Show 216 – Let’s just get through the comments section

This week we catch up on all the comments and questions we couldn’t answer the last few weeks.
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14 thoughts on “Show 216 – Let’s just get through the comments section

  1. Hey again, guys,

    Great job catching up on the comments, way to work through it! Even your “comments only” shows are great!

    Thanks for taking the time to listen to a bit of our stuff, and wow, your ears are amazing! You’re dead on about the room the drums were recorded in. In fact, everything but a couple of replacement guitar tracks were recorded in the same room: a basement, all sheetrock walls, half carpet and half tile floor, completely acoustically untreated unless you count lots of posters from classic rock bands and flyers for our previous gigs. I’m not sure we’ll be able to re-track the drums for this particular project, but, I think I might try to make some adjustments in the drum mix by moving a bit away from the overheads and a little more into the close mics to take a little of the room away. Do you think adjusting the pitch of the snare would be effective using ReaPitch? Yes, I’m using Reaper. Worth a try, anyway!

    One of our biggest problems is monitoring during mixing and mastering… my monitors are only a small improvement over regular stereo speakers, so I’ve been monitoring across a variety of speakers and headphones just to try and make the sound consistent. Good to know that I’m at least on the right track, and I’ll see what I can do to make things a little less dark, after all, we’re not gloom rock! (Is that a thing?) Maybe I need to stop saving up for a low-wattage tube amp and start thinking about better quality monitors…

    Thank you again for the advice! I hope I’m not annoying everyone too much, but this sort of deep editing is all very new to me. Previously my home studio work has been mostly loop and sample based or minimal track count acoustic demos-type stuff!

    Thanks again,

    • P.S. …
      I left you a little something in your tip jar… just a thank you for all you provide for your listeners.

    • HI Jet. I totally agree that getting great drum sounds means tracking in a great sounding room. But if you’re going down the rabbit hole of recording drums at home, here are a few things that I found helpful.

      1. Try a cymbals only approach to the overheads. Use a low cut filter to get rid of all the frequencies except those of the cymbals. This will take a lot of the room sound out of the recording. This leaves the other drums a little dry and flat but there are ways to compensate.

      2. I use the Drumagog vst plugin and Steven Slate Drums to blend in samples with my recorded drum tracks. These are samples of great sounding drums recorded in great sounding rooms. The Steven Slate sample packs include samples of each drum recorded at multiple distances. This allows you to mimic a room sound and add definition. I typically blend in a close mic sample about 50-80% on my kick and snare tracks. Then, I’ll dulpicate those tracks. On the duplicate track, I’ll use a more ambient sample of the same drum at 100%. Use the volume of the track to blend in the ambience to taste. This works much better than simply using a reverb to add ambience.

      3. The last and most expensive thing I did was to build a small room to isolate my drums. It is just big enough to fit a large drum set and allow the drummer to play comfortably. It’s essentially like building a vocal booth for drums. While it does require some creative mixing, I’ve gotten very usable drums sounds even without blending in samples. The room is covered 80% with DIY absorbption panels. I made these by covering sheets of rigid fiberglass with burlap. The room also has two large double pane windows that allows the band to still see one another. The room is double wall construction and also has a floating floor to isolate the drums from other sounds in the main room.

      Here is a sample of some drums that I have recorded this way…..

      This may not be the best way to do drums but I’ve found it helpful. I would also love to know what John and Ryan think of this set up!


  2. Question RE F–king Thunderbolt!!

    I have a Later 2009 MacPro 8 Core, 2.66 with 32 gig..

    After exhaustive research, it looks like I will NOT be able to add a thunderbolt upgrade to this machine..

    BUT… I want to upgrade my AD/DA

    Im currently using the Firewire card in my Tascam DM4800, helped out with a Big Ben… But I want to improve quality and lower latency without going too crazy…

    I’ve been looking at the options..
    -2 UA Appollo 16’s
    – an Apoggee Ensemble Decked out with 32 I/O
    – Focusrite Rednet
    – SSL X Logic? via madi???
    – some other option I havent considered..

    I can put cards in my tascam to have 32 I/O via DB25
    But Im stumped and a little confused as to which route will give me the best AD/DA (using analog DB25 from my Tascam) with lowest latency.. via SOMETHING i can put in a PCIe Slot on my MacPro, that will work with PT10 (soon to be PT11), Logic Studio And Ableton 9


    I know this will set me back 4-7k… But I dont want to go too far beyond that…

    Your fan,


    PS.. Im still technically unemployed, but just picked up some freelance work.. Once the cheque clears.. I’ll send a lil donation your way again.. (and on the upside, work is starting to pick up)

  3. Hahaha, I knew that Ethan Winer stuff would be a bit of controversy :-). But good to hear your response nonetheless.

    I’m a third of the way through the book, and I don’t think either of you would appreciate most of the content – don’t waste your money and blood pressure 🙂
    For me it’s OK; I like being presented with opposing viewpoints. It keeps me thinking about the stuff and reflect in a deeper way, even though I don’t necessarily buy his ideas.

    But MAN it’s confusingly put together…


  4. Hey guys, I felt the need to post a comment about your show filled with just comments. Great stuff covered and I learn a bunch from the comments section so you didn’t waste anyone’s time! I have a question about panning and stereo placement. I’ve been reading a lot about L-C-R panning lately and apparently some of the larger name engineers strictly use LCR panning. What is your experience with it and what are the pro/cons? I learned using some LCR techniques for hard rock & metal: bass, kick, snare, and vocals in the middle while the guitars are spread hard left & right. This works well with separation of elements and all but when I started working on more intricate arrangements and genres – pop, country, folk, classical, etc – I find a little confusion on where to pan instruments in a dense mix. Piano, shakers, strings, guitar accents, synths, vocal harmonies etc – do these work best panned using the whole stereo field or can strict LCR panning achieve similar results?

    In addition, how does using stereo wideners help/affect placing instruments as mentioned earlier? Do the LCR guys use major wideners on some elements (ex: guitars) and less on others?

  5. Hi guys, great show yet again.

    I would love your input to help me spend my money wisely. I will soon finally be upgrading from my tweed Pro Junior to an amp that is more versatile and useful in the studio. I love the tone of my current amp but it is certainly a one trick pony with only a volume and tone knob. It does what it does well but I really want to have a more useful amp for re-amping and for when musicians come in with terrible amps I can’t get a useful sound from. I have been sort of in love with the Fender Deluxe Reverb and was planning to buy a used DRRI and slowly perform little mods at a time until it sounds as great as possible.

    Recently I worked with a guitarist who was going for a Marshall tone, but had one of their budget amps. Having tried a number of amps at the shop before falling for the DR, one thing I noticed was that cheap Marshalls sound terrible, at least to me they sounded like they were trying and failing to fake the sound of their big brother counterparts. I can’t get a good tone out of this amp to save my life, but have no better options for re-amping.

    This got me wondering. Would I be better off going for the Deluxe Reverb, which I know sounds fantastic, or getting something more versatile? I have had a lot of interest in the Blackstar HT-20 as an alternative. I played one in the store and it sounded pretty good but not quite as good to me as the Fenders. What intrigued me was their special ISF knob that changes the circuit in some way to produce a wide range of tones. On one extreme this knob has a Fender-ish tone and in the other direction it nails Marshall a lot better than the cheaper Marshalls do. I’m not sure how it does what it does, but it effects the response of the amp and allows you to go from clean to super-saturated independently of the tone and volume controls.

    While the Blackstar seems very versatile, it doesn’t quite nail the DR clean and overdriven tones I crave for my own work. Do you know of a good way to get versatility like this out of a DRRI, have an opinion on the Blackstar, or know a better way to get an amp in that price range that will cover many bases?

    Here is a link to a good demo of the Blackstar if you haven’t heard them or any other listeners are interested:

    Thanks in advance if you answer my comment. Either way I’m throwing some more donation money your way as I look forward to your show every week. I learn so much even from your comment-only shows. Keep up the great work.

  6. Sup bitches…

    Well I just spent some donero on a mic pre and comp.. I got the ART MPA and VLA rack units. I spent a ton of time agonizing between those 2 or the Focusrite ISA ONE or the GOA Pre 73. I decided on the ART products because of the feature sets and awesome reviews. I hope I made the right decision..

    I critically THUNKED the process through, I am not recording hit records nor do I own bad ass mics, speakers or a perfectly treated room. With that said I only needed something that was a few step above my MOTU and Presonus boards. So, after hearing the johnster say he liked the ART gear I decided to hop on it like a free asian hooker at a sunday service.

    John.. did you say you tried different tubes in the MPA? was it worth it?

    thanks guys.. dickn stickn chicken sticks

  7. Ryan and Jon,

    I am now officially a graduate! Would love a diploma to hang in the Lab.

    While catching up from show one I was working on a song that you guys helped me with. The metal and rock mix that Jon did helped a lot. I’m sure Ryan said something useful too I just cant remember what! : )

    Just kidding Ryan, don’t be hurt. I was really pissed at Jon when he lost the results to the vocal mic shootout in one of the early shows. I was taking notes of which were my favorites and……well you know the rest of the story.

    Here is a link to the song:

    Hopefully this mix is halfway decent. Is this ready for mastering and if so do you have a recommendation on who to send this too? How much should I expect to spend on one song?

    Thanks for putting together the show. Its got to be a lot of work and you have many fans that appreciate it including me.


  8. Ryan, your comments on recording drums was a hard pill to swallow but swallow I did indeed. It is this show that I and many other THRS members can rely on getting that cold hard truth, even if it is as painful as a donkey mounting you like a stallion and having its way with you. But, you saved me from myself and i am proud of myself for at least thinking about what you said long and “donkey” hard… 
    My reasoning was, here are 2 guys who every day are involved in recording. And they are telling me (and everyone else) don’t wast your money. I am also going to say it for you Ryan, he is not saying “DON’T RECORD DRUMS” he’s saying don’t do it if your expecting a drum sound from any major produced record. You name it!  One of my favorite drum sounds (not records but drum sounds) is Metallica’s black albumb. I also found out they used 32 mics!!!! Jon, Ryan, can any of you tell me how the hell that is possible? How is it possible as far as phase situations. Oh and this is before PROTOOLS!!! Bob rock was keen on letting everyone know that.. And you know what? Absolutely positively RIGHTLY SO!!!! Its amazing they did that all in the analog domain… But since they did not have a screen to compare tracks for phase, does that mean they just checked all by ear?? Seriously, hate the black albumb or not. There is no way you can not agree that the drums sound seriously amazing. I personally love it. And no one here can say the first time they heard sand man that they did not want to move their head to the beat. Or at least not impressed. Yes, I am sandmaned out, but holier then thou  is kicking my ass as I type this and my god…. It’s actually more thunderouse then I ever remember. Can you 2 jerkoffs give any details on this? Thanks again for ruining my day and then saving the day. I hate you and I love you forever… Your biggest asshole fan Nathan. Lol. Burn in hell and here is some money. I actually signed up for monthly donation cuz I love this show, now go drop off a bridge.

  9. Discovered this podcast just a few months ago and, man, it was just exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much to Jon, Ryan and the other contributors. You’ve turned 2 hours of commute per day into something good.

    I do have a question to throw out there. It’s kind of like a ‘Juggernaut vs The Blob’ question because it’s the 2 golden rules of recording working against each other.

    Rule #1: If it sounds good, it is good.
    Rule #2: Never clip in the digital realm.

    Recently I learned (through screwing up) that my best, loudest mixes, were the ones where I’d forgotten to pull back the master fader. After some experimenting, I came up with this:

    This track was mixed down all-in-the-red, but I can’t hear any clipping. It’s not the best recording and I’m still a rank amateur, but I can’t hear clipping. Can you?

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