Ever crammed a mix/mastering session?

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Ever crammed a mix/mastering session?

Postby Martin » Tue Aug 23, 2005 11:45 pm

i mixed and mastered 23 tracks, 76 minutes all up, in a total of about 30 hours over 5 days

it was for a school compilation CD that we do once a year where i work. Mostly tools/digital stuff but i try to make sure the vocals really shine so bring in some nice pre's for that side of it.

Learnt a few more lessons about mastering since my sae course taught me everything (cough splutter ack).. its damn hard to make a compilation of REALLY different songs sound even remotely on the same level

i'm talking 80's metal to piano solo to dance hit to vocal acapella

the end result wasn't too bad, i know i'm in the right job cause i just handed them the bill and i could have sworn i didn't do a spot of work "i was just listening to music"

anyone got any stories like that?
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Postby Adam Dempsey » Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:29 pm

That's great Martin and it's always one heck of a learning curve, just spending time with the music to decide which tracks can largely be left alone, if at all and which need bringing in line.
With practise, and a good monitor reference and volume, if working "to the clock" you'll get that time down.
I think my last project like that was 22 tracks in 10 hrs and it was a shocker. But I spent a day on 6 rock tracks yesterday which had unwittingly been iTunes AAC data-reduced.
Often depends entirely on corretive work first (declicking, filtering) and any later editing for low budget live recordings.

"Just get the recorder ensemble to gell with the triangle & it'll all come together & sound WICKED.."
;)
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Postby Chris H » Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:57 pm

Hi Martin. A lot depends on how it was recorded. From your post i gather you also did the recording. I always find the hardest work with school music is making the rock/amplified band recordings sound good. The classical & jazz musos can mostly cut it but the rock/blues etc just can't pull good sounds from their gear or can't play to a reasonable standard. Just generalisations, i know but i have done a few different schools over the years. I think its not the students fault but generally the teachers havn't got a handle on the technology, but thats another whole topic that i have a few opinions about.
How many tracks.average for each song. 8 or 12 with the max being 16?
At the school where i work most of the recording is of live performance sometimes with overdubs later. I prefer to keep it simple so most recordings are around 8 to 12 track jobs.
In the 1st coupple of issues of a surf DVD i master, the majority of songs supplied were from bands with a low budget and the mixes sounded very different. For this job i go to a studio that has accurate monitoring and room accoustics etc so i could tell where the problem was with those recordings. I don't mess with the good recordings for obvious reasons but choose one as a reference to master those trcks with problems,usually cloudy low mids or bass overwhelming the mix.
There is 3 hours of program material to do over two or so days and many of the interviews use the camera mic. In a car or room, the interviewer is close and sounds ok but the one interviewed sounds roomy and/or distant. In one interview they left the car radio on. It was a real challange to get that sounding half decent, but it was a good oportunity to learn and apply new tricks, often supplied via a hasty phone call to a mate who has done it all before.
They have sorted most of these issues out now.
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Postby Martin » Wed Aug 24, 2005 3:33 pm

thanks for the kind words guys...

Chris: Yep basically a 16 channel at a time recording studio. Most between 8 and 12 like you said. The piano/vocal stuff i could get down with no problems, sound good even in 'real' studios.

The band stuff is a bit more tricky, the amps are less than perfect, the drum kit thrashed, and i don't have a huge mic selection!

Then again one of the tracks i got a good drummer friend of mine in and he managed to make the crappy kit sound great, its all about control, the kids learn that. I'm not a teacher by any means, i've sort of fallen into the role of a 'how to record' teacher while honing my own skills and being paid for it.
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Postby rick » Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:31 pm

i spent 18 hours on one song with nick launey once
big pig - big hit
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Postby Kris » Wed Aug 24, 2005 9:17 pm

i'm in the middle of 16 songs over 14 days, just tracking, with non-professional musicians and singers. It's been...... interesting. Not sure I would do it again though. I'm doing 9am - 1am, feels like groundhog day.
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Postby Kurt » Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:01 am

Live sound, every session is a cram! I wouldn't have it any other way.
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Postby Martin » Thu Aug 25, 2005 12:31 am

just finished a recording tracking guitar and hammond organ on a demo/ep thats already had some recording done at Troy horse. Quality of the recording is decent, few little things i would have changed... but WOW!! The musicians the producer brought in tonight were simply phenomenal! I've worked with some pretty good pro and semi-pro players and session guys before but these guys were in their element, equipment in perfect condition, great attitudes and treated everyone with respect, didn't get offended when i bounced out a 5 minute mix for the client to take to show their financial backers (ie. family!)

really great experience, i love my job.
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Postby timo » Thu Aug 25, 2005 1:15 pm

im only new to this game ...
how do you guys do so many hours in one day
do the ears just get used to it ?
or is it just of a case of have to get it done !
mine seem to shut off if i go to long and hard,
the ears start to play games with me .
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Postby davemc » Thu Aug 25, 2005 3:27 pm

Long days to me have a lot to do with the monitoring and how much editing.
Lower levels and non Fatiguing monitors helps.
Having a few breaks as well.
Personally now I go as long as I go. if thats 8 or 12 hours or more. Once I think its no benefit I stop. Although done to many time limited stuff that you just kill your self with. Thne you re fix things latter
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