Show 93 – If You Started Over & Click Track Attitude

This week we answer the question “What would you if you started your studio over? What would you do differently? What did you do right?”. Ryan talks about the way people react to click tracks in his sessions.

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9 thoughts on “Show 93 – If You Started Over & Click Track Attitude

  1. Thanks for another great episode guys.

    I “started over” not long ago. I say it in quotes because I didn’t have too much stuff to begin with (M-audio Fasttrack 2-channel interface, a Presonus channel strip and 2 SM57s) and decided not long after that I didn’t want to spend money of stuff that I’d be upgrading in a short time anyway.

    I only record for fun, so please take my comments with a grain of salt…

    My strategy was getting a good frontend, so I can track the stuff at home and have all my free time, and if I want someone else to mix it, then I don’t need any outboard gear/ additional plugin effects. I also only record guitars myself and everything else is based on virtual instruments.

    This is what I went with and kept:
    RME Fireface UC (2-channel)
    SM57

    The Fireface has got great converters and a very decent pre, and super low latency. My thinking was if I want to upgrade to a high-end pre down the line, then I can still use the fireface’s converters. (I heard the Babyface is good too although I haven’t tried…)

    I also got the AT4050 off ebay. They go for about $300 in the used market.

    I got the Pacifica recently and got better with my ears and mixing, that I realized that I could really get some pretty cool sounding stuff even with the stock plugins that came with the DAW – with a good use of subtractive eq.

    So far, I’m *really* happy with my choices….

    But if I really-really have to do it again today, I might go with an interface with more I/Os so I can have a mixer to improve my workflow a lot more.

    Another great thing about good converters is that since I’m gradually going to start going analog outboard, and it’s going to go a few times back and forth between D2A/A2D.

    • I would certainly agree that good A/D and D/A is even more important if you are making several trips back and forth to analog gear. Good place to start. Simply put, a great mic, great pre, great outboard gear, to a great converter will make excellent recordings. The only thing that can get in the way beyond that is you!

  2. hey guys, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind expanding on your discussion of outboard/hardware eq. If you have a couple of nice eqs, say a couple of 500 series, what would be your strategies for mixdown (assuming you didn’t track & print the eq) for a typical “rock band” recording (drums, 2 guitars, bass, lead + backup vox). Mainly I’m looking for how you’d eq a mix with 2-3 outboard eqs having ~16-24 tracks.

    Also, what are your thoughts on using a mixing console for eq? I’m thinking something like a used soundcraft ghost or similar allen & heath, where you’ve got 32 channels. Do you think that being able to use all of the channels of eq, even though they are of lesser quality than the 500 series, is more advantageous because of workflow and time spent during mixdown?

    • I did do a recent show on outboard EQ a couple weeks back. I would imagine that most of what you would like to hear would have been discussed there. Let me know if there is anything more that you would like us to talk about if you have not already heard this show.

      http://www.homerecordingshow.com/2010/09/show-88-outboard-eq-and-new-avid-products/

      As far as running all of your audio through a live sound board just to get more EQs, I would stay away from that personally. First off you will not get the best sound from the board and EQ section and you would also likely get some less than desirable results if your converters were not top shelf. I would recommend using the high quality EQs while tracking only sparingly. You can always EQ more later. If you only have two channels and you are tracking an entire band, only use them to tame trouble areas. Then if you need more EQ magic on certain tracks, send the audio to them and print them to a new track. I also have not problems at all with plugins for deductive EQ. Use the hardware EQ to add color and character. Also, when you are doing overdubs… usually one or two channels at a time, they will be available. This is what I would recommend because this is what I will be doing as soon as I can afford some great outboard EQs!

      Workflow is sometime compromised by budget and quality control… I know that it is for me more often that I would care to admit. In audio, I will almost always go for quality and complication than lesser quality and ease of use. This is until my budget is unlimited!

  3. just wanted to comment about the click track… I agree people should get use to playing to a click it’s only gonna help in the long run. Was recently in a session with Keith Carlock (John Mayer,Steely Dan) and Reese Wynans (Stevie Ray) here in Nashville, these guys are monster players and could’ve not used a click but we used one cause as you well know, it’s gonna make the editing much easier. On the flip side i do enjoy doing things off the grid once in a while, but for the most part PLAY TO A CLICK!
    I enjoy listening to you guys…keep it up.
    MIke

    • If you have monster talent in the studio and they do not need you to edit a thing… put the click track away! Not usually the case as we all know. I enjoy the occasional sessions off the grid when done right… also not usually the case though.

  4. I have a couple of hardware channel strips, a few harware compressors, and a couple of outboard (valve) EQs.

    The way I use them is to work the mix as normal and add any of my outboard hardware when I feel I need it. As soon as I run out of hardware I print one or more of the tracks with the hardware attached and re-assign the hardware to the next task. The further I can get through the mix without having to re-patch the hardware the less painful it is.

    If I feel a really made a mistake (rarely) I can simply re-patch and re-print.

    One good side-effect of the process is that it makes you commit to a sound, which is something that we’ve all become bad at.

  5. Oh, and if I was to do it all again I can’t think of anything I regret TBH. Boring, but true. I always wait for the thing I *really* want, no matter how long it takes – I never buy ‘make do’.

    I’m afraid I’d STILL pass on Pro Tools. There’s a world of superb ASIO hardware out here that is road-blocked to PT users and that’s a great shame.

  6. I think I’m still in the “starting over” phase.

    The one purchase I regretted early on was Ableton Live. Not that there was anything really wrong with it but I discovered that in terms of actually making sounds? It wasn’t a great tool. Purchasing Reason right after though? One of the best things ever. I made a heap of music for web sites, videos and banners just using Reason.

    For microphones, I purchased a pair of sub hundred dollar MXL’s that I’ve rarely used. I would’ve been better off spending a $100 on the SM 57 or the AT 2020 that I have now. Better to focus my learning on a standard (SM 57) and a mic that Sound on Sound seems to like (AT2020).

    For my interface, that original purchase of a Fast Track USB thing was a disaster. The Presonus Firepod was better until it died and I replaced it with Presonus Firebox.

    For preamps, I’m still searching. The pre’s on the Firebox are good enough for now. But maybe the Golden Age Pre would be good start — if I was just going to have one pre for character.

    Overall, it seems to me any attempt to save a few bucks ($100 Fastrack v. $300 for a Firebox) ultimately has ended up costing me more in the long run in terms of usability and satisfaction.

    CD

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