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Common tools that never get used?

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Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:42 am
by Arpangel
There are few essential recording/mixing tools that are considered de rigueur in some circles, that for me personally, never, or hardly ever, get used.
The first one is the solo button, I can honestly say I've never ever used it, to do anything with.
The second is compression, I talk a lot about it, and actually own some compressors, but I never use them.
The third is EQ, how over rated is that! I hardly ever use that either, I just make sure the sounds coming from my instruments or mic's is OK to start with.
The only things that ever get used on my mixer are the aux sends as reverb is my favourite effect, in my DAW I use nothing, apart from reverb too.
I'm wondering if there are others here who may have similar dislikes for certain quite major things, but you still manage to turn out acceptable results that work for you.
Sometimes the act of just getting rid of one what is normally considered "essential" element can catapult you off into something good you didn't expect.
A friend was in a well known band that at an early stage decided not to,use ride cymbals in their music, none at all, ever. And it became their sound.
Another decided never to use snare drums, that also became his trademark.
Just a simple act like this can give you an edge, some originality.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:40 am
by Dr Huge Longjohns
The third is EQ, how over rated is that!

I never use monitors or headphones or speakers of any sort, they are massively over-rated as a mixing tool. I just guess what each track sounds like and move the faders as I feel it. (Cries of "Your tracks sound like it, too, Dr Huge!" from offstage.)

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:53 am
by John Willett
I have never used EQ - I prefer using the right mic. in the right position. ;)

I can see the need for compression, but I have never needed to use it yet.

I have never also used my mixing console - I used to use one in the early days, but bought an upgrade a few years ago and have never actually used it.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:11 pm
by ManFromGlass
Sorry to be a buzzkill but I’m going through a phase of thinking there is nothing that hasn’t been done or not done before. There is almost nothing that hasn’t been done by someone on this planet at some point in time with the tools available.
That being said, when that special something done or not done gets us excited then that’s all that matters.

Somebody can suggest the simplest thing that they’ve done in a posting and I’ll go off and try it and suddenly kaboom - it could be the most inspiring to me, but so common to everyone. I like this idea of not doing a specific thing because in my quest to be a skilled recordist/mixer etc. I have been trying almost everything I read here.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:09 pm
by Tim Gillett
As I see it, EQ and compression are part of the "meat and potatoes" tools of audio work. I cant imagine life without them, 40 years ago or now.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:19 pm
by MOF
If you’ve never used a compressor, on a lead vocal for instance, then you’ll end up hearing it too loud in your mix or it will disappear a lot of the time due to a lower mix level and it being masked by other sound sources, unless you do a lot of level riding which in essence is what a compressor does.
Eq is also very useful in carving out space for it to cut through.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:39 pm
by CS70
Arpangel wrote:There are few essential recording/mixing tools that are considered de rigueur in some circles, that for me personally, never, or hardly ever, get used.

So be it. They're all tools, what matters is the result. So long you get the results you want, it's irrelevant how you get 'em.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:27 am
by The Elf
Wow! Just Wow! :shock:

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am
by Mike Stranks
I can only concur with Mr Elf....

... and for those who don't know, John Willett is a classical recordist so operates in a different world to many (most?) others here. If you are not a classical recordist then bear that in mind as you read his comments.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:10 am
by Arpangel
Mike Stranks wrote:I can only concur with Mr Elf....

... and for those who don't know, John Willett is a classical recordist so operates in a different world to many (most?) others here. If you are not a classical recordist then bear that in mind as you read his comments.

I suppose I come from a certain background too, regarding recording experience.
I started off being very radical with my recordings, extreme EQ and every effect imaginable.
It was fascinating, and I enjoyed it. I spent hours applying all sorts of things, like EQ, going back later to listen to it flat, and eventually, preferring the flat version, thinking that all that time spent on EQ just didn't make a worthwhile difference to warrant using it.
The same with compression too.
Then, during my middle years I got the chance to help out on sessions quite regularly with a friend who's work was mainly in the classical recording field, and he taught me a lot, mostly about how to make recordings with the minimum of equipment, and still get fantastic results.
So I'm a mixture of all sorts of ideas, but "now" I personally think that the less there is in the way of the music the better.
Sometimes, I think that if you removed a lot of the processing from a mix that you thought was so important at the time, that 3dB increase at 8k on the guitar etc you wouldn't even notice the difference.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:25 am
by The Elf
The simple application of an HPF to remove thump from a hi-hat mic is pretty fundamental stuff. If you can get a good mix without such tools, then good luck to you, but it's not somewhere I'd want to go.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:41 am
by Arpangel
The Elf wrote:The simple application of an HPF to remove thump from a hi-hat mic is pretty fundamental stuff. If you can get a good mix without such tools, then good luck to you, but it's not somewhere I'd want to go.

Yes, it's down to what we record, I've ever recorded a hi-hat in my life!
I do use low-cut filters on mic's sometimes, normally the built in ones, or, the low-cut button on mixer preamps, if it needs more surgical EQ I'll use it, but not often.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:59 am
by Tim Gillett
The Elf wrote:The simple application of an HPF to remove thump from a hi-hat mic is pretty fundamental stuff. If you can get a good mix without such tools, then good luck to you, but it's not somewhere I'd want to go.

Here, here. Or if I was recording a piano in someone's living room and there was distracting LF traffic rumble which I could carefully filter out in post without impinging on the performance, I'd do it every time.

Equally if the only way I could reduce bad room sound in a recording was to use cardioid mics close enough to the instrument to incur some bass boost (proximity effect), again I'd record it like that and correct the bass boost in post. Then perhaps add artificial reverb.

These are sometimes judgement calls of course but if it's not part of the performance, why leave it in?

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:33 am
by John Willett
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. ;)

Re: Common tools that never get used?

PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:57 am
by Tim Gillett
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.