  #37
Gear Head
 

Less is More

Quote:
Originally Posted by cavern View Post
There's no silence between the notes anymore.With unlimited track capabilities,there's a tendency to put to much crap in a mix just cause you can.IMO
That's because most people don't really pay attention to the quality of their music anymore, or just lose focus. Kind of like how an artist just throws all the color they can onto a canvas and call it art. It's not art, its a mess.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #38
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oceantracks's Avatar
 

Don't overlook the fact that on many hi track count mixes, the count isn't because of actual PARTS, it's because we can separate things now to have greater control. In the Sixties handclaps and tambourine could have gone on drum track (or even a vocal track!).....now we have separate track for claps (close) claps (room) etc....so sometimes when someone says "yeah this song has 150 tracks" I don't automatically assume he means PARTS....

TH
Old 3rd December 2014
  #39
Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzaholic View Post
That's because most people don't really pay attention to the quality of their music anymore, or just lose focus. Kind of like how an artist just throws all the color they can onto a canvas and call it art. It's not art, its a mess.
Yep- it's kind of like living on a budget-

You only have so much to spend, so you have to really dig deep and figure out what's really important-

When we used four track cassette recorders back in the day, you really, really had to think about what the true guitar hook was- how important is tripling that guitar part-

I've noticed guys just come into a session and it's kind of expected that they will double and triple everything guitar and vocal wise- and then add a bunch of ear candy-

I'm enjoying the limitations my Apogee Quartet puts on me with four inputs- and I try to pretend I only have 30 tracks in Logic or Pro Tools from the start

It kind of keeps my focusing on what's really important to the song- and then if I "have a couple of tracks left over, great- maybe I'll add that little riff I was playing around with earlier"
Old 3rd December 2014
  #40
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Don't overlook the fact that on many hi track count mixes, the count isn't because of actual PARTS, it's because we can separate things now to have greater control. In the Sixties handclaps and tambourine could have gone on drum track (or even a vocal track!).....now we have separate track for claps (close) claps (room) etc....so sometimes when someone says "yeah this song has 150 tracks" I don't automatically assume he means PARTS....

TH
Very true- but besides phasing and those types of things with multi-miking- there's something to be said about spending the time getting it really right before you track-

Like changing drum heads, and changing out snares- and finding the right guitar for the level of strumming you are doing in the song-
The right mic positioning-

To me- if I start relying on giving myself 4 different options at mix, it can get disorienting kind of like waiting to reconcile your checkbook every 2-3 months versus keeping track of it as you go-

You read Geoff Emerick's book on tracking the Beatles and you sense that perhaps some of the signature magic that happened might not have happened had they not had limitations-

But- you make a good point- in the right hands having options can be a good thing
Old 3rd December 2014
  #41
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I’ve heard great productions with an absolutely, ungodly amount of plugins and track counts, and I’ve heard plenty of crappy sounding records that were done with a bare minimum of everything. Once again, there are no rules. There are infinitely more ways to screw something up than to get it done right. My audio philosophy is very simple: Whatever it takes and however long it takes – as long as it is awesome (at least for you). Check out some of the “secrets of mixing engineers” articles in SOS magazines; sometimes the combinations of plugins and the outboard gear is totally staggering and sometimes there is just a naked, lonely fader.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #42
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edva's Avatar
Old adage that is mostly true: "the better they are the easier it is".
Old 3rd December 2014
  #43
Gear Head
 

Technology

Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post

When we used four track cassette recorders back in the day, you really, really had to think about what the true guitar hook was- how important is tripling that guitar part-

I've noticed guys just come into a session and it's kind of expected that they will double and triple everything guitar and vocal wise- and then add a bunch of ear candy-
"
I kind of blame technology more than anything else. People use technology to replace talent and skill as much as possible. As humans, it's in our nature to want to do as little work as possible and get the most reward. In this case, technology lets us excel. This is a good thing and a bad thing. We can do things now that we couldn't do back then, and many tasks can be done in the tenth of time it took in the previous decades. On the other hand, when you use less talent, there is less creativity.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #44
Gear Head
 

3 Track success

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Beast View Post
I’ve heard great productions with an absolutely, ungodly amount of plugins and track counts, and I’ve heard plenty of crappy sounding records that were done with a bare minimum of everything.
I've seen songs with only 3 tracks that have become very successful. An example is Kanye West.

Track 1: somebody else's song
Track 2: 808 Kick Drum
Track 3. Vocals
Old 3rd December 2014
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzaholic View Post
I've seen songs with only 3 tracks that have become very successful. An example is Kanye West.

Track 1: somebody else's song
Track 2: 808 Kick Drum
Track 3. Vocals
I’ve heard a shaman scratching his knee and chanting to the rhythm of it – absolutely beautiful. All of that to say is, that it is possible to take things to the opposite extremes and still make it sound great.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #46
Gear Addict
 
ZFire's Avatar
 

I think for mainstream pop music you need those high track count wall-of-sound mixes, combined with a constant-singing arrangement.

Because if you have any space in your music, the gatekeepers are terrified that an attention deficit 17 yr old is going to click Next.
Old 3rd December 2014
  #47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZFire View Post
I think for mainstream pop music you need those high track count wall-of-sound mixes, combined with a constant-singing arrangement.

Because if you have any space in your music, the gatekeepers are terrified that an attention deficit 17 yr old is going to click Next.
hahaha
There's probably some truth in the ADD part!
Old 3rd December 2014
  #48
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceantracks View Post
Don't overlook the fact that on many hi track count mixes, the count isn't because of actual PARTS, it's because we can separate things now to have greater control. In the Sixties handclaps and tambourine could have gone on drum track (or even a vocal track!).....now we have separate track for claps (close) claps (room) etc....so sometimes when someone says "yeah this song has 150 tracks" I don't automatically assume he means PARTS....

TH
That is true, and it does make life easier as a mixer and producer. I did something with 3 vocalists singing backgrounds. I did it Queen style, each singing all 3 parts in unison on one mic, so that's 3 parts with 3 singers. I doubled them, so 6 tracks making 18 voices. On Tape I'd have tracked the double to a track while bouncing the other to that track to open up tape real estate. In PT each just got a track.
Quote:
Originally Posted by babydaddymusic View Post
Yep- it's kind of like living on a budget-

You only have so much to spend, so you have to really dig deep and figure out what's really important-

When we used four track cassette recorders back in the day, you really, really had to think about what the true guitar hook was- how important is tripling that guitar part-

I've noticed guys just come into a session and it's kind of expected that they will double and triple everything guitar and vocal wise- and then add a bunch of ear candy-

I'm enjoying the limitations my Apogee Quartet puts on me with four inputs- and I try to pretend I only have 30 tracks in Logic or Pro Tools from the start

It kind of keeps my focusing on what's really important to the song- and then if I "have a couple of tracks left over, great- maybe I'll add that little riff I was playing around with earlier"
Ray Kennedy tells bands that there is a tax of $100 for every track past 24 imposed by the musicians union. Bands a made to decide if that extra X part is really that important. He also runs Pro Tools in destructive record mode.
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