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Ask an Engineer

Discussion in 'Recording' started by StudioManager, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. StudioManager

    StudioManager Member

    Grammy accredited Bay Area recording studio is offering the opportunity to ask our staff engineers your recording related questions. Do you want tips on mixing? Tracking? Do you need advice when it comes to mastering or producing? Maybe you just want to know how to make your audio sound like it wasn't recorded using an M-Box. This is your chance to get some answers from industry professionals with years of experience working with state of the art and vintage gear. We encourage one question at a time.
  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


    do you prefer ITB or OTB mixes?
  3. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    "so how come if my song is only three minutes it doesn't take just three minutes to record?"


    Man, I'm sorry. I couldn't resist. Just regurgitating one of the most often-asked questions I used to get back when I was in the game. ;)

  4. Chief Engineer

    Chief Engineer Active Member

    Hi, Im new here, and just trying to help where i can. I think its great what you are offering. So let me help move the thread along.

    How do you like to compress your distorted guitars?
  5. Else Logic

    Else Logic Active Member

    What do you find is the best method to double-track voice parts?
  6. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Where is this guy lol!
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I find the best way to double track vocals is to do it in two passes. Trying to do it in a single pass is really hard on the singer. So I think the Tibetan monks are good at it or some other monks? I like to change microphones when I'm double tracking. I like to move the vocalist a different distance away. I might use a peak sensing limiter on one track and an RMS sensing limiter on the other? Maybe not? I don't like it when things get too phasey sounding. So you frequently need a few milliseconds of delay or at least a delay on a VCO growing slowly along.

    I really don't know what I'm talking about as I only have 3 major award nominations and only one of those nominations was for a Grammy.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Having a singer who is hip to double tracking helps as well. Knowing when and how to drop the hard vowels at the end of phrases... the "S"'s, the "T's".... all makes the process easier and better sounding.

    as for this question...

    Well, I dunno. How do you like to eat spaghetti? Sorry, but that question is as vague as yours was...


  9. Blue Bear Sound

    Blue Bear Sound Active Member

    Well... even though this is on par with asking "how long is a piece of string?", I'll speak in broad sweeping generalities to match the question....

    For rhy gtrs, it is often unnecessary to use compression for dynamics control - the distortion already does that for you.... however using compression for tonal shaping/coloration is another matter entirely, and is a matter of personal taste and preference. As well, you have to experiment with it, because it depends entirely on the context of the track in that particular project. There's no "one size fits all" setting.........

    For solos, it is often necessary to tame the dynamics - especially on clean parts - but again, there's no way for anyone to give you "settings" - you have to understand the compressor parrameters and tailor them to the specific needs of the track in context of the song.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Choice Remy. This is an awesome technique for double tracking period.
  11. Chief Engineer

    Chief Engineer Active Member


    Well, you are half right. There are a few factors why distortion reduces dynamics and passing a signal through a distortion unit is merely a part of it. With the lower tuned guitars of todays music compression is a bigger part of the process than it has ever been.

    I dont *need settings. I use my ears. Are you saying my LA 610s and Manleys are junk? That plugins such as Renaissance Axe are useless?? Good luck trying to convince people of that one. This was one of the most used guitar compressors on the planet among professional audio engineers working ITB. With no settings how could that be possible??

    The fact is, from wherever you copy/pasted the "no way for anyone to give you settings" from, there is only one control on a compressor that cannot be estimated, and thats the threshold.

  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Cool, we get you back and off to an interesting start. I can't wait to see where this goes.
  13. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Oops, or shall I ask... Chief Engineer
    I'm waiting for StudioManager! He posted this and hasn't returned... Where are you? or are you part of this group of engineers related to this thread?
  14. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Lemme aks dis...

    Why is it that so many recordists can't get a live band to sound live on tape, or why these goober smoochin' booger eaters can't get a multitrack to sound live??

    I ain't won a damn thing, or been nominated for anything, other than cleaning the bathroom here at the shop... but I have been doing remote sessions for over 15 years, and pushed faders for about 1000 live shows including several grammy winning artists and bands... who wonder why the hell their records can't sound like what I give them on stage, and in the audience....

    riddle me that, batman.
  15. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    I don't believe that anyone said any such thing. You asked us a very vague question in "how do you like to compress..."

    You didn't ask us what we liked to use as far as models or plugs, you didn't give us any specific scenarios in which to put into context. There are far too many recording scenarios to ask the vague question you did and expect anything other than the responses you got, and, by the way... no one said your gear was junk.

    Lighten Up, Francis LOL
  16. Blue Bear Sound

    Blue Bear Sound Active Member

  17. audiokid

    audiokid Staff


  18. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    How do I do my compression? I do whatever the little voices in my head tell me to do. You might grab for that RMS unit? Nope, not what I want? Might try the peak detecting unit? Might need some light compression? Might need some heavy limiting? And you set your threshold accordingly along with your choice of ratios. It's not a cut and dry process. It's a try and try process. You might want as little as 1-2 DB at a ratio of 12:1 or you might want 10-20 DB at a ratio of 1.5:1? And so your threshold within vary over a wide range.

    Again, that question was extremely vague, nondescript. Not pertinent to anything without a source definition.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  19. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    To the OP and whomever is doing the tag team going sour:

    I mean, no disrespect but if you are serious and see all these responses, don't keep us waiting around for two days at a time while you read your book for the next answer. We're busy and will play but this is BS so far. This is looking like a school project more than girth. I'll give you a day and if you can't continue,

    C'est la vie

  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Do I need to go stand in the corner and be an an acoustic absorber?

    I'll watch a movie on the boob tube not the YouTube.
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