Best "vibe" for recording drums? With band?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Aussie Mike, Jan 13, 2008.


  1. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Ello all,

    My band is going to hit the studio in about a month.

    Our last two very hard and fast studio sessions were basically recorded with the whole band going straight onto tape, and then going back for some over dubs. On our last CD we went back and overdubbed everything except the drums. So the "live" band recording was just for the benefit of the drums.

    I found that process a bit frustrating because with all of us playing, there so many more chances for stuff ups (of which there were quite a few). Also, it was tough on my voice to sing all bloody day!

    For this recording, I think I'd prefer to just sit in the control room and listen to the drummer put down his tracks over some guide tracks. I think this would be the most effective way to get the drums tight.

    BUT. The producer and the tech at the studio prefer to put the drums down with the band live, to get some sort of a "vibe".

    My question is, we're playing to a click track, how much "vibe" will we really be missing if we just put drums down over a guide track?

    Keen to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  2. isfahani

    isfahani Member

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    98%

    As a drummer, I would never put up with that... As a producer/engineer, I would never ask for this nor take on any project that would have this as a starting point. IMO It's the death of the vibe to do it this way, and a waste of time and money. It may actually be harder for your drummer to do it this way as well, and mean it - unless everyone in the band has perfect time.

    Play the song, get the basic bed tracks right with scratch vocals (don't fry the vocal cords out) - then do more stuff later. Or, just play the song, and don't overdub at all. What a concept...

    Also read the Tips for a New Session thread, seems like much the same topic.
     
  3. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Hey, thanks for the comments.

    It's not our first time, so not a new session for us, just a session with more time than we've had before so no neccessity to put as much down as possible in one go.

    I guess I wasn't very clear about what I meant by "guide tracks" above. By guide tracks I meant tracks with guitars/bass/vocals on there with a click track (as opposed to just a click track). I've already recorded these and they're what the drummer will be practicing to.

    So he wouldn't be playing to just a click, but along to the whole band, just not with the band actually playing live at the time.

    I guess that's what I'm really asking, is the whole band playing live actually going to give some measurable "vibe" as opposed to playing along to a recording?
     
  4. loudboy

    loudboy Supporting Member

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    Both ways have their merits, and I've had success either way. It really depends on the type of music and what the players want to do.

    It's really nice to sit in the control room and have the drummer play to scratch tracks - you can concentrate on his performance and there's not the "mayhem" that can really be a pain during a live session. The other upside is that the drummer can practice to those actual scratch tracks, at home, so he may be WAY more comfortable in the studio.

    Having everyone blasting awy is fun too, and creates a whole different vibe. The main downsides are that it takes much longer to set up, and geting evryone happy with their mix (even tho it's not being kept) can be a real pain.

    If you're tracking live to a click, maybe have the engineer reuse your vocal scratch on subsequent takes, so you don't blow your voice out.

    Loudboy
     
  5. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Yeh, my thoughts exactly.


    The pain we found was that we were all concentrating so hard on the drums tracks, makign sure they were how we wanted, that our own playing went to sh*t and we started maknig errors which threw the drummer off!


    Good idea. Think we might try that for a bit, and if that's not floating our boats, we'll get the scratch tracks out.
     
  6. m@2

    m@2 Member

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    in my experience (with 4 or 5 different drummers) it really totally depends on the drummer. My current drummer plays to a click wonderfully, and does not lose any feel/vibe, but some drummers just hate playing to a click, and play tight (in a bad way I mean), and lose all the feel. I'd ask your drummer his/her preference, beacuse to me a good recording starts and stops with the drums.. good luck with the recording : )
     
  7. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Thanks m@2! Our drummer is cool to play to a click. And I can't see him playing much differently either way. Will be fun anyway!
     
  8. isfahani

    isfahani Member

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    OK well that's a little different. I guess I can't add anymore that the others haven't, other than I hope the drummer gets to return the favor!

    :)
     
  9. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    I dun geddit?!!
     
  10. isfahani

    isfahani Member

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    What I meant was, in a kindly but ironic manner, is that the drummer in your band has a chance to micro-manage everyone else's parts to HIS satisfaction as well.

    It's only fair.

    <ducks>
     
  11. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Ha!

    Right, gotcha.

    Well I give myself permission to micro-manage coz I write the songs (that make the whole world cry). But the rest of the band has also given me permission to do that!

    Thankfully, they're all a lot more easy going than me when it comes to music.....

    :D
     
  12. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    If you are a "band" it usually is a "vibe killer" to not record as a band. Don't worry about getting lead vocals. Just guide the band through the basic with comments like "verse", "bridge", etc.

    There's a push and pull with the groove that happens when a band plays together. It's different on every take. The key is having the patience to let the magic take happen, or to be able to realize the "magic" in various take and edit them together into a great take. If you are well isolated, it should not be an issue to punch in on your basic tracks. Make sure that the engineer, producer and/or you take enough notes to replicate sounds in the future. Good documentation is one of the keys to doing a good recording.

    Most of all have fun! Take breaks and keep refreshed. I assume you will be spending long days. Please realize, for the sake of your project, that a session will reach a point of diminishing returns at about eight hours in. If you're monitoring loud your engineers ears are already fried and he's cooked for the day. Even IF he/she's not admitting it. If you are well organized and work a reasonable schedule all work should be completed with everyone being happy at the end.

    Good Luck!
     
  13. Timmylikesthing

    Timmylikesthing Member

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    I think it's a stylistic thing.

    For jazz and blues, I would want to be with the whole band at once...

    For rock, you can get some excellent vibe doing things the way you suggested.

    We do everything exactly as you are describing and we've never noticed a loss of "vibe."

    And we also got to throw in some critiques and ideas for the drum parts, which he took in stride and then offered the same to our performances.

    Good luck,
    Tim
     
  14. gainiac

    gainiac Senior Member

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    A great deal of merit in my experience to laying the foundation tracks completely live.

    I'm assuming the drums will be relatively isolated from the other instruments and everyone will be playing together via monitor mixes in cans.

    If you're going to be recording to a click I sure hope you've practiced with one, and extensively.

    You can get great vibe, still push/pull, and keep it to a click.

    A click alone will never provide the dynamic ques necessary to get a great performance.
     
  15. Aussie Mike

    Aussie Mike Member

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    Thanks guys.

    Practicing to a click is different indeed. But especially when a lot of our songs had bits that we've always played at a different tempo without even noticing. It just "felt" right so we did it I guess. But now we're lining ourselves up to that click! And for the better I think.
     
  16. notubble

    notubble Member

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    In my experiences while doing records, most of my best results have come from the drummer tracking with the bass player, while the singer will do a scratch vocal or scratch vocal and rhythm guitar part. This leaves the rest of the project to be done with overdubs, and lets the drummer and bass player really get into a groove and get the best takes, even if it it takes a few runs. Isolation will allow for the bass to be punched in for little fixes. as long as the isolation is done well, it will be no problem to fix little parts. This method gives you a great "vibe" for your backbone, and will lead to a nice track.
     

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