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andychamp

Gold Finger

Posts: 279 Member Since: 01/02/2011

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Jan 16 17 8:33 PM

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The modern DAW offers unprecedented possibilities.
But has anyone ever used it with an "oldschool" mindset: limited trackcount (let's say 8 or 4), submixing/bouncing, no pitch or timing correction, no undo...and the whole production approach that implies.
It's definitely something I will explore myself, but I wonder if it's been (successfully) done before and what the result/lessons were.

André Champaloux 

"The biggest question this thread has actually raised is: When do we start to serve the artist more than our insecurities?" - Fletcher

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:23/10/2013

#1 [url]

Jan 16 17 9:13 PM

My usual starting templates in Logic are 8 or 16 tracks, with interface input numbers matching the corresponding tracks, and two Aux channels; one for short reverb or slapback, the other with longer reverb.

Each track is routed to both auxiliary busses already (but not necessarily engaged).

I tend to look at the Mixer window of the interface, as opposed to the track waveform rendering window. If there is no reason to look at the waveform, I'm almost always in Mixer window mode, or maybe split view with a tiny bit of a waveform peaking through.

I don't have a problem improvising from that starting point as needed though. I don't have any philosophical problems with editing, adding more tracks/track stacks/groups/busses, etc. If anyone wanted to achieve "undo" or edits, they could have done them back in "old school" era anyway, and did... just more laboriously. If I'm mixing, I have no problem living in waveform edit view, going gung-ho drawing automation curves, etc.

I change routing from the described default (input 1->track 1, etc) constantly, I'm not weirdly dogmatic about it. But certain things do tend to live on certain tracks/inputs, at least for the basics.

More than anything, it just saves some brain cycles and a little time.

It does sort of feel more like I'm working with a machine than when I just freewheel on some software, adding tracks as it goes along.

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compasspnt

Diamond Forever

Posts: 21,102 Member Since:08/01/2011

#2 [url]

Jan 16 17 11:33 PM

I have recorded digitally (for the most part) for well over 30 years now. When PT came in, for quite a while I used it exactly as a multi-track tape machine would have been used.

Then, at first gradually, greater capabilities crept in.

So, yes, I did many many albums with close to that methodology.

.

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,765 Member Since:20/01/2011

#3 [url]

Jan 17 17 2:00 AM

I still do.
Not always by any means.
But often.

limiting the number of tracks isn't really 'useful' in my view, unless you also start to print effects mixed onto those tracks and do all the OTHER kinds of immutable things we did on 4 track.

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silvertone

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,569 Member Since:26/01/2011

#4 [url]

Jan 17 17 7:55 AM

I rarely use over 16 tracks, I never use autotune. I front my system with 1960 tube and SS pre's. I only cut rhythm sections together. I limit the amount of compressors and limiters I use to two and the reverb I use to 1. I pan almost everything LCR. When my tube console is done I will stem mix through it.

So yeah very old school for my recordings. Very bleeding edge for mastering.

I am not good with too many choices or endless tracks. I work like this only because I grew up with limited tracks, I like the challenge of limitations. Hence why I like mastering. To be able to rework an entire mix with only two channels of program material IS the ultimate challenge.

Old school rules!

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,036 Member Since:04/02/2011

#5 [url]

Jan 17 17 8:33 AM

not as a matter of principle, but sometimes it works out that way.

Sometimes if there are multiple mics (like, say, two mics on a guitar amp) and I like the sound exactly as-is, it's not unheard of to bus them together and print the one sound (as opposed to printing each mic separately). This is just as a matter of preference (when the more compact track count is more important to me than "flexibility.")

Sometimes there is low track count, but only when there are few instruments or sources. I don't intentionally make tradeoffs or impose limitations, though I have done live-to-two-track when it makes sense (but I usually would choose tape if that's the vibe).

Pitch or timing correction-- I won't use it if the music doesn't need it. Often it doesn't. Often it does. If exactly one note on a full-length album needs it, I will use it for that one note... no religion about it.

There is a RADAR at the studio, which sort of gives an ideal platform for the 24-track version of what you describe. I really love the sound of that thing. And the workflow is likewise refreshing; no computer screen needed.

brad allen williams

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seth

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,473 Member Since:26/01/2011

#6 [url]

Jan 17 17 9:04 AM

I'm working on something now that was recorded with a fair number of overlapping mics and tracks. I listen to the possibilities, pick the one I like best, andwind up turning off about a third of them. It immediately sounds better. I'm finally getting to use Pi and I'm liking it a lot.

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maarvold

Aqua Marine

Posts: 2,932 Member Since:23/01/2011

#7 [url]

Jan 17 17 9:53 AM

andychamp wrote:
The modern DAW offers unprecedented possibilities.
But has anyone ever used it with an "oldschool" mindset: limited trackcount (let's say 8 or 4), submixing/bouncing, no pitch or timing correction, no undo...and the whole production approach that implies.
It's definitely something I will explore myself, but I wonder if it's been (successfully) done before and what the result/lessons were.

 
If you truly want to understand 'old school' recording on tape, I have 2 words for you: destructive record.  

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morespaceecho

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 2,186 Member Since:29/01/2011

#8 [url]

Jan 17 17 10:37 AM

you spelled unpresidented wrong. 

my default mode is *sorta* oldschool. i almost always do complete takes, i don't punch much. even if i'm just recording wine glass, i'll play the stupid thing for the length of the song. i do that because i'm lazy and to me it's less work to just play the thing once all the way through than it is to play it for 10 seconds and loop it. it also ends up being more interesting to listen to.

LCR mixing almost always. 

pitch correction almost never. it's gotta be pretty bad for me to fix it. 

timing correction..i really try not to. i have gotten pretty nazi with my drums on occasion though. i'm not proud of it, but they sounded better after i fixed them. i think i've grown allergic to quantized drums though (i blame ms morespace's steady barrage of 80s music), so i made a little 'no more fixing drums' pact with myself. we'll see how that goes. 

i bounce/submix like crazy. my method of doing so has been the subject of great controversy. but a song might get up close to 100 tracks in the initial throwing paint at the canvas stage, and it'll be down to 16-24 by the final mix. i combine tracks and print effects all the time. the less i have to think about the better.

www.oldcolonymastering.com

morespaceecho.bandcamp.com

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,036 Member Since:04/02/2011

#9 [url]

Jan 17 17 10:53 AM

morespaceecho wrote:
i think i've grown allergic to quantized drums though (i blame ms morespace's steady barrage of 80s music)

Of course, MUCH 80s music isn't "quantized"; it just has some rock-solid drumming by players like Yogi Horton, JR Robinson, etc!

brad allen williams

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:23/10/2013

#10 [url]

Jan 17 17 11:08 AM

maarvold wrote:

andychamp wrote:
The modern DAW offers unprecedented possibilities.
But has anyone ever used it with an "oldschool" mindset: limited trackcount (let's say 8 or 4), submixing/bouncing, no pitch or timing correction, no undo...and the whole production approach that implies.
It's definitely something I will explore myself, but I wonder if it's been (successfully) done before and what the result/lessons were.

 
If you truly want to understand 'old school' recording on tape, I have 2 words for you: destructive record.  

That's true, but you could always try to keep a spare track open, or "back up" the performance to another tape.

I've punched in parts from a "back up" tape, onto the main reel, freewheeling with machines that don't sync together...more than once. Tricky and tedious, but possible.

If the machines sync, it gets wayyy easier.

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,765 Member Since:20/01/2011

#11 [url]

Jan 17 17 11:52 AM

it's the mindset, though

if you want to do another solo, are you willing to wipe the one we have?

that's often a helpful way to think

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gtoledo3

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,990 Member Since:23/10/2013

#13 [url]

Jan 17 17 12:07 PM

scaramanga wrote:
I'm not as busy as you guys, but I still use Pro Tools professionally. Therefore none of these decisions are mine to make.

"Oh, you want to use the second take? Sorry! Already deleted. But don't you feel good about that, in a philosophical sense?"

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,036 Member Since:04/02/2011

#15 [url]

Jan 17 17 12:12 PM

gtoledo3 wrote:

scaramanga wrote:
I'm not as busy as you guys, but I still use Pro Tools professionally. Therefore none of these decisions are mine to make.

"Oh, you want to use the second take? Sorry! Already deleted. But don't you feel good about that, in a philosophical sense?"

Alarmingly, I witnessed this exact thing once.

I was a hired gun guitarist on a film scoring session. When the director of the film asked to hear an earlier take of one of the cues, the engineer told him that he'd wiped it since he wasn't specifically asked to keep it, and cited a very similar rationale to the one you jokingly mentioned here.

brad allen williams

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ktownson

Aqua Marine

Posts: 3,116 Member Since:22/01/2011

#16 [url]

Jan 17 17 12:43 PM

I get the mindset concept, but if it puts the same nail in the board, why use a hammer instead of a nail gun?

"Kerry fixed the stereo, and now it doesn't work." (My six-year-old sister)

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soapfoot

Ruby Baby

Posts: 7,036 Member Since:04/02/2011

#17 [url]

Jan 17 17 1:07 PM

ktownson wrote:
I get the mindset concept, but if it puts the same nail in the board, why use a hammer instead of a nail gun?

if you use a hammer, you get to market it as "artisanal" and "bespoke" and charge 5x as much for the same table

brad allen williams

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weedywet

Ruby Baby

Posts: 5,765 Member Since:20/01/2011

#19 [url]

Jan 17 17 3:30 PM

ktownson wrote:
I get the mindset concept, but if it puts the same nail in the board, why use a hammer instead of a nail gun?

 
Only because REALLY thinking about whether the board needs another nail is a good thing

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d gauss

Platinum Blonde

Posts: 1,228 Member Since:17/02/2011

#20 [url]

Jan 17 17 5:36 PM

i did a record recently where the bulk of a coupla songs were recorded all at once using a single microphone.
An AEA R84 was used with drums on one side of it maybe 9ft back, and singer/acoustic guitarist and upright bass on the other side up closer. though iirc, i had to add a spot mic (altec birdcage) at one point to help out the bass a tune.
the drum timing and vocal phrasing were solid, so i was able to edit a couple of spots from other takes into the "keeper" to fix a vocal note or two. then we overdubbed other stuff (B3, backing vox, etc.) on top of that as per usual.
was pretty scary and hairy at times, but seemed to turn out good as the artist loved it.

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