Hey Wade, good question!
In truth, I spend as little time as possible. Because of the sheer amount of fiddling about necessary to get an acoustic kit using 7 mics to sound even vaguely good, I take a lot of shortcuts. To this end I have the following (and assuming my mics haven't been moved since last time which is another pain in itself!):
Key to a fast turnaround is that in Reaper, I have templates depending on the kit layout I use, although I stick to the same five-piece setup these days. This template contains the following:
- Mic inputs from my interface mapped to the correct, already-created tracks (e.g. 'Kick') plus three tracks set aside for importing the existing loop downloads.
- Basic AU/VSTs mapped to the channels (e.g. compressors and EQ for snare, kick, toms and overheads). These FX are disabled until mixdown.
- Three tracks set up as FX sends for gated reverb, un-gated reverb and a reverb channel to send the toms to. All the tracks already have their sends routed to these. All these FX channels are muted for recording.
- Click mapped to make a decent sound!
- All drum tracks armed to record (I can't tell you how many times I've forgotten to arm a tom channel!).
- Group fader for the drums to give me a 'master' volume control mapped with a disabled Multiband Compressor on it.
- Master fader already mapped to Wave's L3 Maximizer (again, disabled)
The above saves me probably the best part of 20-30 minutes pre-recording setup and about 30 minutes of mixdown setup alone! It also explains why my drums sound largely the same from recording to recording - I use the same settings every time and rarely deviate from them because of the time it takes.
Recording time is largely based on the track's complexity. I listen through and decide whether I can truly 'jam' it or think I need to put in markers to catch particular changeovers or phrases I want to hit. In this instance, I play the track, stopping and starting it as I mark out what I think I'll need to do. As a rule, less than 40% of the tracks I record have any kind of planning although even when I do mark them out, I'm largely 'sight-reading' my computer and always aim to get it in one pass unless the music is particularly complex and hard to remember or there are convenient stops and starts where I can punch in. Ultimately, I rarely 'learn' the song - always jamming it. The only exception has probably been some of Oli's templates because of a combination of his compositions rarely being 'standard' and my determination to give all tracks the quality they deserve.
In reality, total time is around ten minutes per loop getting the recording down. I like the take to be fresh and have attitude so if I don't get it in three passes, I leave it and come back to it later.
My editing time is based entirely on how lazy I'm feeling and forcing myself to be brutal with myself about letting mistakes through that I think are glaring but, in reality, nobody else ever hears! I listen through the track with the click disabled (if I used one). Can I hear anything bad or mis-timed? If so, I start editing or shifting bits that are obviously bad. In the worst cases I have to cut bits out and steal from another part of the piece! I work on the raw track with no FX applied, etc.. I also try to use my ears rather than looking at how accurately I've played against the click. Sometimes I'm behind the click, often ahead but if it's sitting with the music, who cares? Getting over this 'accuracy blindness' is harder than it sounds!
There's also the issue that every adjustment, trim or edit I make has to be done across all seven drum tracks simultaneously. A common editing trick is to delete all the tom tracks except for when they're actually hit which saves on fiddling around with gates. Me? I just let 'em bleed because it's just more time spent on something I don't really think anyone notices!
Time editing? Anything between 2 and 50 minutes depending on how many mistakes I'm willing to put up with. If I do a video, then I edit nothing and pray the take was good enough in the first place.
After that, it's enable the FX channels, pick the reverbs patches, decide if I'm going to use compression on the snare/kick and enable it, switch on the master limiter, balance the drums and then use the drum group fader to balance them against the loop parts I'm playing with. I use built-in patches from the Waves suite I use. Lazy? Yes? Have I the time to go through and fine-tune EQ, reverb, compression, etc., on a per-loops basis? No. Well, I suppose I do, but I'll be sleeping the garden for the rest of my life... That is why my HD tracks have practically all FX removed so if someone else wants to make my drums sound good, they're welcome to!
Time taken? Maybe 15 minutes at worst. I do not do any dynamics editing at all apart from a fade out if it's needed. If a tom or snare hit is too quiet, I either live with it or nick one from another part of the track. And that's only if the compressor can't sort it if I'm using one.
So, in short (sorry about the diatribe), time per loop from starting to record to uploading is actually only in the 45 minute region. It would be five times that if I had to do things from scratch each time or EQ'd, etc., according to each loop. It's not meant to be disrespectful, but I just don't have the kind of time (or partner's tolerance) to spend the hours each track really deserves!
Acoustic drums are probably the hardest part of any recording session to get right. I have to compromise time vs. quality, hence the many shortcuts. If it's any consolation, I'm rarely happy with the drum sound I upload.
Finally, I don't do any processing at all to the loop stems I download to play against. What I download is what I upload again with the only possible change, as Dick mentioned, being rolling off the bottom end EQ if it's clashing or making muddy my kick drum. I work on the assumption that the loops I download to play against are already how the player wants them to sound!
Sorry for the lengthy diatribe!