Home Recording Workshop.....

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Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Wiz » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:20 am

I am doing a (free) home recording workshop here in Bundaberg in early Dec.

I have a pretty good idea of what I am going to cover.

What are the things, that when you get finished mixes for mastering, or tracks in for mixing that you wish someone had
told the client, prior to you getting them?

It might be nice, as part of the night to read out to the audience, quotes from professionals.

thanks

Wiz
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby gigpiglet » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:08 am

hi pass filters.
even though they are on nearly every piece of equipment - they seem to be a magic thing that only truly professional people use.. i wish a PT channel strip had a phase button and hi pass as standard (we expect it of a console)

proper file management
nameing/ saving/ etc
you would (or you might not) be surprised how many things I've started mixing only to find I'm working on the wrong session.. :-(
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Thirteen » Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:48 am

Not to record everything in stereo. People who use hardware workstation synths are particularly prone to this, because the synth has stereo outputs they record every track in stereo. I usually tell beginners to think about every track that they record and whether it needs to be stereo or mono. String pad patches for example are stereo but things like bass guitar and synth lead solos are far better recorded as a mono track from the mono output of the keyboard.

It's pretty hard to mix a track where every sound is already stereo.
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Paul Maybury » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:15 pm

I concur with the above observations.
Another thing that I have seen a lot is bad edits, where the tails of ambience or even the notes themselves are cut off.
Also sounds that are undercooked, in that they don't inform the mood of the track. They just sit there like a bump on a log. Recording engineers need to think about this stuff! You are not archiving, you are facilitating, enhancing, sculpting and building a musical event.
Another problem is lumpy room sounds. If the room isn't great, you are better off excluding it from the recordings.
And last, but not least, way too many tracks and background tracks that continue through the whole song. Arrangement should not be left until mix time.
Cheers,
Paul
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby mylesgm » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:07 pm

Logical naming, good basic edits and correct cataloguing of files because if I have to do them they will definitely be paying for a longer session. That's just basic computer stuff as to actual engineering/production...

Don't record too hot! we can turn it up (within reason) but we can't turn it down!
Don't over process. If you really need that comp/verb/phaser etc for the vibe either record a dry pass and a wet pass (edit grouped together and locked so that I can see that they go together) so that I can see the effect you are going for and either recreate or reinforce it OR record (esp. comp and eq) with the effect barely ticking over.
Make reasonable decisions and stick to them. I don't need 9 different room sound options on anything drums to violin.
Be realistic in your expectations, if you go for a 3 mic drum sound for aesthetic reasons or technical limitations don't expect me to then turn it into Def Leppard Hysteria drums sounds unless you want me to re-record it.
Do expect to give input in mixing but don't constantly ask "What about this" or "do you think a little 50hz on the kick/snare/tom/tambourine/glock/kazoo" etc every 5 seconds. Come with a written list of thoughts, discuss them, let me do some work and then show you where I'm at then discuss how this sits with your vision.
Use your ears and other tracks as references not just what someone said that you read on a forum (how ironic) to make decisions. Bring reference tracks to mix session or let me know them in advance so I can prepare.
Be open minded to what I might bring to the table but be realistic as to what is possible within tech and budget restrictions.
To remember that making albums is fun but that that is a welcome side effect, making quality albums/music professionally is like any work, it requires dedicated time, focus, concentration and mutual respect (if working in a team). And professionally, appropriate remuneration.
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Ben M » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:32 pm

Hey Wiz
Here's a few tips from Chris Stamey.
I've stood by these and other methods over the years.
Pretty sensible comprehensive list. Basically allows the mix engineer to start mixing straight away rather than wasting hours weed clearing each song....Enjoy!

Essential Things To Do

1. Create Memory Location markers of each song's arrangement. You can make these "on the fly" by hitting "enter" as the music plays. After this, reposition the markers as accurately as possible, perhaps using grid mode to move the markers to exact locations. Name them in a clear manner: "Intro, V1a, V1b, Ch1, Transition 1, Bridge, Solo, Outro, Last Chord, Fade starts" or any understandable shorthand.

2. Indicate the average tempo(s) in beats per minute (BPM) if you know it. Make sure any tempo map is in the conductor track if appropriate. Write down any click tempo in a Comments window as well. The same goes for the key or keys of the music. If there are places where it modulates, you can make a Memory Location for these as well.

3. Do a Save As and name the session as "[song title] MIX."

4. Use Make Inactive for tracks that are not to be used in the mix but are being saved "just in case." This will make them look grayed out.

5. All essential (i.e. special-effect) plug-ins should be printed to another track or bounced to disk and imported. Your mix engineer may not have the same plug-in or the same version of that plug-in. It's okay to leave clearly labeled unprocessed versions of the above processed track.

6. Make sure all the audio files are there on the project drive you are sending. Sometimes files get recorded on the internal drive or other drives accidentally. You can look in the Regions window for this: Set it to show full path, and look at the drive name for all the regions. This way you can avoid having to send files at the last minute by FTP or possibly having to postpone the mix.

7. If volume automation has been used to fade-in or fade-out of regions, replace it with created audio fade-ins and fade-outs. Leave any automation you want used (e.g. backing vocal blends, panning) and label it clearly in the Comments window. Mark nonessential automation in the session as "automation may be deleted" in the comments window.

8. Use Mute Regions to mute audio tracks instead of muting with automation - if you have already used mute automation, redo the mutes using Mute Region instead. To do this, first cut a new region for the section to be muted, then select it and use Command/Apple-M to make it gray out. You can check this on all the tracks by selecting All and then switching the track display to show the Mutes' "rubber bands."

9. If you are making DVD-Rs with your files, let the verification process complete after the burn. Make sure you have all the files backed up - hopefully in at least two different places - before taking or sending them to mixing.

10. Rename all the tracks in capital letters and with simple names. For example, "bss421LA2A.09" should be changed to BASS or BASS MIC.

Helpful Things To Do

1. If you have logged enough screen time that it's easy for you, then clean all edits and punches, and get rid of unwanted noise before and after the desired instrument begins. With the Auto Region Fade In/Out Length (TDM only) set to "0 ms," make sure there are no clicks and pops or chopped-off breaths. Use crossfades as necessary.

2. If there is a cool noise that you want to keep but one that a mixer might possibly think extraneous (perhaps a mic stand falling over at the end of a track or a dog barking off-mic), note this clearly with a Memory Location marker and also in the comments window of that track.

3. Then use Duplicate Playlist to create a playlist copy of the cleaned-up tracks. Then consolidate the regions on the duplicate playlist track into solid audio track that starts from the beginning of the session - but do this only when you are completely finished editing them and have cleaned up all the edit points so there are no clicks or pops. If you start all the consolidated regions at exactly the same time, even if that leaves lots of dead space at the start, then the files can be mixed in other software platforms. Use a locate point to make sure the start is sample-accurate for all the files, or just start them all at 00:00:00.

4. Label Aux Inputs with direction (to/from) and the name of the outboard gear or plug-in used. One quick way to do this is by clicking once on the name of the input, then "right-click" to bring up the Rename option.

5. Keep Aux Input returns of submixed tracks (e.g. backing vocals or drums) adjacent to their source tracks.

6. Generally keep Effects Returns (Aux Inputs) and the Mix Bus (Master Fader) at one end of the mixer display, preferably to the right and bottom, or optionally to the left and top of the session.

7. Keep a recent rough mix, labeled with song title and date, on a pair of tracks at the top or bottom of the session. You can write a comment that says what you like (and don't like) about the rough mix.

8. Color-code the tracks in some way that makes sense to you. Perhaps make all drum tracks purple, all electric guitar tracks yellow, the master fader red, etc.
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Ben M » Mon Nov 18, 2013 1:50 pm

Wiz wrote:
What are the things, that when you get finished mixes for mastering


I'd recommend leaving enough headroom in the final mix for the mastering eng to do his thing. Don't print hot...it's not needed.

Also, well labelled mixes for the mastering eng to clearly understand what's what. e.g. song title...vox up mix etc.
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Chinagraf » Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:56 pm

Record at least 24bit 48K and don't record everything so hot, -20 to -15 average with peaks at -10.
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Re: Home Recording Workshop.....

Postby Wiz » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:51 pm

Thanks everyone for the great replies.... I will raise all of them during the workshop.

I will also pop back and let you know how it went.



Cheers

Wiz
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