Old 07-11-2017, 10:02 AM   #1
bassburner
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Default Going Overboard aka Keep It Simple Stupid

I'm wrapping up my bands first EP which is the first time I'm doing everything myself. Our plan is to do the EPs DIY and then when there's enough for a full album that will be pro mastered and be a more traditional release.

Anyway, I find things getting out of hand with the number of tracks and number of plugins. We are a seven piece: drums, bass, guitar, 2 brass, 1 sax, & keys - plus vox. Pretty much every tutorial video I've watched has 10 drum tracks with sampled kicks and snares and every guitar track is doubled. On the other hand, I've read articles where hipster guys are recording only with tape and consoles with one Shure 55 on the drums. Now I don't want to go that far but I can definitely go more minimal.

I have ideas for the next batch of songs in terms of tracking because with these songs, I have 10 drum mics, 3 mics for each horn plus a stereo room mic for the horns, the rhythm guitar track is doubled and has two mics and a DI, and even recorded each pickup from my Ric bass separately. I'm definitely going to back off on all this.

But I'm wondering about my plugin usage. I tried mixing with purely Reaeq, Reacomp, Satson and a few reverbs and delays. I could get the individual tracks sounding as well as when using all the third party stuff but the whole mix was missing some cohesiveness that I was getting when using Slate's and Wave's stuff. I understand this is the cumulative effect of the harmonic distortion of the various layers of "analog."

Anyone try imposing restrictions on themselves so you don't end up with 10 layers of effects (if you count the individual pieces of VCC as individual effects) but not so much that it negatively impacts the overall sound?

I've heard about the channel strip principal to keep things simple but that wasn't any different than just using Reaeq and Reacomp. Anyone take this a step further and setup a template with a virtual studio in it? What I mean by that, deciding my "studio" is going to have 2 DBX160s, a pair of LA2As, one reverb unit, etc, and a max of 24 tracks/8 busses (or whatever). And you force yourself to stay within those limitations. I understand this is virtual and I can have 18 different compressors and EQs on each track but this just gets too distracting for a newbie and I ended up wasting too much time futzing around with various plugins.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:28 AM   #2
Judders
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If your rough mix of the raw tracks doesn't sound cohesive and rockin', then it is a tracking problem, not something that you should fix in the mix.

If you don't want to track it all again, then use whatever you need in the mix to get the sound you want. Forget about artificial restrictions and emulating analogue recording chains. Just do whatever you need to get the sound you want.

This is production stuff really. Next time, in pre-production (rehearsing and refining your songs), make rough live recordings and think about arrangement and where you want the instruments to sit. Think about what you want the finished recording to sound like. Then translate that to mic choice and positioning to get you as close to that vision as possible before you've used a single plugin.
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Old 07-11-2017, 10:40 AM   #3
Bri1
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Yeallo-
I guess things can be broken into sections- tracking sessions -- mix sessions --- mix/mastering sessions.
Each session can be simplified and use of plugins can be maximized.
Lots of stuff can be kept to a single track,or even a single item in some cases--everything>!almost....
Keeping everything to a bare minimum makes total sense here-always has.
When your running a few synths the ¬filters alone¬ can really hammer a powerfull modern system.

The biggest challenge I would say 'you' might face is going to be phase issues-with that amount of mic's and plugins-being parallel or sometimes even serial effects can cause 'problems'.
Simple is goooood- simple is veryyy good.
Some very outstanding music comes from simplicity itself as I hear it.
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Old 07-11-2017, 12:13 PM   #4
martifingers
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Specifically on drums (and I am no expert) what is it about the Glyn Johns technique (or similar) that would not give you the sound you want? Certainly simplifies the process:
https://www.recordingrevolution.com/...ording-method/

And 3 mics on each horn (plus room mic)? If these are perfectly set up during tracking then they could be recorded on one track perhaps? If not then are all the tracks really necessary during mixing? If I was confronted with all those options I think progress would be very slow as I experimented with all the possibilities. Others may be more disciplined!
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martifingers View Post
Specifically on drums (and I am no expert) what is it about the Glyn Johns technique (or similar) that would not give you the sound you want? Certainly simplifies the process:
https://www.recordingrevolution.com/...ording-method/
Lack of faith in myself. I was going to the Glyn Johns technique and then just have the extra mics in case but I completely forgot that occurred to me when I did the tracking. Next time I do drums I'm going to go with this method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by martifingers View Post
And 3 mics on each horn (plus room mic)? If these are perfectly set up during tracking then they could be recorded on one track perhaps? If not then are all the tracks really necessary during mixing? If I was confronted with all those options I think progress would be very slow as I experimented with all the possibilities. Others may be more disciplined!
No, 3 mics, one for each horn, plus the two room mics. So it was 3 mono and 1 stereo track per take plus they doubled tracked for some of the stuff. Next time I think I'll drop it down to one mic for the trumpet and trombone, getting a balance by placement but I'll still need a second one for the tenor sax. He's barely audible on the room mics.

Same with guitar. There's no need for 2 mics. Either one's definitely better than the other or they're equal in which case it doesn't matter.

Basically why I'm looking to minimize both my track count and plug in usage is to limit distractions. I definitely don't need to try 30 different compressors and I absolutely don't need to mess around with 5 of them that are all clones of the same piece of hardware.
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Old 07-11-2017, 01:51 PM   #6
Judders
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This video was uploaded recently, which might be of interest:

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Old 07-11-2017, 01:57 PM   #7
karbomusic
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Quote:
Pretty much every tutorial video I've watched has 10 drum tracks with sampled kicks and snares and every guitar track is doubled
There is a little red X at the top right of your browser (or left if Mac) that will fix that problem. More seriously, often these extra options are more about not needing to retrack than they are all needing to be used. So my little contribution is don't be afraid to prioritize getting the sound in your head and if that means muting something, do it.

I'm about to record my band, I'm thinking I'll have 12-14 mics just on drums, I'll at most use half to two thirds of those at mix time. I'm not sure of the sound I'll get, new band, new room, new everything, so these extra mics are only for the initial decision making when I start mixing, then what I don't need will be removed.

Quote:
Anyone try imposing restrictions on themselves so you don't end up with 10 layers of effects (if you count the individual pieces of VCC as individual effects) but not so much that it negatively impacts the overall sound?
I don't specifically impose them as much as noticing when I'm over doing it, then asking myself why I did or why I felt I had to. If you can answer that, you can likely avoid much of this. I truly don't care for some of the YT tutes/demos because often, all they are really doing is demoing plugins because they think plugins is how you mix - often it is the exact opposite. However there are times the mix is still going to be complex to deal with, that requires building up some type of methodical organization which can save a lot of grief.

You might check out some of Kenny's paid mixing tutorials, they'll cover far more worthwhile ground concerning doing a real mixing job without using 10,000 plugins/tracks to do it.
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Old 07-12-2017, 12:42 PM   #8
martifingers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bassburner View Post
No, 3 mics, one for each horn, plus the two room mics. .
I get it now - 3 mics on each horn would be overkill, huh? Although I met someone once who used 4 mics on an acoustic guitar. I am not sure he knew what he was doing...
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