session sheets and recording settings

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by jazzy655, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. jazzy655

    jazzy655 Guest

    i'm just curious, as i'm about to make my first investment in an outboard compressor (distressor). how do you guys record the settings of your analon gear, so you can recall it later.

    obviously you are writing it down, but is there some kinda special tracks list/ gear settings template i should know about. something to stay really organized??
  2. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Sometimes the back of a manual will have a blank graphic of the front of the device that can be used for copying down settings. If not, they are super easy to make.
  3. Mr-Nice

    Mr-Nice Guest

    I am sooooooooooooooooooo glad I only use my analog mixer as a point where all the instruments, computer and any other sound source gets patched into. All mixing is done in the computer and a global snapshot of the project is taken.
  4. tomtom

    tomtom Guest


    I rely heavily on outboard gear on my Pro Tools mixes.
    I work mostly for post production where changes are frequent. I always reopen a session sooner or later.
    I used to write down settings on the tracks comments window. That is something easy to do with a reverbaration. Just copy the program number, name (very important. If the reverb is unavailable for some reason later on, you can try to find something close enough using an other reverb. ) and parameters that you have modified in the program. If you use a different platform that does not have a place to write down settings, you can always join a text document in your project folder... Just describe precisely what you did.

    For outboard that does not have stepped controls or numbers, you can use the hours trick to help out (like Threshold at 3:30pm. am works too :D )
    This is not very accurate of course, but gives you a close enough recall most of the time.

    For the distressor, this is how a setting recall would look like in my session. I'm sure you'll understand.

    Opto. Dectector HP Audio Dist2 4/10/0/6,3

    With that special piece of outboard, the knobs are so accurate that it works very well. This is off topic, but make sure you get at least the British Mode mod on your unit, it is worth the investment.

    The best solution is to invest in a digital camera. I take pictures of the outboard gear that was in use (take one picture for each piece of outboard. If you get the whole rack, chances are you won't be able to read settings accurately, because of picture resolution and parrallax. Some settings could be hidden because of perspective effect).
    And take notes, especially if you chain outboard gear (order, where used and so on)
    Upload the pictures in your computer and join them in your session folder in jpg format.
    Oh, another idea. Write down the name of your project on a piece of paper and include it in the picture. Sometimes, I have taken so many pictures in a day that I get confused. Which pic went to what session? OOOPS...

  5. Mr-Nice

    Mr-Nice Guest

    Can I ask if the "close enough" recall sounds the same as what it was originally set to? Or does your ears deceive you most of the time in this case.

    The reason I ask is because I think it is very difficult to capture the same exact sound twice. And even if I recorded some things 2 times I would sometimes find myself saying "Why does this sound different from the first time?"
  6. TornadoTed

    TornadoTed Guest

    I had an idea a while ago when Cubase SX3 was released and allowed external hardware 'plugin's'

    I use a fair bit of outboard and find it time consuming having to write down all the settings in the notepad for recall at a later date.

    I thought it would be really cool and elegant solution if when an external plugin was loaded you could then see a graphic representation of the outboard processor just like a plugin. It wouldn't have any sound passing through it in any way but you could set the controls on screen to mirror the settings on your outboard and it would be saved with the session. When you came to load a session back in it would be easy to re-set your outboard the same as it was.

    In this day and age when outboard manufacturers are loosing out to plugin's it would make sense to supply a CD with a 'dummy plugin' with the outboard.
  7. Mr-Nice

    Mr-Nice Guest

    But you would still have to input each setting as you change things on the external mixer anyway. And if you are implying that the analog mixer itself would send a signal to the computer then what purpose is that? Just get a digital mixer.

    For the record I wouldnt call your idea a "plugin" I would refer to it more as a graphical notepad. It would be a good idea in theory I guess, and it would be a lot neater than using a classic pen and paper. I been reading these posts on how some of you jot & recall your settings down and I am even more glad I dont have to do it. :twisted:
  8. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    OMG, I need help, I forgot to write am or pm!!!!!!!!

    What do I do now???????????????????? :shock:
  9. tomtom

    tomtom Guest

    Summit just does that for the element 78 EQs where a dummy plug in sends midi information to the outboard hardware to reset settings...
    Lets hope other manufacturers come up with similar ideas...
  10. tomtom

    tomtom Guest


    Can I ask if the "close enough" recall sounds the same as what it was originally set to? Or does your ears deceive you most of the time in this case.

    The reason I ask is because I think it is very difficult to capture the same exact sound twice. And even if I recorded some things 2 times I would sometimes find myself saying "Why does this sound different from the first time?"[/quote]

    I feel the same way. I always keep a mix in my session for immediate comparison. I said close enough, because I think that sometimes, I am 95% satisfied with my mix and the remaining 5% depends on my mood (or is it the air temperature/humidity or moon phase?) When I reopen a session, I reset my hardware manually, then find myself tweaking a little more, to end with a mix that I like better. ( in such subtles amounts that you can consider it brain masturbation)
    Also we don't live in a perfect world. Close enough is because I can't get any more accurate than that with my setup.

    I do use a digital mixer. My outboard is connected via inserts on my PT HD interfaces... So I guess it makes recalls a bit easyer...
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    This is a

    I didn't overemphasize that, did I?

    In fact, it has prompted me to start writing a thread which can hopefully get stickied to discuss Studio Efficiency Tips.

    Recall sheets are terribly important. I have killed so many trees thanks to these little boogers, it's not even funny.

    What I do is simple, I place several recall sheets with every device I have. During a session, if I use that device, I jot down the settings on that sheet. At the top, I have blanks for:
    Project Name
    In (what's before it in the signal chain)
    Out (what's after it in the signal chain)

    And at the bottom, I have a space for notes.

    I ALWAYS make my marks in PENCIL (things change in a session and I HATE wasting paper and time.)

    Then, when the project is complete, I compile all of the recall sheets in signal order (when possible) and I clip it to the artist's contract and other appropriate paperwork. I then store all of this in the artist's file. Each set of recall sheets has a cover sheet showing the date/project/engineer.

    All of these sheets are 1/3 of a page in size so that I don't waste too many trees and cuz that's all I really need. If the manual doesn't have one, I either make one myself using a standard photo program (MS Paint, etc.) or contact the manufacturer and see if they have one. (Often they do).

    Since I do mix "In the Box" I simply store and recall for mixer settings.

    It may seem anal, but it works.

    OH, and for the digital camera idea - it's fabulous!

    I also take a snap shot of my settings in case something happens (snapshot with the camera, of course) as well as, in some cases, a snap shot of the mic setup.

    A standard, cheap-ass 2MP digital camera is all you need. I can easily discern mic brands/types and placement with this kind of pic and usually, other than visual distortions, I can tell what dials are set where.

    Since I again work within a PC environment, I simply insert the memory card into the card reader on my pc and drop the pics into the folder that the project is located in. With low-res, low-quality images, it doesn't take up ANY space worth mentioning.

    When I back up my artists' projects to external hard drive and DVD, the pics come along with.

    I'm tempted to start scanning in the recall sheets and storing them in both paper and digital form too.

    I know.

    I'm ANAL!!

    (But it all works well...)

    J :cool:
  12. Mr-Nice

    Mr-Nice Guest

    That is a good tip! As you may of guessed I learned that the hard way not once but a few times. :D
  13. TornadoTed

    TornadoTed Guest

    Yes a kind of graphical notepad is what I mean I guess. Everything would still have to be set manually but it would be neater and a more elegant solution IMHO. It ain't gonna happen though I don't think so I'm gonna go the digital camera route I reckon.
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