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Recording Etiquette

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mark_van_j, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    This is a question that will require someon to write a novel. So I thank anyone in advance for answering.

    I am currently doing a project, and for the first time in PT. I know some basics about it and this is how we record.

    Mics into preamp, into PT, into Mackie d8b, into speakers. It's not the best setup, but it's not my choice. The input into PT goes through an edac, so I can change from pre mackie, to post mackie recording. Currently it's pre.

    That aside, I have never done a professional recording. I am a self taught engineer/mixer who reads alot and does just as much. I have never worked in a studio yet recorded many songs, and mixed just as many.

    This is where my problem comes in. Last time we were tracking guitars and bass. I started freking out becuase I had no idea what I was doing. I had 10 tracks of drums recorded, and 4 takes of each. The way I recorded takes was to create new playlists for each channel. However for the guitars and bass, I simply recorded over the previous takes, thus creating new regions. However I recorded full takes, (not verse, chorus, bridge separately). I am planning on comping them in mixing.

    What I need from you guys is to tell me what the PT etiquette is on tracking. Do I create new playlists? Do I use regions? How do I record each part of the song separately? How can I clean up tracks I don't need? Regions I don't need?

    I know you can say RTFM, but that just tells me what PT CAN do. I need to know how it is used in the studio.

    I also need to learn Beat Detective. Due to time constraints the drums are half-assed, but sound good. Is there a website that explains BD for drums? I tried using it, but it only works on one track at a time, and even that kick gets thrown where it doesn't belong.

    I am willing to read books, if they are cheap enough. (30 bucks)
  2. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    Read the pro tools manual. Also put up a copy of PT shortcuts in your bathroom that way all the time that you spend in there can go to something useful. If you do this for a month then you can become quite proficient in shortcuts and it makes you quick. There are some books out there and the name of them I cant remember right now, but if i get a chance i will look them up. Or you can just sit down with the manual in front of a PT computer and figure it out.

    You can creat new playlists but the best thing is track it all in one session and not do a new playlist then after the tracking session import each take into a seperat PT session. Also use your markers a lot they are very easy to get to and all you do is hit enter. You can also go to your regions menu and select all unused regions then delete them. The perks of having everything on one playlist and it is easy.
  3. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    Okay this should help get you started.

    Session set to 44.1khz and then do a 24bit session.

    Create the tracks that you need and lable

    Also create your headphone mixes through whatever it is you need to go through.

    Record a click to the track so you can pocket everything

    I would suggest use only one playlist

    Record everything on one playlist. Basically take after take so when you zoom out you can see every take side by side.

    After tracking delete all the takes that you dont wnat.

    Go to your regions menu and then select all unused regions. basically anything that does not make your playlist and clear selected. i would just remove them... or you can delete

    Then start up a new session for each song that you want only importing the audio that you need. That way everything you need is there and you dont have to change plug in settings you can save them to each session.

    Again if you have any trouble with anything sit at a computer with the manual and go through things you dont know. i know that it is hard but it is the best way to really learn it or hit up the PT forum on digi page and ask people there. If you plan on using PT a lot more learn those shortcuts it is a life/timesaver...which in this business is one in the same
  4. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    I'm not quite sure I understand. If I do take after take, how does he know where he is? I usually multitrack over the same backing tracks. This means I have rough guitars and bass and vocals in the background, and I track every drum take separately. I also think that if I recorded one take after the other, it would be difficult to comp the takes into one.

    Like I said, I skimmed through the manual and I know most of the basic functions. I just don't know what to use when. I also have a resistance to reading manuals over a screen, so I ordered a printed copy.
  5. ggunn

    ggunn Guest

    Having been in your position, the best piece of advice I can think of (and I'd send it back to myself at that time if I could) is to name your regions as you go, and assign names that will mean something to you later, like a week later after you have closed the session and worked on something else.

    Any region that you "record over" is still there, of course, but if you don't name it, it will have some cryptic name that when you see it in the play list, you'll say "WTF is THAT?"
  6. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Yes, yes, yes. This is of the utmost importance. I give my regions/files absurdly detailed names for this purpose.
  7. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    Sorry... I ment to tell you that name your regions and also use markers and then name them so you know where each song is. This is what I do and I think it works great for me. This might only work for me. I dont like using playlists in Pro Tools I like being able to set up plug ins for each song because I change things up quite a bit depending on the mood of the song. This might not work for you, but give it a try it could... or dont. But lable everything too if you dont label then basically you can consider whatever it is you recorded as lost.
  8. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    well, sorry to contradict everyone, but i feel that playlists are a life saver. _what i do_ is create a template pt session with my levels and headphone mixes set, then save it with NO AUDIO. don't be lazy about this because you could advertly delete a playlist that has audio from another song on it (not that *I* would do that :O )

    then do a save session as... and save 1 file for each song in the same directory and name each one for each song. getting all this setup before tracking can really help everything go smooth.

    when you are tracking you can create a playlist for every take, and when you have multiple mics on 1 instrument (ie drums, bass, gtr1, gtr2, etc) you assign them to groups, and you can create a new playlist and the whole group gets saved together (really nice when recording drums.

    then when you go to mix, you can VERY EASILY comp tracks together by highlighting the region and jumping from take to take to see what sounds best.

    i do a lot of punch ins over certain parts, but always have them record at least a backup in case i don't hear some problem when tracking.

    i don't use markers very much however, i tend to not care what part is bridge, chorus, etc. (usually most bands are extremely easy to figure out...oh...here is 2:00, must be the bridge, and ... oh surprise surprise, its a bridge, oooooh, and 2:45, must be the 3rd chorus, and no way, how original, a chorus. lets put some extra emotional strain on this one, and wow. a perfect pop song. hehe.)

    oh, and this method helps you use whatever plugin settings you want for each song.

    and they recorded happily ever after...

    the end.


    1. use a click when you can, don't stress if the players can't do it.

    2. do push them for their best, but don't insult them. they might just be nervous and they are actually great players.

    3. ask them what they want. if they want a demo to show their friends at school, don't worry about the click and being perfect, its not worth the time/money. they will hear how shitty they played and maybe *gasp* practice and learn what we mean by "playing IN time"

    4. do what you can to make them comfortable. ask them how their feeling, if they want a break, if they want to smoke. the studio is a scary and mysterious place even for great musicians. if you make them comfortable with good "vibes" they will play better. (see #2 & #6)

    5. leave your stress at the door. don't take it out on them cause your having a bad day.

    6. if the session is going shitty, take a deep breath and inhale some weed. even if it sounds like crap at least your high :)

    7. despite popular opinion. dont ever do number 6. you think your paranoid when your watching cartoons and eating cereal. it will sound like crap if your high.

    8. hmm, lets make this a 10 item list.

    9. learn how to record before charging people money. it makes us all look bad.

    10. don't follow lists that tell you how to do stuff. experiment a lot.

    ok, time for the bar (tgif)

  9. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    Thanks guys. Will try out some of that stuff. (except for maybe no. 6 :D. It can make the regions and all those colors in PT look very pretty...)
  10. bounce

    bounce Guest

    I'm going to have to go with rudedogg on the use of playlists. It must be a California thing ;-) If your tracks are grouped properly, you can even count in the drummer at the same starting point (then measure 1 is consistent) and when you need to comp (i.e. copy and paste from different playlists), the audio will line up (assuming you're using a click). A fast way to do multiple takes is to do it linear on the timeline (no playlists, one take after another) and I have done this for speed's sake, but it's great to have your takes lined up on top of each other when comping and not have to deal with "regions with the same start time" on multiple tracks. You COULD record it all linear and then create playlists and cut/paste the takes on top of each other, but if you need the "spot" command at some point you're gonna be in trouble.

    Playlists were one of the big selling points for pro tools for me 8-9 years ago. They absolutely rule for so many tasks I use everyday.
  11. Spookym15

    Spookym15 Guest

    LOL it must be a CA thing, I am here in Nashville and a couple engineers I have seen do everything on one playlist. But it is whatever works for you. Really if you can do it right and quick that is all that matters. It is good to hear how other people set there stuff up because it is all about being the fast and good. Playlists work well because they number the playlists with the song takes. its all in what you feel comfortable doing, i am definatly going to try rudedogg's way in the next session I do
  12. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    Playlists are also a NY & FLA thing!.......well, it works for me.........any way!:D

    Except when your in destructive record :wink:
  13. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    i guess. i know some dudes that don't use it, but i bet i can get my comps and mixes done faster :D

    i dont know what i would do if they weren't starting at the same spot. this is the main thing that makes playlists usable to me.

    the other thing is that even if i record bands without a click (usually cause the drummer sucks) then i will have them count off to a click and turn it off after the first note. useful for instrument only intros when there is no drums until a few bars in. the easiest way is to set mute automation.

    i just learned as a newer recording engineer that the only way i could make any money was if i can get the tunes out FAST. i would charge per song, so whatever i can do to speed the process up since i can't speed the players up would help me make more money. now i charge hourly, but nobody likes paying for wasted time or setup, so my motto is: "get'er done" :)

  14. mark_van_j

    mark_van_j Active Member

    The only way I record vocals is with playlists. No doubt about it that it's makes comping easier. I setup a new track, and use the cut grabber and drag down takes/verses/phrases I like. The problem here is that I have to edit 10 tracks the same way. It wouldn't be a problem if there was an easier way to switch playlists on selected tracks easier than selecting one for each track. (or is there???)
  15. johnwy

    johnwy Well-Known Member

    As soon as you group the 10 tracks for mixing and editing, the grouped tracks will also follow what you are doing as far as playlists. Just remember to have those tracks grouped before you start adding new playlists or you can easily cornfuse yerself.

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