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Common tools that never get used?

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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:48 am

John Willett wrote:The best recordings come from capturing a PERFORMANCE.
Of course, but this isn't about one rather than the other - it is about serving BOTH. I'd no more ignore a wonderful performance that has a few flaws than I would a wonderful performance enhanced by appropriate processing.

One example - where would some of those dreamy Clannad songs be without that dripping HF boost, heavy compression and overtly synthetic reverb on the vocals? The processing becomes part of the emotion, and certainly doesn't detract from the performance!

Or how about Pink Floyd's 'One of These Days' without delay?!
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:58 am

John Willett wrote:The best recordings come from capturing a PERFORMANCE.

It does not matter what the musical genre is - first and foremost, it's the PERFORMANCE that matters most.

So, don't get bogged down with minutia if it detracts from the performance.

Even if a lot of punch-ins and overdubbing and many tracks are needed - still keep in mind that the performance is what matters most and don't get bogged down in the "notes" rather than the "performance of music".

Any song where the performer has put his/her heart and soul into the performance will be listened to again and again - a recording that may be note perfect and technically superb will be listened to only once and put away if there is no heart and soul in the performance.

Just my €uros worth. ;)

Getting bogged down in the notes, hhhmmm? Familiar with that one.
How many sessions have an sat in on while a producer goes on and on about shortening the decay of that crotchet in bar four of the aria, and could we replace that semiquaver in bar ten with one from another take. Blow me down, if I wasn't told about it I would never have noticed.

:(
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:17 pm

I've said it before here, but one of the privileges of being old is that people (somewhat) tolerate you repeating yourself. So:

There are broadly two types of people here: those who capture a performance (either straight to stereo or via multitrack) and those who use their DAWS and their tools to create music.

The disciplines of one type do not always translate easily to the other. FWIW, I'm a performance capturer - usually live - but the constraints under which I often have to work with audiences present or the rooms chosen mean that I often have to use careful EQ, compression, reverb et al to regain what I heard and experienced live as my brain rejected all the artefacts that the recording system didn't.

Simplistic right/wrong statements don't help. It's horses for courses in whatever way you work.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:34 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:I've said it before here, but one of the privileges of being old is that people (somewhat) tolerate you repeating yourself. So:

There are broadly two types of people here: those who capture a performance (either straight to stereo or via multitrack) and those who use their DAWS and their tools to create music.

The disciplines of one type do not always translate easily to the other. FWIW, I'm a performance capturer - usually live - but the constraints under which I often have to work with audiences present or the rooms chosen mean that I often have to use careful EQ, compression, reverb et al to regain what I heard and experienced live as my brain rejected all the artefacts that the recording system didn't.

Simplistic right/wrong statements don't help. It's horses for courses in whatever way you work.


I'm not trying to say my way is the only way, in fact I don't have a way!
I don't have a set method, I capture a performance straight down sometimes, other times I have loads of tracks in my DAW and build up a piece that way.
When I was working with my friend on classical location stuff, we'd have our own way of doing things, but he'd be the first to admire other people's work that used methods that were the polar opposite of ours, he'd always say "listen to me boy! this recording business is a black art, and none of us is right, it's the end result that matters, and we can get there in many different ways"
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Oct 06, 2019 1:14 pm

The problem is that those tiny mistakes which pass unnoticed in the live performance can become jarringly intrusive by the 20th listen. Music is an ephemeral medium that we have learned to make permanent and the producers job is to spot these things. I don't disagree that they can get a bit overzealous though ;)
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:10 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:
John Willett wrote:..It does not matter what the musical genre is - first and foremost, it's the PERFORMANCE that matters most...

Totally agree John. So I was a little surprised when you said you've never used EQ to, one assumes, reduce or eliminate what is in the recording but is not the performance.

I have never had the need (so far).

I choose the microphones and get them in the best position I can and that has been enough.

I can understand the need if the venue is accentuating certain frequencies that you then need to tame - but I have never needed to do this so far.

I feel that the more you "fiddle" the further away you get from the magic of the performance of the music, so I try and do as little as possible.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:19 pm

The Elf wrote:
John Willett wrote:The best recordings come from capturing a PERFORMANCE.
Of course, but this isn't about one rather than the other - it is about serving BOTH. I'd no more ignore a wonderful performance that has a few flaws than I would a wonderful performance enhanced by appropriate processing.

One example - where would some of those dreamy Clannad songs be without that dripping HF boost, heavy compression and overtly synthetic reverb on the vocals? The processing becomes part of the emotion, and certainly doesn't detract from the performance!

Or how about Pink Floyd's 'One of These Days' without delay?!

I'm not saying never to use the tools - just that I never have.

And would you not say that those Clannad tracks and Pink Flowd are superb performances?

I was one of the first people to hear Clannad's theme for "Harry's Game" as I was asked to transfer the open reel tape to cassette as the people at the TV company could not get an open reel machine and needed the recording on a cassette (Revox to Nakamichi 1000 if you want to know) and I found it magic at the time.

But the original was still a great performance.

Even creating music on the DAW at home needs to be a "performance" when you are creating the tracks - put something of yourself into each track - the final result will be much better thanif you are just plunking away at the notes.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:39 pm

John Willett wrote:And would you not say that those Clannad tracks and Pink Flowd are superb performances?
I would agree that they are superb performances, but can we agree that the production takes that performance and pushes it up to an entirely new level of the sublime?!
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:52 pm

This is a bizarre thread!

We have an array of tools at our disposal.

We use them when they are necessary and appropriate, and we don't when they aren't.

The end.

There's nothing big or clever in not using EQ or compression, or indeed in using them... The only prizes are in what the end result sounds like and the emotional impression it creates -- which is the point The Elf is making.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Zukan » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:51 am

I perform corrective procedures prior to any mixing and this usually entails band-passing channels to remove redundant and wideband high amplitude frequencies. These Trumps can trip compressors and limiters so why keep frequencies you can't hear but cause havoc with achieving the right compressor/limiter settings?

Like Hugh and Elf have said there is nothing magical about not using a specific tool that only needs to be adopted when the situation calls for it.

Oh, and don't start me on compression. I'm still tired and it's Monday and I am a mod and can therefore ban your ass if you don't pamper me a touch.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:16 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This is a bizarre thread!

We have an array of tools at our disposal.

We use them when they are necessary and appropriate, and we don't when they aren't.

The end.

There's nothing big or clever in not using EQ or compression, or indeed in using them... The only prizes are in what the end result sounds like and the emotional impression it creates -- which is the point The Elf is making.

I've always been fascinated by, and admire people who use as little as possible.
I think it's because it makes you realise that in some circumstances you "have" to use something, it then becomes justified and necessary, like for instance, EQ.
My attitude to music and technology has changed massively over the last few years. I'm not interested in "technological music" as much anymore, by that I mean music that comes "from" the technology, it suggests the final result, like sitting in a studio experimenting, waiting for a sound to appear out of the gear. These days I seem to know what I want before recording, and I want the musical idea to be as simple as possible, something that will get emotions across in the most direct way with little or no contribution from the recording technology.
I'd have laughed If I had written this 20 years ago, as I believed very differently then.
Big studio productions have their place, I agree, certain things wouldn't work without that approach, but I'm always wanting to strip things back.
Hugh, you say this is a bizzare thread, may be it is, all I can say is that I might have a problem, in that I over think things too much, even while I'm recording, this is also something I never used to do, needing a reason to do everything, instead of just going for it and seeing what happens.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:32 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This is a bizarre thread!

We have an array of tools at our disposal.

We use them when they are necessary and appropriate, and we don't when they aren't.

The end.

There's nothing big or clever in not using EQ or compression, or indeed in using them... The only prizes are in what the end result sounds like and the emotional impression it creates -- which is the point The Elf is making.

:clap:
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:59 am

If there are any folks reading who are new to mixing I think there's a couple of key points to consider from this thread:
1) There are many ways to skin a cat, don't be tied down to one approach (even if [insert big name engineer] does this), find something that works for you.
2) Everything from the mic to the monitor is a tool. Learn what they do and how to use them, and only use them when you need/want to.
3) It's all in service of the song. Set up any templates or standard approaches that you might want, but don't hesitate to abandon them if they start getting in the way of a great performance.
:)
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:04 am

The Elf wrote:
John Willett wrote:And would you not say that those Clannad tracks and Pink Flowd are superb performances?
I would agree that they are superb performances, but can we agree that the production takes that performance and pushes it up to an entirely new level of the sublime?!

Agreed :thumbup:

I don't say don't use the tools - but that the MOST important ingtredient is the PERFORMANCE - without a great performance the tools are just polishing a turd and I would rather polish a great piece of furniture to bring out the best, than to polish a knocked-up piece of junk ;)
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:10 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This is a bizarre thread!

We have an array of tools at our disposal.

We use them when they are necessary and appropriate, and we don't when they aren't.

The end.

There's nothing big or clever in not using EQ or compression, or indeed in using them... The only prizes are in what the end result sounds like and the emotional impression it creates -- which is the point The Elf is making.

I agree - but this thread was started asking what people *DON'T* use - so I started by listing what I (personally) don't use.

But, as I said, the most important thing is the PERFORMANCE - and you then use whatever tools you wish to use to get the final result you want. But, first, you need the performance to use them on. :thumbup:
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