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what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:45 am

In the closing stages of a new mix of an existing piece against a deadline ... 38 tracks with a handful more to follow before completion.

It's been ... a night. I am far from unhappy right now. I should get some sleep soon ;)
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:49 pm

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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby Folderol » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:08 pm

Interesting question.

For me it's typically 8 - 10 (always stereo pairs). I nearly always make the actual recording in a single pass, with individual synth tracks initially 'recorded' as MIDI and any audio, such as guitar, pulled in as 'dry' FLAC files.

The lowest number of tracks I've ever recorded as a finished item was 1, and the maximum so far was 32 and 16 at the same time :)
This was a MIDI recording of all 16 channels, but swapping 'instruments' on the fly - hence the 32.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby Zukan » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:54 am

If I'm mixing Hip Hop 20-30 stems are usually what I get. With EDM that can climb to 50 or so BUT nothing comes near pop... a staggering 100 stems plus. I am mixing a pop track for one of my affiliates and it is sitting proud at a measly 48 tracks.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby IAA » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:24 am

Just my own work, so it sits around 20 tracks, any more and I’m lost :bouncy:
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby The Elf » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:42 am

For a 'typical' rock/pop mix it's not unusual for me to have around 40-50 tracks at mix time, but I will also mult a lot of the tracks to make the mix easier, so 60-80 may be my norm.

With orchestral creations I'm often well over 100 tracks in pretty short order - it's incredible how those things can add up.

The key to keeping things manageable is having the discipline to tidy up before you wade into the mix. Colour coding, naming, ordering, foldering, channel linking, sub-grouping... all of the boring stuff that pays back dividends when you're four hours into a mix. Once you have a system you can rely on you can easily fly around a mix no matter how many tracks you have.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby Matt Houghton » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:52 am

It varies a lot for me, and it kinda depends on the genre and who's doing the recording. It might literally be two tracks for a singing guitarist. Or it might be about 40-odd for some stuff. Eg. at the top end, a rock/metal track session might have a multi-miked drum kit to deal with plus trigger signals. That might be 3 mics on the kick (in, out, sub), 2 on the snare (top, bottom), two overheads, two rooms, maybe two PZMs too, a hat mic, cymbals spots, two or three on the toms. So that could be 18 tracks already, before considering any triggers. Just for drums. Then a DI and a mic or two on bass. Quad-tracked guitars... It soon builds up. In pop styles, there might be lots of little spot FX spins, each on their own track even if they only occur once.

Whether I get 10 tracks or over 30, though, I'll add more for parallel processing, FX returns, doubles etc. But I'll want to whittle most of it down to a manageable number of faders very quickly, via VCA faders, group busses or rendering multiple mics down to a single track. Typically I'll keep all tracks active but might hide some to keep the mix easy to manage — unhiding them only to tweak the balance on occasion.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby CS70 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 9:54 am

The Elf wrote:For a 'typical' rock/pop mix it's not unusual for me to have around 40-50 tracks at mix time

Just curious... do you mean full tracks or one-off events? Or multiple takes? Or the whole recorded + aux (then I get it :))

Which rock band puts down 40-50 different recorded tracks, unless it's the celebration day of smoke on the water by random world guitarists? :D :D
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby The Elf » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:36 pm

CS70 wrote:
The Elf wrote:For a 'typical' rock/pop mix it's not unusual for me to have around 40-50 tracks at mix time
Just curious... do you mean full tracks or one-off events? Or multiple takes? Or the whole recorded + aux (then I get it :))

Which rock band puts down 40-50 different recorded tracks, unless it's the celebration day of smoke on the water by random world guitarists? :D :D
It's not that they are different parts. Often parts are doubled. And a 'Track' may consist of a few notes in the middle 8, or it may run the whole way through. They are all separate tracks.

If I'm involved in tracking then I want doubles available to me, so I will invariably double rhythm guitars and vocals at least - these may be used as doubles, or provide alternative takes.

Drums can easily take up 16 tracks straight off. A four tom kit will typically have:
Kick inside
Kick outside
Kick sub
Kick PZM
Overheads
Tom 1/2/3/4
Snare top
Snare bottom
Hat
Ride
Room

Rhythm guitars (both electric and acoustic).
Lead guitars.
Bass.
Keyboards (lots of these if I'm involved!), including pads, rhythmic parts and leads.
Vocals will often be doubled, or tripled, with doubled multi-part harmonies. 20 or more tracks of vocals are not uncommon.

This is before we even consider percussion parts, spot effects, 'special' sections, such as atmospheric intro sounds, etc...

I'm not thinking of auxes/effects in this count - these are simply parts that will create the basic song.

So 40/50 tracks is really not such a leap.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby CS70 » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:43 pm

The Elf wrote:It's not that they are different parts. Often parts are doubled. And a 'Track' may consist of a few notes in the middle 8, or it may run the whole way through. They are all separate tracks.


Yes, got you - then I definitely see. Suddenly I was thinking I was doing something totally off :D :D
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby hobbyist » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:50 pm

Zukan wrote:If I'm mixing Hip Hop 20-30 stems are usually what I get. With EDM that can climb to 50 or so BUT nothing comes near pop... a staggering 100 stems plus. I am mixing a pop track for one of my affiliates and it is sitting proud at a measly 48 tracks.

Interesting.

How do you get that many stems?

I can see getting that number after tweaking a smaller number of inputs that were initially recorded, but have trouble grokking that number coming in to start with.

For me stems are limited to something like lead vocal, backup singers, strings, brass, woodwind, keyboard, and perhaps a few more for special instruments or soloists. Add in a bunch for drums if you do pop music and I have trouble getting much over 8, but
the drums would have been mixed down to one drum stem before moving forward to combine the stems.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby hobbyist » Tue Jul 09, 2019 3:55 pm

The Elf wrote:
CS70 wrote:
The Elf wrote:For a 'typical' rock/pop mix it's not unusual for me to have around 40-50 tracks at mix time
Just curious... do you mean full tracks or one-off events? Or multiple takes? Or the whole recorded + aux (then I get it :))

Which rock band puts down 40-50 different recorded tracks, unless it's the celebration day of smoke on the water by random world guitarists? :D :D
It's not that they are different parts. Often parts are doubled. And a 'Track' may consist of a few notes in the middle 8, or it may run the whole way through. They are all separate tracks.

If I'm involved in tracking then I want doubles available to me, so I will invariably double rhythm guitars and vocals at least - these may be used as doubles, or provide alternative takes.

Drums can easily take up 16 tracks straight off. A four tom kit will typically have:
Kick inside
Kick outside
Kick sub
Kick PZM
Overheads
Tom 1/2/3/4
Snare top
Snare bottom
Hat
Ride
Room

Rhythm guitars (both electric and acoustic).
Lead guitars.
Bass.
Keyboards (lots of these if I'm involved!), including pads, rhythmic parts and leads.
Vocals will often be doubled, or tripled, with doubled multi-part harmonies. 20 or more tracks of vocals are not uncommon.

This is before we even consider percussion parts, spot effects, 'special' sections, such as atmospheric intro sounds, etc...

I'm not thinking of auxes/effects in this count - these are simply parts that will create the basic song.

So 40/50 tracks is really not such a leap.


I can see generating more tracks as you mix and master but how many initial tracks get recorded, and don't those get reduced into stems before further processing?

In the old days I recall studios having hundreds of mikes recording everything so the engineers could create the final LP. But some would use a lot fewer mikes to simplify things and they got good results too. Albeit more realistic and less creative in the sense of making new sounds. And maybe a tiny bit less than 'perfect' but still far better than the public buying the album could tell or care about.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby cyrano.mac » Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:37 am

I used to think people with over a hundred tracks were crazy...

Until I met a composer who scores for film. He's got over a thousand tracks. Most very short, and obviously not all of them are active all the time, as they are variations on the theme.

It took me a while to realise why he was doing that. It wasn't until I was present at a production session, it dawned on me why it was so complicated. With a producer breathing down his neck, it took him one or two clicks to make a certain part more "romantic", or more "aggressive", as it was all programmed in already. He just switched some tracks, using scripting.

This way of working is much more complicated than I could paint it here. But I no longer think people with lots of tracks are necessarily crazy. Even when I never have more than 20 tracks in my DAW. But I'm a simple recordist, doing simple music. No symphonic VSTi's here...
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby The Elf » Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:11 pm

The huge problem with orchestral arrangements has always been switching articulations. I have yet to see a system of switching that works well for me, and I know a few other composers who feel the same. It may be the case that you need an arco bite, dropping to a soft sustain, then swelling to a crescendo, but achieving that is a tough, arduous job.

With this in mind it is often easier to create the same parts across multiple tracks, driving separate articulations, than it is to mess around with key-switches or the like. Once you get into this way of working, even a 'simple' four-part string arrangement quickly swells into 24 tracks of cross-fading and time-shifting. Let alone brass, choirs, woodwinds...

On the last major orchestral work I undertook I was on nearly 200 tracks.

That said, I'm not a fan of this idea of immense templates to cover all eventualities - I'm happy to create as I go.
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Re: what is the typical number of tracks you mix ?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:20 pm

I've got a 96 track piece in the computer at the moment, it's been sitting there for about six months, I'm scared to do anything about it, I just keep adding tracks to it. Every time I approach it I have to go to the loo then I turn the computer off.
There is no average track count for me, it's either done live straight to stereo, or it's loads of tracks. I always make myself mix them to stereo though, one piece, I never split a big work up into lots of different pieces.,
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