You are here

Common tools that never get used?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:42 am

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.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:40 am

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.)
User avatar
Dr Huge Longjohns
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3165
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Gallifrey
"The performance is 99.9% of what people hear"- J. Leckie
"It's all complete nonsense, anyone who knows what they're doing can deliver great results with whatever comes to hand" - H. Robjohns

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:53 am

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.
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6299
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:11 pm

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.
User avatar
ManFromGlass
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2223
Joined: Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:00 am
Location: In the woods in Canada
 

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:09 pm

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.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1828
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby MOF » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:19 pm

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.
MOF
Regular
Posts: 378
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 1:00 am
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby CS70 » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:39 pm

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.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4226
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video  and the FB page

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:27 am

Wow! Just Wow! :shock:
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12713
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Oct 06, 2019 8:50 am

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.
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6925
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:10 am

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.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby The Elf » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:25 am

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.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12713
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Arpangel » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:41 am

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.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:59 am

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?
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1828
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby John Willett » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:33 am

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. ;)
User avatar
John Willett
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6299
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2000 1:00 am
Location: Oxfordshire UK
John
Sound-Link ProAudio
Circle Sound Services
President - Federation Internationale des Chasseurs de Sons

Re: Common tools that never get used?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:57 am

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.
Tim Gillett
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1828
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2013 1:00 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

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?!
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12713
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

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.

:(
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

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.
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6925
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

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"
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1451
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

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 ;)
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 10152
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users