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Why So Many Tracks?
Old 22nd January 2009
  #1
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Why So Many Tracks?

How many tracks (average) do you guys usually end up with when making hip hop tracks? I know the R&B/Pop records can get up there in the 96 track range, but I'm hearing some guys are up to 48 tracks W/O VOCALS!!! WTF!! I mean I can get up to like 18 and be like, "Damn, this is a lot of tracks..." I can't profess to be an engineer, but I wonder if you guys (engineers) get annoyed if you have 1,000,000 tracks of NOTHINGNESS to mix... If you got good samples to begin with, I don't think you would need all those tracks... Unless you're hiring an orchestra for your track, then maybe... Maybe I'm wrong... This is my last thread for the week....heh
Old 22nd January 2009
  #2
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🎧 15 years
layering and track duplications can do it. putting every single thing on it's own track as well can do it. many ways to turn 16-20 tracks to upward 50.
Old 22nd January 2009
  #3
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I usually end up with 15-30 tracks. However the track is often driven by around 4-7 elements at any given time (maybe a bit more in heavy choruses, big orchestral bridges etc.).
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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Synthy08's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i usually end up with 20-35......i dont know what everybody else is doing with 96 tracks, u just playing with stuff then.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Jay-'s Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Im only using my ASR10! Its maxed at 8 tracks.
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jikkyboy11 ➑️
layering and track duplications can do it. putting every single thing on it's own track as well can do it. many ways to turn 16-20 tracks to upward 50.
Well that's what I'm sayin... How much LAYERING are you doin? Is the sample that weak that you HAVE to do it or are you doing it because you're trying to give it that extra oompf, which IMO, could be done with the engineer... 2-3 layers per instrument is cool (and it shouldn't be every instrument....the meat of the track: kick, snare, hats...) but that leads me back to what said earlier...If you have good samples you shouldn't have to layer all that much... I try to make it easy for everybody...
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Mudnoc's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In recent years I've started producing less and less.... But I do see alot of different scenarios having to engineer alot of these sessions....

I think some people have alot of tracks (most of them un-necesarry) cause they can... They're not restricted in their production software like the guy above who says he's doing everything on an ASR (8-tracks)... So they might have that "in the background" perc sound that only comes in on the 4th bar of the verse... or that wind sound FX that only comes in at the very end....

I think some people flat out over produce a song...but will say "Hey, I can take those out at the mixing stage if I don't like it."

But I (as I'm sure alot of you) remember the days when track count was really restricted (especially in my ADAT days) so even if I layered a snare I would submix it down to one track.... Of course I wish I didn't have to but by doing that I saved myself some tracks that could be used for vocals later on....
Old 22nd January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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🎧 10 years
I usually stop making tracks when I have to scroll to the point where I lose the topmost track from view. I don't like too many things stacked in my arrangement.

Also when I think of music I think in terms of a band, and each track is an instrument. I don't listen to music that has 90 players, and I am not including orchestral where many times, players are layering the same instrument.

usually no more than 12 tracks for me.

Whether you work with midi or audio makes a huge difference in the way you work tho.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
Well that's what I'm sayin... How much LAYERING are you doin? Is the sample that weak that you HAVE to do it or are you doing it because you're trying to give it that extra oompf, which IMO, could be done with the engineer... 2-3 layers per instrument is cool (and it shouldn't be every instrument....the meat of the track: kick, snare, hats...) but that leads me back to what said earlier...If you have good samples you shouldn't have to layer all that much... I try to make it easy for everybody...

Actually I don't have that many tracks. I make some of the simplest (uh is that a word) tracks. I could see an RnBish track having that many. I remember reading that in one of Ken Lewis's posts about high track count. In general it's either having everything in and taking things out later, combined with layer, probably some kind of FX sends going on that get their own tracks. Idk I'm interested in seeing a screenshot of a project with that.

My template is stacked tho, Cubase instruments on instrument tracks (Mystic, Prologue, HalionOne, Spector VStis), Kontakt 3 with 16 midi tracks, Battery 3 with 4 midi tracks (I usually play the midi for drums in mixed mode where all the midi is stacked right on top of each other on the tracks), Omnisphere with 8 midi tracks.

My usual project is Battery 3 with 8-12 sounds, Kontakt with 2 or 3, one of the synths with 2 or 3. So I range from 10 tracks to 18 tracks of instrumentation per project. Exception would be a recent project that is about 5 tracks because I used a nice loop and built around that.


Also, some people play the orchestrated parts in their tracks and if you play each part for all those instrument tracks then the track count adds up quickly, even though those sounds may be wayyy in the background.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jikkyboy11 ➑️
Actually I don't have that many tracks. I make some of the simplest (uh is that a word) tracks. I could see an RnBish track having that many. I remember reading that in one of Ken Lewis's posts about high track count. In general it's either having everything in and taking things out later, combined with layer, probably some kind of FX sends going on that get their own tracks. Idk I'm interested in seeing a screenshot of a project with that.

...

Also, some people play the orchestrated parts in their tracks and if you play each part for all those instrument tracks then the track count adds up quickly, even though those sounds may be wayyy in the background.
That was the Danity Kane post though.. Not sure if you've heard DK but they spend a lot of tracks on vocals. Pretty sure most of Kens track-burden was with the vocal arrangements. heh

I really enjoy that record btw, great vocal arrangements, good songs, good attitude and performace from the singers and great production (in my oppinion, that is).

The orchestral stuff is what usually ends up taking the heaviest load in my beats (before the vocals come into the picture).. But I do as Jikk describes, got a track for the Cello, the Viola, the Violin, the Bass etc. Sometimes I even stack in harps, electric pianos or synths, neatly tucked in under the orchestral stack, just for the thickness/feel of it. They're barely noticeable, but you do notice it when they're removed.

Edit: Just wanted to add... Today I finished a dancehall/pop track that has 24 tracks total, vocals included. The instrumentation is basically kick/snare/shakers/guitar/bass/sub bass and a little synth for the chorus.
Old 23rd January 2009
  #11
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
How many tracks (average) do you guys usually end up with when making hip hop tracks? ! I mean I can get up to like 18 and be like, "Damn, this is a lot of tracks...
LMAO...Welllll, When I open a session to even start tracking I open 24; Always end up adding more; But I don't really just do beats per say though...Make sense???





Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
This is my last thread for the week....heh
"Letchu' tell-it"heh
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KEYBEEETSSS ➑️
LMAO...Welllll, When I open a session to even start tracking I open 24; Always end up adding more; But I don't really just do beats per say though...Make sense???





"Letchu' tell-it"heh
You know I was lyin'...

So all of your tracks have AT LEAST 24 tracks? And I'm not talking about R&B records or pop records where the vocals take up most of the track.. I'm talking pure instrumentation without vocals...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Gundersen ➑️
That was the Danity Kane post though.. Not sure if you've heard DK but they spend a lot of tracks on vocals. Pretty sure most of Kens track-burden was with the vocal arrangements. heh

I really enjoy that record btw, great vocal arrangements, good songs, good attitude and performace from the singers and great production (in my oppinion, that is).

The orchestral stuff is what usually ends up taking the heaviest load in my beats (before the vocals come into the picture).. But I do as Jikk describes, got a track for the Cello, the Viola, the Violin, the Bass etc. Sometimes I even stack in harps, electric pianos or synths, neatly tucked in under the orchestral stack, just for the thickness/feel of it. They're barely noticeable, but you do notice it when they're removed.

Edit: Just wanted to add... Today I finished a dancehall/pop track that has 24 tracks total, vocals included. The instrumentation is basically kick/snare/shakers/guitar/bass/sub bass and a little synth for the chorus.
Oh yea you're right. My bad. I know it was in the 2 or 3 hundreds. Crazy numbers.

Yea the orchestra provides a thickness that can really fill out a track in a subtle way. Something like the same way reverb is used on vox.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
You know I was lyin'...

So all of your tracks have AT LEAST 24 tracks? And I'm not talking about R&B records or pop records where the vocals take up most of the track.. I'm talking pure instrumentation without vocals...
YEAHP'SKI
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KEYBEEETSSS ➑️
YEAHP'SKI
Interesting... You've never made a track, that you thought was the shizz, less than 24 tracks? I find that hard to believe....
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #16
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
Interesting... You've never made a track, that you thought was the shizz, less than 24 tracks? I find that hard to believe....
I'm sure I have but the average is normally there for start @ least... I don't do a lot of continuous stuff; I change throughout the song instead of the same thing looping, which of course most of the elements will be looping but u know what I mean, so thatz why...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #17
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MYAMS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Cheese ➑️
Yah I sorta wondered this myself. There are so many minuscule elements in a song that I hear on the radio.. some things that I don't even know what they are.. and only happen once on the whole track. It boggles my mind and makes me frustrated... aahhh I'll never be as good...
U should be proud at the small step you have taken into HEARING the music... Thats extremely important if you are trying to produce
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 15 years
I like to get my stuff grouped a little bit and I end up at around 24 tracks.

Then they all get grouped to usually 6-8 stems.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #19
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KEYBEEETSSS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MYAMS ➑️
U should be proud at the small step you have taken into HEARING the music... Thats extremely important if you are trying to produce
Yeahppp... SO true...
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #20
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by MYAMS ➑️
U should be proud at the small step you have taken into HEARING the music... Thats extremely important if you are trying to produce
You ears are beginning to "train"... Those little nuances sometimes makes the track that much more special...
Old 23rd January 2009
  #21
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phillysoulman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by voicegenius ➑️
How many tracks (average) do you guys usually end up with when making hip hop tracks? I know the R&B/Pop records can get up there in the 96 track range, but I'm hearing some guys are up to 48 tracks W/O VOCALS!!! WTF!! I mean I can get up to like 18 and be like, "Damn, this is a lot of tracks..." I can't profess to be an engineer, but I wonder if you guys (engineers) get annoyed if you have 1,000,000 tracks of NOTHINGNESS to mix... If you got good samples to begin with, I don't think you would need all those tracks... Unless you're hiring an orchestra for your track, then maybe... Maybe I'm wrong... This is my last thread for the week....heh
Its called overkill and indecisiveness by the so called producer and/or engineer and that fact that they can.
Of course,certain dudes here will disagree,but hey,we all have our own ways of working and thats not one of mine.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #22
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Wally's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Remember some people stacc like 3 snares low mid and high one to get a fuller snare sound.

Also claps they use like 4 claps and kicks they use a 808 low volume to get bassy sound mixing it with some other kicks.

They also use tambourines like 3 or 4 to get a movin left to right fx and hi hats crashes impacts all that crap maybe some percussion.

and now Strings like 4 leads with pads just for one melody and more lol.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wally ➑️
Remember some people stacc like 3 snares low mid and high one to get a fuller snare sound.

Also claps they use like 4 claps and kicks they use a 808 low volume to get bassy sound mixing it with some other kicks.

They also use tambourines like 3 or 4 to get a movin left to right fx and hi hats crashes impacts all that crap maybe some percussion.

and now Strings like 4 leads with pads just for one melody and more lol.
We know this. And the point is that you are supposed to make a DECISION and group those 3 snares and treat them as one.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #24
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Keyflo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
at my studio, i usually have 15 tracks for rap session

I group all my drums after i layer and tweak, so when we track it it saves track space and plus we dont have to tweak like 3-4 kicks to make one

and usual rap mix session with my engineer goes like this for one rapper

Track1: Kick
Track2: Snare
Track3: Clap
Track4: Hats
Track5: Percussion
Track6: Bass(synth of regular)
Track7: Leads Vox w/Automation
Track8: Backgrounds Vox (doubles or adlibs)
Track9: Main melody (piano or synth)
Track10: Strings
Track11: Pads
Track12: FX (sweeps or swooshes)

and this is without the aux channels and such, but its usually a vocal buss and drum buss and FX buss.

I think thats all you need.

R&B on the other hand is a little different, becuase u have to record the background vox and the harmony parts. and its usually more instruments in R&B music.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #25
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voicegenius's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
We know this. And the point is that you are supposed to make a DECISION and group those 3 snares and treat them as one.
Right! thumbsup
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 10 years
the kind of stuff i'm working on at the moment...

recording everything in mono...

every instrument gets just 1 track...

well drums... kicks 1, snares 1, hats 1.

restricting myself resulted in much better beats, you should give it a go.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #27
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
I'm kinda in that same group as Keyflo and Beat you down. I like to keep things simple in my production. Typically when I layer instruments in preproduction (particularly drums), I usually group them together when I'm printing to audio. So technically, I might layer 3 kicks and 4 snares. But in my DAW, the audio is printed as 1 kick and 1 snare.

In all honesty, if you've got 24-30 tracks or whatever of music, I say there's probably a good chance you might be kinda over producing a song LOL. But then again, I can understand having that high track count if you're tracking all your layers seperately. But that's a whole nother argument for a whole nother day
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #28
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MYAMS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlacck ➑️
I'm kinda in that same group as Keyflo and Beat you down. I like to keep things simple in my production. Typically when I layer instruments in preproduction (particularly drums), I usually group them together when I'm printing to audio. So technically, I might layer 3 kicks and 4 snares. But in my DAW, the audio is printed as 1 kick and 1 snare.

In all honesty, if you've got 24-30 tracks or whatever of music, I say there's probably a good chance you might be kinda over producing a song LOL. But then again, I can understand having that high track count if you're tracking all your layers seperately. But that's a whole nother argument for a whole nother day
track count can be anything you want. A track could sound totally minimal and have over 30 tracks easily.

I will tell you that pop songs I do tend to have more track counts than hip-hop stuff- but it all depends. I have made beats with anywhere from 5 to 50 tracks.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #29
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlacck ➑️
In all honesty, if you've got 24-30 tracks or whatever of music, I say there's probably a good chance you might be kinda over producing a song LOL. )
No way. 24-32 tracks for an entire song is a nice sweet spot. 24 tracks of music then 8 of vocals would be nice for R&B. Instead we are hearing stacks and stacks of **** that go into the 100s in pop music nowadays.

I know a guy who mixes this style and the harmonies cover the entire stereo spectrum. He says it is hell to sort out.

THAT is overproduction IMO.
Old 23rd January 2009 | Show parent
  #30
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Methlab ➑️
No way. 24-32 tracks for an entire song is a nice sweet spot. I disagree with this 100%.
depends on the genre, but since this is a hip hop forum...
tell me what's on those 32 tracks when dealing with a typical hip hop tune?
assuming there's just 1 mc on it.
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