keeping the groove intact...



Hi all,

I would like to hear your opinions and experience on the following subject, (let’s see if I can make myself clear even though I’m not that well expressed in English...) :eek:

The Scenario is when tracking a group, where all the members are playing at the same time, without the guidance of a click-track. All instruments are being tracked to tape with the intention of keeping all things flawlessly performed.

You can bet your sweet a* that the first thing being said after a completed take is; -“yeah, we can always keep the drums, but I can do the bass better later!”

I’ve experienced that most rythmic instruments, e.g. bass and rythm guitars, benefits from being left alone, and not overdubbed at a later stage. You could even put up with some minor mistakes because the “lock” between them is unbeatable. There’s no way you can recreate this as an overdub, no matter how good the bassplayer, guitarist and/or drummer is.

What I’m trying to say is that there’s something more going on when playing together, than just timing. There’s a special “groove” to that particular moment when the musicians interacts at the same time. (I’m not talking about the general musical “magic” here, it’s still about the concept of timing) If solo’ed, the bass (or other) could even be very sloppy and at times out of sync with the rest. But in the mix it sits as firmly as anything.

Even if there’s more time and possibilities to stop, rewind and punch-in again, and making it as tight as possible in whatever time it will take, I have never experienced that it produced the same result as when the instruments were a keeper from the live take.

I hope I got the message through, and again excuse my English :eek:


Marcus Black

Well, what can I say... I totally agree. I think a good example of this is basically any of the old soul classics. Picture a scenario where you could take the original tracks and quantize them, it would not swing. Solo a part of it and it would probably not swing either, take one part out of there and it would not swing either. But all together in the balance made by the engineer at that very moment = *magic*

Rod Gervais

Well-Known Member
Jun 8, 2003
Central Village, CT

I hear what you're saying. And feel the same way myself.

There is something very different between a live performance - with the energy that exists there - and that of recut pieces of a recording.

I believe the term "Synergy" sums it up well..... this is the case of "the sum of the parts creating something greater than each of the parts added up individually".

We use the concept in management when creating teams of people to work together - knowing that at the end of the day they will accomplish more than the total if they were working alone.

The same works (to maybe an even greater extent) with music.

Happy Hunting


Hello Mixopenta,
I am really intrigued by your name- is it slang meaning "mix-open-to", or does it imply that you do advanced manual mixing using five hands? :D Just curious.
I completely understand your point. My band did some recording last week and we had the singer in an iso booth, and myself (drums), guitarist, and bassist in the same room. We turned the guitar amp volume down and goboed it so it wasn't rattling the kit, but still bled slightly into the drum mics (on the theory that the bleed is part of the sound we all love). The bass was DI'ed after the bass amp sound down the hall was judged to be not adding to the sound.
I was very happy with two of the songs we did, but now the guitarist has replaced his parts on one of the tracks. When you A/B the two performances side-by-side the new one wins out, but I am concerned that by the time mixing is finished we will have lost the magic. I am going to lobby hard to keep his guitar track for the other song, but the amp volume was low and I think he wants a bigger tone. I am considering re-amping the signal, but I don't want to make it too noisy.
In summary, I agree with your opinions- maybe we ought to cut straight to wax, and bugger all the stuff that happens after the reels stop rolling (er, hard-disks stop spinning). David


I’m glad to see that you agree with me on this. :( Lately, I've started letting them redo the bass or rythmguitar on another track, which I'll forget to unmute when mixing :D :D . The name is an acronym based on the mixolydian and pentatonic scales. I once had to come up with an alias fast, and this was the first that popped into my head...(Hm...Maybe I am a lunatic after all...) :s: