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Track counts, DAWs and is it really music?
Old 14th September 2002
  #31
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Track counts, DAWs and is it really music?

Quote:
Originally posted by Ckevperry
What A-D converters were you using Nathan?
Crane Song HEDD 192. I'll do the same test again with the Mytek 8x96, it doesn't make much sense why I wouldn't get the same results.
Old 14th September 2002
  #32
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If I have three or more toms I'll put them on a 3 tracks. The rack toms will end up as a stereo pair and the floor tom or toms get their own track. Usually because there's always one part in at least one song where the drummer is riding the floor tom and I'll want to have it in the center rather then off to one side.

Jon - Not all VCA automation is evil and bad sounding. Some systems sound quite good like the CAD Megamix packages and the Wackie Ultramix which isn't as good as the CAD but still respectable. It's a damn sight better then some of the older Amek packages IMHO. Granted I'd rather have some kind of moving fader automation like Uptown but that's a huge amount of money compared to the cost of an outboard VCA package.
Old 14th September 2002
  #33
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drundall's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
"Jules, what's the 13 tracks of drums look like? "

kick
outer kick
sn
under snare
hh
t
t
t
OH
OH
Ride
room
room
That's pretty much my exact setup, but I often leave out the outer kick, depending upon the style of music. I also will switch to a mono room mic, again depending upon the style.
I'm suprised to see that you designate a track to the ride, this is something I've had to do from client requests to turn up the ride in different sections.
Old 14th September 2002
  #34
Jax
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
If I have three or more toms I'll put them on a 3 tracks. The rack toms will end up as a stereo pair and the floor tom or toms get their own track. Usually because there's always one part in at least one song where the drummer is riding the floor tom and I'll want to have it in the center rather then off to one side.
The only problem I have with mixing toms to stereo tracks is that you can't do much for mix treatment later. When you have differently pitched toms and you want more low end on the floor tom, you're adding low end to all the other toms are well, not to mention whatever mud is floating around in the other tom tracks. This goes for compression as well. It all becomes additive and messes up the sound of the toms overall. Less muck please.

Sure, you can say that the tone of each tom should have been concentrated on more closely during tracking to where this wouldn't be an issue, but it doesn't work out perfectly during tracking all the time, or even often. Factor that in with tracks that you didn't record when someone asks you to mix them and for me at least, it becomes clear that I'd rather have the option to work with each sound individually.

I'm applying this example to toms, but I find that it's true for most instruments. OTOH, I'll bounce toms or other instruments down to a stereo track during the mix once I'm happy with how they're sitting -- never on the way in though, this is usually at the last stages of a mix.
Old 14th September 2002
  #35
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
Today in my tiny drum room,

kick inner 421 helios - Fatso
outer kick Royer 121 helios
Sn 441 - Neve 1073 - Fatso
Under snare Beyer 201 - API
HH - ? 451 NTI pre
Toms (2) 421 API
OH - Royer stereo ribbon SF12
Mono Amb (on other side of drum room drawer) Sm57 - API - Trident 9966 eq - Distresser

So 10 tracks in total... May use stereo Sound Replacer samples on kick & snare but drums sound cool as they are just now..
Old 15th September 2002
  #36
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jay Kahrs
Jon - Not all VCA automation is evil and bad sounding. Some systems sound quite good like the CAD Megamix packages and the Wackie Ultramix which isn't as good as the CAD but still respectable.
I haven't heard those systems, but sure, why not. The VCAs on the 9k are audible if you turn the motors off on a group of tracks and listen for a cumulative effect, but it's usable. Whether it would be better to use PT auto or console VCAs if I had to choose, I don't know...I just run the console auto with motors on.

Interesting about the floor tom not panned sometimes...I've always panned the floor tom.
Old 15th September 2002
  #37
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
May use stereo Sound Replacer samples on kick & snare but drums sound cool as they are just now..
Just curious, is SoundReplacer on real drums a useful, workable option for anyone?

I tried it a couple times for the helluvit and it sounded like ass. Maybe it's just me. Is it working for anyone? Jules?

Probably the farthest I've ever gone with drum sound replacement is replacing a bad hit or two with a better one from the same track. Otherwise, I'm happy to make do with the sound I'm given. Even if it's crap, there's usually a way to make it work.

BTW I just have to say that I'm very happy about a mix finished an hour ago...kind of a cross between RHCP and Fun Lovin' Criminals...sung in Ukrainian...lousy recording, great performance...cool stuff in the end.
Old 15th September 2002
  #38
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
]

Just curious, is SoundReplacer actually a useful, workable option for anyone?



I actully think it is one of the most powerfull things in ProTools. It works amazingly well .... especially with good samples .... you have to use good samples of course to get good results ... for drums that is usually the Bob C. stuff. when you put them in layers .... soft / loud / loudest soundreplacer works best imo.

I don't use it on the stuff I record myself .... because then I make sure the sound is good when it goes in ..... but I use it a lot on stuff that comes in from other places. especially on remixes. Turn the drums into a rythm section using the original feel the drummer played. beats a sequencer any day.
Old 15th September 2002
  #39
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Cool, Chris - which Bob C. drum library do you prefer?

Hey, you're up as late as I am!

Time for
Old 15th September 2002
  #40
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have the east west series :

Bob Clearmountain Drums Volumes I and II
Old 15th September 2002
  #41
Gear Addict
 
Markus Stock's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Same here....Soundreplacer and the Clearmoutain libraries are used all the time to beef up drum tracks. I mix them in with the original tracks and most of the time with a little editing of the sampletracks the result is awesome and still natural sounding if you don't overdo it. Soundreplacer
Old 15th September 2002
  #42
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I always record separate samples every drum session. This allows me to do any fixes if needed, using the same snare sound. It blends better with the track, than using Cd-samples.
Old 15th September 2002
  #43
Founder
 
Jules's Avatar
I finally remembered to get drum hits today, well at least on one song out of two is better than none..

I hve been vowing to do this (for the reason Hench describes above) for the whole year! But always forget!

Old 15th September 2002
  #44
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I hardly ever trigger or replace drum sounds. If I ever trigger it's kick and snare and I'm augmenting what's already there because it's lacking in some way.

Anyway, I always do submixes as early on as I can. If I have 4 or more background vocals that are indentical I'll bounce them to one or two tracks and keep going. Same thing with percussion. Rather then have 10 tracks of shakers at the mix I'll bounce them down to a pair or maybe 3 tracks. Then again, I've only had one client record 10 tracks of shakers and that was the least of his problems.
Old 16th September 2002
  #45
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RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon
Nathan and Kris,

Digital math approximating & modifying the audio is *not* just a theory -- you can hear it, and you can see it on your DAW screen. Gain and panning changes, plug-ins, bussing and summing in the digital domain all add to the deterioration/approximation/digitis you hear.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree. Suffice to say that I hear unsubtle differences with the DAW and monitors in my room, that you guys do not hear with the DAW and monitors you used where you did your test.

Jon
Few people would argue that there are problems with digital audio. Fewer still agree on what those problems are caused by.

To address the questions of faders and math, let's consider this. I would assume the even the tiniest level change would require just as much, if not more, "math" as something more substantial. So take one of your sessions and automate a bunch of level changes on various tracks, or all of them, of about .1 db. This should totally destroy your sound. Set yourself up a little blind test and see if you can even hear it at all (I'll even toss in the un-compensated-for level changes as a free clue).

-Rick
Old 16th September 2002
  #46
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mwagener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Most of my own projects at my studio end up at 48 tracks (at this time the capacity of the R-1), but that includes some comped stereo tracks (mostly backing vocals and strings) and the use of more than one "sheet" (similar to takes) on the R-1. I use a Tascam MX 2424 for track overrun. I've done sessions with well over 100 tracks (i.e. Accept's "Balls To The Wall) in the early '80s and we had two 3M digital machines (32 tracks each) and two Telefunken 2" 32 track analog machines locked up and were mixing in two control rooms at the same time, no automation. One control room had all the drums on an MCI 500 console and we would literally "call in" changes on the drum mix over the house phone, and the main control room had the drum submix on two faders and all the other machines returning on an MCI 600 console and a MIDAS live mixer. There were 2400 voices singing what I call "football vocals", comped to stereo tracks arranged by pitch etc.

My next project is going to be recorded in surround sound and I'm sure Santa has to bring an extension to 96 tracks for the R-1 for that one heh
Old 16th September 2002
  #47
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Just once I'd like to see a track sheet for something with 100+ tracks on it. I just can't imagine what I'd record with that many tracks. On Tuesday I've got a guy coming in to play acoustic guitar, harmonica and sing and we're going to 1/4" analog at 15ips. Welcome to my world.
Old 16th September 2002
  #48
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drundall's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by mwagener
There were 2400 voices singing what I call "football vocals", comped to stereo tracks arranged by pitch etc.
I love that part!
Old 16th September 2002
  #49
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman


Few people would argue that there are problems with digital audio. Fewer still agree on what those problems are caused by.

To address the questions of faders and math, let's consider this. I would assume the even the tiniest level change would require just as much, if not more, "math" as something more substantial. So take one of your sessions and automate a bunch of level changes on various tracks, or all of them, of about .1 db. This should totally destroy your sound. Set yourself up a little blind test and see if you can even hear it at all (I'll even toss in the un-compensated-for level changes as a free clue).

-Rick
Hi Rick,

I went through that several years ago (remember Digi's dithered summing mixer), listened heavily (double blind tests, etc) a number of times, and came to my own conclusions.

Nowadays, using PT+Apogees and Studers to an SSL J series on an intense daily basis, there is ample opportunity to listen and compare...and I do. Listening is where it's at.

You sure don't have to accept my conclusions, but I'm pretty convinced by what I hear.

P.S. Have a look at some of your assumptions.
Old 16th September 2002
  #50
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
I also agree with Jules' basic drum micing list. Some optional additions/comments :

1. Rear rooms for possible surround mix
2. second pair of overheads using a different or complementary mic. I have often put up both KM184s and a Royer SF12 then picked one in the mix. This worked much better than EQ - need bright overheads? use the KM - need dark warmth? use the Royer - use em'both? sure!
3. I agree with the spot ride mic - sometimes I spot mic other cymbals too. If the band/drummer/producer wants a hyper-real in-yer-face intricate cymbal sound in the mix - its too late if you didn't spot mic it.
4. I never sub-mix unless I have to - and I never 'have' to. Sometimes I choose to - but I always keep the originals around as well - so that just makes for even more tracks!

Too Many Tracks ?
"I don't like that painting - its got too many colors in it!"
Do what you like - I'll do what I like.
My band had four horns, bass, drums, percussion, lead singer, keyboards, guitar - 10 guys total. My minimum would be : drums get 14 ch, horns get 6 (one per + stereo room) percussion gets 2, bass gets 1 or 2, keys get 2 or 4, guitar gets 1 or 2 - we are already way over 24 without backing vocals, solos, doubling, etc.

If you do true surround recordings of every instrument - four to six mics per pass will add up pretty quick.
Old 16th September 2002
  #51
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Oh yeah - and I use sound replacer when I need to. I find it often takes a bit of 'futzing' with to make it sound right. I find it really depends upon what you've got to work with. If the guy has a great kick sound - great! But, often as not - his drum sounds like sh*T no matter how you mic it - but he still wants to use it. Then, days or months later, he wants a fat sound from the kick in the mix (even though no such sound has ever come out of his drum). Whether its sound replacer or just your average sample triggering - something foreign needs to be added to his sound to match what he hears in his head, and what everyone else wants to hear. For most bands/acts - its not about documenting reality - its about entertainment and/or emotion through great sounds. Some bands come in to the studio with these sounds - others need your help to find them.
Old 16th September 2002
  #52
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by jon



You sure don't have to accept my conclusions, but I'm pretty convinced by what I hear.

P.S. Have a look at some of your assumptions.
Which assumptions should I look at? Are you saying that lowering a track by, say, 5 db requires more "destructive math" than, say, a .1 db change? I could see how certain amounts of attenuation might be simpler to calculate than others, but I would think that would relate to factors other than the amount of attenuation. But I could be wrong. Perhaps I'll ask the intelligentsia at rec.audio.pro for some enlightenment about this.

In any case, I'm not disagreeing with what you have hear or questioning your experience or even suggesting that PT sounds just as good without a console. I'm merely trying to examine some of the specifics as to why.

-Rick
Old 17th September 2002
  #53
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
sound replacer is only good when you really need a drummer replacer.

toms should ALWAYS be discrete if close micing.

my drums setup:
kick x2
snare
tom
floor
overhead x2
sides x2
room x2

thats 11.
Old 17th September 2002
  #54
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mwagener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
standard drum setup at WireWorld:

1 kick (2 sources mixed to one track)
2 2nd kick (if drummer uses two kick drums, I prefer double beater on one drum)
3 snare top
4 snare bottom
5 hat
6 ride
7 OH left (each cymbal miced separate and mixed to stereo track)
8 OH right (same as OH left)
9 floor 1 (if used)
10 floor 2
11 rack tom 3
12 rack tom 2
13 rack tom 1
14 room mono (compressed)
15 room stereo left (Neumann head)
16 room stereo right (Neumann head)
17 room mono (plate mic taped to studio window)
18 shotgun mic (5 feet above snare)
19 cowbell or special cymbals (splash etc.)
Old 17th September 2002
  #55
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Do you guys think Roy Thomas Baker had 2 locked up, custom Stevens 40 tracks in flight cases 20+ years ago just for some extra hassle? BTW, having 80 tracks (well 76 really with SMPTE and a guard track) didn't seem to negatively affect those Cars records too much.

High track count is no new phenomenon. Bruce Swedien was running 2 Otari DTR900 32 tracks, a Studer A800 and an MCI 16 track locked up back in about '89 when I hung with him while he was making Qunicy's "Back On the Block". "Thriller" and "Back On the Block" had a couple of OK songs, as I remember it.

As Michael W has said elsewhere in this thread, it's all relative to what you're trying to accomplish. In the last year, I've cleared 100 tracks on mixes a few times, and hit the 80-90 range often. Then again, I'm mixing 43 tracks today.

There is about zero correlation between track count and good/bad songs or even good/bad production in my experience. Sometimes a producer needs a buttload of tracks to realize a musical vision, sometimes he might need 10.

It's the presence or absence of a vision that seperates the good from the bad, IMO, not the particulars of the mechanics.

Awww, I'll shutup now before I sound too preachy, but let me say this. If Freddy Mercury had access to more tracks, Bohemian Rhapsody wouldn't have sucked. But it might just have been easier to realize that musical vision. Maybe that's why RTB got the Stevens 40 tracks?

The reason I love the option to add tracks without worry or hassle is two-fold. First, I can try more ideas, quicker, and with less hassle. The plan is to only keep the good ones.

Secondly, I hate bouncing down submixes. Hate it. Time waster and mixing groove buster for me. What if, after I have the mix just about where I want it, I discover that the melody on that stacked BGV submix is now too loud or too soft because I dug out a cool guitar line in the chorus that I think is hooky? I want to grab the fader and change that one part in the BGVs now , while I'm in the moment. Screw submix bouncing, in my book. Give me all live faders, all the time. It makes me more, not less intuitive in my efforts. But maybe I'm weird.


Remember, at one point in history, the effect of a human being exceeding 60MPH was predicted to be fatal.



Regards,
Brian T
Old 17th September 2002
  #56
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It seems reasonable to assume that the more tracks available to a given
musician or singer, the more the tendency of sloughing off being properly
prepared in the studio.

80%+ of my favorite recordings were 8 tracks or less BTW.
Something about artists having to perform on a regular basis seems to
hold the track count down in a general sense.

Hasn't the ratio of "one take" performances gone down a bit lately,
and there aren't as many albums done in three days or less?
(meant rhetorically of course)

Chris

P.S. Naturally expecting to need at least 100+ tracks someday BTW!
Old 17th September 2002
  #57
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
jon's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally posted by BrianT
There is about zero correlation between track count and good/bad songs or even good/bad production in my experience.

I hate bouncing down submixes. Hate it. Time waster and mixing groove buster for me. Give me all live faders, all the time. It makes me more, not less intuitive in my efforts.

Brian T
I'm with you all the way on those two statements.
Old 17th September 2002
  #58
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mwagener's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It's great to have all those tracks available for use if needed. If they're not needed, don't use them just because they are there. IMHO it very much depends on the style of music how many tracks get used, but I don't think it is any indication of the QUALITY of the music.

In any case: Everything worth doing is worth over-doing heh
Old 17th September 2002
  #59
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
from brian eno's book [a year with swollen appendices] someone so nicely linked me to:

"unfortunately we are working on 48-track [i hate that], far too much can survive. Its a structural thing: when things are good, their structure- the balance of tension and release, light and dark, heaviness and lightness, earth and air, all those things- is obvious to me. If im not seeing that kind of structure something is wrong."
Old 17th September 2002
  #60
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think the advantage of fewer tracks was that it forced decisions on the part of the artist and producer and required really great arrangements. Some folks were disciplined enough and good enough arrangers that more tracks became an advantage while undisciplined people pretty much got lost in self-indulgence.
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