I just started recording bands and I've heard of drummers being able to lay down their track just by a click track but I've started making scratch tracks with metronomes in the headphones then going back and recording the instruments individually starting with the drums. I'm just wondering how other people record a full band?
I don't record every band the same way. I try to find the ultimate way for each band. When I am recording everyone separately (rarely happens these days) I definitely make scratch tracks.
Here is the most important thing. Drums don't need to be recorded first! Sometimes I'll record them last or closer to the end. Record the parts that need the most energy last. This way they have more to feed off of.
Most often these day I am the band live off the floor. I used to really baffle the instruments from each other but I am doing less of that because the "bleed" can be cool. This way no one needs to wear headphones and we get a band that feels like a band.
Do you need real drum tracks? http://www.drumtracksdirect.co.uk/
Specializing in live recordings, everybody is playing at once. Over the years, in the studio, I always track the band, simultaneously, all at once. I've never gone back to rerecord instruments individually. That's silly beginner crap. I want a cohesive performance out of the band and you don't get that one at a time. But everybody has their own style. I come from a land of hit records and everybody recorded at once, together, as a band. Then you might go ahead and augment that recording with additional overdubs of other instrumentation and/or vocalists. But even the scratch vocal track when cut on a SM 58 frequently ends up being THE TAKE. This will generally happen after umpteen overdub vocal takes have already been tried. So never destroy the scratch vocal track. Hey even Robert Palmer did it that way. Just because people see things in movies doesn't mean it's supposed to be done that way. It just looks good for the movies. Though I know plenty of local yokels that record all of instrumentation, separately, completely disenfranchised from a real performance. That works great with most cruddy amateur professionals. But real musicians along with real musicianship happens all at the same time, together. Unfortunately most amateur professionals don't think they are talented enough to pull off an all at once style of recording. And they are generally right because they suck. Such hasn't appeared the case to me with your fine British talent. Your discipline is much different than US Americans. Just listen to what Geoffrey Emmerich accomplished coming out of school at 16. Assistant engineer to the Beatles then and at 19 the primary. That doesn't happen here in the US except for perhaps, myself?
I was a fool not to accept Sir George Martin's offer years ago.
Mx. Remy Ann David
Ha Funny you say that recording everyone separately is for beginners.LOL I won't let crappy bands record separately because they rarely have the ability to not play together. Mostly I record people separately when it is studio musicians coming in for specific parts.
I sort of agree with Remy more than Paul. It's a matter of the definition of "beginner." Bands that aren't tight can be recorded one at a time and the tracks time aligned, pitch corrected, bent folded, spindled and mutilated. It won't be a masterpiece, but they aren't masters. But of course, Paul's also right. Actually playing well one track at a time is a skill that most people don't have - even those in bands that can play well together.
Alto Dog Studios, Blacksburg, VA
Yeah, good point Bob. It hasn't been uncommon for me to record the entire rhythm section first. Then you go back and augment with yet more. I do appreciate those extremely talented folks that can play multiple instruments. But part of that is only possible because they can envision it in their head to begin with. And that's a part that most can't get right. Or they are not in possession of that part of their brain. I am fully aware that I am not in possession of all of my brain. It was squished to smithereens so many years ago and it's not even any good as leftovers. But I digest... my dinner. Nothing like eating dinner in your control room while listening to musical examples from other folks. And one must be careful when doing so because vomiting wouldn't do my Neve any good. Although I think my Neve likes beer? If it doesn't... I'll drink it.
Has anybody tried that Bud Lite with Clamato? Mixes sound better with it.
Mx. Remy Ann David
I need to post more!
Of course being a single musician who plays all the instruments, must start somewhere. It doesn't necessarily need to start with the drums but with a click track. Then perhaps guitar bass & keyboards and then the drums. Maybe the other way around. Music is art and art is music. As mentioned, there is no right or wrong method. There is only what makes sense for you. I've actually recorded singer/songwriters who came in to cut a demo. One guy in particular couldn't play drums but he brought a drum set in. In his demo, he sounds like a competent drummer but in fact, we cut each drum part, separately. That is a pass of bass drum, followed by a pass of snare drum, followed by tom-toms, finished with cymbals. And nobody ever knew he couldn't play the drums. So I can't and don't always have my way. Guys who can play all the instruments I feel are generally talented and worthy enough of my expertise. I have told bands that can't play their instruments at all, to get the heck out of my studio. Another reason for that action on my part is, I can make them better than they are. If they should get work from something I've recorded for them, it would be fraudulent. So I don't practice in fraud... of a mirror even though I love my own good looks.
So you're inquisitive as to how bands are recorded. They are recorded from single microphone mono machines up to multimillion dollar studios and everything in between. They are recorded in good acoustics, bad acoustics, no acoustics. They are recorded with the most expensive equipment and the cheapest equipment. None of this matters it's only the talent that matters. You obviously have some. So get to work and post what you've done so we can all have a good laugh... at how fabulous it is.
I only care if someone wins at a ballgame
Mx. Remy Ann David
Specializing in live recordings, everybody is playing at once. Over the years, in the studio, I always track the band, simultaneously, all at once. I've never gone back to rerecord instruments individually. That's silly beginner crap.
You know I love you Remy but I couldn't agree, and disagree with you more. Many missed the switch, the great divide in the 80's and never saw it coming. It left many engineers in the dust.
I started a post on the DUC that was removed because it got so ugly. This was around Sept 2000. It was all about the demise of the big studios. I said most Big Studios would be done by 2005 and then sat back and watched the flames.. One week later I started recording.org and never looked back. The R.A.P. (recording audio pro) crowd all came here. The big studios where here and most of those studios are gone. Why?
I was part of the generation that killed the big studios. I was in the front lines using the gear that eventually killed them.
There is a whole other world that lays one track down at a time down, every bit as professional as the old method you are describing. It takes a smart mind to figure out how to do it my way too. There are a lot of GREAT pop songs done one track at a time. This, I am 100% certain of.
Wow I say... , I could spend 5 hours slugging this one out but it would only be an thorn and/or go over most heads here. Rarely do I talk about my professional background, so I won't much. I don't like to. Its irritating and not in our best interest to say much more than I already do. You guys here are the pro's of traditional recording and that is what RO is all about. I am so grateful to be part of all this but once in a while i belt out a few lines and duck!
so here is one of those times.
I'm completely the opposite as our traditional recordist and musician. I've made a really good living using electronics and playing the guitar. When I was around 18, so inspired by pop music, I was so sick of trying to educate bands and wait for them to figure out their parts and see the opportunities ahead. I couldn't wait for the day I could do it all by myself. The multitrack and DAW has been my saving Grace.
Musicians that can't keep time or play to a bed track are useless to me. So many pros can't play along with click tracks. They need others to set them free. **** man, I'm in heaven when the tracks are tight and it is solid and exact. That's when I cut loose. Thats when the magic happens in my world and I know others who share this experience too. But they aren't traditionalists. Most recording engineers haven't a clue about the MIDI world. Why would they. It freaks them out. It freaks them out as much as drum machines freak out drummers.
If there are secrets to this, then I know some, and sequencers and recording one track at a time fits that group. I have been a professional DAW musician (Hybrid Musician) longer than most of our members here but say little because its of no interest to most of the traditionalist, and it doesn't fit the mold of RO in general. I love to sit back and learn about acoustics and all the gear used for good reason. But, if I was going to write a pop song, ( thats what I love the most) I would most likely do the majority using samples one track at a time. The only things I would use on top of the MIDI and Samples, would be vocals and possibly guitar. But we are talking POP music now.
Remy and I have a lot in common. My mother was also world a world class opera singer. She sang on shows with Robert Goulet, Danny Kay, John Vickers, Jimmy Durante and more of that era, but her career fell short from the disease, MS and unfortunately missed her moment to stardom at La Scala. One year later she would have been in the greats circle. She told me something that I'll never forgot. "Be smart and go with the times. Don't be broke like most starving musicians".
So many people stay locked into their generation and stop learning. If you can move with the times and discover the key elements ( the sounds of that generation), it just gets easier. The next part of my music career is merging Remy's world with my world but the hybrid way.
The right way is what feels right to you. If I was recording a traditional band with people that had no experience in DAW production and electronic music, then traditional is the ideal way. If I was producing a pop album however, I would most likely do it one track at a time and ditch most of the microphones for samples any day of the week. You call that amature and I call that smart business and modern.
A lot of recording studios are going under because they are trying to drag (That's silly beginner crap ) old school methods into the 21 century. I love it all.