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recording mostly all direct

Discussion in 'Recording' started by audiokid, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    I'm really curious to find out how many members here record everything direct except for basically guitar and vocals? ( welcome to the new world of quality pre amps though)

    This is pretty much my gig, I'm a guitar player ( old santana, clapton, srv, pink floyd etc) however, I love electronic, always have and always will and I've made lots of money playing techno for 16 years. I would also like to add that I have fooled the most respected OLD school pro's (won't mention their names because it could embarrass) with my drum programming. If I want to make it sound real...(and I don't me drum loops) I can do a really good job of it. However, I love the sound of new sounds so it really doesn't matter and isn't my intension to fool a trained ear, I'm just stating that it is done. I think what this means is there is nothing wrong with using electronics to make "music" Music comes from within and anyone that get's turned off by the thought of a song composed and produced using samples, sequencers, modulals etc, hasn't been exposed to experienced programmers. I have found that if you don't tell your little secret, they listen and enjoy.
    My point of this topic is to see how many other members share my point of view? RO is full of recordest, but do you use less mics and more electronic devices?

  2. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest


    I'm just the opposite. Having been through electronics from the mid80s through 90s, I've swung back to my roots... real music played by real musicians in real time.

  3. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, but not by my choice. I'd still love to work with a real drummer, but I can program drums if I need to.

    Right now circumstances, in the form of college, etcetera, are such that I cannot devote too much time or money into what my parents (whose house I still live in) consider a "hobby". Thus, all my audio pursuits have to take place on a laptop. This means that I have to take the budget route wherever possible, and that means eliminating mixers, mics and preamps from the loop.

    Drums? Sample based. Guitar and bass? PODxt/SansAmp/Amp-sim plugins. Keyboards/orchestral instruments? VSTI/DXi. Vocals? Uh... an SM58 into the PODxt. Haha
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Bill, falkon2, I hear you. The more real, the more real it is, and this is what the "art of recording" is all about, however, there is more out there and it's not to hip on RO.
    I'm really wondering what the vibe is out there and if any RO members into mostly electronic style recording are around here? I know there are thousands of people making great music with synths on their DAW's but, they pass right through RO because we are mostly about traditional micing here. Rooms, acoustics, What mic to use etc. A lot of this doesn't mean anything to thousands of musicians. They simply don't care... But... learning what a good pre amp can do into Pro Tools gets my attention. It's finally getting interesting to me now. What a Sebatron does to my Nord lead get's me excited and I finally see a place for me here too.
    About a year and a half back there was a big crowd on our chat that amazed me. A huge world of electronic musicians but most of them felt this place was full of "old guys" lol. It bothered me but I understand where that's coming from. Anytime someone got into it they got pounced on by the "recordist", it killed the vibe and drove em all away. Ya know what I mean? I think we need to welcome all ways of recording music. IMO, it is about harnessing what we hear inside and then finding the best tools to get it on track, it the mix and on CD.
    As an example: I have a friend that loves that live room sound. Blues with nothing below 100. nothing above 12k. I love the Blues, it is my roots and a deep passion but I sometimes find it sounding so boring and actually painful. It's old sounding.
    I love deep bass produced by synths, weird snares, virus, nord lead, synth congas, poly rhythms with cool echo's in time with sequenced drums and great acoustic, electric guitars and tight vocals. so, that's my point. I think we turn off a big pile of people that make music. It's a big world out there and those creators don't come here at all.
    It will be interesting to see how many chime in on this topic.
  5. falkon2

    falkon2 Well-Known Member

    Whatever happened to Azure Crystal? I remember he was doing a little electronica gig for a computer game project.

    Work may be bogging him down, but it would be nice to hear how he's doing.
  6. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    All my compositions are MIDI/electronic in nature. But I like to really get into MIDI programming, using CCs and Sysex to make instruments come alive. OASYS is perfect for this sort of stuff.
  7. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Stephen, is really busy right now. He pops in and out. He was talking about doing a music collaboration thing for RO but haven't heard from him since Christmas.

    Mark! my man, you are one of us hehe. Hey, if you can break in down, please share what your doing there?
  8. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    Well for starters, I just like to tweak. Take my OASYS for example. Anything can be mapped to a CC. Or Logic; you can map any controller to anything. Scrum-diddley-icious! (to quote Kurt) I've just about worn out the mod wheel and control slider on my JV-1000.

    Basically I take my stuff in one of two directions. Either I'm attempting to emulate acoustic instruments, or I'm going for weird freaky analog and otherworldly sounds. Squeeks, bloops, bweeeeennnnhhhh, you get the point. (I've had several people ask me where I sampled my OASYS E-guitars from. I just smile and say Led Zeppelin, or The Doors, or....)

    So start with a nice flute in OASYS. (OASYS is a special example, many patches don't need any more modulation, they're just alive; for instance, do a pitch bend on a trumpet and you get an overblown blat, followed by an octave jump.) Take the breath parameter, and sneakily add some breath modulation in there, like on a run, or at the beginning of an accent note. That kinda stuff.

    That's why I love PhMod synths, they're just above and beyond.

    With the more traditional (sample based, and analog) synths, I do stuff like combining portamento with pitchbends, to accidentally come up with lead lines. Or using cc10 to swell strings or pads. Ooh and I just love the randomize feature in SoundDiver.

    Whatever the case, and intended effect, I usually start off with a short 2 bar sequence and just tweak the patch to fit the sequence, record some CCs/Sysex, and then tweak the sequence to fit the patch, add an unexpected tweet here and fill there, to stretch the pattern out to 4 or 8 bars.

    My drums, OTOH, tend to stay simple and straight forward.

    Sometimes, depending on which of my rappers I'm working with, I'll keep it very simple and safe, because it fits better.

    More in a bit, boss is callin...
  9. jonyoung

    jonyoung Well-Known Member

    Chris, I'm old school, real drums, amps on guitars, nothing like the tone of warm tubes and high SPL stick hits.....but I do like to use Acid loops and Sonar groove clips sometimes for a little extra BAM! as Emeril says :D
  10. mjones4th

    mjones4th Active Member

    ...... ok I'm back.

    I also like to automate effects. But to be honest I don't do the filter thing. Its just been done so much.

    And I want to caveat. Most of the time, there will be one or two lead tracks with this sort of processing on it, and sprinkles of it here and there throughout the rest of the composition. Sometimes I don't do any of it, as I said before, and sometimes I go so far overboard that no one wants to rap on it.
  11. igloo

    igloo Guest

    Chris-- First, I wanna congratulate you on creating such a fine forum with so many knowledgable and open members sharing tips and thoughts, Great forum!!

    I, too, program my drums in the sequencer, as a former drummer I can shape things up and I've fooled a few musicians.(even drummers)

    I love using samples and a sequencer. Ironically, most of the music I make is traditional, so I end up using electronic resources to reproduce acoustic stuff. (retro rock, contry, even a jazz trio with brushes and all..)

    I have a nord lead 3 which I love and though I'm not deeply involved into electronic music, use it quite a bit.

    Nice to see people on a similar track among audio engineers and "recordists" hehe

    Best Regards,

    :c: :c:
  12. teleharmonic

    teleharmonic Guest


    it is an interesting topic you have introduced. i find it most interesting simply because it questions the notion that 'real' instruments recorded in a 'real' room are always 'better'. whether a person believes this to be true or not is actually not as important as the process of questioning that belief and, hopefully, testing it and seeing if, after testing it, you still believe it to be true... IMHO.

    for what it is worth i think that the old school attitude you are talking about is one that will not exist in a few short years. i think that because musicians are artists the art will always be the final word.

    the idea that there are two camps of musicians: 'electronic' musicians and 'analog' musicians is already fading away as formerly analog musicians are realizing that electronics can help them realize some new artistic goals that would not have been possible in a strictly analog world. The reverse is also true... an 'electronic' artist like Manitoba can realize that recording one's own source material and then processing it electronically can add a whole new layer of content to the artistic process.

    Here in Toronto there is a band called the 'New Deal' that are live jam band but their sound is electronic. the drummer has been quoted as saying that he tries his hardest to sound like a drum machine... yet they have decided that while they are influenced most by the style of electronic music they also want to be part of those ephemeral moments which can only happen when you are improvising in front of an audience.

    As electronic music starts to sound more like analog/acoustic music and analog/acoustic music starts to sound more electronic all we have left is music... which is really what we had all along, we just made an arbitrary distinction that never really existed in the first place.

    artists will decide to utilize drum programming, or a drummer in a room with mics, based on the sort of artistic process they want to engage in, or what their personal strengths are.

    i, too, hope that electronic musicians are not scared away from this forum, but not because i am an electronic musician but rather because i am a musician... period.

    wow... sorry for the long winded ponderings, it's a lazy afternoon.

  13. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    From about '89 on to about '99 when I opened my first studio I worked mostly by myself, learning about recording and building tracks one at a time. I write a lotta songs so I had plenty of material to cover and it was exciting to me- In '99 I rented a small commercial space and got out of the house with my studio and started playing with people. This wasn't really a commercial enterprise, just a project studio in a building where other musicians had studios but it got me out of me working by myself.

    In 2001 I opened a full fledge commercial studio and then everyone came in and I started recording live drums. I still like working by myself, working out ideas, but I decided you can't beat the feel of 4-5 guys in a room laying down tracks at the same time- Of course I have the best of both worlds, as I'll go back and replace the scrath vocals and t whatever other instruments are needed- then overdub away to my hearts content until it sounds right-

    At the end of 2003 I sold my commercial studio and went back to having a home studio, but now we have a band and we rehearse and record at home- I bought a set of electronic drums and that helps to keep the decibel level down- I find myself very happy now with what Im doing and feel that I have the best of both worlds in this respect :D :D
  14. Bill Park

    Bill Park Guest


    Just to dive of the other side of the boat...

    I'm not a fan of the blues. The blues is a big deal in my town, and any night of the week you can see white boys masterbating their guitars to an approving crowd. (Yawn) But one of my friends, who recently had some work sold and recorded by some artist on Alligator Records, keeps it real and keeps me enthralled. If you get a chance, Wil E. Tri and the Bluescasters is really quite an enjoyable act... and Willi is right out there on the edge, all intensity and emotion. He plays in a little bar in a neighborhood filled with stagehands, and they are always bringing the traveling hands from other shows up to see him play, so he is getting this odd underground buzz among touring cats, and his CD has become one of what used to be called 'bus tapes'. And it is surprising the number of players who hunt him up and sit in and jam when they are in town.

    But it is still in a club that is crowded with 50 people in it, and it is still very real. GReat fun.

    If you get a chance, check him out.

  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Wow! nice to read this stuff... now we're getting somewhere! :tu: Yes, it's about the music. When I started the electronic gig my friends thought it would never take off lol! That was 1978-9 around the time Roger Linn's drum machine was introduced. God bless him!
    I kept saying to other musicians... listen to these songs on the radio, I'm sure Quincy Jones is using a Linn Drum and that's one of those synclavier's. "your nuts man".
    How many great songs use the tools we're hip too here? I would say more than most of this forum would ever believe. Once you know, it's the best kept secret in the business. What I have heard a lot of musicians saying, they hear tracks that are either poorly programmed or lesser quality samples, or, the songs were supposted to sound like that. Then they judged them on those merits and think that's what electronics sound like! Never realizing the pro audio producers were writing pop music with these tools (that was hard to say).

    I have another interesting observation,

    Writing advantages?:
    more focused music closer to what's inside your head... I'm not saying a band isn't cool, I'm saying, I get what's inside my head, out, and that could never have happen without these new tools. Ya, maybe if I was Beethoven I would "write it down" and look for one hundred musicians.
    When I compose something "most" of the time it sounds very close to what I was hearing when it first came to me. As I grow and mature, so do my capability of harnessing the sounds. I learn to isolate these sounds in my head and put them down on step at a time. Either in real time or step time. I love what's happening in the electronic world.
  16. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    whohoo! I'm liking this thread!

    I would like to say this so our thread doesn't take a sudden left hand turn. By know means am I talking about "watching or experiencing" live music played by real musicians or bands. This topic is from a writing, producing and recording point of view and achieving the increadible rich sound we can get from these tools. I think without reading this thread in full , (I've seen it before) some can misinterpret the topic and take offence or flame it. Nothing more beautiful than experiencing a live performance.

    Ah, back to recording direct and the future. :c:
  17. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    For my personal songwritting and/or arranging as well as when doing others for the one-man-band thing, I'll often do all direct for instruments and use either a drum machine or MIDI sequencer to trigger sounds in my sampler. There have even been times when I or a real drummer use something like an Octapad MIDI controller or roland MIDI drum pads recording the performance in MIDI then sequence edit if necessary, playing that back via my E-mu sampler where I can custom edit/tweak the exact drum kit I want as well as process 8-separate outputs with my outboard gear. No phase, bleed or recording room related problems here! I use my Johnson J-station for amp sounds while also recording the dry peformace for re-amping if desired or necessary.

    Though I have to admit, that I've been also toying with Acid software and find it quicker and easier to edit/assemble loops to get the same kind of feel/groove for basic songwritting at the expense of lower quality sound.

    And as for creativity in both writting and unique sound design, I'd be lost without my E-mu sampler, three Eventide processors and many of the cheeseball, half-ass plugs that are available for free.
  18. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks Bill, nice to see you here and actually on the entire board!

    AG, well, I'm suprized ;) :tu: and there's as few grems to add some personal expressions of warmth seeing you here too!

    Greg, falkon2 , maintiger, Bill riversedge (igloo, thanks for the warm words), Mark and all, ya! We've got enough here now to fight off the gunslingers hehe.
  19. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    You can count me in too, Chris. My sounds come mostly from XV5050 (SPDIF), softsynths, and software-based sampling. I do record real guitar, electric and acoustic, but that's about it.
  20. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Active Member

    Great thread! I Like to start out composing a song with the help of all my softsynths. Then I take it to another project studio(a friend I colab a lot with) and I begin the process of tracking all live instruments. I did this recently on song I'm working on. He had a listen and loved the composition thus far. He called it "COLDHEAD" for whatever reason. I told him I wanted to start with acoustic guitars(which there was non of in the original comp) so we proceeded with 4 tracks of acoustic along with a bass line. The drums were then recorded(he's a great drummer) using 6 mics. From there, I took the tracks home and again began to add the piano(softsynth), strings, and some other ambient sounds via softsynths. Vocals have yet to be recorded, just a scratch track, but as you can see, the best of both worlds combined. This seems to be my process now for a while. I'm also a guitarist, but can play keys and drums.

    Mark, I'm working with a hiphop group right now and they seem to love my r&b/jazz style guitar riffs I have added to the mix, playing the main melody. All other instruments of course are softsynths via spectrasonics mostly, and an mpc 1000(not mine, but I wish!).

    I still have lots of analog gear that I have utilized including tascam 8 track 1/2 inch, 2 track 1/2 inch, and several 1/4 inch 4 and 2 trackers, along with 6 old ashley comp/limiters, toa effects processor, some apex stuff, some old telefunken mics I still sometimes use as overheads. Combine all this and you are still doing the same thing....making, composing, arranging music...only with a bag full of equipment and methods. It's all so exciting when you can imagine what you can do with all this, whether its analog or digital. The combination makes for some creative music IMHO.

    Sorry for babbling on here.....I just had 2 beers... :c:

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