Edit time...HELP!!!

posted on #1
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Editing is something we all do. Could some of you please give some indication of how much time you spend doing this. While I'm sure that some of you get a kick out of making great mixes, I'm feeling frustrated with spending too much time working on editing.

Please say what instrument and style you play (seems to me it makes a difference). Then give an indication of how much time (on average) it takes you to edit compared to how much time you spend recording.

I'll start out: Saxes. All styles. A four minute track takes on average 12 minutes listening/recording time. Editing (on average) takes 35 minutes. Most of the time is spent correcting dynamics. Minimum edit time 10 minutes, Maximum 2 hours...then I give up.

If you've got hints/tips please remember I'm an editing dummy. If you use jargon, acronyms, etc. please define. I need help. No need to impress...as I'm sure you know more than I do.
posted on #2
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Very good question/thread, Wade!! I spend a lot longer on recording, first I tend to jam quite a lot on a track, I put it on a loop until I think I found the right theme. Then I record. If it is a simple solo, it can take a few minutes to record, but if it is piece for instance with a singer, where you need to hit the gaps (I don't like playing over the vocals) then it takes even longer. If it is one of the more complicated tracks, the recording can take a few days - I do a bit here and a bit there. But I can easily spend 2 , 3 hours on listening, learning and rerecording.
With the mixing, it really depends - but it can take hours too, especially if I add distorting effects or twin guitars - the volume balance seems to consume a lot of my time, finding the balance between the instruments and the guitar. But I have learned that there are people here who can listen once or twice to a song and know immediately what needs to be done with mixing and equalizing (and I take advantage of them by sending them tracks for an opinion before uploading), so I will sit back now and wait for the people who know to write about it :)
posted on #3
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Thanks TeeGee. I really have no idea what others go through or do. Sounds like you really immerse yourself in the music and spend a lot of time. More importantly it seems that you enjoy the process. Maybe I've got my priorities mixed up? Have always been a jammer, so just play. Love that live playing time, but have yet to enjoy the editing. It would be an education for me to experience other people's ways/methods of working with music. Compared to you I must seem frenetic. Most of the time I hit record when I open a track. Of course I heard it when it was downloaded, so I may remember what it was like. Sometimes it takes a second or third take to get it so that it's OK. The times that I've worked on it for more than three takes I start to get stale. It may be that if I kept practicing something really good would eventuate...hasn't happened yet. There are many great tracks to work with I just avoid the ones that are too difficult or give up if it doesn't come easily. I'm also greedy and download heaps, so there's always lots of tracks to choose from.

Thanks again for your reply.
posted on #4
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I've done quite a share of hours editing audio, not necessaryly my own recordings, so I'll skip the "how long does it take to record" aspect (the creative process of figuring out what to play and finding good mic positions etc can take long or short, theres little ways to predict that).
One interesting figure is to compare the finished mixes duration with the time spent mixing - and I would calculate not less than two hours for the final mix of a three minute track, given that you are only going to do sound adjustments and are done with any recording and cutting (if you need to cut a lot of unwanted sounds like breathing noises in breaks on your sax, that alone can take some extra time), so, bottom line, the numbers stated by Wade seem absolutely reasonable if not quick to me.

That does not mean I never experienced some lucky shots where I hit the "export" button much quicker than that, but those two hours per track are a good window to expect if you want to make sure you get the best possible result.

Now, this leads to the IMO most important aspect in keeping effort and results balanced:
The better you are able to tell which kind of result will be possible when listening to the raw material, the better you will be able to tell when you have achieved what seems possible.
Attempts to improve a mix whichs single tracks are simply lacking the quality to achieve a good mix can take forever and two days, and you'll end up totally frustrated. The key here is to
- check & judge the raw material
- have an idea if this material is suitable to end up being either a production-level "almost sounds like a studio recording" type mix,
or if the material will end up on a "sounds like a quite good live jam recording from bobs garage" state (which can be just as enjoyable), or maybe even not more than "this recording shall document what could be added on sax, but has no intention of sounding in any way produced or like a final version".
- once you are clear about which level to go for, you can choose the right approach to editing and skip a lot of things which would not lead to much effect, given that your recorded material (or the remixed track, in our case) does possibly lack the quality to achieve the sound you are attempting to get to.

To try to give some usefull help to your particular scenario of frequently recording a melody / solo instrument on top of wikiloops tracks, let me try to group some of the editing moves to point out which things might be usefull to consider to make sure you are not wasting time.
Lets look at your own recording quality:
If your recorded signal is in need of a lot of treatment before it sounds good, then you might be better off improving the chain of equipment used in recording (different microphone, different AD converter/pre-amp, or different equalizer pre-recording settings) than to have to try to edit-out problems whichs origin is in that field.
Secondly, if your recorded signal is very dynamic (has some very subtle quiet, and some quite up-front loud parts), you should be aware that this will lead to a much more complex mixing situation than a raw track which has less difference in dynamic range. Start trying to avoid bringing yourself into a difficult editing situation by trying to avoid unnecessary dynamic changes (which may be the unintentional result of having moved half a foot away from the mic, for example), or experiment with using some slight compression on the "way in".
Dynamics are not a bad thing at all, but they make mixes difficult, and they require the mixed backing to be of really good quality to work well, so here's one crucial thing to listen for when judging the best possible result.
If the remixed track does not have any silent parts and is mixed quite fullish, and your addition has some very subtle quiet sounds, then you'll have a problem, so you might as well realize that and re-record once you get a feeling for the correlation I've been trying to point out here, or lower your expectations toward the mixes result to save time.

2nd, make sure to have some kind of preset configuration on the track you are recording. Some settings will remain the same regardless of the track you are aiming to remix.
For example, it is always good to have an EQ setting that filters the very low frequencies which we'd like to reserve for bass and bassdrum (and which probably feature breathing noise and bumping the micstand when recording sax), and you can keep the low-cut on the EQ as a set-and-forget preset.
I'd also recommend adding a harmless type of reverb and a soft-set compressor to the preset, so you wont spent time adding the very same VST plugins over and over again when starting a new recording scenario.
With such a start-up preset, you may be able to do your recording session and do very quick mixes - they may not be better compared to your current results, but you may spend less time finding out that the overall situation possibly did not allow for more quality.
Well, I could go on forever on this topic,
let me wrap it up for today by summing up:
Try not to waste time trying to fix things in editing which are unlikely to work.

I might be able to come up with some more easy to understand things which would indicate "this will not work" to me right away, if someone feels that may be interesting, and one might come up with a checklist of "Which sound criteria will tell me if a track is going to be easy to remix" by applying reverse logic.
Sorry for the long read, hope to have helped in some way.
"Sorry - had to do it!" - Les Claypool

yes, you are looking at the administrators signature.
posted on #5
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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!
Edited by mpointon on June 26 2017 15:02
posted on #6
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I've only recently started to spend more time on mastering my tracks, and in my case i started off trying to get a better bass sound. Pretty soon i discovered that most of the time i'm "battling" other instruments on frequencies that belongs to the bass! :O My worst enemies are drums with too much low end, guitars with low bass frequencies and/or a freaky mid ;)

I record directly to my Steinberg UR22, and in my current setup i use 3-4 tracks (depending of style i want to play) to get my bass sound. I have 3 different amp simulations, a slight overdrive and a funky wahwah with some reverb. This seems to work nice for both clean bass sound to more punchy fuzzy slap sound, also it works fine for both my 7 string and my Bass VI :)

Depending on what i am adding to and the quality of those recordings i always end up having to adjust the EQ of the other tracks a bit. I love when people add a HD track (file size limitations makes that close to impossible, but at least single instrument tracks!) as the mixing becomes much easier! If i as a bass player get a mix with guitar, drums and vocals mushed together it's limited what i can do with that and the results will become there after....well, sometimes the mix is really great and it's ready for a bass!

I'm now moving a bit towards bus mastering where that is more efficient (as in applying the same EQ and effects to multiple tracks) and sometimes i add a final mastering on the main/master channel.

If my process was a pie chart, i'd say i spend 1/4 of my time recording and 3/4 on editing, mastering and effects....but sometimes i just hit record and upload when i'm done recording ;) That's also some of the stuff i like about Wikiloops, you can spend time perfecting if you feel like but if you just not in the mood for the hassle and want to jam you can do that too! :)

Oh, and as Dick says, if the quality of the template you try to add to isn't all that, probably it's not worth spending days to get it 5% better :D
Edited by eGiL on June 27 2017 19:33
posted on #7
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A big thank you to those who have replied. There's a lot to take in for this old non-technical brain, yet you've all been good in not overwhelming with jargon.

Seems that there's a lot of variation in how much time is spent recording and editing. I have no delusions about the quality of my playing or recording, so am seeking to just make it a bit easier/quicker. You've all helped in this regard by steering me toward pre-sets and updating my system so that much of the sound is already contoured before it's recorded.

It was a real “wake up” to know about filters and how that could help others and keep the track a lot cleaner. My set-up and headphones are so ordinary that I wouldn't have a clue if my recordings were making life difficult for others.

It would be wonderful to be able to engineer very fine mixes, and I wish I could. Unfortunately my hearing is not that great with certain frequencies dropping out and tinnitus overwhelming others. These old ears are not to be trusted!

Still don't know if others are (or have been) as clueless as me. Hopefully they will find the information you have kindly provided a help to them as well.
posted on #8
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Wade wrote:It would be wonderful to be able to engineer very fine mixes, and I wish I could. Unfortunately my hearing is not that great with certain frequencies dropping out and tinnitus overwhelming others. These old ears are not to be trusted!

I hear you ear brother, same problem here!

( actually I don't hear you clearly at all :D )
posted on #9
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cor blimey guv'ner...yer sure started one here! great thread.
me personally... i like to TRY and treat everything as a jam. i might play along once...or just listen on the loops. then down load to my DAW. I use a master template which contains around five guitar sounds which i use to start creating the guitar sound for a particular piece. Any common FX are routed out (mapped) on auxiliary busses so that the processor is not overrun by multiple copies of FX running direct on the tracks. The template has 5Audio strips already in place to import the wikiloops downloads. mp3 and HD. All the trax have a noise gate set tight on the front end and and a bpm meter, and as dick says they are pre EQ'd with low end bass rolled off.
i then import the basic track from the loops. if its got a complicated vocal on it i will make a copy track and play it through, placing markers as i go to indicate vocal on or off. i then "colour in these partitions so when the track plays i can see at a glance where i can or cant play.
the master also contains a couple of strips with compressors set to "duck" i.e. there side chained to any track i want to have duck my playing or so my playing ducks another instrument. these are also set as separate busses rather than added direct into the signal path of the strip i want to effect. this means they do nothing until i require them, but when i do, all i do is open the send to a given buss and map the side chain to where i want it.
remember all this is done as presets so as far as time goes the work was done creating the master template. time from import to now is twice the length of the song.
so... then i play or import samples or whatever i want.(I kinda know before I start, where i want to go..). so I pick a guitar with nearly the right sound and play.
then i go back and tweak the sound till i hear what i want. sometimes this takes more time than anything else.
then i might use multiple copies of the original to shape the sound of the wikilops backing
from there its ...do i want more than one guitar? was the take so ridden with mistakes that i need to retake? i very early "edit " what I've played, it either stands as a live jam or its binned completely.
after that, its tweak dynamics FX etc then bounce it.
these days i re import the bounce onto a separate track and solo it with no dynamics or FX and see whats happened by going to Mp3 :(

my output channel contains master compressor (defaulted to off) expander (also off) various other meters and dynamics tools all switched off.
i have a copy of this channel strip which has the EQ with a 4db plus bump at 4Khz this is the one i mix with and any additional eq is added separately of this. the reason is that, my hearing whilst great in range, is MINUS 4db at 4Khz... so i monitor and mix with this frequency boosted so I hear what a "normal person" should hear with a flat response setting. when i mix down/bounce it all out. i swap to the master channel which is set with no compensation eq, so even though it will be missing a bit for me, it should be right for every one else.
so i guess average time for me assuming on pass one guitar and no samples is around 3-4 times the length of the song. I gotta say at this point though, i spent a huge amount of time learning how to, and indeed, what i needed from a template. Its still evolving but pretty much thats how it works for me.
posted on #10
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No one needs to hurry if he's free to love his work. It can be big fun to spend a whole day on a song...and keep it personal. No one will ever hear.

I aim for 90% solutions. It would need 3 or 10 times more time to get the last 10% added. Well, I guess people won't notice :)

3 to 5 hours of work for an public upload seems to be pretty fast but needed. Of course you can be through in 20 minutes. Nevertheless no one should cannibalize a good remix with too fast remixes on the same day. Let it go for 24 hours. Let him get some thumbs and after 2 days there will be enough time to proceed the developement of a song.
Don't hurry. Every song is a new project. It's fun to be the slowest of all. Don't use templates automatically. Decide on every step with your ears. Keep it simple. Do less. Do it the way you have fun.
Edited by Neronick on June 28 2017 22:40
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