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Dealing with out of tune things in a mix -plus viewer questions

December 7th, 2010 | 26 Comments   « Previous  |  Episode 25  |  Next »

To watch on your ipod or ipad, download the m4v version

This episode is just me talking. I share a tip for dealing with out of tune elements in a mix, and answer a few viewer questions about setting vocal compressors, gating toms while recording and recording guitars.

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26 Comments ~ Speak your mind »
  1. PK

    Another great show Ronan! We’ve been using eSATA desktop docks for about two years – have one on every workstation/studio desk.

    The question we first struggled with was: how to do we store the drives?

    So far the only solution I could find was:
    http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php

    They’re about $7/case (or less if you buy a case or two). If there are other better options out there I’d like to hear it, but in case anyone else was looking and couldn’t find something similar I thought I’d share that link.

    The only other option I’ve seen is people storing their bare drives in Pelican cases but that’s a lot more expensive and less easy to use when you want to keep disks on shelf in a library (we do the same with 2 archives for each project and a another disk in a safety deposit box.)

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  2. Ronan

    PK, Thank you so much for sharing this storage solution. Its something I am trying to sort out myself. -Ronan

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  3. Dave Mallen

    Hey Ronan! Thanks for the video. I have a friend who’s working with a live recording where he needs to tune vocals in a mix with ambient mics – using auto-tune on the vocal only track is fine, but when mixed with the other room mics, there would be some chorusing or phasing, right? Do you have a good solution for this?

    Thanks! Hope to see you again soon.

    -Dave

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  4. Ron Anderson

    Hey Ronan!

    Thanks for the intonation tips.

    I can hear it now.
    “Why is my guitar so tinny?”

    - Because you were out of tune. – check please. >:

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  5. JM

    Great show Ronan. Big help. I especially appreciate your “don’t gate on the way in!” advice. Been there, done that, and burned the T-shirt. Keep em coming!

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  6. Kenny

    Hi Ronan:

    Love your shows. I always come away learning a lot. Thank you for that.

    My question is about what your take is on portable recording units such as the Tascam 2488Neo. Would the recordings done on such a unit be able to be remixed/mastered at a studio like yours?

    Be well …. Kenny

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  7. Carlos

    Best gear I have purchased recently?

    Synology DS409+ RAID-5 NAS.
    Love it.. NAS + off-site encrypted backups to Amazon S3 with jungledisk. I feel pretty good about backups.

    Thanks for the videos!

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  8. Ken Reibeling

    Winter has set in here,it’s c-c-c-c-cold!Greatly informative show as always.U da man!

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  9. Ronan


    My question is about what your take is on portable recording units such as the Tascam 2488Neo. Would the recordings done on such a unit be able to be remixed/mastered at a studio like yours?

    Kenny, I have not used that unit, but if the mic pres and converters are decent, no reason you could not do some really cool stuff. I would have to check out the manual to see what sort of file export options they have to export the tracks to import into a DAW.

    I noticed that it has S/PDIF digital inputs, which is cool. If you had a good mic pre and converter, there is not reason that your overdubs could not sound as good as working on a top of the line pro tools system.

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  10. T

    Great Show! Love the toaster! I’ve got a backup drive that keeps vanishing from my desktop. I find you can never have too many backups.

    T

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  11. Bob Demers

    Another awesome show Ronan. A great way to start your day!

    Thank you,

    Bob

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  12. Robin

    Hi Kenny + Ronan,

    I’ve got the Tascam 2488 (version one, not the Neo) and I’m pretty happy with it. Each track can be exported as a 24-bit .wav file, and then imported into whatever DAW you’re using. The process is a bit awkward, but it works. I’m guessing the same can be done with the Neo.

    I’m probably not savvy enough to judge the pre-amps and converters, but I’ve got no complaints. It took some getting used to, but I’d say that the 2488 a pretty good all-round recording solution.

    cheers, Robin

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  13. C.D. Johnson

    Ronan,
    Thanks for your “SHOWS”! Nothing else like it on the web or as helpful to me. I can’t begin to tell you the tidbits I’ve picked up and use on a daily basis. It’s not very often a Pro will share ( for free) what it took him years of hard work to obtain.
    Thanks Again,
    C.D. Johnson &
    Juke Joint Jubilee

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  14. Rick

    Hi Ronan,
    I agree with your advice to record guitar un-processed via direct box. In the project studio environment, achieving good isolation when tracking a rhythm section isn’t practical for many of us (bass, guitar, live drums). Using the direct box with an hardware amp-sim (e.g. POD) addresses this fairly well. I usually take the direct-box balanced out directly to a decent preamp (SCA) and record it dry without live-monitoring. The guitar player usually wants to hear the sustain, distortion, or efx that is at least similar to the intended sound used for the song. I record the output of the POD to a separate track and include it in the live monitor mix sent to the band via headphones. Occasionally I’ll keep the POD track, but usually I re-amp or use a more capable amp-sim (Guitar Rig is my current choice). With less experienced players this usually works well, since they sometimes tend to go with way too many effects (abrasive-distortion) to fit into a mix well.

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  15. drumslave

    Another great show! about the part of using a DI, could you then reamp the guitar and play with the sound (by rerecording it)? and can you cover this topic on the show? thanks

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  16. Robin

    P.S. Ronan, I’m loving Izotope Rx. I’ve got a really noisy old single-coil Fender Strat — love the tone, hate the buzz. Izotope is magic, strips out the hiss while preserving the twang. And it’s really, really simple to use. Big thumbs up from me.

    P.P.S. ‘nother great show, as always, thanks for your insights and advice!

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  17. Brian@Topsoil

    Great show, loved it! I need to get one of those hard drive docks…

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  18. Don Coyer

    Ronan- I’m new to your show, but am enjoying it. I’ve watched them all, and I like the informative aspect with the informal approach. A lot of us are musicians as well as studio owners, so you’re talking our language, ha ha.

    About the amp modeling. I have found a couple of sounds I’ve liked for some things, but I tend to agree. I think the thing is, I’ve felt like I was supposed to like this stuff, but could never quite find sounds that really nailed it, or very seldom. (Reminds me of the issue with mp3s, which I hate) I’ve got a Music Man HD-150 and a little Vox DA5 that I’ve gotten some great tracks with, but I’ve never re-amped to them.

    One question. Since everything bottlenecks down to mp3s these days on the receiving end, do you have any tips for making optimal mp3s for web, etc? I’ve had some good ones and then for some reason, some content comes out sounding sickeningly thin, using the same methods and the highest quality. I’ve read that there are tricks to this, any advice?

    Thanks for your show and I hope to catch one of your camps someday.

    Don

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  19. Francisco

    awesome show. love the guitar recording tips. stay well! ciao!

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  20. Francisco

    awesome show. love the guitar recording tips. stay well! ciao!

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  21. Ron

    Hi Ronan,
    I was excited to here you ask my question on the show. I like what you said about compression. It’s always been a complex issue for me of when and what to use it on. I think I will try what you said and not use it while tracking. I Like hearing your advice about all the issues you cover, because your a person in the know. On forums you get positive feedback about things and negative feedback about every issue you bring up. So it’s nice to get definitive answer from you. Keep up the great work!
    BTW I’m from Massachusetts USA.
    Thanks for everything you do
    Ron

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  22. Kim

    Hi Ronan. Just wanted to say thanks for an awesome show. Picked up many tips and tricks from it – and most importantly, it inspires me to try learn even more and come up with my own takes on things, even if those approaches don’t always turn out that great.

    Best Regards.
    Kim

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  23. jjankyjta

    i really love your show. i forget about it and then it seems like once a month, when i remember, i check and usually you’ll have just taped something that same week.

    i loved the toasters, i didn’t know those had gotten so cheap and convenient.

    also i’m with you on amp sims. personally, i tape all my own guitar parts thru amps and also with the effects that i want on them. the only thing left for the mix might be really short delays or reverb, or maybe a little compression. things to space it in the mix.

    especially with guitar, the amp’s tone and the fx are such a huge part of how you end up performing that i hate the thought of messing with that later. plus, it leaves a person with too many options. it’s better off with certain instruments to just take what you get for the day.

    that’s not at all my general philosophy with recording, but definitely for guitar and usually for vocals. the less you do later, the better it’s gonna sound i think.

    i’d love a show on re-amping tho. maybe you could go into not just the guitar centered aspects but also give tips on re-recording tracks in different rooms. you know, for reverb, or color or just to parallel buss and blend another sound real subtly underneath your tracks. i really need to experiment more myself with this, it never seems like i got time, but it’d be fun to hear your experiences with these tactics.

    thanks for keeping the show up,
    q

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  24. Bruno Fornazza

    hey Ronan, great show!!! I recently had the experience of mixing a nalbum with reeeallly bad digital guitars in it… the second I heard it I reminded you !

    fortunetly everything worked fine, thou I still hate the guitar sound on that record hehe

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  25. Paul999

    Great show! 2 days after watching this show I was mixing an EP for a gritty southern rock band that is pretty tight but they LOVE their out of tune guitar solo’s. I remembered you saying in this episode that you used to use a lot of f/x to try an cover this type of thing up but you’ve had better results with ultra dry. It worked like a charm in this recording. Awesome tip!!!!!

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  26. Turi

    Ronan first of all, congrats on the show! I discovered it just a few days ago and have been watching a lot of episodes, so kudos!

    I know you don’t want to get to much into dynamics, but maybe you can give us your opinion on De-essers. I would reeeally appreciate that for I’ve fund myself in many ocassions with a great vocal take that is better that the other takes in every way except it has too much of that SSSS sound that can really bother on the ears and mess up your mix.

    I have tried several de-essers but almost never have I ended up pleased with the result (lately i’ve been only able to work with the de-esser that comes with my DAW, Logic, but i’ve tried some others in the past, like a dbx outboard and several plug-ins, never finding myself pleased with their performance)

    Am I just nuts thinking I will ever find a De-esser that suits my standards or maybe I don’t know how to get the best of the ones I use? Are all of this machines and plug-ins rubbish or are there some that can do the trick?

    Thanks mate, and a warm greeting from Venezuela. Keep on rockin’
    Turi.

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