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When You Guys Record Do You Loop? Or Play All The Way

Discussion in 'Recording' started by axl2, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    I've heard different debates about this, but watching a Metallica documentary I noticed they were going part by part instead of playing the whole song through. I wasn't sure if this was due to arrangement differences or not.

    I tend to play all the way through fairly live and then patch things up, if it's a simple song maybe duplicate it on Cubase to make it longer.

    What about you guys?
  2. bigmac

    bigmac Guest

    Well that would depend on what type of song you are recording, if it is a hip hop or a slow rnb, it would be ok to record in loops but to be honest, I don't recommend it. You will always get better quality with a one take recording of each instrument.

    If you want to record in parts, you have to be right on the tempo, all the time. Of course you can quantize, especially with the new Elastic Audio feature in Pro Tools 7.4 but working with a whole song using some hi-tech audio quantize features would just sound silly and it would probably take more time in editing then if you would just record everything from the start.

    I hope that this answers your question and may be useful to you!
  3. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Comping is for sissies!

    Seriously, though. There is a synergy in tracking a single performance that simply can't be had from comping. This is especially true of vocals.
  4. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    I have found that to be very true. Especially with a mediocre vocalist.

    Generally I will comp if I am writing a song while recording. If I know the song, then I play it all the way through. Learning the song well before recording and playing all the way through has given me better results every time.
  5. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    I prefer playing it the whole way through. I play mostly hard rock. I know guys that record heavy metal looped but I find that it's so obvious that the tracks are looping. The guitar player I am I play things with different expressions perhaps very 4th bar so when I recorded something in loop it sounded very generic to me.
  6. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    I worked with a singer who wanted to do all the vocals piece by piece. On top of that we were recording muliple takes for each. So we would do just the verse (or sometimes just the first half of the verse) 10 maybe 15 times just to get a few good takes. Then we would go on to the next part. By the time we got to the end of the song, his voice was shot or the alcohol had started taking effect and the vocals at the end sounded very different than the vocals at the beginning.

    For one of their songs that I thought would be better sung in a single take I had to twist the singers arm to have him do the whole thing like that...just as a demonstration to him. We did two passes and there was a world of difference. The singer's vocals would change with the music. The choruses would have more energy than the verses...in proper relation to the verses. The phrasing was more fluid and overall it just fit better. I believe that if we kept up with that, we would have gotten some really good takes and a really great track. But the singer wasn't comfortable with that and did the song his piece by piece way.

    I have to say that for the music we were doing, the piece by piece thing worked, but I really felt that the songs (vocals at least) could have been better if sung from start to finish.

    I think if you are writing while recording (like metallica was) then looping and doing things part by part makes things easy....but that is really songwriting where recording is also taking place. It's not "recording". If a band comes to record, and they've got their song writing done and can perfom everything as a band together, I like to record the song start to finish.
  7. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    I'm kind of new so forgive me. But what if there are obvious changes in the song. Like hard to soft.. I know you could have a foot pedal but a lot of times it doesn't work out too smoothly IMO. I use Cubase and in THAT situation, say there's a soft intro I use different tracks for that.

    Also what is a good technique for fixing SMALL tempo mistakes. Is there a way on Cubase to record over a part without having to do it on another track so it doesn't sound obvious when you play it back?
  8. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Either way. If you fake it in the studio then when you get on stage don't wonder why people are shouting "Milli Vannili" at you.

    Get skills, record skills.
  9. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    That's not what I'm implying. I'm talking about when you have different sections for the song.
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    good topic, loaded question, I'll chime in and stir the pot.

    If you want to sound like a 50's rock and roll song, go in a garage with all the members and roll the tape.

    Are we also talking ... for you, as an experienced midi engineer or the average musician that walks into the studio to lay it down.
    Depends what you are doing and the sound you are after. Depend if you have knowledge on how things are effected by elements and where to do a loop in the first place.

    Bar by bar is an awesome way to do things, especially if you are working with others who are all on the same wave. I've been creating music like this for as long as Digi has been around and Akai bought Linn in the early 80's.
    The beauty of digital allows us to create and record music in many ways now. Things are way better because of digital. I embrace it and have learned to use it and make money doing it. I don't believe there is any right way to make or record music. I do also believe there are songs recorded in ways we would never know, or believe. I believe if you don't have success with a particular way, majority draw an opinion assuming it can't be done. I refuse to believe this.
    I know experienced "midi engineers" DAW musicians can accomplish things others don't know are possible.

    As far as timing. IMHO, the more you do something, the better you "should" get at it. I have, if I can call it " fooled" the oldest die hard engineers with an Akai drum machine. They would swear it wasn't a computer in step time. But, I have over 20,000 hours invested with digital tools.

    That being said, I do believe once you have built a song in sections, you have the option to learn the song again to avoid mechanical sound. Its easy enough to re record it, all live, or just some instruments like guitar or vocals to give it a more natural flow. There are many ways to record and change the way a song flows. I don't believe you will get any correct answer for this question.

    I would like to run a "Is It REAL or a computer" contest sometime.
  11. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Doesn't matter. You should be able to perform the song in one pass, regardless of the changes. You would be expected to in a live show, hence the Milli Vanilli jibe. There is no substitute for a single take.
  12. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    hey axl2. - i hear ya man.
    i often have soft intros that i'll do peice by peice on a recording. i'll often have overlapping parts where there might be a clean in the left and a distortin in the right....stuff that cant always be done live. alot of times, that's what the fun of recording is for me - the creating of things...sometimes that can't be replicated out of the studio...unless you had like 15 guitarists or something... haha...well, not that many, but ya get what i'm sayin.

    i guess you have to decide how you want to track. - if you think it sounds better peice by peice, go for it
  13. jordy

    jordy Active Member

    but i will have to agree some with the purists out there...that- you do seem to capture kind of, this unique energy when tracked one time through.

    but hey, if you got multiple tracks and layers any way, why not do both? piece by piece some stuff while tracking the whole way on other stuff in the same song.

    i think it all comes down to your morals. lol.
    i may be a lil more accepting and layed back than is good for me. :)
  14. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I totally get into electronic music like Prodigy or Infected Mushroom.
    If a folk singer got up and did their guitar and sing song thing along side a sampler pumping phat beats I'd probably be into folk music too...

    The digital revolution has created endless possibilities for what we create sonically, just sometimes it gets abused.
  15. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    You should hear the re-mix of a bluegrass song I did recently.
  16. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    You can do a punch in. This is what virtual tracks are for, You should be able to open up the section in the audio pool and audition takes. I've been fidgeting with Tracktion and Samplitude lately so I can't remember how to do this for the life of me.
  17. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    I find this almost impossible with the gear I have. I can go clean to hard but not eqed the right way as I only have one EQ system and I use 2 pedals. I could definitely pull this off if I had a pedal board and pre sets. Maybe something I could look at when I get more money.

    Of course playing live you can change arrangements around to give it that live sound. But for recording, and I know this might piss people off. But it's the place you want everything to be "perfect".

    IMO studio and live are 2 completely different things. At least with the bands that inspire me like GNR, Zeppelin, Metallica, Aerosmith. Do you have to be able to play the song?? Of course, but I think the thing about live is the songs take on a different identity sometimes with different arrangements and what not. Maybe the solo gets changed up a bit live, some improve goes into live playing. And maybe the switch from clean to OD isn't so clean. The album to me is where everything is crystal clean and clear. Unless, as stated above, you want to give that rough garage band feel to it, which portrays as more of a live sound on the albums.

    Just my opinion on this matter.
  18. axl2

    axl2 Guest

    I have Cubase. For punch ins would you just set the way points in between the point you want to record over and play along with that song up and through that point? Or is their another technique I'm missing out.
  19. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    No, that's the way to do it.
  20. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Yeah. Doing the punch in is the easy part. I can't remember how to comp in the audio pool though. The key shortcuts that is. You basically double click the section and the edit window should open. From there you should be able to shift tab or something to that effect between takes.

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