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Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

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Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:29 pm

This is just a curiosity post but I always set my desks up the same way, live or in the studio and the track layout on in Reaper usually matches too.

What do you do, and do you change it around or is it always the same?

FWIW I start with drums on Ch1 (kick, snare, hats, toms low to high, overheads) then Bass, Electric Guitar/s, Acoustic Guitars, Keys, Brass (when present) and Vocals (L-R across the stage then any behind). If I have the channels I'll leave a spare between the backline and Vox. Any media players usually at the far right (Ch 15-16)
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Wonks » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:39 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:FWIW I start with drums on Ch1 (kick, snare, hats, toms low to high, overheads)
That's a lot of mic inputs on a single channel! :D
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:44 pm

I'm the same as you Sam - it is just an old habit that still works for me.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:45 pm

Wonks wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:FWIW I start with drums on Ch1 (kick, snare, hats, toms low to high, overheads)
That's a lot of mic inputs on a single channel! :D

You just can't get the staff these days :headbang:
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Wonks » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:47 pm

:D
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:48 pm

James Perrett wrote:I'm the same as you Sam - it is just an old habit that still works for me.

Another odd thing I've noticed, while I have the toms corresponding to how I see them, sound guys who play drums have them laid out as if they were sitting behind the kit. Seems logical I guess but leads to confusion if we're sharing a desk........
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby CS70 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:55 pm

Drum tracks, bass, guitar tracks, vox, double vox, other stuff. Vox are generally "right" in the mixer or "down" on the DAW busses, just a habit but I tend to end up with that schema pretty much all the times.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Dave B » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:07 pm

My usual one is : Kick, Snare, OH L, OH R, Bass, Guitar, (spare), (spare), Vox1, vox 2, vox3, vox4, keys L, keys R, (spare), click.

This is based on the idea of having 2 8-way stage boxes - front and back. The backline goes into one 'block' and the rest at the front. This is so that if we play a small place and don't need to mic up, we can just use the front box - everything that will always be mic'd up (regardless of venue) goes to the main block.

I tend to work this way with DAW / studio mixers as well. (ok .. keys may come before vox there). It just seems a logical layout to me.

Saying that, at the last live sound gig I did, I found that I'd set up DCA faders and they seemed to be a bit random - I think I went guitars, vox, bvs, keys, (rest) which kind of made sense for the band I was mixing .. but I'm not sure I'd do it like that again.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:43 pm

Hmmm. For the DAW I have templates for each instrument, so vocals, for example, have a main channel, a de-esser channel, a parallel compression channel, two-channels of vca shenanigans to do fader rides from my control surface (see Mike Senior's article here: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... tting-trim), and then a bit of vocal reverb. These all load in together with all the respective sends and plug-ins loaded. Similarly I have drum, bass and reverb templates with various degrees of complexity. These all feed a bus template that always sits on channels 33-40 and goes Vox, Drums, Bass, Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Keys, Candy, Dummy Master. Obviously stuff is only used where necessary but that covers most of my regular bases.
In terms of the templates I tend to be fairly consistent on Vox, Drums, then Bass, but after that it varies. And stuff does get moved around if I've got more than 32 tracks going on and want to be using the control surface as a channel strip.

Live is much simpler as we're playing much smaller venues, so that's Vox 1, 2 and 3, Acoustic, Organ, Kick - and that generally does the trick. On a couple of larger occasions I've added Snare, Bass, electric G1 and G2 as well just to give whoever's on the desk a little bit of control.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:47 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Another odd thing I've noticed, while I have the toms corresponding to how I see them, sound guys who play drums have them laid out as if they were sitting behind the kit. Seems logical I guess but leads to confusion if we're sharing a desk........
I've seen a few drummer sound guys do this live and recorded and it drives me nuts because it messes with my image in my head of how the music is being played.
I think the argument is that drummers are the only ones who notice this stuff and therefore it makes sense to lay them out like that, but I think that's insulting the musical knowledge of your audience a bit.

Hmmm, it's a long way down from this high horse, mayhap I should dismount.
#firstworldproblems
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby James Perrett » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:10 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Another odd thing I've noticed, while I have the toms corresponding to how I see them, sound guys who play drums have them laid out as if they were sitting behind the kit. Seems logical I guess but leads to confusion if we're sharing a desk........

Maybe I know too many drummer sound people but just about everyone I know (even those who don't play anything) has the smallest tom on the left and the floor tom on the rightmost tom channel. In fact, I can't remember ever walking up to a desk in a venue that was set up in the way you describe. On the other hand, most engineers seem to set up the vocals how they see them.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:28 pm

::: shakes puny fist in impotent rage :::

;)
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:16 am

James Perrett wrote:
Sam Spoons wrote:Another odd thing I've noticed, while I have the toms corresponding to how I see them, sound guys who play drums have them laid out as if they were sitting behind the kit. Seems logical I guess but leads to confusion if we're sharing a desk........

Maybe I know too many drummer sound people but just about everyone I know (even those who don't play anything) has the smallest tom on the left and the floor tom on the rightmost tom channel. In fact, I can't remember ever walking up to a desk in a venue that was set up in the way you describe. On the other hand, most engineers seem to set up the vocals how they see them.

Given that we mostly run PA systems in mono having the toms 'back to front' doesn't matter from an audience perspective (if it was stereo it would, obviously) but, if you are setting the vox up 'as seen from the desk' why would you do the drums differently unless you are a drummer and automatically see them from a drummers POV?
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Feb 06, 2019 9:43 am

For live sound I generally have kick/snare/toms L to R as I see them/HH/OH L-R/Bass/Keys/Gats/Horns/Voxes - all left to right as I see them. I do work in stereo depending on the venue (and I do mainly concert work) as I like to create a sense of spaciousness for most people, knowing the balance may be compromised a little for some people.

There is no logic to my mind in assigning tracks from a drummer perspective but then not being a drummer, I have the where-with-all to think logically........... :o :o :o :beamup:

Recording has a similar track setup on the rare occasion I record bands.

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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Dave B » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:18 pm

I've just realised that I'd never considered the drum facing issue before! I tend to work in smaller venues so I only have a stereo overhead pair usually, but even then, I should really make sure that the sound matches the audience or it will be weird...

For recording, I always have drums panned as per the drummer. I've discussed it before with another engineer and I always see a recording as being from the band's perspective.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:29 pm

And whenever I've soundchecked as a drummer no-one has ever asked me to hit the floor tom first.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby Wonks » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:35 pm

James Perrett wrote:And whenever I've soundchecked as a drummer no-one has ever asked me to hit the floor tom first.
Normally the bass player to get them to shut up.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby The Korff » Wed Feb 06, 2019 2:58 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:FWIW I start with drums on Ch1 (kick, snare, hats, toms low to high, overheads) then Bass, Electric Guitar/s, Acoustic Guitars, Keys, Brass (when present) and Vocals (L-R across the stage then any behind). If I have the channels I'll leave a spare between the backline and Vox. Any media players usually at the far right (Ch 15-16)

Exactly the same! I can't remember why, but I've always done it that way. (And if I haven't got enough channels to leave a gap to keep the vocals separate, I'll swap some of the channel and bus fader caps around so that the vocals are a different colour to the rest of them.)
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:17 pm

Dave B wrote:For recording, I always have drums panned as per the drummer. I've discussed it before with another engineer and I always see a recording as being from the band's perspective.
If I was mixing drums live I'd pan the kit from audience perspective. Generally I don't do live mixes!

In the studio I invariably choose dummer's perspective. For a right-handed kit the 'story' of a tom roll reading from left to right just feels 'right'.
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Re: Track/Channel layout for recording, mixing and live?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:54 pm

apart from you all being wrong about the drum thing... ;) I do have a question on the live mixing approach.
I generally put lead vocals on 1 as I find that it's generally the thing I have to work most during a gig, and frequently it's the channel most prone to generating howlround. Having it always on 1 makes it quicker for me to find in a hurry (singer sticking his mic into the bell of the saxophone during a solo for example!) rather than having it *somewhere* over on the other side of the desk.
Is this just not a problem other people have or am I just demonstrating my lack of chops? (or both of the above).
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