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Recording an entire album to one project, or each project a song?..

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Christos_S, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Christos_S

    Christos_S Guest

    Hello everyone out there!
    I send my greetings to all the music recording community!

    I am (try to be), a recording engineer, and my question is:

    I make music albums in my studio (10-12 songs per album).
    Many times in the past, i was recording each song in a separate project of my DAW. (I use Logic Pro, and for each new recording song, i made a separate project that included inside only this song!) I don t know if this is correct or false!
    The truth is that i have problem in this manner.. The problem is that the mix of the songs is not the same!! (For example at song 1 drums are at -3.2, and at song 2 at -3.6! The rhythm guitar is at one song at -5.0 and at another at -4.8...) And the problem continues with the effect plugins!!.. (at one song the reverb plugin of guitar is at 35% at another at 39% inside the mix! Cause i think is heard better and at that time, i can't have al the other song projects open to compare!!..

    I think most of you have met the same thing!..

    So does the correct way says to have all of your recording sessions in a single project? In line? (each song after another?)
    Thank you for your answer, you will give me a great guidance if you tell me how the professional use to do it in studios!

    Thank you very much!
  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Can't you copy track settings from one to the other by opening both songs at the same time. I can in Cubase. You just keep copying the track settings from the first to each subsequent one though not all my settings stay the same different panning there are different tracks, etc but for say vocals drums, whatever. The problem with stringing all the songs out in one project is the potential to crash gets much higher IMO, though I have done that as well in live recordings. so I guess my answer is do whichever you find easiest but back up, save and back up again to another storage media because you lose all 10 or 12 very very very big problem.
  3. Christos_S

    Christos_S Guest

    Hi jg49!

    Thanks for your answer! Yew i know to copy paste i also done this way before.. but i try to find out which is the professional way,how do in the studios when they record big groups! They use several projects and after the do copy paste? when you record analog at a 24 or 48 or 72 multitrack recorder and your returns go to a mixing desk, you don t have, PCs, screens and copy paste.. You know what i'm talking about.. I try to find out the "traditional correct" way!.. And after that to know how does the profs make it in digital environment!

    Thank you!
  4. PlatinumSamples

    PlatinumSamples Active Member

    The norm is to have each song in it's own session - you can create a template session for the whole project and use that as a starting point for each song.

  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Personally, I wonder why you want every song to have "matched" settings. Isn't that what makes each song unique? I understand that there needs to be some continuity but you want each song to be represented by it's own merits. To an extent I think this comes with practice and eventually you just develop a style of mixing ( which may eventually turn into a rut, but that's another story). Any other minor variance can probably be handled during mastering.

    In the mean time just try and make sure each song is mixed as well as it can be in order to portray that "story", vision or however you want to percieve it. This is of course only my opinion. Take it all with a grain of salt.
  6. Christos_S

    Christos_S Guest

    Thank you all of you!
    I know and i have thought these ways.. My general (from curiosity) question, is how does the prof do it in studios..
    When you are recording an orchestral album, a soundtrack in full orchestra and you start recording, i don't think that they make each project a song and after that copy paste.. You understand what i mean.. Maybe they do it!! I don't know.. that' s why i am founded here!!.. Excuse me for my curiosity.. i try to find someone to have worked maybe in real time conditions in big studio to solve my question..

    Thank you all of you!
  7. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Recording a concert is a different scenario. Certainly you could record a full concert as one file but I doubt you would be using your average home PC or Mac for such an application. I would think you would either use a dedicated hard drive recorder or a PC/Mac specifically tweaked to do audio and nothing else. You put markers at the end of each song either as you record or after. After would be easier.

    When you are recording sessions in a studio, you should either book the full time it will take to record the album and black it out or if it's in your own studio, black the time out for yourself. Leave mics as they are. Leave the board as it is and don't move anything until you've finished tracking. Simple. You will still get variances due to performance but nothing unmanageable. When you mix, as JG49 pointed out, copy track settings or create a template. Or, if you are using a mixing board, just leave all the auxiliaries and faders as is. Don't move anything and document everything. That will give you a starting point.

    Other than that, it's up to you and your ears.
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    The pros send the whole thing to a Mastering Engineer whose job is to bring everything to a comparable level and polish everything up. This is not to say that every song is or should be the same. They shouldn't. Quality Mastering Engineers are getting harder to find through the white noise that is lots of people claiming to be mastering engineers.
  9. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I've done both ways as well, mostly for live stuff - but also if a band is doing a few quick takes of the same song. That way we can quickly a/b the performances and make a choice on the best one. At that point, I save it as a different project.
    In a live recording there's no way around a single project initially.
    However - once the set is recorded, I find cut points, and make each song its own project. Much easier on the processing. Also, despite it being a live set, I don't believe in using the same treatments for each song - similar treatments yes, but exact, no (see below).

    I agree on matching settings. When working on the first song of a project, I will make presets of the EQs and effects I use on each source - chances are, that same source might need a similar treatment in another song. These presets then give me a good starting point. That said, I don't believe you should use blanket settings, and the best starting point is almost always no EQ or effects whatsoever.
    The players will vary their style/technique, in different keys the pitched instruments will react differently to EQs and the like... and sometimes a song just calls for a different sound. Much better to hear each source as it is in the mix - independent of any prejudices - and react accordingly.

    Some advice to add:
    Organization of your audio files can be critical, especially if you are working w/ other engineers.
    Using a template can make things easier. For example, I create a template w/ all of the tracks I am going to record for each song, label these tracks (see below), set the input/output routing, and basic things like that.
    I always have a different project for each song. I have different folders for each project, and different folders within for rough tracks/mixes and actual mixes.
    I name every track w/in a project - artist_song_source/mic (eg- KW_PB_GuiAmp1_57). In the case of a template, it would be artist_source_
    I date every mixdown (songname_022210), and often my mix project files, in case I want to review something from before.

    Overkill? Maybe. But try finding a guitar amp track to give someone else when they're labeled "GuiAmp57_01" to "GuiAmp57_24".
    That's right, 24 audio files named GuiAmp57. I tend to be a little disorganized, so I try and make sure I can find whatever I need, whenever I need it.

    My .02
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Honestly, I was just trying to appease the OP. I personally think you should try and treat each song as it's own project. Unless of course it is a live situation. Having everything set up and just leaving the mics as is, is a nice luxury.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I get the impression the OP is talking about post production and not the initial recording. I guess I read it wrong.
  12. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Really, I think both are interconnected, in this instance.
    Being diligent in how you setup/record projects pays off in post-production.
    Much like my favorite recording axiom, garbage in = garbage out.
    If your projects and files are a clusterf*ck, chances are it will make your final product suffer at some point, eventually. It bit me in the arse.

    And it is much easier to block out time and leave mics as is. In my imperfect world, this is rarely possible. Scheduling issues sometimes mean 3 bands a week in 3 days doing 3 different things. I do make note of settings and placements, as well as take pictures. Even still, I hesitate to try and do, say, punch-ins on different sessions. No matter the care I take, the variances in recorded sounds make too much of a difference, IMHO. It's just too hard to get things exactly the same. Another topic for another day?

    And I meant for my comments about settings to be more directed at post-production, in case I wasn't clear.
    When it comes to the final stage, I couldn't agree more w/ you, Jack.
    I try and push my clients to getting a professional master, as much as they may make me want to pull my hair out in the process.
    "You spent $500 to record and mix it, you're going to spend $500 to make the CDs, but you won't spend the $500 to have it mastered professionally?"
    In a demo, understandable. But for something that is intended for public release?!
    Another topic for another day, too...

    Finally, to Christos:
    Sorry we (I) took your thread on some tangents.
    Hopefully our original comments and resulting discussion have helped you.
  13. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    why are you so worried about 10ths of a db?????? is it killing your ears????? YES EARS my man. seems like you track, mix and whatever with your eyes and not your ears.are your ears so super sensitive that a 10th of a db is noticeable to you??
    dude, get off the monitor, listen to your mix, make judgment calls based on what you hear and not what you see. seems like your a lazy engineer
    each song is just that A SEPARATE SONG, its played different, its feel is different, its momentum is different.
    what i do is this when recording any amount of songs: if the basic tracks are the same type, ie, drums bass and guitar and the sound is close to being the same then what i do is this, in Nuendo i can take the first song apply my eq/comps/fx on my inserts for each track, copy my "mixer settings" and when loading the next song apply that mixer setting to each song so that i have the same pieces to each take and each song so i have consistency in the realm of the full length/ep/demo. i NEVER copy my fader settings since i mix OTB on a Neve, all faders are 0dB. then if im not using an eq/comp/gate/fx on a track i use the outboard on the console inserts, the console eq and filters and im good to go.
    bottom line, if you record all the songs with consistency then why worry about the minimal 10ths of a dB differene in what was recorded, MAYBE AND I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND THIS, maybe the players wanted it to be that way,,,dynamics arent just a plugin you know it has to do with the player.
  14. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Each song it's own project, bounce the mixes. Import into Waveburner for fine tuning. burn CD send to mastering house.

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