How come overdubbing feels wrong?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by geezar12, Feb 9, 2008.


  1. geezar12

    geezar12 Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    I am recording my first record with a friend who is a engineer/drummer. he really likes the produced sound with lots of different stuff going on.. me i am a bare bones type guy.. I like it raw, messy(not sloppy) and real. to be honest i could even be ok with playing without a metronome, to me is sounds robotic. and is overdubbing ok? it just feels wrong. just wandering if there is anyone else out here who can relate to that or ease my mind about the whole "production" thing...thanks
     
  2. mtmartin71

    mtmartin71 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,146
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Works for some music and musicians and maybe not others. To me, Jimmy Page was the master of the guitar overdub and it created a grander texture. The converse of that would be a modern artist like The Black Keys. They're a revivalist blues band and sound very raw with drums and one guitar with only one solo overdub. I like that too. There's no wrong or right way, but if you want it to be less overdubbed, then sounds like you may have a different vision than your buddy.

    Matt
     
  3. opdev

    opdev Member

    Messages:
    1,181
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Boston Area
    I am reading Here , There and Everywhere now and am amazed how much overdubbing went on. In addition, also amazed how many songs were pieced together from different takes. I usually get 80% through a song and then mess it up. Might take me 20 takes to get it perfect .. If I could just assemble the best bits I could record alot more songs.

    If it was good enough for te Beatles, then don't fell dirty doing it ;)
     
  4. geezar12

    geezar12 Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    thanks for the replying to my first ever thread on the gear page. Also i have been thinking i should give it a try also. I have been reading some thoughts by michael beinhorn and steve albini in the The Recoding Engineers handbook, and that has really had me thinking about sound and creativity in recording. I just want it to sound like it was made by a human. i appriciate the thoughts though.!!
     
  5. geezar12

    geezar12 Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    also excellent point about the beatles
     
  6. Greenbacker

    Greenbacker Member

    Messages:
    180
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Of course the Beatles were "recording artists". Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I see the value in both and don't favor one over the other. I love live tracks with all of that feel. I can also see how a record is very different from a live performance though, too. Separate experiences, to some I guess. A bit like a performance artist verses an actor, isn't it? Some people prefer theatre, others the cinema.
     
  7. slopeshoulder

    slopeshoulder Senior Member

    Messages:
    7,889
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    the best, most relaxed, organic recording I've ever done is overdubbing myself. I listen and I know what everyone is thinking and feeling!
    Having said that, it's your record? your vision? is this partnership working?
     
  8. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,477
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    You only feel that way because overdubbing IS wrong.
     
  9. rob2001

    rob2001 Member

    Messages:
    16,948
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2006
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Are you talking about dubbing a muffed part or just laying tracks over already recorded stuff? I'm not into editing several takes to get one good take on any of the instuments. I like all the individual tracks to be one solid performance. With my 3 piece rock band I like to get drums, bass and rythym guitar on one take. But in the real world time is money.. it takes a lot of time and many attempts to get those tracks like we all want them. But in many cases of someone paying for studio time, songs get stitched together often.
    A few years ago we worked on a pretty well funded project with some prominent people in the industry and they were happy to get 2 or 3 takes of a song and it was of to editland for several days with the bass and drum tracks. Then everything else went down on that. But thats beyond just overdubbing. Thats time alligning (SP?).

    I don't know, it's hard to argue with the way things are but I felt they kinda sucked the life out of the drum tracks. Might as well have been a machine. Even playing to a metronome won't provide PERFECT drum tracks like that.

    I guess it all depends on who is in the drivers seat and who's footing the bill. That's one big reason I enjoy my own project studio for my band. We can take all the time we want. But on the flip side of that, things take much longer and it's harder to do.

    EDIT.. If your talking about simply adding tracks, I think thats where the fun starts. You get to really dial in on what the song is calling for tone-wise and I think the layering is where you can really add charachter to the song. I double track all the guitars, sometimes 3 tracks on rythym and 2 or 3 on lead tracks if possible. Same for vocals. It obviously doesn't sound like I live performance but I don't look at recording like a live perfoprmance unless thats the goal.
     
  10. SGNick

    SGNick Member

    Messages:
    3,582
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    indeed. Someone tell Paul he's been doing to wrong!

    The hardest part about overdubbing is "feel". Something I wouldn't usually say because I try to only use real things when qualifying and quantifying something.

    What works for me is to either close my eyes and imagine, or simply just focus on something that would usually get my blood pumping for a good performance. I like to imagine that I'm standing on a stage in front of a huge crowd jamming out along with the recording. Since it's all in my imagination, I only get imaginary stage fright, and the take comes out better than if I just focus on the click and my friend Saunders staring me in the eyes.
     
  11. dhdfoster

    dhdfoster Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,515
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    Do you mean "punching in"?

    If you don't like overdubbing, and it's just the two of you making the record, and your friend is also engineering, you've got an interesting road ahead. No bass? Just guitar and drums?
     
  12. JohnM

    JohnM Member

    Messages:
    686
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2008
    Location:
    Virginia
    It's pretty much a necessary evil. There aren't many types of music that can be recorded up to par quality-wise (in most studios) without overdubbing. And again, depending on the type of music, unless you have some pretty amazing musicians (and even then it's hard) getting spotless tracks is a lot easier when you overdub. Do the words "Take 26" mean anything? They do to producers that know time is money!
    If raw, loose and bleed-through are ok, live tracking can work, but otherwise we're stuck overdubbing. It's not such a bad thing really.
     
  13. wichita

    wichita Supporting Member

    Messages:
    8,114
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    Location:
    AUSTIN

    awww heck man,
    You aren't doing anything wrong. I used to run a studio and believe me there are some young bands that are so bad that I had to piece the drum tracks together out of bits and pieces and autotune the freaking guitar solos...
     
  14. 56_Special

    56_Special Member

    Messages:
    1,994
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    East Village
    Geezar, you are old school man! Overdubbing is down right vintage these days. Listen to any modern music on the radio and you'll hear tracks that have been quantized and tuned (not to mention compressed) to death! Sounds like it was played by robots and makes my head hurt. Don't worry about overdubbing. It won't make your music sound bad.
     
  15. KRosser

    KRosser Member

    Messages:
    14,052
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    Click tracks are to keep the tempo steady - it's up to the player to make them not sound 'robotic'.

    Ditto any other 'production technique - i.e., overdubbing, etc. - it's up to the player/performer to make it feel 'organic.'
     
  16. RoadRunner

    RoadRunner Member

    Messages:
    319
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007

    Think of it as another skill to have in your bag of tricks. It's not wrong. Millions of records have been done with overdubbing. Every great artist, even the ones who swear it was done "live in the studio", overdubs... it's just a fact of studio life.

    What's going to happen, unless you're doing a period correct '40's/'50's blues thing, is if you do an "raw/organic" record, complete with leaving the "messy" parts in is... you'll listen to it a few years down the road and say, "What was I thinking?" I'm not saying your recording has to be sterile and PERFECT... like the current product around here in Nashville; sometimes an honest clam, in the heat of a brilliant performance, is kinda charming, see: Mike Bloomfield. You just don't want to put a "clamfest" out there to the public.

    You make a record, if it goes on a CD, it stands for all time... you want to put yourself in the best possible light.

    Another thing... overdubbing makes life a LOT easier. Say you have the band all together in the studio, the mics are fairly isolated with enough bleed to get a cool sound: now, what happens if someone's having a not "up to par" day? Are you going blow all that studio time/money and live with less than acceptable results? Hopefully not... no, you overdub the inferior part later.

    It's not a big deal... get comfy with it.
     
  17. Kenny D

    Kenny D Member

    Messages:
    1,668
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    The middle of Nowhere
    Here's my $0.02 worth.

    I will use whatever technology I have at my disposal to get what I want. The question is not one of technology but of psychology, IMO.

    Often times as an artist, we are too close to our own work. It is too easy for us to lose our objectivity and get lost in the process. This is another role for a producer - a qualified outside opinion and another pair of ears.

    What you need is that other set of ears...

    What I do after recording a session of my own work is to walk away from it for about three days. After three or four days, I'll come back and listen to the mix with a different pair of ears. I am now listening to it as my audience would hear it, not as the artist. After this time has gone by, I find that my playing sounds different and all the little things that I would have punched or edited just aren't there any more and the ones that are are "just part of the song." This saves me lots of time and frustration too.
     
  18. cram

    cram Member

    Messages:
    13,156
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Location:
    Southern NH
    Why not do it your way [minimalist with live tracking] and his way [overdub work] and take an honest look at the sound that results.

    It'd be a pretty cool thing to post the comparison on soundclick or something to wrap this thread up with your example.

    no?
     
  19. Sunbreak Music

    Sunbreak Music Member

    Messages:
    1,091
    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ
    The term I think you're looking for is "comping", which is piecing together a track from different takes.

    It's done way more than you think--even in classical recordings, believe it or not.

    Personally, I think for guitar solos it should be avoided. If you want to contruct the solo by comping--that's cool. But then, learn to play it through in one take. Better a "live" solo w/ a couple of notes that might not have been perfect, than a complete solo that doesn't sound cohesive. I think this is a big reason recorded music is missing a "vibe" these days. This is of course, my opinion. :)

    Either way--just record!
     
  20. geezar12

    geezar12 Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    thanks for the responses .. We had a session last night and it went pretty good.. I think i will take the approach of trying a song bare bones and then the same song a little more produced sounding.. and see which has a better vibe... thanks... geezar
     

Share This Page