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How much DAW cleanup do you do?

How much DAW cleanup do you do?

posted on #1
Posts: 12
Joined: Jul 28, 2020
Modern technology makes it possible to piece together a good song from multiple takes, and for us drummers we can do anything from fixing a few flubs to "quantizing" the entire song. I'm curious how much repair work you guys do, if any?

For my part, I'm not good enough with a DAW to do too much elaborate stuff, but I admit to fixing the occasional out of time fill if the take is otherwise good. I've tried to glue a good first half to a good second half, but most times it's easier to just do the whole thing over again. And my pride is happier if I can put up a single take.
posted on #2
MikeB Supporter
Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 16, 2019
It depends. With vst keys (and drums), its even easier to quantize 'as you play' or 'doctor' pieces up. I've decided I'm less interested in these things though dabbled in them some as a beginner. I use quantize if a part almost cuts it, but the play feels newb-ish.

I saw this post and thought 'File backup procedure'. Something I need to 'nip'. Mass export procedure even more so, but not covered by any daw.
posted on #3
LittleWing Supporter
Posts: 291
Joined: Sep 19, 2018
When people compliment me for musicianship I tell them they should be praising my editing skills.

I can edit and fix down to microseconds which I have .

I do believe in capturing the energy of a performance and always try to get the energy over perfection but there are always touch ups like say if there is a stop in the song and my guitar rings out a half second into what is a second of silence. I will chop the final note so the stop musically is tight.

You can go mad if you over obsess .

For the most part it’s always good to know the technicality of your DAWs editing features and use it to enhance and do light cleanup on what is already a good performance.

I believe you should at least know enough to cut out a section and then redo that section without overlapping or recording over anything else. That’s basic stuff and a small overdub for something you find unsatisfactory isn’t a big deal.

No amount of editing will help a shit performance . The energy has to be there to begin with.

I always start with a “good take “ and will do minor editing just to tighten up things that annoy me. I never stitch old takes, I’d sooner just re-record just that section of song after I do a few warm up trials to get what’s in my head.

While building a song I will do multiple tracks just so I can do arrangements and get ideas ( I like the riff on track 1 but then I want to go into what I did on track 2 before the chorus etc… etc…) but again, after I’m done, I re-record a good take from scratch.

The end product for me is always a feel , groove or emotion that editing can very easily destroy if overdone .
posted on #4
wjl Supporter
Posts: 780
Joined: Feb 14, 2018
Hey all,

good thread, this...

I'm always trying and learning, because I'm doing this digital stuff only since a few years (2017 or so), have been in real (but at the time, completely analog) sound studios when I was younger...

Joe got it mostly right when he wrote:

LittleWing wrote:
I can edit and fix down to microseconds which I have .

Yep - been there done that, for instance when I take two inputs for my bass like microphone/DI, or with the double bass its piezo pickup and a condenser mike. Then these two tracks have to be in phase before you could do anything else...

But Joe also wrote:

LittleWing wrote:
No amount of editing will help a ... performance . The energy has to be there to begin with.
The end product for me is always a feel , groove or emotion that editing can very easily destroy if overdone .

And that is right as well. Sometimes I try to "enhance" others' works if they provide single HD tracks of their performances, and I do all that before I even play a single note.

But for the little (or lot) I'm doing, it always has to fit the music, to enhance the feeling, and I try to not overplay and/or get into others' ways too much. As a bass player (second row), you have to make the stars in the front row shine, that's our job, mostly :)

Hope that helps?
posted on #5
TeeGee Supporter
Posts: 1614
Joined: Sep 27, 2014
I remember the days when I wanted to record a song on cassette, I had to practice and practice and then try to get one good take...

But I have fully embraced modern technology and use it as best as I can. I do like tinkering with tracks. Especially on my band projects I have done a lot of work. On the drum side, I try not to quantise the whole track, but only these bits where I can hear it being out.

On vocals, I fix single notes if the pitch was not right, etc.

For my own guitar tracks, when recording a solo I will practice and then record many takes until I have one that I like, but then I might re-record a small section that I did not like of an otherwise good take. If it is a song that has three solo parts, I might concentrate on the first part, them move to the second part etc.

I wish I had more knowledge about the available functions of the Cubase DAW, I am pretty sure there are so many tricks and tools that I am not using, but for that you probably need to go and get lessons.

I spend a lot of time with it, and love every minute :W
posted on #6
zedders Supporter
Posts: 171
Joined: Jan 30, 2021
I'm not a great player, I edit like crazy and I edit other peoples tracks if the timing drifts out and there's opportunity. I've even in the past flipped phase to single out an instrument where there is no single instrument track - that's allowed me to turn down an over-loud instrument by singling it out and remixing back into a previous mix. TBH I get as much fun out of doing that sort of thing as from playing.
posted on #7
cmdr_chill Supporter
Posts: 37
Joined: Aug 15, 2015
It's straightforward to edit my own contributions to a tune and try out various 'what-ifs' to work out an arrangement if the tune lends itself to that treatment. If I have the multi-tracks [alas not a common occurrence in the 'loops] the sky's the limit. However, more often, it can be the devil of a job to repair or edit a mixed track (especially if there's a lot of players involved). But too often it can't be done to the standard I'd want so I can spend too long trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear.
But, on the plus side, in trying to improve the unimprovable I've given myself a good education in the workings of my DAW and a deeper understanding of the various mixing & production approaches I can take.
posted on #8
Bradford Supporter
Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 23, 2021
If the world's greatest musician was also the greatest writer, arranger, mixer and master-er, well, this will never happen.

We all fall somewhere in the above spectrum. DAW's are a creative extension of that.

I primarily do single takes. I trust the muse and go for it. Many times the musical ideas that come up in the moment come a few milliseconds late or I don't quite execute them as my brain 'saw' them. But I keep on playing knowing that I can straighten it out later when I put on my studio engineer hat.

A bit like being on 2 sides of the studio glass, lol.

Sometimes I'll do a string of songs on the studio side of the glass then settle down in the engineer's chair to turn each one into a finished product.

I rarely go back and re-record. I act like the musicians have all left and all I have are the tracks to work with.

It's usually a fun escape/hobby.

I really appreciate how you all enable me in this ongoing endeavor.
posted on #9
hartmut Supporter
Posts: 73
Joined: Jan 1, 2017
My DAW cleanup steps after recording are: normalize, limit e.g. 8 dB from top, add a small or medium room reverb or sometimes a bathroom reverb, balance channels some degree to left or right. And which each year I am getting older, i love longer studio fade outs. I am a fan of long studio fade outs. Fade outs are a bit underrated isn't it? ;) Currently it's 30 seconds approx, growing. Overall I find DAW work time should not exceed play time largely.
posted on #10
Bradford Supporter
Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 23, 2021
Fade outs good. Me getting old.
posted on #11
zedders Supporter
Posts: 171
Joined: Jan 30, 2021
Being an enjoyer of mixing, my biggest frustration on this site is the lack of single track uploads. I play a track, the instrument balance is way out and I just want to fix it! But no, there's just a mix MP3 - can't even add anything because although the playing is superb, the mix prevents it moving on. Come on people, load your single tracks! :)
posted on #12
MikeB Supporter
Posts: 153
Joined: Nov 16, 2019
Wikiloops is a rolling release 'hobby/diversion' site. I used to spend some time eq'ing and compressing cuts until perfected, but that's not something I do anymore. Not alot anyways.

I enjoy the 'loops much better like that.

I still hold on to the biz idea to launch a site that utilizes 'loops style 'collab-selection 'with a webdav 'track history revision storage' ethic. This might interest some fringe users who publish on bandcamp and other biz sites as well as juggle tracks here. I wonder how well a kickstarter.com campaign would succeed to get such a biz aflout if marketed here. Certainly, marketing is the key to that idea.
posted on #13
Posts: 29
Joined: Sep 15, 2015
As someone who produces Trap the DAW is my instrument :)
posted on #14
Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 7, 2022
We are using syncthing on unfa's discord server for collaboration on an EP for a Server vs Server Contest. It took us a while to figure out how to coordinate that, but it works pretty good now. If you are interested, ask me anything.
posted on #15
MySounds Supporter
Posts: 68
Joined: Mar 19, 2022
I do spend a lot of time on my DAW. Less to 'improve' a mix but more to understand the features and their impact on sound.
For my actual uploads, I usually record again and again until I get something acceptable. Apart from slicing and dicing, I don't really put any effort in post-production.
posted on #16
Posts: 4
Joined: Sep 20, 2020
Really interesting thread. I've wondered if I was the only one that does as much editing. I've never been in a band and never really played with people. I can't make it through a whole take and be happy with it. The stuff I post is usually recorded measure by measure. Lots of times what I'm adding just evolves as I'm recording in pieces.
posted on #17
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 20, 2015
Hehe... the last track I uploaded had over 38 snips from over 10 separate takes when I was finished. First pass was oh damn that's a bad note. Second pass was fixing some minor timing issues. Third pass was a complete re-do on a phrase when I decided a mistake was actually kinda cool but the only way to make it work was to replace the surrounding measures. Then after all that and adding some processing I started obsessing about fret noise.

Not quite madness but I did fall into the rabbit hole.

Pro-tip: never judge a bass track when solo'd.
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