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Just curious - What order do you mix music tracks?

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Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:20:33 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."

In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?

I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then vocals then other
stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.

Tom P.
BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the song
best, then the others can follow.
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:20:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Henry Padilla <padillah@hotmail.com> wrote:
>I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."
>
>In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?

With whatever is most important, and that depends a lot on the different
style of music.

>I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then vocals then other
>stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.

On music with vocals, I tend to feel the vocals are the most part of the
song and I tend to build the mix around them unless told to do otherwise.

For some rock styles, I could certainly see building the mix around the
lead guitar.

>Tom P.
>BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the song
>best, then the others can follow.

Whenever possible, I try to record everything at the same time.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 10:20:34 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

It does depend on the blah blah, but i suppose i start with the drums
since there are more mics on that one element than anything else. I like
to get that whole drum thing working. I guess bass would be next, making
sure it's melding with the bass drum ok and not getting muddied. Then i
guess any other instrument. Once i've got all my elements/instruments
sounding good with different combintations of other elements i'll pull
the faders down and start puting it all together. Then it's just a
process of listening back and forth, starting over, reworking until it's
right.

In terms of recording first, i prefer to record everything off the
floor. I like the sound and feel of it, and i find a controlled amount
of bleed glues stuff together. The more you place different steps in
between overdubs (by reocrding one guy at a time) the more the overall
energy lacks. I did a remote recording for a 7-piece ska band (bass,
drums, guitar, and 4-piece horn section) where i kept all the beds for
the drums, guitar and bass, then did lead vocals, then had the horn
section play as a group. So in the end there were 3 passes. For that
style of music i felt it was important. (Horn sections especially rely
on hearing the other players to tune as a section as well.)

That's my style though, and styles will very a lot.

Roach

Henry Padilla wrote:
> I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."
>
> In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?
>
> I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then vocals then other
> stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.
>
> Tom P.
> BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the song
> best, then the others can follow.
>
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Anonymous
May 18, 2005 2:51:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Henry Padilla" <padillah@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:RBqie.427$nB.422@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com...
> I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."
>
> In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?
>

Whatever I've already decided to construct the mix around.

> BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the song
> best, then the others can follow.
>

That's a little trickier. It really depends on the project. If a band is
making a general-purpose demo, I'll track everything at once, if I can -
which depends on where the recording is being made. Often though I'll track
the drums and a DI'd bass as well, for an isolated 'studio sound.' Sometimes
songs don't get played all at once, they get built, which is a whole
different kind of thing, but most of the time I'll develop the rhythm first.

jb
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 5:02:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I usually start with whatever is going in the drum and bass compression
subgroup which is usually jsut drums and bass, but varies. THen I go
the the middle subgroup wichi is usually guitars and sometimes
keyboards too. Then the vocal subgroup last. I some times have a fourth
subgroup. There can be a lot of random jumping around based on what I
feel like I need to hear at the moment and early on I'm doing "mix
administration". I like to stip silence on the toms and I'll re-route
tracks to the board so that left to right goes rhythm section to
melody.

All that can take while, but the mix will be listenable and probably
3/4s finished. If it's a song that really needs to be mixed vocal
first, I'll justt pull eveything down and put up the vocal and build
around the vocal. Sometimes things will need to be adjusted as the
brought back in, but usually not too much and becuase I've spent time
toughin the baord and laying it out they way I find intuitive, I can
work very fast, so even if drums were not the best starting point, I
haven't lsot any significant time.

Then I get feedback from the client, make a staticc mix and get the
automation going and then start fine tuning until the songs plays top
to bottom without any SLFTs (stop let's fix that).

Then I print and print a vocal up/TV etc and doucument outbaord gear
while all that's happening.
May 18, 2005 9:37:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Another opinion :)  . . .

for a typical rock or pop song, I'd start with a rough guide track of
the guitar and vocals, recorded to click-track. This will give everyone
the feel of the song, as they play, which after all, is the most
important thing usually . . . the whole point of the song. I think
everyone should have the feel of the song in their head as they play,
and this is the easiest way to do that effectively.

Then I'd start with drums, bass, rhythm guitar, keyboards, then vocals,
and lead guitar last. The reason being that the vocals should have most
of the song to work with, but the lead guitar should work FROM the
vocals (not usually the other way around). Obviously, this can vary
according to circumstances, and can get more complex with larger
arrangements and special effects. For example, sometimes it is good to
have the kick-drum follow the bass-player, so that the sounds work
together.

just my opinion :) 

chris
( http://www.chris-melchior.com/strings.htm REAL strings for realistic
prices )
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 10:23:06 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Henry Padilla wrote:
> I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."
>
> In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?
>
> I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then vocals then
other
> stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.
>
> Tom P.
> BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the
song
> best, then the others can follow.

I used to start the mix with the drums, then bass, but I was often
dissatisfied with it.

About 10 years ago, I decided to start with the lead voice and main
chordal accompaniment (usually guitar or piano).

>From that point on, it depends on the song and arrangement. usually I
would balance in other chordal and lead instruments, then BG vocals,
then drums (which I may have pre-mixed) and finally bass.

I apply most of my EQ, compression and effects while listening to the
full mix, not iso. If something is too hard to hear, do I push up the
level or carve out a hole in the EQ? Depends! At the end, I slap a
compressor over the whole mix, set for only the loudest peaks, as a
limiter.

Like many, I A-B between mono/stereo, then A-B between my "big"
speakers and a set of Auratone 5Cs.

Then I LEAVE THE ROOM and listen and ask: What is not loud enough? What
is too loud? Then I make a first pass and take the mix to the car, my
mom's boom box and other places to double check it.


What I record first depends on the song. I am of the opinion that
anything can be replaced except the drums, which must be recorded on
the first pass. Drum overdubs always sound wrong to me.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 12:34:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <RBqie.427$nB.422@newssvr31.news.prodigy.com>,
"Henry Padilla" <padillah@hotmail.com> wrote:

> I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."
>
> In general you have to start somewhere, where do you start?
>
> I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then vocals then other
> stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.
>
> Tom P.
> BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows the song
> best, then the others can follow.

I almost always start with the drums and bass. For mixing, I get the drums up
and add the bass and then the guitars and keyboards. I don't bring up the
vocals until I have a solid mix of rhythm instruments. I usually find the
vocals fit fine even though they're not up while I set up the rhythm section. I
find the drive lies in the rhythm instruments and want that solid before I
introduce the vocals. You do need to leave some space for them, of course.

Tracking I try to get everything going together, but only intend to keep the
drums. I set up the rest of the instruments in the control room going direct
and feed rough live tracks to the drummer so everyone is playing together but no
one worries about clams but the drummer. Sometimes the bass is a keeper,
sometimes it isn't. Sometimes even the rough vocal is a keeper, so I try to use
a decent chain on that.

If the band is totally rehearsed and hot, I take everything at once. That
happens once in a blue moon, but it happens.

-Jay
--
x------- Jay Kadis ------- x---- Jay's Attic Studio ------x
x Lecturer, Audio Engineer x Dexter Records x
x CCRMA, Stanford University x http://www.offbeats.com/ x
x---------- http://ccrma.stanford.edu/~jay/ ------------x
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 1:07:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

"Scott Dorsey" <kludge@panix.com> wrote in message
news:D 6de8d$orv$1@panix2.panix.com...
> Henry Padilla <padillah@hotmail.com> wrote:

>> Just curious - What order do you mix music tracks?

> >I know, I know. "It depends on... blah blah."

> >In general you have to start somewhere, where do you
start?

> With whatever is most important, and that depends a lot on
the different
> style of music.

That would be saying a mouthful!

> >I start at the lead guitar, then bring up drums, then
vocals then other
> >stuff then go back and fix what's wrong.

> On music with vocals, I tend to feel the vocals are the
most part of the
> song and I tend to build the mix around them unless told
to do otherwise.

Agreed.

> For some rock styles, I could certainly see building the
mix around the
> lead guitar.

Follows on your first point, Scott.

> >Tom P.
> >BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever
knows the song
> >best, then the others can follow.

> Whenever possible, I try to record everything at the same
time.

Agreed. When musicans play together they often communicate
with each other in a palpable way. This is generally missing
from music that is recorded serially.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:04:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1116400797.988600.227640@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com> mike@monsterisland.com writes:

> I usually start with whatever is going in the drum and bass compression
> subgroup which is usually jsut drums and bass, but varies.

What drum and basds subgroup? Maybe that's what's been lacking from my
folk music recordings. <g>

If it's a song, I almost always start with the vocal and the most
important backing instrument together. If it's an instrumental, I
usually just turn everything up, then start turning things down until
it starts to sound like a mix. But then I rarely record projects
where, at mixdown, we have to decide what to use and what not to use.
It's all there, and it all goes into the mix.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 12:27:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Dave Martin wrote:

>
> I'd respectfully suggest that you haven't worked with drummers who
are used
> to working with click tracks, then. There are certainly drummers who
can
> groove like a maniac with a click. I know, because I work with them
all the
> time. Last weekend I recorded with John Blackwell (Prince, Patty
Labelle),
> and this morning it was one of my regular guys, Tommy Wells (Don
McLean, Ray
> Stevens, . Both had clicks going, and both grooved like crazy.
>



I know what you're saying, Dave, and sure I've done tons of stuff (here
in NYC) over the ages with session drummers who nail groove to a click
no problem. I wasn't really trying to say that it couldn't or
shouldn't be done, or that no drummer can play with a groove to a
click, but I felt the original post was really more geared toward a
"typical pop or rock song", and not necessarily one with session cats
on it. Take your basic rock band coming in to your place to record,
who don't play to a click when they play live or rehearse, use a click
and, well yeah, with all due respect it will probably sound like a
Nashville rock recording (not meant as a dig at you, honest!) but it
will probably not sound like them. And hiring a great outside drummer
who can play better to that click might be great for the sausage mill,
but it doesn't necessarily serve the music in a way that some people
would say is in a positive way. We use a click for convenience, but
we're such pussies.


I guess I was just feeling that I've recorded so much stuff played to a
click, listened to so much stuff on the air played to a click, and it
makes me nostalgic for when music simply did not have to be a steadfast
120 BPM from the top to the end. Choruses can't pick up a hair?
First verse can't ever be imperceptibly slower than the last? We used
to tempo map it out on an SBX-80 until we had to face that we weren't
getting paid more for it, we were just trying to keep ourselves from
going nuts with the fact that, groove or no, the tempo never varied
even by .000001 of a beat! : ) I LOVED it when the SMPTE (SMPTE?!?!)
dropped in and out a little and we'd lose a little sync.


And if I didn't accidently have that second large coffee that didn't
turn out to be decaf I wouldn't have even gotten started!!! : )

When NRBQ says "We really need to use a click on the next album", I'll
cede.


You know what I mean,

V
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 4:27:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<chris@chris-melchior.com> wrote in message
news:1116419838.648340.316590@g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Another opinion :)  . . .
>
> for a typical rock or pop song, I'd start with a rough guide track of
> the guitar and vocals, recorded to click-track. This will give everyone
> the feel of the song, as they play, which after all, is the most
> important thing usually . . . the whole point of the song. I think
> everyone should have the feel of the song in their head as they play,
> and this is the easiest way to do that effectively.
>

Umm, I'd politely disagree - the easiest way to do that effectively is to
have all of the musicians play at once. After all, this isn't rocket
science, it's music. And music should be a conversation between musicians.

--
Dave Martin
DMA, Inc
Nashville, TN
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 4:27:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I've become part of the school that puts up the faders to see what's there,
and gets a basic sound just from faders. Once individual levels are more or
less right, I'll look at things like EQ, effects, compression, etc. If they
aren't needed, I don't use them.
--
Dave Martin
Java Jive Studio
Nashville, TN
www.javajivestudio.com
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 4:27:11 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Dave Martin <dmainc@earthlink.net> wrote:
>I've become part of the school that puts up the faders to see what's there,
>and gets a basic sound just from faders. Once individual levels are more or
>less right, I'll look at things like EQ, effects, compression, etc. If they
>aren't needed, I don't use them.

You know, when I do live concert recordings, I sort of do this. I start
with the ambient mikes, and then I start bringing everything else in to
match.
--scott

--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 5:04:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2005-05-17 opaloka@REMOVECAPSyahoo.com said:
>> BTW: What do you record first? I usually record whomever knows
>>the song best, then the others can follow.
>That's a little trickier. It really depends on the project. If a
>band is making a general-purpose demo, I'll track everything at
>once, if I can - which depends on where the recording is being made.
>Often though I'll track the drums and a DI'd bass as well, for an
>isolated 'studio sound.' Sometimes songs don't get played all at
>once, they get built, which is a whole different kind of thing, but
>most of the time I'll develop the rhythm first. jb

Always if it's building instead of recording all at once, gotta have
the rhythm first.

For mixing I'm a vocals first, get the voices sounding natural and
blended right if more than one, then bring in my rhythm foundation and
other lead/fill instruments. I don't do a lot of eq tweaking until
I've got a whole mix up and then carve holes where I need to with the
eq, otherwise we're looking for good natural tone for all instruments
recorded.

Btw my approach for live sound is much the same. IF there are vocals
words need to be heard and understood. I look to vocal clarity first
and then work with whatever else I need to get a good mix happening.
I've had to argue many times to get my point across to neophyte
producers and musos that think they know it all, but more times than
not when I let them do it their way they come back for a remix <g>
Then we do it my way.



Richard Webb,
Electric SPider Productions, New Orleans, La.
REplace anything before the @ symbol with elspider for real email

--



THe knobs turn in both directions". That's why it's called
mixing, otherwise we would call it adding
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 5:17:02 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<vdubreeze@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:1116464157.493352.24850@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> steadfastly refuse to record with a click if it's a band and
> they have songs they can play, unless someone who's paying refuses my
> refusal. I've never even heard the words "click track" and "feel" used
> in the same sentence, except for "Well, I guess we'll have to use a
> click track and suffer the feel trade off".

I'd respectfully suggest that you haven't worked with drummers who are used
to working with click tracks, then. There are certainly drummers who can
groove like a maniac with a click. I know, because I work with them all the
time. Last weekend I recorded with John Blackwell (Prince, Patty Labelle),
and this morning it was one of my regular guys, Tommy Wells (Don McLean, Ray
Stevens, . Both had clicks going, and both grooved like crazy.

--
Dave Martin
DMA, Inc
Nashville, TN
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 8:39:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<vdubreeze@earthlink.net> wrote in message
news:1116473257.608964.87690@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> I know what you're saying, Dave, and sure I've done tons of stuff (here
> in NYC) over the ages with session drummers who nail groove to a click
> no problem. I wasn't really trying to say that it couldn't or
> shouldn't be done, or that no drummer can play with a groove to a
> click, but I felt the original post was really more geared toward a
> "typical pop or rock song", and not necessarily one with session cats
> on it.

Well, it all boils down to your next sentence.

>Take your basic rock band coming in to your place to record,
> who don't play to a click when they play live or rehearse, use a click
> and, well yeah, with all due respect it will probably sound like a
> Nashville rock recording (not meant as a dig at you, honest!) but it
> will probably not sound like them.

That's a mistake that you obviously don't want to make - if a band doesn't
rehearse with one (more importantly, if the drummer isn't used to playing
with a click), then it's pretty much gonna be a disaster to try to make them
learn how to use something that is so non-intuitive on the session itself.
I've made that mistake before (as I'm sure that you have), and I don't
intend to make it again.

>And hiring a great outside drummer
> who can play better to that click might be great for the sausage mill,
> but it doesn't necessarily serve the music in a way that some people
> would say is in a positive way. We use a click for convenience, but
> we're such pussies.
>
It is convenient to use a click in some circumstances - especially when you
have to make records by assembling them one instrument at a time. But if you
put the whole band in the room (and the drummer can keep SOME semblance of
time), then I've found that just letting them play will make for a better
performance and a better recording. For that matter (and off the subject),
I've generally found that just letting them play the way that they usually
play is the best thing to do. If you have to fix or replace later, that's
fine. But this thread has shown that a lot of guys think that we're supposed
to make records one instrument at a time. And that, I think is where a large
part of the problem lies. Geez - the studio I worked at last weekend (in
North Miami) does a lot of indie rock records, and the engineer there told
me that none of the bands who record there track as a whole group; they do
drums first and build from there. I don't think that the studio even had
enough headphone boxes to record a whole band. It's not only silly to work
that way, but enormously time consuming (possibly a good thing for the
studio, but terrible for the band, the song, and the performence).
>
> I guess I was just feeling that I've recorded so much stuff played to a
> click, listened to so much stuff on the air played to a click, and it
> makes me nostalgic for when music simply did not have to be a steadfast
> 120 BPM from the top to the end. Choruses can't pick up a hair?
> First verse can't ever be imperceptibly slower than the last?

Sure - That's one of the reasons that I never, ever fly lead vocals from
chorus to chorus - I figure that if the singer isn't a little more excited
by the time chorus 3 rolls around, he needs to re-think his approach to the
song. But I digress.... My point was (and still is) that simply using a
click does not, in and of itself, mean that the song won't groove. And that
not using a click will make that recording a timeless piece of musical
magic.
>
> When NRBQ says "We really need to use a click on the next album", I'll
> cede.
>
I know what you mean.


--
Dave Martin
DMA, Inc
Nashville, TN
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 3:29:57 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <1116473257.608964.87690@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com> vdubreeze@earthlink.net writes:

> no problem. I wasn't really trying to say that it couldn't or
> shouldn't be done, or that no drummer can play with a groove to a
> click, but I felt the original post was really more geared toward a
> "typical pop or rock song", and not necessarily one with session cats
> on it.

I thought that all pop or rock song had session cats on them - at
least the good songs. Playing well is what makes for good songs and
good recordings. This doesn't mean that you can't add a couple of
parts here and there after the basic song (as opposed to the basic
TRACKS - drums, bass, and maybe a rhythm guitar or keyboard) is
recorded, but songs built up one track at a time have a different and
often artificial reel. But then some people have become accustomed to
that feel, and it's what makes a song great for them.

> Take your basic rock band coming in to your place to record,
> who don't play to a click when they play live or rehearse, use a click
> and, well yeah, . . . .

No, YOU take them. You need the money more than I do. <g> If they
can't play pretty much like they want their recording to sound, they
need to go home and rehearse more rather than waste their time in the
studio. If they want click-track precision, they should rehearse with
a click track (lend 'em an old drum machine) until they get the sense
of working that way. Then they'll be able to come into the studio
relaxed and ready to groove.


--
I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 5:24:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Mike Rivers wrote:
> In article <1116400797.988600.227640@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>
mike@monsterisland.com writes:
>
> > I usually start with whatever is going in the drum and bass
compression
> > subgroup which is usually jsut drums and bass, but varies.
>
> What drum and basds subgroup? Maybe that's what's been lacking from
my
> folk music recordings. <g>

The empty one I guess!

The one that's not overcompressed...
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 7:36:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

On 2005-05-19 dmainc@earthlink.net said:
>I've become part of the school that puts up the faders to see
>what's there, and gets a basic sound just from faders. Once
>individual levels are more or less right, I'll look at things like
>EQ, effects, compression, etc. If they aren't needed, I don't use
>them. --
I"ll be doing this while tracking, especially for overdubs I can do
this and get an idea how things are fitting together and what I might
have to do. I still like to make sure I've got good sounding vocals
then bring in the other elements, if need be listening to other things
in isolation before we start to do actual mix.




Richard Webb,
Electric SPider Productions, New Orleans, La.
REplace anything before the @ symbol with elspider for real email

--
!