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In praise of digital recording saving the day

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by burntfrijoles, Oct 27, 2020.

  1. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    My vinyl is about five feet away from me as I type. I pull out an album occasionally to check out the art work, but I don't even have a turntable to play the disc. The only possible motivation I might have for playing it would be to show the kids what it used to be like, the same way I might demonstrate dialing on a rotary phone.

    On a semi-related note... I've never heard anyone in the film sound world, where they're dealing massively complex mixes combining dialog, music and sound effects, express even a smidgen of nostalgia for magnetic tape.
     
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  2. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Afflicted

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    You need those vintage Nagras and Vortexions for the tone, maaan! ;)
     
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  3. Warren Pederson

    Warren Pederson Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    What is "Project Alternate"?
     
  4. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    In Logic (and various other DAW) you create an alternate version of your project while preserving your original recording or prior revision(s), all within the same project. You can recall any of your prior versions. For example, in my recording of “I was warned”, I omitted a variation in chorus outro and didnt sequence correctly for the song’s ending. I clicked “File”, selected “Project Alternative” and it created an alternate which I named “I Was Warned #2”. I made my edits via insert, cut and paste; recorded a revised bass line. Bam! (I still has my original version in the event I botched the revisions.). After my original post, I decided the drum track lacked something so I created another alternate version to experiment with “Drummer”. I called this one “I Was Warned #3”. I then A/B’d the #2 and #3 versions. I liked #3 the best.
     
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  5. suthol

    suthol Friend of Leo's

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    I use the date in the file name and if I have multiples on any given day just add a, b, c etc after the date
     
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  6. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Some boat here. Love digital. Don't miss having to do all the vocals in a tiled bathroom for reverb anymore. Don't miss the fear of tapes getting eaten.

    I had some amusing times with the 4 tracks- Tascam 414, Fostex X18 IIRC- but amusing in the context of the general PITA of tape 4 tracks. If there's ever a 4 track nostalgia craze I'd buy up all the uncool Fosusrites I could find and swim in them like Scrooge McDuck.
     
  7. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I'm presently doing a cover of 'Little Sister' by Elvis Presley. Somehow, I mis-counted in the opening chorus and didn't leave enough space for the entire vocal.

    So I went to the second chorus which was correct, snipped and copied it and dropped it into the intro. Problem solved.

    If I was working in analog, I would have had to do an entire re-record.

    - D
     
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  8. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    keyless ignitions, pay me well.
     
  9. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    I worked for years with analog and moved to digital when it first came out. I would never go back. No nostalgia here. DAWs are the way to go. I keep my splicing block and razor blade just to remind myself.

    For anyone who has never worked with tape but think it looks good compared to using DAWs here's a few things I remember from the pre-silicon dark ages. Firstly there is all the upkeep and normal maintenance: degaussing and cleaning heads wtih alcohol before a session, head alignments, tape bias, etc. Then you need to buy tape and store all the tape. While you're working on a project you're watching oxide shed and the way it accumulates on the recorder, losing high end after too many passes on the tape, splicing, doing manual punches to correct errors, limited numbers of tracks, having to plan what tracks to bounce to free up tracks.

    On the other hand analog tape has a "warmth" that can't be measured in any objective way or simply "sounds better." Maybe George Masssenburg or George Martin could but I don't think I could do a blindfold test and tell the difference.
     
  10. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    The best mastering machine I ever had was a Sony Betamax VCR. It made every mix sound so good.

    - D
     
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  11. Jakeboy

    Jakeboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I love DAW recording...but for the most part I record old school in style. I rarely splice together solos or vocals...and I greatly prefer to record guitar and bass parts in full takes. FOR ME, it sounds live and real that way. Being able to record and release music is a dream come true. DAWs made it happen for me. Love it!
    Oh, and ISN’T IT FUN? I love the entire process from tracking, mixing, engineering, and mastering.
     
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  12. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    I typically record several takes of each guitar and bass track. Logic, like most modern DAWs, has a "Quick Swipe" comping function. I have no issue of comping the different takes to get a good recording. Frequently it's just a few edits to improve timing, eliminating clams or just on an overall better take for that section. It doesn't sound any less real or live to me. We have the technology so why not use it?
    Sometimes, after finishing a project, I decide I want a different ending. I'm not going back and redoing both guitar and bass tracks to make that change. Perhaps, I want to add another solo chorus section. Again, I'm not re-recording the entire guitar and bass tracks when I can simply splice, cut and paste. Like I said, we have the technology so why not use it for a good purpose? :)
     
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  13. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Holic

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    I started on reel-to-reel 4 track and migrated to digital stand-alone (Fostex VF160 16 track) to PC-based DAW. As others have said, I wouldn't go back to tape (other than for fun).
    But I will say, when I was using tape, I was much more prepared and knew the songs frontwards and backwards before I'd start recording anything. These days, not so much. :)
     
  14. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very true. I never had a RTR but I had a really nice 4 track Tascam Portastudio (424). I would work out the entire arrangement for the drums (Alesis SR16) totally sequenced which required playing along to it to get the fills, ending etc. Then a guide track which would be erased after I laid down the bass and/or a rhythm guitar. Then the fun would begin with bouncing, etc. I had some outboard effects like a compressor, Eq and delay but I really didn't understand how to use them at that time. It could be a mess. Then of course the final mix to a stereo cassette. Yikes. :eek: It was totally fun and frustrating but it's where I learned the basics.
    Looking back, I realize how much more I've learned about the basics because of Logic. I understand busses, sends, returns far more than before.
     
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  15. GibbyTwin

    GibbyTwin Tele-Holic

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    Yep, I did a lot of bouncing on the 4 track too. And that is what made me be sure I knew the song and its parts cold. There's nothing like playing to what was previously recorded, eq'd, balanced, and making a mistake at the end of the track recording the next overdub. There was no punch-in capability on my 4 track.
    You are absolutely right, it was a real good way to learn the basics.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  16. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Afflicted

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    The one thing I figured out how to do in the mid-'80s that really translated to the DAW era was striping the first four-track channel with the sync pulse from my Roland TR-707 drum machine, which allowed me to start with a repeating simple drum pattern, and then add fills and cymbal crashes once the track was structured. I could then mix the drums in stereo when mixing down the two-track final mix, and add outboard effects such as a gated snare drum. Back in 2000 when I first got back into recording on a DAW, I could start with a simple Acid drum loop, and then add cymbals and fills once the track was structured -- no sync pulse required this time around! :lol:
     
  17. Mark the Moose

    Mark the Moose Tele-Afflicted

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    Had an Otari 1” and Tascam 1/2”; both 8-tracks. Wouldn’t go back for anything.
     
  18. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    That was part of my evolution when I left the Portastudio and moved onto a standalone hard-disk recorder. I learned how to sync my drum machine (first an SR16 then one of Boss' DR series) using Midi. My desk was more complicated with the SR16, midi cables, etc. Of course, now that's not necessary if you have a plug in like EZDrummer or great loop library.
    I've simplified my recording desk to the bare minimum. It's just the computer, monitors and interface. I don't have any outboard gear. Hell, I only have two third party plug-ins.
     
  19. StrangerNY

    StrangerNY Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Since there are no gigs on the horizon, I added my Mackie ProFX-12 mixer to my rig. It's got USB so it works as an interface, and I'm able to tweak the EQ of certain instruments going in, which helps later in the mix.

    And I've got my guitar through a Mooer GE-200 in stereo, stereo inputs for keyboard/sampler, and my vocal mic. It's nice to have everything plugged in and just mute-unmute as needed. Beats the heck out of plugging and unplugging for sure, and I've got a good, consistent mic level and EQ every time. Handy.

    - D
     
  20. bayside

    bayside Tele-Meister

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    So it's how fast and convenient you create music huh?
     
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