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Your Recording Process

posted on #1
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I'm curious how typical my general process is, so I'll post mine and and if anyone wants to chime in that would be great. :)

I listen to a track on wikiloops once and if any harmonies/riffs/basslines start popping into my head I download the track into Audacity. Then I try to play along while narrowing down what seems to sound good.
Next I record a full take through and usually listen to the mix to see what parts actually sound good on playback. Then starts recording in earnest, usually 5-20 takes, many of them aborted very early. :D
All told I'd say it takes on average 1-2 hours from first listen to posting a remix.
posted on #2
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Hi byrath, I reply to your interesting post for what is my experience. I play the drums and things are a bit different. If I start a template then just have a musical genre in mind and use the patterns that are usually used in that circumstance - for drummers this is quite repetitive -. If, on the other hand, I have to add the drums to the base then I divide the track into its components. Once the structure has been traced I write the patterns of the various parts and set the drum chart which I then follow and read when I play, exactly as it did and happens live. The fills are imprinted every time. Depending on the experience, different "takes" are needed, but this is the procedure for me. I use Reaper as a DAW and my mixcrophones, the same ones for many years now, old and reliable. Greetings, Ezio
Edited by Ezdrummer on December 22 2020 16:28
posted on #3
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Great topic byrath :)

If I'm starting a new guitar template, I'll either create a click-track at about the speed I'm playing/creating it, or create a sample drum-track to give me a basic foundation to play along to, then start recording in Audacity.

If I'm adding to a template, something has popped into my head or at least, I feel it's something I can try and add to. There are times where I download something and can't come up with anything. Or if something pops into my head while listening to someone's template, I'll get my acoustic and record it directly to my phone, so I don't forget the idea. If my acoustic isn't nearby, I'll just hum it into the phone LOL. For new ideas, I do the same, I may just record it acoustically to the phone, then refer back to those "ideas" later to see if they can be used.

I'll run through different riffs/patterns, usually will try and add a secondary guitar track, but that's not always the case. I'll poke around with different effects as well. Generally, it's about 2 hours of recording, sometimes more, depending on how things are flowing. I try not force creativity, so at times I'll just come back to it at a later date.

There are times where I haven't even listened to the complete track. Something in the beginning has sparked me and I kind of just figure it out "block by block". Recording that way takes me way more time, as I'm stopping at points to where I can "punch in" for the next riff/idea. As far as takes, I rarely do a complete run through from end to beginning, I try and break it up, and probably take anywhere from 5-10+ takes, even splicing takes if it's something I'm having difficulty with.

Kind of off topic, but curious how people archive their stuff once they are done? Do you keep it at the track-id as downloaded? Do you rename it to the new track-id? Do you move it to another location on your hard drive? Any naming ideas/tricks?
posted on #4
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I've not done much of making my own templates but I was thrilled to figure out how to make a click-track in Audacity. Absolutely a must unless you have an amazing sense of rhythm and musical time.

I wondered if others did a little editing sometimes. I try not to, because it feels like I'm cheating somehow when I do (silly, yes), but probably 1/5 of the time I've gotten a really good take except for one really awful mistake and spliced in a section.

Soon I need to move and backup my songs, its starting to get a bit slow to load the file menu.

It was interesting to hear both from a drummer and people who start new templates, as I've done neither, thanks for the replies. :)

PS I intended to play video games tonight instead of music, but now that I've been talking music I have to go make music. :D
Edited by byrath on December 23 2020 07:09
posted on #5
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I'm a jammer, plain and simple. Download anything that appeals. Many hundreds sitting there. They are opened in Audacity at some time in the future (never immediately!) When opened I can only see the number of the track and hit record and start playing after a few notes and hope that I've got the key, feel etc. sorted or remember the track from whenever it was downloaded. Often I don't remember. The second take usually fixes the beginning. If unsatisfied there will be a third take. If I haven't got it by then I go on to the next template. The recording process seldom takes more than 15 minutes. It's then saved and never edited immediately. Editing is a total pain and I hate it. For each saved file I've got from one to three tracks that I've usually played way too much on that have to be sorted in terms of which sections of the recordings work, then cut and paste the lot into a cohesive track.

Many of you play electric instruments...set it up and record. The sax is acoustic and it has a huge dynamic range. a lot of editing time is spent adjusting the dynamics to fit the template. Last touches are to try and match the reverb/delay of the track so that it sounds like we were all playing in the same room. The track is then once again saved, sometimes with a WAV for the sax part on its own, plus the MP3. The saved track joins around 50 others to sit until I post it. I generally only post 2 tracks a week. More than that and nobody listens (the sax is a minor instrument with limited appeal). There are tracks gong back years that haven't been edited or posted. Occasionally I just take them out of the queue and recognize that I'll never post them.

When I go to record (once or twice a week) I'll go through up to 30 tracks in a sitting and record from 1 to 12 that get saved. Editing happens anytime when I think I have the patience. It takes between 20 minutes up to two hours per track to edit...and I hate the process, but hopefully am OK with the result.

I have no interest in being first to jump on a track. The music remains and will be just as fresh when heard in a few months or years. For me it's all about trying to play as though it's a live gig with the challenge of playing an unknown tune spontaneously.

Kudos to those who have the patience and drive to work out their parts and especially those who start templates. You are loved, needed, and the backbone...I'm just a jammer. If you all lived next door, I'd never record anything, we'd just play.
You're only as old as you smell
posted on #6
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Joined: 21.01.21
Like Wade I scan around and download anything interesting, jam it 2 or 3 times recording it on L A Studio 20 and get the best. That’s how I’ve always done it, just about to start doing the same here. I have almost zero memory for what I play and could never reproduce the same performance twice which is great as it’s always fresh! I’ll post about my performance that led to PTSD some time in my profile!!!
If it ain't fun, don't do it!
posted on #7
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First off, I've got to say I'm always wowed by the professional quality of so much material that gets uploaded here in Wikiloops. The bar has been set higher than I can leap. But I try just the same. I usually start with a general idea of what sort of track I want to build on, all depending on my mood that day. I then search by genre and sample tracks until one catches me. Sometimes it's close to what I had in mind, sometimes it's not at all but the template just gets me started. After I download the track into Reaper I start analyzing the piece. A BIG thanks here to those who post the chord charts with the templates. I don't trust my ear. Once I feel I understand the structure of the piece, I just start playing along with it looking for some sort of a hook or theme to build on. When I think I have a workable idea, it's time to record, usually running through the piece repeatedly until I have something I like. It might be 2 or 3 takes, or it might be 8 or 10. Usually somewhere in between that. Once I have that take that I'm mostly happy with, I start editing. This again can be a lot or very little. I may record some patches to fix outright errors or spots that need work, or it might be just working on the levels, balance, and effects. And then I post it. And then the next day I'll listen to what I've posted, and sometimes it sounds better than I remembered, and sometimes worse. But we're just jamming, right?
posted on #8
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That's wow, i'll never get used to playing so much, and what @Docjazz said about reproducing, i try to record once, every take has its own taste, for me it's a pain to choose one. @byrath I used to hear the jams on an mp3 player and record with another device, for 20 minutes. I don't make differences between playing and creating it's all about art, i like to experience and work with songs from other people, and editing is on the list. I keep mistakes when they sound. If I don't like it, pieces from the record take its place, you can create interesting stuff with that. Some would say rerecord. I rather stay with what I have if it depictures a special note. Either way, it takes time, @Woxbox when i can't go further i know it's still work to do, but the next day it doesn't sound too bad, so it goes live.
@rootshell I often had to revisit a jam and check the tempo, now I place it infront of its name, and if you change the title of one of your online jams, the download will still appear with the title that it was uploaded with
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