Hey everyone! So I thought seeing how I never did get around to writing those articles (notice how I cunningly removed the links?) I'd go through all the steps involved in the making of the next album ambitiously scheduled for the end of 2010. That way, it keeps things interesting, and it will also force me to make some progress as you'll all know when I've not been working ;) I also now own a camcorder! So expect to see plenty of tracking videos, and a hilarious blooper reel. Okay. Maybe not that last one.
So here's my new template. Real exciting isn't it. I'm going to be doing things quite differently this time around. With "At the Dream's Edge" I was writing, arranging, tracking, mixing and producing all at once. At the time I thought it was pretty neat, but in reality it made re-writing any part of a song an absolute nightmare, as the songs would degenerate into a tangled mess of automation lanes and parts and odds and ends. I had no option to re-amp, so I was stuck with the tone I tracked with. And my CPU was constantly hovering around 60% or so, limiting the type and complexity of the synths I could use. So for the next CD I'm going to attempt to do things way more traditionally, and split up all the processes:
So this template is where it will all start! I've made a bunch of tracks prefixed with "T". These are just going to be scratch tracks, no doubt with a lot of dropping in, copy and pasting, etc. I'll use them to learn/practice from when I'm happy with the arrangement. I'm hoping this way I'll be able to get out of the "sets of 4" trap, and do things because I want to...not just because they involve the least faffing around.
Those folder tracks will be the final takes. Each one has two tracks within it; wet, and dry. The wet track will just serve as a placeholder so I can record something vaguely amp-y sounding and listen back to it without using any CPU. The dry track will be the unprocessed signal of the guitar so I can re-amp later. Here's a look at it in the mixer:
Having the dry take at -inf doesn't affect what gets recorded. I've just done this so I don't have to listen to the uninspiring fart sound created by bone dry rhythm guitar. You'll also notice that I've got 3 input buses. This is how they're set up/routed:
I've set the X3 to output dry guitar over SPDIF (so there's no loss in quality) and the fully effected sound over 1/4" Line Outs. I've kept a stereo input bus in there so I can work out solo sections whilst hiding behind masses of reverb/delay. Makes me feel safe. Of course, using the old method I could've just tracked with send effects - so it does have its advantages but in the short tests I've done, there's a really noticeable difference in my playing when there's no latency present. Speaking of which, one last thing I've done is route the analog inputs directly to outputs 1/2:
Before, if I wanted to hear guitar I had to:
Have Cubase open
Create a track
Monitor it (with 3 - 5ms of base latency, + whatever is added by additional plugins)
This way, all I have to do is turn the volume up on the guitar and start playing with zero latency. Much better. The only downsides I can foresee are:
[::] Reverbs/delays are going to sound mighty sucky, as the tails will be 'printed' to the take. If I stop recording, the effect stops too.
[::] Things like wah/whammy pedal will not get recorded on the dry take. Might have to automate these in later. But we'll see.
So, that's it for now. It's taken a little while to put the template together. Next up, I'll go into a bit more detail regarding the drums, and try and get a test video done and dusted!