On not fussing

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by kludge, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    It's really easy to overanalyze our sounds. But is it a good use of time and resources?

    Last night, I did some overdubs on a song the band tracked live-in-studio on monday. I added a replacement vocal, acoustic guitar, and lead guitar to the existing drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and scratch vocal. I started with the vocal, using my second-choice vocal mic (Oktavamod modded 219) because it was on the stand already. Then I tracked the acoustic guitar, again using the Oktava because my preferred Oktava MC012s were set up on the drum kit and I didn't want to move them. Finally, time for lead guitar, and I just tossed that same Oktava in front of the little vintage Supro amp I use for most recording. I spent maybe thirty seconds placing the mic, then a good ten minutes trying different fuzz pedals to get the kind of lead tone I wanted.

    Now, I could have fussed about, finding the exact right mic and the exact right placement for each situation... or I could focus on getting the parts down, doing multiple takes and homing in on the right chord voicings and melodies and performances. I did the latter, and I think the music is better for it.
     
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  2. GT40

    GT40 Member

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    This is why I like a pro studio. There is someone on hand whose profession it is to fuss about the sound, mic choice, placement, pre amps and gear choice and so on. And the musicians only need to worry and fuss about the music.

    Best of both worlds.
     
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  3. batsbrew

    batsbrew Member

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    i think if you are self recording in a home studio,
    a good way to approach the 'artistic side' of recording,
    is to spend part of a day setting up the sounds.
    levels, mic positions, different equipment, etc.

    get that part right.
    and leave it.


    come back later, or even better, another day,
    and simple focus on PERFORMANCE.

    that's how i do it.
    it takes longer.
    who cares?
    end result is worth it.
     
  4. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    I think some of this is that, while still a home studio, I'm "pro" enough from experience that I can get 90% with almost no thought at all. Like I don't mind putting the Oktava 219 in front of an amp, but there's no way I'd do that with the Oktava MC012 - I know it'd sound bad.

    Time limitations matter, too. I don't have a whole lot of time to work on perfecting mics and stuff, so I'd rather focus my limited time on getting the best performances. So I have ways of doing things that I know will be good enough.

    The night before, my bass player noted that I was getting some killer drum sounds. The miking was trivial, though - a pair of overheads in a Glyn Johns setup, plus a kick mic and a Beta 57 on the snare. I like Glyn Johns because it's trivial and repeatable to set up - if a mic gets moved, I can just put it back in exactly the right place easily. Could I do better? Yeah, with a lot of work.
     
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  5. ieso

    ieso Member

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    I was in a project called "Fussy" years ago and it lived up to its name. Only one track ever surfaced from it. :rolleyes:
     
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  6. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    After you get to know your gear (mics, room, etc.) you will develop a sort of spider sense for what will sound good and what won't. When you get a nice amp tone one day, remember those details for next time. At this point, whenever I track something here, I just know what will work. I spend less time tracking.

    If you ever have a free Saturday or Sunday - why not spend time just dialing in sounds, and starting your recording journal? Could really save time in the future. That's what I've done over the years.
     
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  7. bluesmeanie

    bluesmeanie Member

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    Lately I've found myself conforming to a self-imposed rule that when I record a project (I record at home, by myself) I'll get it done in a day. It forces me to just "get 'er done" instead of spending inordinate amounts of time on minutiae.

    The results are less than perfect, but guess what -- they always are, even when I used to agonize over mic choice, placement, etc. etc. I'm not after perfection, it's a hobby.

    It's nice to spend the day in the studio and bang it out and have a "finished product" to listen to at the end of the day.

    It's true I always spend time after the recording is done editing tracks, EQing, mixing, etc. So the first mix is never the final mix. The "get it done in a day" thing is tracking only.

    YMMV.
     
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  8. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    You don't have to choose one or the other to have the benefits (or drawbacks) of both.

    You are writing, arranging and recording a demo of a song. No, recorded sound quality or the perfect double tracked rhythm guitar tone doesn't matter as much as other things at that stage. Once you have the song written and arranged, then you can come back around and focus on the recording aspect.
     
  9. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

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    In my mind, I can either make music or get sounds. Often, I might have 2-3 hour window to record. Wasting half of that getting sounds isn’t ideal. Now, I’m using load/IRs for electric guitars, which has helped immensely. But, yeah, if you know what’s going to sound good, that’s going to speed things up.
     
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  10. NoGlassNoClass

    NoGlassNoClass Member

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    Not trying to sidetrack, but similar..... Backstory TLDR my sister is a very talented singer/songwriter. I am the fussy one and oh yeah its my studio... So she comes in with a piano and vocal part, thinks I am responsible to produce/record/mix/master as well as play drums, bass, rhythm guitar, lead guitar. So far I have drums, bass, piano, and a vox scratch track. Fussy LMAO she is a princess, even her own bandmates will tell you this. But the raw talent and songwriting skills.....I will post back with clips in a few days when its done, constructive criticism welcome. But fussy....yeah
     
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  11. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    The performance is the key, and being relaxed helps you perform better. Conversely being overly analytical on the gear side can make you perform worse.

    If you're both the artist and the engineer, make sure your decisions serve the artist first!

    On my last project I ended up keeping a couple of acoustic tracks that I played direct into the box through my live rig. They sounded fine in the mix. If you get a good performance, keep moving forward.
     
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  12. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    For sure.

    If you're recording your own vocals, I think it makes sense to find and use the same mic every time, that one that just plain works for your voice in your room the way you like to sing and record.

    Doing this streamlined my recording workflow a whole bunch.
     
  13. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

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    That's all there is, right? Never once has anyone listened to a song of mine and said something like "Oh, I love the tone on (fill in whatever instrument/effect)". But, I have gotten "Wow, that's a cool bass line", or "That's a neat composition", or something like that.
     
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  14. billyguitar

    billyguitar Member

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    Common sense tells me to live with what's recorded, unless it is flawed, and just use it. People listen with their eyes more than their ears and most don't know the difference anyway, if it's not all you can be. I'm talking small market demo stuff. If you're a Big Dog then take all the time you want!
     
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  15. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell

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    if you weren't doing all tasks alone, and a qualified engineer was in the room --- would you have let her take the same path?
     
  16. splatt

    splatt david torn / splattercell

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    hmmm. yeah, ok.
    but..... there can still be great cause for doing things as well as you can, once you know your own limits, once you know how to get results within acceptable creative & time & financial constraints.

    getting things done as well as possible does not always equate with being "fussy".
    imo, everything musical is important; sometimes, even the bad stuff needs to be good in order to fulfill.
    i often want my shi**tty-sounding stuff to sound "good" in its own way.
     
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  17. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for Silver Supporting Member

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    If I'm engineering for someone else, I'm usually more thorough. But if I'm engineering for myself, and dividing my intellectual/emotional attention between the left-brain tasks of engineering and the right-brain tasks of playing well (especially improvisational playing)... well, I'll shortchange the engineering in favor of the performance and be glad for the tradeoff.
     
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  18. The Opera Panther

    The Opera Panther Supporting Member

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    Of course. We're (obviously) coming at this from two very different perspectives:

    Me: (hobbyist, obvs.) Might have 3 hours to get something done, total. And I might not get another hack at it for 2 weeks if it's not done, in which case, inspiration is likely lost. So, for me (and my music that almost no one hears), done is WAY better than not done. So I can't always spend a lot of time tweaking, A/B ing, dialing in tones, etc. It's more like "I can live with it", if its a good take.

    You: (consummate professional) - Honestly, I'm not even going to posit that I know anything about your process. Suffice it to say, the fact that you derive your livelihood from this makes the stakes of bad-sounding music much higher, hence the amount of time/"fussiness" to get things perfect.

    I like the last sentence in your post. I've recorded a couple solos where I intentionally recorded a pretty ratty tone because I thought it would fit the tune.

    Unfortunately, this discussion reminds me of all the things on my HD that are "not done". Sigh. One day.
     
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  19. JiveJust

    JiveJust Member

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    As long as you get a good image of what you are trying to capture without phase issues, masking etc. I say go for it.

    It sounds like you know your gear well enough to record good sounds.

    I took some ancient recordings of a live in my home recording to my audio class in college. The professor told me I got really good captures. He was shocked that I used such cheap mics/gear. What I didn’t know (and I am still learning) is how to mix. He spent about 5 minutes with some outboard gear on the console and made my low budget recordings sound great. He mainly mixes in the box too. We had access to the thing stuff so why not use it.
     
  20. drfrankencopter

    drfrankencopter Member

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    I think your approach is spot on...it seems to me that the arrangement/parts haven’t all been worked out yet, so yes it is better to capitalize on a good vibe/work ethic rather than get caught up in capturing sounds. 80/20 rule...

    Situation would be different if the arrangement and parts were already worked out, and there was a clear vision for what sort of tone was needed for each instrument on the final recording.

    IMO, deciding when a time is ‘good enough for purpose’, and keeping a session moving is a key producer role.
     

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