Jump to content
baretta

2nd Instalment Rollover Beethoven

Recommended Posts

baretta    0

Resuming my experiences of recording techniques: -

Fist of all thanks for coming back. I hope you didn’t find the first instalment too boring?

This time I will try to focus on the recording of Rollover Beethoven and the way I have built up the tracks. I know there are some well seasoned players, studio technicians and purists out there, therefore I know before I start that some will disagree with my tips. But, everything is based purely on my own experiences to overcome the problems we all encounter.

I usually find that the first track is always the hardest to get down. Depending on if you are going to use MIDI or not your decisions on which track to do first will differ. If I am not going to use MIDI then I will always do a vocal and guitar ghost track to a metronome click. For beginners who don’t know what a ghost track is, its’ a guide track that can be discarded once the song has been built up and you know where you are within it. Then, if I decide not to use live drums I know I will be OK for timing. The reason for the decision about the drums is quite simple. I am not a proficient drummer and sometimes a particular roll is just beyond me so I revert to programming. However, a couple of years ago I purchased a Roland V drum kit making the task much easier. With these you can MIDI them as well as record the live WAV. Then if I get to do a good live take but with one or two mistakes I can go into the MIDI file and clean it up beat by beat. This keeps the live feel of the drums because I can edit without being bang on the beat all the time and it never sounds mechanical.

Techniques for getting a good drum sound are immense. Any gigging drummer who mikes up his kit will tell you that every room ambience is different and the drums will always take up most of the sound check time. Again the Roland drums come into their own. Plug them in, select your kit and play – easy. They are one of the best investments I have made! You might want to add a touch of reverb to the snare or keep the ride cymbals separated so you can give them even more reverb. This is where some forward planning comes in. I do a bit of cheating here sometimes. I say sometimes because there is also another alternative but much more complicated. First I play the bass drum on it’s own on a separate track. Then the snare on it’s own including all the rolls on a separate track. Then the cymbals on a separate track Mix and effect each one separately to stereo. Hey presto I’m as good as Cosey Powell. This way too I can get the bass drum and eventually the bass guitar to blend perfectly making it so it sounds like the bass drum is playing the bass notes. The other more complicated way is I use the LM4 mark II drum software in Cubase. This involves sending the triggers from the drum pads to separate channels in the LM4 and assigning them to separate tracks. Very time consuming to make the drum trigger maps but it does work. Having explained all that, too be honest if I practise long enough I can usually get the drums right and do a live take sending just the snare and cymbals to separate channels if needed. I just thought I would explain how I used to get round it before I could play the drums well enough. In Rollover Beethoven they are played in one take and panned to stereo. Afterwards adding some hand claps and more ride cymbal to the MIDI that was created in the process. There’s another reason for creating a MIDI drum track as well as a live one, you never know what you are going to add.

As far as mixing the drums goes I only have two or three things I like to get right. The first I’ve already mentioned and that is to get a good solid mix with the bass drum and bass guitar. Second I like to EQ the cymbals particularly the hi-hat so you can just hear the stick hitting them. I try not to over EQ any of the drum samples as they are as near to perfect before you start. Lastly be prepared to change it all again for the final mix as everything changes once all the instruments come into the mix.

To reiterate these are not hard and fast rules, they are not right or wrong, they are just what works for me to get round the hardships of getting a good drum track down. It’s the end result that counts however you get there. Remember to let your ears guide you and don’t rely on the software.

Tomorrow I will cover the bass guitar. Again a must to get right for a solid foundation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eddiez152    129

baretta,

This gets serious. But excellant for those who want to learn. I'm gonna stick with it, so keep'em coming.

I will soon aquire the software to learn along. Guitar Pro, Cubase, Pro Tools at least for my own pleasure.

Thanks for putting in the effort as many others do here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
solidwalnut    5

I love your style! It just goes to show that it's all about the final product. "Begin with the End in Mind". And how you get there is totally your own style. You've experimented a ton to get where you are. Me too, and that's the beauty of it all. Like you say, there's no right way.

Thanks for sharing.

Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baretta    0

Hi Steve. You covered 35 years recording experience in a nutshell. I wish it was that easy to pass on. It would be so good to be able to explain what you do when you hear what you want or hear what you don't want and put it right. It's a feel, an instict, and how do you explain that? It's like stage craft, you can rehearse as much as you like but until you go out and play it on that stage it will never be tight. It's just that one time on stage that makes it gel. All down to experience I surpose and as you say years of experimenting and getting it wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lcjones    8

baretta,

.... as I randomize my thoughts.....

Thank you for sharing such tidbits of information. There is only one school where you can learn these things and thats the school of hard knocks. And when an alumni from the School of Hard Knocks parts with information, it is well to sit down and take note.

All recordings, whether good or bad, have one thing in common. They are sensory in nature and carry emotion along for the ride.

I think for a person who is just starting out in home recording the language of recording is one of the biggest hurdles. In other words, if you don't know the vocabulary, how can you understand and speak the language? It takes time to learn what a wet take versus a dry take is or to understand what compression means and what it does to a track. As well, once even the modest terms are known and understood, practice in utilization is just as important.

Well, once again, I ramble on......

baretta, as long as you post these bits and bytes, you can count on me as a student.

;)

**

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
baretta    0

Yes I agree the terminology can be daunting, that's why I don't use it. However we haven't got to the mixing stage yet so some might have to come in and be explained as we go. I am trying KISS just now and I appreciate that it's like driving a car to me so I have to be aware of the things I do without thinking about it. For example I haven't covered input levels and how the effects of adding EQ can change the peaks, distortion, and all the rest of it. I did say that using the Roland V drums takes a lot of the hardship away as the samples are good to start with and the overall level is the only consideration to start with. We can cover the mechanics easily but we still have to get people to train their ears. That's why I think the suggestion made by somebody to upload some WAVS to have a mess around with is a good idea. At least that way the recording work is done and they can start on an even playing field. But that is for later and I will endeavor to post the bass and electric/acoustic guitars from the track for now. Thanks for your input though it has made me think a bit deeper into what I actually do once I put the jack plug in. Sounds so basic doesn't it but that's where it all starts. Like when you get in a car, you automatically look in the mirror and check for neutral gear before you even put the key in and start up. Catch my drift?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×