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Need advice from you sound engineers on recording ...

Discussion in 'Recording' started by junkman, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. junkman

    junkman Guest

    My band is slated to start recording our first album in a week or so. I plan on recording all the tracks at my home studio using my Roland VS-1824 . We then plan on burning down each track onto cdr's and bringing the lot of them to a pro studio for mixing and mastering where they can dump these data tracks down into their platform (protools I assume). We don't have a huge budget and don't have the equipment for mixing. So that's the plan. My question is about getting these tracks down to "tape". We are doing the drums first using 8 tracks.

    Would it be better for me to run my gates, compressors, and eq the tracks as they are recording onto tape? Or should I leave this up to the pro studio during mixing later and just record straight dry? I don't have any real pro gear and am afraid i could color the sound in a bad way. I haven't had experience with a pro studio mixing my tracks before so I am just un-educated in their process. Because of our budget, I would rather have them spending more time on actual mixing and fx than gating, comp.,etc. But if its not a time consuming process or if they will end up running through that gear anyway, I would think I should just run dry when recording to keep as natural a drum sound as possible.

    I would be running all drums except overheads through Samson gates and compressors. I have a DBX 376 tube pre/comp that I will be using for one of the tracks. Like I said, my gear is not pro. I am also running the tracks through a Mackie 24x4x2 board for the eq.

    Please give me some of your feedback
    Thanks

    Chris
     
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I have a suggestion:
    Instead of trying to record the drums at home into your Roland, why not
    track them at the "pro studio" first, then import those tracks to the Roland, dub the other stuff on the Roland, then go back to the studio for the mixing,etc.?
    The reason I say that is because, of all the instruments you are likely to record on this project, drums are the most demanding. You need to have decent mics, preamps, and ACOUSTICS to pull it off well, not to mention knowing how to place and work those mics. The transients and dynamics of a drumkit beg for this, especially the ROOM. Nothing can wreck the sound of a recording more than amatuer drum sounds (OK, a crappy vocal or out-of-tune guitar, but...). You will benefit far more from the experience and resources of a professional studio/engineer in this aspect than mixing, IMHO. And you know what? That studio you're scheduled to mix in might very well work out some sort of deal for you to do that. Ask them, it sure wouldn't hurt. I know that I used to do exactly that in my last room. Many of my clients would track the "hard stuff"- drums, brass sections, roaring amps- in my room, transfer the tracks to HD, or Roland or Yamaha workstations, and do the rest of the tracks at home, then mix.

    As for your question regarding the signal processing, you are 100% correct that you should keep the dynamics processing (gates, comps, etc) to an absolute minimum, especially when tracking drums. A little comp on the kick, maybe. But remember the only real way to "un-do" what you add to the drums is to "re-do" the take. That can suck. And also consider this. No offense to your gear, but Samson was the manufacturer for another product line for many years-the dreaded B^%&%r. We don't use
    Uli's last name around here, OK? That stuff will take the sharp transients of a drum kit and smear it into mush.
    In any case, good luck with whatever you decide to do.
     
  3. natural

    natural Active Member

    Moonbaby nailed it.
    I've seen it a thousand times. Home recorded drums generally make the whole production suck.
    Now think about this. You bring your drum tracks to the studio and now your engineer will have to spend a HUGE amount of time trying to eq, compress, gate, sample, trigger, and otherwise clean up your tracks. in the end it's not going to save you much money, but it will cost you a lot of time and the end result will not equal the time spent on it.
    It will take hours for an engineer to try to decipher what you did, how you did it, and how to try to undo it.
    And at some point, he's going to say "You know, we could probably spend less time if we just recut the drums."
     
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Think about this one for just a few moments.

    While I heard the extremely sad news today that the lead singer for Boston, who recently was engaged to be married, committed suicide. No other cause or information was given. But I digest.......my taco's now.......

    The original Tom Sholz produced Boston breakout album in the mid-1970s was recorded in Tom's home " project" (before there was project studio in the dictionary) studio, through his Auditronics 501 console to a 1 inch Scully 12 track recorder (yup, that's right, precursor to 16 and 24 track on 2 inch tape, 12 tracks on 1 inch tape a relatively uncommon dinosaur). The record company loved what they did but didn't particularly like the drums. So the 1 inch 12 track Master was shipped to Los Angeles to Westlake Audio, dubbed and bumped up to 2 inch 24 track and all of the drums were rerecorded. So all of the guitars, lead and backup vocals were 2 generations down before mixing ever began. I think it sounded OK? What do you think?

    So moodybaby's got the right idea.

    Yet here is another suggestion you might want to consider? Put 2 or, 3 microphones on the drums. Overheads and kick. Use your other 5 tracks to track all of your other instruments and rough vocal. Once you're satisfied with an adequate take, because of the virtual track capability of your notebook studio, you can now rerecord the drums with up to 8 tracks dedicated just to drums while using the original take as a reference guide. You can then go and rerecord all of the guitars and vocals as well and remanufacture your best of a good take.

    In your particular situation, I really wouldn't use any of the gates but I would use some compression and/or limiting. This is especially important if you do want to have another studio handle the mix. You want to give them as much rope as they need. After all, you wouldn't want to circumcise anything a second time now would you? In your situation, you are basically just the multitrack, tracking recorder. Not the whole kahuna.

    I have no kahuna
    Ms. Remy Ann David
     

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