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Common tools that never get used?

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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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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:12 am

John Willett wrote:
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 ;)

Which brings me nicely to "the furniture analogy" :)

I'm not going to fill in the genres, but I'll list the furniture.

1...IKEA
2...MADE
3...Habitat
4...Heals
5...Chippendale
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Bunk » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:21 pm

Well I'm finding this interesting as a spare-bedroom producer :headbang: (actually it's no longer a bedroom and it certainly isn't spare...)

Maybe it's a thing of habit with me but I pretty much always use EQ and Reverb and, more often than not, compression. In the case of EQ that's maybe because one of the first comments I got on this forum a while ago after one of the Jedis listened to one of my efforts was "you've got too much going on below 50Hz". I thought that was really helpful, so one of my defaults is pretty much use a HPF on almost everything but tweak it according to needs. My hearing skills are also almost certainly not up to those who might pick up on something like that. I certainly don't think doing that has made anything I've done any worse - I think I could tell if it did. I probably haven't got anything like an ideal set-up / room for recording though so some tweakery is, more often than, not required.

Equally, though, I sometimes think "all that stuff (plug-ins etc) is there, perhaps I should be using it?". Even as a rank amateur I suspect a lot of us fall into making that mistake?
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Mon Oct 07, 2019 6:29 pm

The Bunk wrote:Equally, though, I sometimes think "all that stuff (plug-ins etc) is there, perhaps I should be using it?". Even as a rank amateur I suspect a lot of us fall into making that mistake?

Hm, what happens when you look at your toolbox in the shed? If you suddenly start going around trying to find things to hammer, you may be in the danger zone! :bouncy:
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:41 pm

CS70 wrote:Hm, what happens when you look at your toolbox in the shed? If you suddenly start going around trying to find things to hammer, you may be in the danger zone! :bouncy:

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

Postby Ramirez » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:53 pm

Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. Whatms the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Wonks » Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:12 pm

Ramirez wrote:Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. What's the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?

My view is that if you HPF at a high enough frequency so that you can hear phase issues around the HPF frequency, then you are at too high a frequency and need to bring it down. Also, if there is a lot of low frequency noise, then you are better off getting rid of it and living with some small phase shifts, (though you would probably need very good monitors and room treatment for this to be immediately obvious). Most EQs add a degree of phase shifting, but no-one says don't EQ just because of that.

The main thing is to listen. If the cure is worse than the problem, then back off a bit or try a gentler slope. If not, I'd suggest carrying on.

If you aren't sure whether you need to HPF, then maybe try a low-pass filter at the same frequency and listen to what you will be taking out and/or whether you see needles move /indicators light up on compressors or other plug-ins to see if there are sub-sonics triggering their operation.

Obviously you won't be able to hear frequencies below your monitors' capability to reproduce, or below your ears' lower limit. But don't go by real-time frequency displays on EQ graphs, because the sampling time of the EQ display isn't long enough to show the low frequencies accurately, and you may think that there's a lot of sub-bass when there really isn't. 1/3 or 1/6 octave bar graphs are much better at showing LF content.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:03 pm

Bracketing with HPF (and in fewer cases LPF ) is critical to removing junk that saps your headroom for no benefit.

If you can hear it working then maybe it's too much, but cutting everything below 60Hz from an electric guitar cab, for example, isn't going to hurt anything important, yet will free up low end energy that can be better used elsewhere.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Ramirez » Tue Oct 08, 2019 6:36 am

The Elf wrote:Bracketing with HPF (and in fewer cases LPF ) is critical to removing junk that saps your headroom for no benefit.

If you can hear it working then maybe it's too much, but cutting everything below 60Hz from an electric guitar cab, for example, isn't going to hurt anything important, yet will free up low end energy that can be better used elsewhere.

Yes, what I’ve always done is in line with yours and Wonks’ posts. I was just fascinated to read this month’s article as its the first time I’ve really seen this challenged.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:05 am

Ramirez wrote:Speaking of habitual high-pass filtering, the current SOS has an article that argues against this.

I must say that I often high-pass filter quite aggressively as almost standard practise. Whatms the forum wisdom in light of this month’s article?

My electronic music has very little bass information, but when I'm recording acoustic instruments here I always have a high-pass filter engaged of some sort, it's always used.
There are so many nasty things going on as we record live all in the same room, people bashing mic stands, distant traffic rumbles, but piano and tuned percussion, accordion, don't suffer too much from HPF.
As for my field recordings, a HPF is essential, I couldn't record without one.
I think over zealous use of a HPF is bad though, so many times I hear obviously bass light recordings, made for the sake of "clarity" it kills the music for me, chops it's legs off.
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Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:00 am

Ramirez wrote:Yes, what I’ve always done is in line with yours and Wonks’ posts. I was just fascinated to read this month’s article as its the first time I’ve really seen this challenged.
For every piece of advice of advice you'll find on the Internet you'll find said same advice challenged.

One of the most difficult problems to overcome when teaching (and I'm going through one such example at the moment) is when somebody's hero - especially one with a string of impressive credits to their name - says something utterly misguided, but it is taken as being gospel - after all this guy is successful! Those received opinions take some shifting!

And that is why sponsorship exists... ;)
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