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Edits & Performance - where's your line?

posted on #1
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One thing I find difficult contributing here is the fine line between just doing your thing and making it 'right'. As a rule, I go for a take, warts 'n' all, usually with timing errors to boot. I could chop what I do in Reaper to make matters perfect, but I'm too lazy. I prefer the approach of honesty, where possible. What's yours?

In the case of drums, do you quantize? Do you fix timing errors? Do you take and re-take until it's right? Doing acoustic stuff on the drums in my case, it's pretty hard to 'lie', if you see what I mean. Errors are a PITA to sort. So I take the 'sod it' approach.

I don't seek to judge, just what goes into contributor's efforts to make a good jam.
Edited by mpointon on 07-03-2015 06:21
posted on #2
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My point of view here is that I prefer feeling above a so called "perfect" run. When I listen to my own tracks i can find in almost every track some errors. Mostly timing issues.... when i've recorded some chords wrong I will record it again...

Feeling is more important for me than a static mistakeless track! And for keyplayers it's easy to do some quantisize.... I never do that! Makes it unhuman!

Cheerzzzz
Edited by Marceys on 11-03-2015 16:28
posted on #3
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I try and go for a complete run through, as I think most of the magic happens in the first few takes! I'll punch in a note or two if they're really off, but generally I think the groove comes from that natural push and pull you get from just playing. The downside is I usually feel my isolated bass tracks sound a bit sloppy on their own, but you're always your own worst critic, right? :)
posted on #4
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As a sax player I find "Punching In" nearly impossible. It's hard enough to have two takes with the same timbre and mix those. When the sound starts with your body you just can't always have everything the same as when you're in a flow situation. (You electronic and keyboard players just don't know how lucky you are).

My tendency is to hit record when opening a tune. I have stacks of downloads, so have no idea what the track is. This gives a fresh approach, but may mean that I haven't got the first few bars together and need a second (or third) take (to be picked and mixed with the first). I'm a jammer, but have great respect for the composers here who work their tunes and performances to perfection. Just lucky that none take me to task over sloppy adds. Like others have said the feel is 90% of what I'm after. You can play perfectly but say nothing...I'd rather play imperfectly and have the listener feel the music. I try not to do projects that require reading for that reason.
Edited by Wade on 08-03-2015 05:54
posted on #5
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1+ for feeling over perfection.

But what I like is a nice overall audio quality of the track. Doing your best while mixing, no noise, electric hum, clipping etc.

Sometimes i regret later to not have worked a little longer on a piece, when I am thinking after some days, I could have done better...
posted on #6
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it's a good question and i'm guessing there will be about as much answers as different players ... for me it all depends on what kind of track i'm working on ... if it's the jam type of track then i won't be too fussy and will let go as long as it's not bugging me when listening ... now if it's the polished collab type of track then it's a different story and i will always try to give my best recording or mixing wise ! more time consuming of course.
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #7
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I always record a track in one go!. If I make a mistake I just keep recording until I get it down and I'm happy with it! :).I never edit my tracks!..I like the build up!and the chase to find what's going to happen in the piece I'm working on.
posted on #8
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OliVBee wrote:
it's a good question and i'm guessing there will be about as much answers as different players ... for me it all depends on what kind of track i'm working on ... if it's the jam type of track then i won't be too fussy and will let go as long as it's not bugging me when listening ... now if it's the polished collab type of track then it's a different story and i will always try to give my best recording or mixing wise ! more time consuming of course.


Absolutely, if it's a 'blag it and see' backbeat track, I just go with whatever I feel like playing just let the fact you're jamming be a feature. But there are others I've contributed to where it would be a disservice to the track if I didn't pick out some of the phrases and try and make sure I 'belong', etc., so make an effort to figure them out (and put markers on the track in Reaper). I still go for a single take where possible, though - and apply my 'three-take rule'!
Edited by mpointon on 08-03-2015 23:18
posted on #9
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markers are a great tool that i'm using all the time ... in fact it's very often the first job i'm doing on a track (even my own) : breaking down the track in parts with useful and visual info like markers :) ... the one shot take is a cool option that works well if the track is not too complex ... if needed then i won't hesitate recording smaller pieces which accelerates dramatically the recording process compared to seeking the most perfect possible one take :)
clusters Clusters CLUSTERS !!!!!!
posted on #10
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That's one approach I haven't really tried yet: bite-size takes. I'll give it a try at some point as I'm sure you're right you get a better overall 'take', although have to be careful with cymbals ringing over into the next section.

I'm not too keen on Reaper's take management as it gets messy, especially as I'm usually editing six lanes at the same time due to microphone bleed.
Edited by mpointon on 09-03-2015 13:39
posted on #11
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I don't have the right computer or the knowledge for much editing. Sometimes I try some "tricks" just for fun and I guess that it maybe very hard to tell who is playing for real and what is kind of a fake these days. One time I learned you can even cut a vocal track and correct the timing in the verses in every line...

As a guitarist, when you watch a video of Tim Pierce, you will learn how impossible it could be to get the last 25ms to sound like him (most people play before the beat). You need 20 years to improve or you need a mouse-click!! I don't use laid time-shift very often, if I do only on the second guitartrack when I am playing with myself. That's a trick I discovered only a few weeks ago. Today it is easy to quantizise keys and more...

Because I am not able to create "modern" doping-music, I record on an old 8-tracker and send the music to a simple software to create the mp3 to share the music. What I am really looking for as a componist and guitarplayer is to get something unique and new, maybe only one single voicing of chord or a new harmonisation like on "Schneeflöckchen".

Of course I want to do better recordings...with the old equipment I have. But the truth might be you cannot win the "Tour de France" without doping. Modern recording devices are doping-machines, aren't they? :) The other truth is that many people do not give money for music, no matter which quality you supply.

Wikiloops is a perfect place to discover every week a new outstanding talent, there is an unlimited potential of talents and I enjoy the perfect produced music some preople are able to produce in the homestudio and share it for free. It would be worth to have a look over the shoulder. (You are never to old to learn something new).

The only 3 rules I have developed in the last months are: Make the recoding today. Do the mix on the next day, never mix the same day you recorded. Never upload the same day you have done the mix.
Was born in an analog world.
posted on #12
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Neronick wrote:
The only 3 rules I have developed in the last months are: Make the recoding today. Do the mix on the next day, never mix the same day you recorded. Never upload the same day you have done the mix.


All true, Nick. Although I do record, mix and upload the same day, often the same hour or so! My worry is that others will post an update to a track in the meantime and it gets out of sync then. My approach is a bit messy most of the time: I work out the basics of a track and then go for it, sometimes barely 15 minutes spent on the take if it's a structurally easy track. I could spend an extra hour or two being more careful in what I play, but I like to get an 'attitude' to my takes. And that usually comes from a level of 'jamming it'. I also have the constraints of playing acoustic drums and have to keep my noise down to be fair on neighbours! This limits the amount of time and effort I can put into rehearsing a track.

I love that you have an 'old school' approach. In the '90s, I had a Tascam 688 Portastudio and loved its limitations: 1 track for MIDI timecode (rigged to an Atari ST running C-Lab Notator) and the rest for music. By having a limited palette, it forced me to be more creative. Old-school it may have been, but it produced recordings good enough for UK radio stations.

I barely scratch the surface of the modern DAW software. I use it to record, make the odd edit if I have to and add effects (to be fair, VSTs, AUs, etc., are a God-send because you don't need hundreds of pounds worth of outboard gear to mix drums!). But if I have to start messing with a take to correct 'perfect' performance problems, then the performance wasn't good enough in the first place and should be re-taken. It's usually quicker! I do know engineers who've spent a couple of days just EQ'ing a snare! Madness. Utter madness and not for me!

I'd love to play more accurately, but as I've said in a previous forum thread, I operate a 'three-take' rule. If I don't get a track down within three takes then I give it a rest. If I keep trying, each take just gets less 'good'.
Edited by mpointon on 10-03-2015 02:58
posted on #13
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For me it works in 2 ways. If I know I am allowed to make corrections, then I play more free and experimenting. If I must do it in first take then I will play on the safe side, and then the feel and playing is getting boring.
Mostly it is only small corrections i need to do afterwards.
The best ideas are come to me on the first takes.
posted on #14
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I think I use all options available without preference, as long as the end result is more or less acceptable. I will usually play along with a WIKI track until I think I got a basic idea, then I play along several times while recording it. Sometimes it works out immediately with the first take, but as I am still learning to play again I often have to retake some bits.

One thing I try to do is not play 5 straight minutes of wailing guitar, I don't think I can pull it off anyway, so I try to have 3 or 4 sections with space in between for something else. This gives me the possibility of maybe changing one of the segments into something more interesting.

But I do enjoy editing and mixing tracks, sometimes adding a bit of length to it.
posted on #15
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Joined: 31.03.15
What Alex said.
posted on #16
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I try to edit my tracks as less as possible but i edit them because i am playing with my fingers and so the bass sounds already a little sloppy. When here and there trouble with the timing is making things worse - i make that wrong parts new.
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Tha bass has to be a lil louder...!
posted on #17
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Basster wrote:
I try to edit my tracks as less as possible but i edit them because i am playing with my fingers and so the bass sounds already a little sloppy. When here and there trouble with the timing is making things worse - i make that wrong parts new.


Cool to know you don't use a pick, I assumed you did..man your fingers are fast!
posted on #18
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Nice thread, I'm not much of a mixer but I do my best to match the session I join. I also don't use my live gear much,anymore and rely on my program to imulate my amp and pedals. If I start mixing down and it feels like a chore I usually do more takes but seems in the end I always use the first or second take, they seem to have the most emotion wise.
Livin The Dream:D
posted on #19
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Hm, this is strongly depending to the kind of music I am adding to.
Some tracks are that emotional that I prefer only to record it once or twice and then dare to load it up. I think if you work rationally on an emotional track, you may destroy the emotions along with the bugs which you had created. Bugs are part of any emotion ;)
Rationally created tracks (those with a clear guideline/structure of chords and/or melodies)may resist a rational rework.
Of course I consider that this opinion may just be caused by my poor mixing abilities and my poor knowledges about my sound programs resources.
But that's the way I do it.
posted on #20
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Joined: 25.03.12
As it has been said, it all depends on the piece itself. But some things to consider:
For me at least quality is inverse to attention span when recording. So instead getting stressed out over keeping focused over four to five verses and choruses i plan on recording in chunks. If it feels good i can just continue playing into the next chunk. If it doesn't turn out well i just stick to the original plan.
This approach has a number f advantages:
You can timeshift each chunk seperately
You can apply different sounds, volumes, dynamics, effects, playing techniques etc to different chunks
If not satisfied you can replace each chunk seperately
The level of stress and focus is much lower
Pure fingerstyle
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