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Author Topic: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy  (Read 10994 times)

rwj1313

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2006, 01:27:24 pm »

Steve this ties in with the drum trigger replacement thread. If a drummer came to you and said I want to record my acoustic drum set and then use drummagog to replace every drum would you do that? If not drummagog how about triggering a D4?

Thanks,

Rick  
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electrical

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2006, 02:27:26 pm »

rwj1313 wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 13:27

Steve this ties in with the drum trigger replacement thread. If a drummer came to you and said I want to record my acoustic drum set and then use drummagog to replace every drum would you do that? If not drummagog how about triggering a D4?

There is about a nothing-point-nothing percent chance of this ever happening, but if a drummer ever wanted me to record his drums just so he could replace them, I'd do it. He gets what he wants.

This will never happen, so I don't worry about it.
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Greg Norman

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2006, 02:46:47 pm »

electrical wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 13:27

rwj1313 wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 13:27

Steve this ties in with the drum trigger replacement thread. If a drummer came to you and said I want to record my acoustic drum set and then use drummagog to replace every drum would you do that? If not drummagog how about triggering a D4?

There is about a nothing-point-nothing percent chance of this ever happening, but if a drummer ever wanted me to record his drums just so he could replace them, I'd do it. He gets what he wants.

This will never happen, so I don't worry about it.

Someone want to place a bet?
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copperx

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2006, 03:25:57 pm »


Slipperman,

Sorry for my poor english. I wasn't refeering to YOU as a "failed musician", I'm sorry if you got it that way. I was actually refering to me. After some long sessions of introspection trying to figure out why the hell do I can't sleep sometimes thinking about sound engineering I've come to some theories, one being that I'm a failed musician. I don't really know. What I do know is that I will probably not be happy in this life if I'm not turning some knobs. And in some ways, that sucks.

I'm trying to figure out where the hell do I belong in the recording process. Albini's "documentary recording" philosophy is sound. But also your "make audio yer bitch" philosophy makes a lot of sense to me.

I'll soon figure it out. In hell.
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copperx

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #19 on: March 01, 2006, 03:45:21 pm »

electrical wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 07:26


I've found that this happens virtually never. Okay, actually never. I've never, ever had this happen.


Have you ever fired that AK-47? of just pointing it at them works?
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rwj1313

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2006, 01:03:12 pm »

electrical wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 13:27

rwj1313 wrote on Wed, 01 March 2006 13:27

Steve this ties in with the drum trigger replacement thread. If a drummer came to you and said I want to record my acoustic drum set and then use drummagog to replace every drum would you do that? If not drummagog how about triggering a D4?

There is about a nothing-point-nothing percent chance of this ever happening, but if a drummer ever wanted me to record his drums just so he could replace them, I'd do it. He gets what he wants.

This will never happen, so I don't worry about it.


I do a lot of live work and recently a bands drummer was triggering just his kick drums. He had a double bass setup and sent me a signal from his Alesis DM5 (I think that's what it was) and it sounded awful. Me and the audience had to endure about 75 minutes of constant very clicky very fast kick drum on every song. The raw signal he sent to me had no bottom what so ever. I ended up retriggering a D4 to add to his sound. I now makeup excuses to not work for them whenever they ask me to run sound for them. Does this make me a bad person?
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ironsheik

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #21 on: March 03, 2006, 01:10:12 am »

I think it's just common sense to find out what the band wants before they come in.  I get bands in that ask for me to give my input being that I've recorded a lot more than they have and will have more insight.  Other times I get bands who want to operate the faders on a mixdown and insist on getting 6 different mix versions to choose from.  

I also tell bands what I like in my recordings beforehand.  That always seals the deal Smile  BUT it's great for the band I'm about to record to know what I'm into as well.  Someone I've worked with didn't want to work the way I usually do and made a point of having me listen to CDs they liked and discussing how the record would be approached.  Basically just get EVERYTHING out in the open before the recording.  You'll be doing everyone a favour.

Josh
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Gary Flanigan

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #22 on: March 03, 2006, 03:42:32 pm »

Hey Steve, I have a related question.  When you are recording your own band, do you ever use the recording process creatively to record an artful (but less accurate) version of a performance?

Thanks
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Tom C

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2006, 08:53:11 am »

electrical wrote on Tue, 28 February 2006 04:21

copperx wrote on Tue, 28 February 2006 01:00


For example, if I'm recording and feel like the bass guitar fluctuates a bit, I may apply compression. Do you ask the band, "hey, does it sound better now"?

First, I would explain my concern to the band, and if necessary, show them the difference between the compressed sound and the straight sound. If they preferred one or the other, we would do what they preferred.



Wouldn't it be less trouble to NOT go into that much detail and
just present your final result?
If you ask for every little detail you're (as we say here)
'waking up sleeping dogs', they start to worry about things
you're much more competent to worry about.

If they spot something in the final mix or master (or some
intermediate state) then do whatever they want.

Tom
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electrical

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #24 on: March 06, 2006, 12:38:11 pm »

Tom Crowning wrote on Mon, 06 March 2006 08:53


Wouldn't it be less trouble to NOT go into that much detail and
just present your final result?
If you ask for every little detail you're (as we say here)
'waking up sleeping dogs', they start to worry about things
you're much more competent to worry about.

This is a good question. My preference, before I change anything is to tell the band what I'm thinking, then let them hear the experiment of the change, and see if they agree that it sounds better.

The reason I do this is that I remember being in the studio a long time ago, as a band member, and the engineer always seemed to be doing things, but he never explained what he was doing. At some point, I realized that what we were working on sounded like shit, but it sounded fine a while ago. It was too late to say, "what did you do to it? It sounds like shit now," because he may have done twenty things, and I wouldn't know which of them made it sound like shit, and backtracking through everything might take all night.

So, I always want the band to hear and agree specifically that there is a problem that needs fixing or an improvement that can be made. I don't want to put them in the position I was in, of thinking, "It sounded fine a while ago, but it sounds like shit now."

Quote:

If they spot something in the final mix or master (or some
intermediate state) then do whatever they want.

I'd prefer to go straight to doing whatever they want and avoid having to re-mix things.
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copperx

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2006, 03:49:59 pm »

Steve's approach is very, very interesting.

What I don't quite get is that all of the recordings made by Steve that I've heard sound quite nice. You would expect some records directed by some bands to sound bad, dated, with bad effect choices, bad amp choices, especially if the band is inexperienced or on a beginner level.

Steve, I know you don't speak much details about your recording methods, but, is it safe to assume that you get 95% or so of the sound that you want solely by mic choice, placement, preamp choice, room, etc, given that you've said that to you mixing is just "moving faders till it sounds right"?

I can't see you equalizing/compressing tracks to make them fit in the overall picture. On the other hand, I've never been able to make a decent mix without touching an EQ. This really confuses my little brain.

Even more confusing is the reality that both Steve's documentary approach and the more traditional "twist knobs like a madman" approach can yield equally excellent-sounding records. Not talking about authenticity here, but sound quality.

In any case, excellent food for thought.
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AlexVI

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2006, 12:32:09 pm »

What happens if we extend this to a the same thing ina  different scenario?
Most of the work I do is classical, on location, and straight to stereo. Frequently, an artist will ask for rather more of the reverberant sound (of the church / hall / cathedral) than I would like to give them.

I tend to persuade them to not have too much and err on the side of dry caution - you can add a little later, but you can't take it away.

In a situation where I feel very strongly that giving them the quantity they ask for will lead to trouble later when I am sure they will want to remove some (of course, there's never anywhere to setup monitoring decently in these places either, when on session...), should I let them have what they want? Or what I believe from experience will serve them best in terms of later crafting the end result? (bearing in mind that we can't go back and alter the mix)


AVI
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jimmyjazz

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2006, 12:41:42 pm »

AlexVI wrote on Tue, 07 March 2006 12:32

Most of the work I do is classical, on location, and straight to stereo. Frequently, an artist will ask for rather more of the reverberant sound (of the church / hall / cathedral) than I would like to give them.

<snip>

should I let them have what they want? Or what I believe from experience will serve them best in terms of later crafting the end result?


Well, what format are you tracking to?  If it's live to analog 2-track (which I seriously doubt), then I can see you are faced with a bit of a quandary.  But if it's live to digital, then "safety tracks" are only a few mic/preamp/ADC rentals away.  Track one microphone pair where they want it, and another where you want it.  And maybe some spot mics for the hell of it.  Figure out what to use in mixdown.

I've heard people say that they don't like too many options when mixing, and I think that's a copout.  It's a copout I've abused, too, but it's still a copout.
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AlexVI

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2006, 01:03:04 pm »

Quote:

Well, what format are you tracking to? If it's live to analog 2-track (which I seriously doubt), then I can see you are faced with a bit of a quandary. But if it's live to digital, then "safety tracks" are only a few mic/preamp/ADC rentals away. Track one microphone pair where they want it, and another where you want it. And maybe some spot mics for the hell of it. Figure out what to use in mixdown.

I've heard people say that they don't like too many options when mixing, and I think that's a copout. It's a copout I've abused, too, but it's still a copout.


Format is usually DAT backed up to CDR.
There's no issue with multiple microphones - I would frequently use 14 - 16 mics on an orchestra, and record to stereo.

In some situations, saying "too many options when mixing" isn't the copout - it's the other way round. Saying "I'll go to multitrack because I'm not sure" is the copout from being certain your engineering is good. If you're good at it, you ought to be able to go to stereo right away (I'm assuming there's no overdubbing etc., just 'as is'). In many ways you can end up with a better result. It's all too easy with a multitrack machine running to say "well, it's OK isn't it, polish up nicely in the mix", but going straight to stereo you don't have that luxury. It forces you to get out and move those microphones about until you have a result that it somewhat better than "satisfactory"

Additionally, most budgets these days in the classical world just don't allow for mixing. They just about cover recording & editing - if you're lucky!
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jimmyjazz

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Re: One more question about the "documentary recording" philosophy
« Reply #29 on: March 07, 2006, 01:12:10 pm »

AlexVI wrote on Tue, 07 March 2006 13:03

Saying "I'll go to multitrack because I'm not sure" is the copout from being certain your engineering is good. If you're good at it, you ought to be able to go to stereo right away


I didn't suggest you "polish it in the mix".  I suggested that you give yourself a second choice.  You lamented the fact that you often have to make an "either/or" decision in the field, and even pointed out the less-than-stellar monitoring you typically have to use when making decisions.  I'd say it's good engineering practice to give yourself options for when your monitor chain is better, but you obviously disagree.
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