How to get a looser sound?

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Extreme Recording Novice
Member Since: Sep 08, 2003

I don't know if anyone else has this same problem. I do a fair amount of very amateur home recording on my digital 10 track. It only has 2 inputs so unless I get a mixer I can't record a lot at the same time.

I get good sound quality and can usually get the mix where I like it (I'm sure it could still use a lot of work though), but one thing I'm not happy about with almost all of my recordings are that they sound so rigid. I feel like it is possibly a byproduct of tracking each thing separately and layering it. When I track guitar and vocals at the same time it usually dances a bit more.

Anyone know of any other cures besides just recording guitar and vocals at the same time?

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Since: Mar 31, 2003

Aug 04, 2004 02:07 pm

I dont think there's really any substitute for a live recording. For example, my buddy from Illinois recently brought me some recordings from their band. They recorded everything except vocals at the same time using ONE MIC! Then they recorded the vocal track and mixed them together. Now, the recordings I have are of better sound "quality" (a very misleading term sometimes). However, his recordings have SO much more life in them. It's pretty depressing. If anyone has any alternatives, I too would be VERY interested.

we prefer "percussionist"
Since: Jul 21, 2004

Aug 04, 2004 06:57 pm

one thing that's helped me a lot is having my recorder synched up to a MIDI sequencer. I usually have the song parts sketched out on the sequencer, then replace them with live tracks while listening to the other parts. Whichever track has the most "groove factor" to it usually goes down first (usually bass or drums) then that can be a guide for the rest. Then you have the best of both worlds - good timing coming from the seq., but no track is ever recorded "empty".

One other trick - a lot of times whatever track was first, I end up re-recording last as well. I don't know why, but it usually sits better the second go 'round.

Hope some of that helps!


Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Aug 04, 2004 10:45 pm

That is a rough one. So much has to do with the energies of the musicians. It is very true that most musicians perform very differently in a live setting than a studio setting. Usually that is a desired effect, but not when a "live" feel is wanted. I did one song track by track that has a good live feel. It was a "joke" song and everybody was able to just have fun tracking it. The result was a very loose live feeling recording. A good mastering room verb can help a little if used tastefully. Beyond that it is a function of multiple inputs per my experience. Some of the best jazz and big band work I have heard is produced using multiple tracks on the instruments with sonic isolation (absorbant material) between the instruments to isolate bleed at the mics while still retaining the overall room sound for the benifit of the performers and for capturing via a live micing set up. Obviously this takes a lot of physical room. Areas I have used are churches, high school performance rooms, and warehouses. I am fortunate to have affiliation with folks that can use these spaces at no cost for limited periods of time. But again at minimum you would need a mixer with numerous inputs.

Lastly, you might try using DI's on the bass and guitar while the whole band played together. Have the drummer play to that blend second pass, and vocalist to a mix of all three last pass. This may be enough to initiate a live feeling that the drummer and vocalist can respond to.

Pinnipedal Czar (: 3=
Since: Apr 11, 2004

Aug 04, 2004 11:12 pm

Add 4-8oz of Crown Royal... while invoking Page, or Richards... sip very carefully, "mix" to taste . ;p

Extreme Recording Novice
Since: Sep 08, 2003

Aug 05, 2004 10:40 am

I think I'm going to get a small mixer and give live recording a shot. What's the general concensus on Behringer mixers? The only drawback to this live recording is that I can't mess with any of the levels later. I have to preset everything and then just live with the results. (That's right isn't it?)

sloppy dice, drinks twice
Since: Aug 05, 2003

Aug 05, 2004 12:22 pm

ah, Hue... Discordian chaos lover, I presume? heh heh heh Can't find fault with the advice, however :)

Jenkinstp - I love my Behringer mixer, for the price it can't be beat. If I could do it again, however, I'd get the mx802a instead of mx602a, as now I see that I could've really used the bus. Hey you're not Ron Jenkins, formerly studying at Lincoln College, are ya? He's a guitar player I once knew, dabbled in some home recording. Slim chance of that, but I hadda ask.

Regarding stiffness: Call it "energy", zing, attitude, whatever... I think that more often than not it's timing issues. When I started playing to a metronome, my stuff (eventually) tightened right up, and I was able to hear for myself just how far off the beat I was. It's the in-between notes that throw ya. Those little moments between metronome strikes, quarter notes, or bars... We humans like squishy time, if we can cram it between the goalposts of two metronome strikes, then we shrug off the minor rhythmic inconsistencies in between. Pay close attention to where your notes fall in time, and that will actually help that particular aspect of the rigid sound you describe. I sometimes focus so much on following the metronome that I nail the notes that are right on the downbeat or whatever, and fuzz the timing on the subsequent notes, only to catch up again at the next tick of the nome.

Extreme Recording Novice
Since: Sep 08, 2003

Aug 05, 2004 01:19 pm

Not that Jenkins. I'm down in NC.

I should try the metronome. I think my recorder has a click track you can set and then turn off later. I've just never used it.

I think energy has a lot to do with it. I find that it's really hard to put a lot of energy into a recording when I layer it.

One thing I have noticed is that when I record guitar and vocals together they seem to mesh better because my voice will slide right in with the nuances of the guitar playing. When I record them separate they never unite quite as much.

...bringing sexy back
Since: Jul 01, 2002

Aug 05, 2004 01:26 pm

my girlfriends surname is huh? you got a relative named sue?

Extreme Recording Novice
Since: Sep 08, 2003

Aug 05, 2004 01:43 pm

nope... but I have a cousin who's first name is Jenkins.

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