track timing

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by TheJackAttack, Jan 29, 2011.

  1. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    So is there a general rough guide for how much time to leave between tracks? Is it different between say movements of a composition verses different compositions? I've just been winging it going with the mood of the just finished movement/selection. I guess I'm looking for something more consistent if there is such a thing.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    Given that you have helped me on numerous occasions, you are well aware that I am still very new to recording, so my answer comes with this major qualification, purely from a listener's perspective, and just as an excercise in discussion. Having said that, I think timing between songs is very important, perhaps more so than one might initially assume. There must be a definite sweet interval, if you will, that is best suited to coupling any two songs. I recently read something in The Mastering Engineer's Handbook by Bobby Owsinski to the effect that the interval should be some commensurate measure of beats of the preceding song, if it were in essence to continue on instead of terminating.

    I think I would be inclined to throw the last and first several measures of any two songs on a loop and listen to them continuously, while nudging the latter until it sounded as natural and effortless as possible. I also think I would fuss over this quite a bit. I mean I recently trimmed my contest entry's fade out by some four seconds after realizing that it was far too long and indulgent, which also kept the listener from getting back to the beginning while interest might still be reasonably strong. It could probably still be shorter.

    Small details may not mean much of themselves, but they sum to something greater, regardless of the craft or discipline.

    It might make for an interesting experiment to see if the result of a purely intuitive nudging process would correlate strongly with a more mathematical approach.

    In any event, let the mastering masters now set the record straight. :smile:
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    There is definitely a sweet interval involved. As a producer primarily of live chamber recordings I often do not get the option of fade out/fade in so as to keep the ambiance. I do most often base my time lapse upon the prior selection provided there is sufficient non-shuffle/audience/instrument noise. Timing is everything and loosely scripted when I perform a solo recital, but not all chamber groups think about that. Some because nerves are involved, sometimes because each different number is a different ensemble and so chairs/stands/etc have to be moved around. Experience plays a big factor, too; just like rock bands playing six nights a week.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    It's a "go with your gut" thing. Sometimes you want 'timing' to take over (count out as if the previous song were still playing and start the next on an obvious downbeat), sometimes you want it off-time on purpose to 'shock' the ear a bit, sometimes long, sometimes short - Some of it is taste, of course - Any two engineers are probably going to have two different ideas for spacing.
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    A good rule of thumb in the spacing of classical music is to take a very deep breath between movements just as musicians on stage would do. I have recorded and edited over 3500 live classical concerts and that is what I always did.
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Thanks John and Thomas. These are similar to what I am doing. I'll stop trying to quanticize the process.
  7. jmm22

    jmm22 Guest

    One of the hazards of immersing oneself in a new pursuit -like recording- is being too anxious at times to carry on a dialog with others, because one may not pay enough attention to details. In the strictest sense, I suppose rock or popular songs can also be compositions, but in the context of your question John, it clearly meant something else, so I apologize for being quite off topic with my hasty musings about song spacing or endings.

    However, in an attempt to remain within the scope of the original question, I am wondering if there is a best way to put space between the conclusion of this movement, and the next. YouTube - Violin Fail
  8. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    It's always bad when your tailpiece breaks! Of course that concert made the classical grapevine in a hurry.
  9. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I use the 3 word rule. Be able to make a 3 word comment on the song before the next begins. "That was good", "what was that?" "I liked that"
  10. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    ...or "that was loud".

    I am always asking the client if he has some preferences, if not, I try to go with the flow. Interestingly, the next day I might change everything ;-)

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