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108: Editing Q&A – How To Hear Performance Problems And Solve Them

We got a listener request (thank you Stephan!) with some great questions on editing, so we did this episode on how to hear performance problems and solve them.

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Stephan sent us an email, saying that he loved our episodes on editing and that he now understands it’s absolutely necessary in most cases.

He says, he just doesn’t quite know how to actually do it. 

Especially how to do it "on the fly", while he has to do all these other things. 

Also, he said he’d love to hear us talk more in-depth about how to know whether or not something needs to be corrected and which techniques to use. 

So we're not only talking theory or about the "why", but we're discussing the "how", including time-stretching vs slip editing, among lots of other very actionable things.

Let's jump in!

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This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

Benedikt's voice on this episode has been recorded with the Antelope Axino Synergy Core.


Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 108 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

[00:00:00] Benedikt: definitely there are things that we can tell you. That you can do about those things once you've spotted them once you know them. So to wrap it up, we're going to tell you how to spot problems and then which techniques you can use to fix those. hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedick tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. How are you buddy?

[00:00:36] Malcom: Hello. I'm great, man. I scored a dream gig yesterday and I can't, even talk about it, but I want to mention that I scored it, but I'm not allowed to say what it is yet. Um, yeah, we'll, we'll talk about it after the podcast and then eventually I'll be able to fill everybody in on another episode. So 

[00:00:53] Benedikt: You can't, You can't, just do that.

[00:00:55] Malcom: I do it now they've got to keep listening and they got to hear All the episodes after this until I'm allowed to [00:01:00] say what it is.

[00:01:02] Benedikt: All right. Yeah. That's yep. Um, okay.

[00:01:05] Malcom: It's really cool. It's like a, it is for, I could say it's an international show. 

[00:01:11] Benedikt: Oh, 

[00:01:11] Malcom: say that, um, it is a, a show most people have heard of, I would say 

[00:01:16] Benedikt: Crazy. Okay. Now, now I'm going to be distracted for the rest of the episode because I keep thinking about that, but like, okay. Yeah. I would definitely want to hear more. That's cool. That's cool. Other than that. 

[00:01:26] Malcom: massive amounts of physical fitness. That's the other clue? Um, yeah, it's gonna be very intense. I've got to start training immediately and I feel like I already keep in good shape, but I got to level up for sure. 

[00:01:40] Benedikt: ah, dude, I need to know. And I go,

[00:01:43] Malcom: This is stop the podcast. Talk about this for a 

[00:01:46] Benedikt: yeah, no, but like, can you, can you at least talk about like why it is what it is that requires the fitness

[00:01:52] Malcom: Uh, yeah, there is some racing involved and, 

[00:01:56] Benedikt: racing with what, like running.

[00:01:58] Malcom: Yeah. there's [00:02:00] challenges and stuff. But a lot of on foot movement and. You know, for the viewer that looks like it's like, oh, that's intense for the person doing the challenges, but you've got to remember that there's a camera person and a sound person carrying a lot of weighting gear, doing the same thing to keep up with them. And that's me. 

[00:02:22] Benedikt: Awesome. Like, how did you um, how did you apply for, or like gets it like, do they, I guess what I'm asking is do they, obviously they, they look for people who are fit, right. Or it's going to be part of the application process or like the vetting 

[00:02:39] Malcom: Yeah. So like 99% of this industry is word of mouth and that this wasn't really an exception, but it was because of my fitness. I, I mentioned to a camera guy that I was working with Ryan Godard, um, great guy that I'm into trail running. And he was like. oh Really? And then he forwarded my info to the [00:03:00] sound supervisor for the show. And, uh, that sound supervisor was. Uh, called me up kind of vetted me and was like, oh, you're only, they got that time when he phoned me, I was 30. Now I'm 31, but he was like, ah, you've got many years to go before your body breaks down. This is good. Um, but yeah, he was like deeply concerned about making sure that I could handle it because apparently a lot of people can't and they, they have, they have to drop out and they got to scramble to replace them and stuff. It's meant to be very intense. 

[00:03:29] Benedikt: What are you getting yourself into there, dude?

[00:03:32] Malcom: to be, I feel like this is going to be a w do It once and never do it again. Kind of gig.

[00:03:37] Benedikt: It also sounds kind of fun and interesting though. So it's like, I 

[00:03:40] Malcom: Oh Yeah. I'm so excited. Very, very excited. 

[00:03:44] Benedikt: cool side effect of is it's going to be, you're going to be more fit and healthy even more so than you already are. So that's a good thing as well, I guess so. Perfect. Wow. Yeah, that's cool. That's cool. So how much time, last question about this? How much time do you have to, to prepare for this 

[00:03:57] Malcom: I don't even know. I know that I [00:04:00] think I have at least a month. I'm hoping for two. 

[00:04:02] Benedikt: Yeah, that's not too much either way.

[00:04:05] Malcom: Nope. It's not. Nope. I shouldn't be doing this podcast. I should be running. 

[00:04:09] Benedikt: Probably oh yeah. Yeah. That's cool. That's very cool. Awesome. Yeah. I just keep thinking about this thing. Let's get back to, to this, uh, to this episode before we dive in, I want to say that this episode is all around a question that we got from a listener, which is very cool. So I, I think, can I kind of say the name probably can write. Um, so Stefan, I just going to say the first name, Stefan, um, emailed me saying that he loved the edit, the episodes that we have on editing, or sort of any episode where we talked about editing, but he wanted to know more because he needs more actionable in-depth information. And he has a clear, some clear questions that he sent us. And I thought, well, let's just do an episode about that answering these questions, because I think they are relevant for a lot of people and that's what we're going to do. And before we dive into. I want to tell you that, because this episode is [00:05:00] all about editing and about how to know. When something needs editing and then how to actually do it. So this is a pretty, hopefully a pretty, um, actionable episode. Since this is the topic, we thought that it's a good idea that if you joined the self-reporting band community on Facebook, so you'd go to the self recording band.com/community and join us there because. There you can upload your rough mixes or your recordings, and just ask people if they think it's tight enough or not, or maybe other people with more experienced ears can spot things that you don't or may be more objective people with fresh ears can tell you whether or not something's really in time or in tune. So I think this could really help you speed up the whole process and, um, yeah, speed up the whole learning process. Yeah, I guess so. And I just, I just think that's the best way to go about this honesty. So there there's one piece of advice right there. We're going to dive into this episode and give you more. But I think that getting feedback and asking people with more experienced ears will help you get [00:06:00] better at editing and spotting problems pretty quickly. So if you go to the self recording band.com/community, you can join us there. And I'm pretty sure that people will be happy to listen to your song and give you.

[00:06:11] Malcom: Oh, absolutely positive. 

[00:06:14] Benedikt: Yeah. So to the actual episode, I'm gonna say that this is something pretty common. So what this episode is going to be about it's it's, uh, it's about. Knowing when something is actually in time or not. And knowing, like, being able to hear problems in your recordings and then knowing what to do about them, because I'd say that this is pretty, pretty common. I see this all the time with people that I work with, like artists that I'm mixing for, that they send me stuff where, to me something's clearly not in time or not in tune, but they. I didn't catch that. They just didn't couldn't hear that. And then when I tell them they most often can, but even then sometimes they have a hard time and that's just something that that's, I think pretty normal. And if I [00:07:00] like remember like 10 years or so ago I had a hard time splitting some of these things as well. So this is, I think, a pretty normal process that you get better at that over time, but maybe there are things that you can do to speed it up and maybe and w definitely there are things that we can tell you. That you can do about those things once you've spotted them once you know them. So to wrap it up, we're going to tell you how to spot problems and we try to at least how to spot problems and then which techniques you can use to fix those.

[00:07:27] Malcom: Yes. Yeah, It's going to be a dive in, into editing and. It is a huge world, but I think part of this episode is going to be about dispelling the myth that you need to know everything, to be able to do it because you really don't. And learning the basics is something that I've come to think everybody should do. If you're listening to this podcast, you're serious about recording your music. Learning the basics of editing is going to be one of the most helpful tools you can have.

[00:07:52] Benedikt: Yeah, abs. Absolutely. Totally. And this episode is not going to be so much about the why, because we've talked about that. So Jeff even said in his [00:08:00] emails that he understands that it's absolutely necessary in most cases. Um, he just doesn't know how to actually do it. And especially he says on the fly while he has to do all these other things. So while he's also recording and playing and communicating with the other band members and all these things, he has a hard time doing some edits on the fly and he loved to hear us talk more in depth about how to know when something needs to be corrected and which techniques to use. So. Again, we not, we're not talking about the why so much. We did that in another episode, and you want to find a link to that in the show notes, if you want to go back to that episode, but this time it's more actionable and more about the, how than the why. And I think it's, it's interesting that he mentioned the, the whole on the fly thing, because. I think that it's a good idea to learn how to do that because you will get better takes instantly. It will save you time later. It will make it recording decisions easier. But at the same time, I understand that it's kind of difficult too, in the beginning, and that you have to learn it over time and I can understand the overwhelm, uh, when you have to you're new to everything or you don't do it as often, and you have to engineer and [00:09:00] produce and play, and then also edit at the same time. It's tough. And I'm going to, before we, before we start answering these questions, I'm just, just going to read his actual questions so that we know what we're talking about. Part of it was, that was, I already said. And then he said it starts in the recording process when I have to decide whether we have a perfect take or not, or whether or not I can fix that later and comp it together or not like, so he doesn't really know if that's good enough and fixable or if he should just should just do it again. Basically. That's part of the question. And then, and then often he comes home. He says he reopens the session and then he asks himself why he missed so many of the mistakes or problems. Like there are stuff that is apparently there's stuff in his recordings that he just didn't notice while he was recording. And then at home, when he listens to it again, he had noticed this, all these things, and he's thinking that he should have solved those things. Right then and there at the source. And he just doesn't know why exactly he's he keeps missing these things and what to do about this basically. And he's, he's asking if there are [00:10:00] like tricks or workflow hacks or something to, to reduce this problem and to make it easy to spot things on the fly. 

[00:10:06] Malcom: Right. 

[00:10:07] Benedikt: So yeah, that's, that's, that's, uh, that's all part of this question. 

[00:10:11] Um, 

[00:10:12] Malcom: Well, I think like 

[00:10:13] first 

[00:10:13] Benedikt: initial thoughts?

[00:10:14] Malcom: yeah, first off, thank you for the question. Super stoked on that. The, the first thing I think we could speak to is the. Trying to decide if it's good enough, if he can fix it later, or if he needs to redo it. And to me, the answer to that is what's faster. Keeping the workflow of the session, moving as fast as possible. That to me is like such a huge. Huge focus and, and the perks of keeping it moving are, are just like, they're tangible, you know, you're, you're not burning through your strings as much. You're keeping more energy. You're, you're now keeping it fresh because you're not working on the same riff for hours and hours. You're moving on to the next step. So if I know that I can just like, they just played it a little ahead and I can just quickly. The nudge the whole clip back real, real quick. There's a couple of buttons and we're like, oh Yeah. we're good. [00:11:00] Why would I get them to replay it again? Right. It's just like, oh no, you nailed it. You're just a literally couple of buttons for good. Now that means in order for that workflow to exist and have those results, you do have to know enough about editing to make it happen. On the spot. Right. So again, that kind of goes back to learning the basics and at least getting some, some slip editing skills down, um, keyword, slip editing. If you don't know what that is, you're gonna have to look it up because it's essential. But it all comes down to is like, deciding if it's good enough is what's faster is like, it has to sound for me. It has to sound how I want it to sound before we move on. So either they nailed it or I. On the spot, edit it to be how I want it to sound. 

[00:11:45] Benedikt: Okay. Yep. Yep. That makes sense. I think a certain, you have to define a certain standard, a certain quality standard where you say like, it's, it's, it's gotta be that good or else we're not done here. So that's that's I totally agree. But then his [00:12:00] question would probably be like, how do I know what the standard is? Like, how good is good enough? Like we have an episode on that is I think the actual title was like, how good is good enough? Um, but like So it's kinda hard because that's the part that probably comes with experience. I think you're good enough now will not be your good enough in a couple of years, probably. Hopefully, because you're hearing that gets better and you, I dunno, that's the part that I'm struggling with with this question to give really actionable advice, because I don't really know a way to speed that up to, to be able to hear problems more quickly because I really think it comes down to. Just doing a lot of work and listening a lot. Now, even if you don't record other bands, Um, comparing your recordings to songs you like, and like doing that very, very often. Um, and then maybe just experimenting with, um, moving things back and forth and like listening to the difference and what feels better. Like you just have to do that and analyze that and really listen for the differences and then you'll learn. But it sounds like I feel sometimes, like [00:13:00] I remember for me it was vocal timing that I struggled with for a while. Like I thought a vocal take was very good. And then somebody pointed out that the vocal is late or early and I'm like, no, I think that's good. And then I just tried it. I moved it back a little or fourth or whatever they told me. And then I was like, oh, you're totally right now. It feels better. So I just have to try it, compare it, and then it clicked. And so I, over time, I'll learn to spot that immediately in the beginning, I couldn't spot it. And then over time then, then I was able to hear the difference. And then over time I immediately noticed it. So. 

[00:13:29] Malcom: Yes. 

[00:13:29] Benedikt: So the, the doing part I think is, I think is what's crucial here. You just have to maybe get feedback. As we said in the beginning, just ask somebody and if they tell you something's late or early or feels weird, then just experiment and move it back and forth until you feel like now it's better. And then compare until you remember what the, like the difference. And, and then you'll sort of learn why it's better.

[00:13:51] Malcom: Yeah. So you're, you're absolutely right. It really comes down to time and, and effort being put in, um, or effort being put in overtime. [00:14:00] And that equals experience, which is going to ultimately decide what your, what your perspective is on. Good enough. Um, and that is never stopped. Like I'm still that, that is a sliding scale because I continue to edit stuff and figure. What is possible and what, uh, what is totally fine to be left alone, um, especially across different genres that that's a whole nother skill to learn is like what's drawn or appropriate. And you have the, you know, you're, you're has to be able to adapt to those different genres. If you're working multi-genre, if you're just doing your own band, that's actually kind of a huge advantage because you're gonna figure out that sweet spot sooner, I think, but there's no avoiding, unfortunately there's no avoiding. Time over or this effort over time thing you have to put in the time and the effort. Now when I was getting good at this stuff I would actually let's use vocal tuning as an example. I would try and put on probably too much time recording [00:15:00] vocals because I hated vocal tuning. 

[00:15:03] Benedikt: Yeah,

[00:15:03] Malcom: Um, and, uh, I thought I was good at it. Uh, and I think I am good at it, but it is very time consuming and I'm thinking it's easy to be perfectionist with vocal tuning. And so I was trying to get it, tried to get it right through tracking. And I was like, Kate, does it need to be tuned? Like, would it actually help it? So I decided to print the song as it was without tuning and then tune it and reprint it and compare a and B section of your section. Um, and you can just, you know, you could just flip back through playlist, if you render the playlist with the tune one. And I still do that. Like almost every time I do my tuning pass and then I go back and forth and kind of AB sections out and make sure that I actually think what I did is serving the song. Um, and that has led to. Uh, an increased speed of making decisions while tuning and, and certainly has led to parts of songs where I'm just like, oh, I don't need to touch that. That's totally hitting the bar of awesome, but it took experimentation. And [00:16:00] honestly, if you're anything like me, your editing journey is going to go from not doing enough to doing way too much. And then you're going to slide back and keep kind of bouncing off the guide rails until you find the sweet spot. That's totally natural. It's going to be okay if you get it wrong, you have to understand, that the performance dictates much more about what people are hearing than what you can do to it. So if you go a little too far, it's probably not going to ruin the song, but you, you want to, you know, just do, do the best you can. That's really all you can do. And you are going to be getting better. You're playing the long game. I think this came up in the, the community, the Facebook community, just like last week or something, somebody was kind of saying like, oh, I'm struggling with stopping learning and actually do. Um, because I'm worried that it won't be good enough if I don't keep learning. Right. It's like, it's always going to be better if I keep learning, but it's the doing and the sucking, you got to embrace the suck. I think somebody else said 

[00:16:56] Benedikt: exactly. 

[00:16:57] Malcom: embrace the suck. 

[00:16:59] Benedikt: Yeah, [00:17:00] exactly. Agree with everything you said right there. Yeah, totally. so so yeah. Yeah, I think, I think that that's, that's pretty much it. And then, um, so I want to move on with the question because there's more to that and more actionable that we can probably give him. Okay. Before we move on one more thing, he asked for workflow tricks there may be or tips. So, um, an example that he mentioned was. If you, if there's an obvious problem that with the performance, but he mentioned like, uh, a squeaking chair or something, uh, that he, that he's, for some reason, didn't notice in the while he was recording and then at home he noticed it and then he wonders why he didn't catch that and why he didn't solve it at the source. So is there a way, or sort of a, a process or a workflow or something you can do to reduce those kinds of mistakes? Like something to make sure that this doesn't happen? I guess my answer would be maybe have a, uh, again, I'm, I'm a checklist guy. So my, maybe my answer would be, have be prepared and have a checklist for those sorts of things. Like whenever, if something like that happened to you once, maybe just write it down and then the next time you record your check, [00:18:00] before you start recording your check, if there's any like noise in the room, if there's any, I used to do that for drum recordings a lot when. There might, there were things in the room that were rattling when we played the drums. And, uh, so I was checking for like, I don't know, radiators radiators and stuff like that. Or like I would put blankets over things or I would remove the extra snare that was laying around. I would put that in another room, you know, like I had to make these mistakes once, make a note. And the next time don't do these mistakes again, this that's basically what I did. And if you have a sort of a checklist, I think. To avoid basically technical problems like that, that, that will be my approach. But if you're already in the session, is there anything you do Malcolm to that helps you pay attention to those things or a specific step in the process or anything?

[00:18:42] Malcom: I love that checklist idea. Um, first off that's that's great. I don't do that. And I think it's a really good idea. For me, there's a reason that I really like to do section by section recording, um, specifically with like acoustic instruments, like guitars and stuff. Drums are [00:19:00] pretty well. The only thing I tried to. Full takes as much as I can. And it is because acoustic guitars for being a great example, there's, they're not very loud and other noises can easily be as loud as them, including like tapping your foot or the stool you're on squeaking or just like accidentally strumming off and hitting the side of your guitar makes all sorts of weird, terrible noises. Um, So by doing a little. You know, measure like, okay, just the verse or just the first half of the verse kind of thing. It lets me kind of focus in more specifically on everything that I'm hearing, rather than if it's a start to finish thing, you can, it's really easy to overlook certain things. Um, so like that little Uber detailed approach kind of helps ensure that I'm like, okay, Yeah, that was perfect. There was nothing wrong with that. Take let's do the next half of the verse.

[00:19:52] Benedikt: Yeah, that's a good one. I think that's a good rule of thumb in general. It's much easier to fix one part then having to fix the whole thing. If you didn't. [00:20:00] I notice it, so, yeah. Yeah, you're right. You're right. I remember having this conversation when we were talking about doing video content for that we'll eventually going to do for the surf recording band where you will, like, I would rather break it down into two chunks just to, in case something goes wrong. I only have to redo that section that not the whole video. So that's the same sort of thought there. 

[00:20:19] Malcom: Yup.

[00:20:20] Benedikt: Yeah. 

[00:20:21] Malcom: Yeah. it's totally true. If you're doing like a live army full pass the song and you know, the first three quarters are good and then there's a little squeak. You're probably just going to let it slide and then I'm finished the pass and it's like, okay, we just wasted a minute because it's not actually good. There's that problem in the middle of it. But the rest felt good. So it's like a sunk cost fallacy. 

[00:20:40] Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah. Cool. Thank you. Now he goes on to say that. Can you. Yeah. And we kind of answered that. He says, can you practice that? Even if you're not constantly recording other bands, like, can you practice that with your own material? I think you can, for sure. And then he asks like, what are you listening for when [00:21:00] you add it? I think that's a good question. What are you listening for when you add it? Is it all about the transient. Um, is it about like, what is it that you listen for? Listen to, to determine whether something is early or late or spot on. And he says like, can a picking pattern, for example, on an acoustic guitar or storming pattern or something, can that, can that be edited in a. And in a good way at all, or is that even like, is that impossible? Because he has tried, but he says the sustain of the strings is like everywhere basically. And, and if you correct the transients yeah. Moves them where he thinks they should be, then everything else kind of sounds, sounds weird. And it's also that some of the transients are not really so clear that, that it makes it easy for him to just cut and move them where he put, where they're supposed to be. So with like complex picking parents on an acoustic guitar, that's where he's struggling with. Uh, and, and even if he does it, it doesn't sound better. It sounds different, but not better than before. And [00:22:00] parts of it got worse. Other parts got better. So he's not really sure what he's doing there. And if, if it's, if it's doable at all, uh, he also tried like time to time stretching time shifting. He says that sounded interesting, but definitely not what I wanted. 

[00:22:13] Malcom: Yup. 

[00:22:14] Benedikt: So, um, so yeah, I think that's a good question. Like, what do you listen for as like part of the signal that tells you whether or not something. Spot on.

[00:22:23] Malcom: Right. Yeah. So for me, rhythm, if we're talking about rhythm and, and editing is often about rhythm, but not always. Um, yes. I think the transient is kind of how, what we use to perceive rhythm. And that's generally because drums are transient instruments and kind of dictate the rhythm of a song. Acoustic guitars are also very transient. So, so yes, I think timing ultimately comes down to placing the transience accurately when you're talking about the acoustic guitar and having trouble editing the like, you know, complex picking patterns. Unfortunately [00:23:00] that's yeah, that's a hard truth that editing, picking patterns on. acoustic guitars is incredibly unsuccessful in most cases, because it's also a sustaining instrument in situations like that. Um, So, they're overlapping like crazy. It generally doesn't go very well. I would say that the acoustic guitar is one of the harder instruments to edit and thus, one of the harder instruments to record, well, you really have to play it. Awesomely, strumming patterns, much easier to work. Picking patterns. Very tricky. 

[00:23:30] Benedikt: Yep. I totally agree. I was. I think that, that's what I would have said. It's like the, the, the truth Sacha with is that it's probably a matter of like, More or recording more takes or making it less complicated, anything like that because yeah, as just like, as you said, I find it to be one of the most challenging things to edit. But yeah, but I would also say that it is, as you said, is this the transient that I'm listening for when it comes to, to rhythm? maybe, maybe we should explain real quick, [00:24:00] by the way, with a transient actually is for people who haven't heard that term, maybe. So it's the. Um, The attack of the signal. It's the first impulse basically like when you pick a string, when you, or when you hit a drum, the first peak sort of the first, um, yeah, quick snap, impulse, whatever you want to call it. Some people I've heard people call it the front of the signal. Um, so. You know, that, that if you look at away for that, the big spike in the beginning, that's the transient and, uh, or like a little before that actually, so that the very beginning of the signal when you pick it or your finger hits the string. So yeah, that's what I would listen for, but it it's incredibly difficult, difficult on a picking pattern on an acoustic guitar. Definitely. Now the next question, and we can, we can, maybe we can get back to that if we have more thoughts on that. But like the next question he said he has is do you, oh, wait. Okay. Okay.

[00:24:52] Malcom: just because you're describing what a transient is. I think this is a great example to describe soft and hard transients so people can picture [00:25:00] them more. Cause everybody's looked at away for them. And now you're trying to think, okay, what does the start of it look like? And that brings up the topic of hard transience and soft transients. So snare drum or a kick drum, very hard transients. Big impact and it spikes right away. It looks like that the front of it is like this big wall. And then it narrows down right after which would be the sustain where an acoustic guitar isn't really like that. Usually if you strum it, it's going to be a softer curve up to the peak and then start sustaining down. So that would be a soft transient. Um, Now worth mentioning, is that depending on if it's a softer heart transient, how we perceive the timing of that transient actually changed. So the more hard to transient is the more immediate that peak is the more quick it's where we perceive it. And the more easy it is to just kind of throw that on a grid line and know that it's going to sound like it happened there with a, an acoustic guitar or some electric guitars that might not be the case, the front, the. [00:26:00] Or the peak of it might not be what our ear thinks is the start of it. So you have to be careful and kind of learn those. And that's an experimentation thing. Editing electric guitars. Sometimes it seems to work moving the peak. Sometimes it's gotta be earlier than that when it's actually just like the pic hitting the string before the actual release of it. 

[00:26:20] Benedikt: Very good call. Like glad you mentioned that. I wish we definitely need to mention that. So yeah, the it's actually the case with the store that. Guitarists it's it's actually, when you look at the way farming, you see this big spike most often, like with Palm mutes, for example, and stuff that really needs to be in time. If we use that as a reference and put that on the grid, the guitar is likely to be early, because as you said, the pick attack is before that. And it's much easier to edit using if you want to use a visual reference, it's much easier to edit using the Dai as the visual reference and not the distorted track because with the D the initial spike sort of is the pick attack, or it's more clear with the acoustic, uh, with the, the distorted amp [00:27:00] sound. The pick attack is a tiny little blip before the big wall and the big wall, and this already the amp sort of building up and especially with like Palm mutes, when there is a little low end. The biggest spike you see is not the pick attacks. That's a scratch. The thing that our ear needs to know where the thumb something's in time or not. It's actually before that. So. Electric guitar, Chuck part or something like that looks a little late on the grid most 

[00:27:26] of the time.  If you have a D I and a distorted guitar, you can use the D I as a visual reference reference because there you see it more clearly, if you only have to distorted signal, and that is true for it. Like any other sort of, um, low end heavy, or sort of amplified manipulated signal that doesn't have a clear, or maybe saturated signal that doesn't have a clear trans Intuit. If you only have that, then maybe you can find a way to identify the part of it that, that our ears need. To be able to hear where like, where it's, where it has to be timing wise. So what I'm, what I'm trying to say is [00:28:00] maybe you can just put any cue on it and listen for the mid range or the top end the attack. And, uh, just try to identify where the pick scratches, the attackers, or maybe you can if it's a kick drum and it's very low and like a loose. Big sort of thing. Maybe you can filter it for a second and just listen to the beat or attack until you really know where that is. And then you can edit it based on that. So I think it's, it's good to know that our ears listen for the mid range and top end sort of click or snap or whatever transient a lot. And that the low end sometimes takes a while to build up. And so it looks late on the wave form like this. These are things that I think are important to know. It's the same thing as you described with the soft and hard transient on a guitar, I think. If you pick a string on an acoustic with your fingernail, it's going to be a pretty hard clear transient. If you play it soft with your finger, it's probably going to be. Harder to tell visually where the transit exactly is, but there's still going to be the point where the strings are snaps and gives you that, um, attack. It's just not as obvious. And you just have to listen for it to, to learn how [00:29:00] to listen for that and ignore the slower, low end part of it. Maybe if that makes sense, or in the case of saturation, the sort of saturated washy, transient, that results from that. So it's a matter of learning what the actual thing is that our ears need to identify whether or not that the timing is.

[00:29:17] Malcom: Totally. I love that you brought up that it's not just guitars. Like it could be bass, it could be keys. It could be anything that you saturate on the way in. If you think you're going to need to edit, it might be worth grabbing a clean Dai. I mean, I argue that it's always worth grabbing a clean deal. It's just, it's good practice. 

[00:29:33] Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, yeah. And then his, um, his next question was, and that's also a good one and, uh, Do you go through a track like bar by bar, really analyzing every single hit every single bar, uh, like stopping, analyzing that, fixing it. And then you move on or do you. Hit play, listen to the song. And, uh, you just wait until you hear something that's wrong. It needs to be [00:30:00] changed. Like, are you basically searching for mistakes, analyzing everything? Or are you just listening to the song? And when something distracting comes up, you hit pause and then you correct it because he says, and that's a good one that. Really going in and swimming in and, and listening for all the details he says, I assume that it's pretty dangerous because the more you'll you're searching for those things. And the more you look at the details, the more details and mistakes, quote-unquote mistakes, you will notice. So when you go hunting for these things, you're probably going to find them. And you're probably going to find more than you need to. So he assumes this could be dangerous and he wonders like what the, what the balance is there and how we, how we navigate this. And I totally understand this question 

[00:30:40] Malcom: Yeah, that's a great question. That's such a, I feel that in my bones it's like trauma. Um, yeah, so I, here's a good plan of attack for you. I think. That's the fan. Here's a good plan of attack. It is to, to worry [00:31:00] about it while you track it. So you don't have to worry about it later. Um, so while tracking you can be carrying too much looking too small. And, um, and you know, like we've said, the experience is going to dictate what that you're, you're going to find a place where you're not like stressed out. You're looking so hard. Um, but. But, you know, care a lot about it being really clean on the, on the way in, and then when you come back to do that review and like, just be like, okay, I should double check this and make sure it's all clean. You can come back and do that big overlook where you're not hunting for it. You're just listening to the song. You always want to be listening to the song. When you click play, they'll do a start to finish listen, because the song is way more important than any editing you can do. So the only time you should really be listening and looking for mistakes is when you are like, literally only listening to that instrument as you record it, you know, the guitars tend to suppose to loud as you check it because you want to make sure that it's, you're digging in just right on each transient. That's when you can care about that stuff. But as soon as it's down, throw it back into the mix and [00:32:00] listen to it as well. 

[00:32:01] Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely agree. The only exception, and there's always the exception, the only 

[00:32:06] exception to the exception to that would be, and I don't think this is your genres Stefan. So what Malcolm says is relevant for you, but maybe for other people in the audience. It's highly, like, it depends on the genre, as you said, knock them. So if you are doing metal modern metal, for example, or something that is really, that has to be like super accurate. You're going to have a hard time just listening to a Palm, you Chuck part breakdown or something, and like spotting, which of the attacks is spot on and which is wrong. So in this case, I would really, this, these are the exceptions where I would go. Really and take every single attack and put it where it's supposed to be, that it's in sync with the kick drum, like these very, these parts that are meant to be like almost robotic. Perfect. Down to the millisecond. Basically these are the exceptions because that's just the aesthetic of it and it has to be perfect. And I did just do it. I can even do it visually without listening to it at this point. other than that for [00:33:00] every other genre, basically I would absolutely do what you sat Malcolm and listen to the song as a whole and make sure that it feels right. Even if that means that a single attack doesn't look right or is maybe late or something, but when, if it feels right, and if it's like the right emotion, the right impact, all of that, that is what really matters. And that is also unfortunately the part that takes time to learn, because that is a very vague thing to teach someone, you know, But, and this is also what you said. I'll come when, when you were saying that in the beginning, you're doing not enough. And then you're doing way too much. This is where I see a lot of people when they learn how to edit this. Quantizing everything to the grid, even when it's not supposed to be there. And then they slowly learn how to like, 

[00:33:45] Malcom: relax. 

[00:33:46] Benedikt: you know how to relax a little bit? Exactly. That that's really hard to teach and it comes with experience. It's just need to really feel the song and know whether or not it just feels right. And when in doubt, I would say, I would always say like, just experiment when you have the feeling that it could [00:34:00] be late or early, or it feels a little rushed or whatever. Just try. Like if you think it feels a little rushed, just grab the part, move it back and see if it's better. Um, and then that way you'll learn, but I would, I would, I would also just learn to trust your intuition and your musical abilities, sort of you, you have a feeling for what your song is supposed to feel like, I think, and you have to learn to trust that. It's a balance, you know, 

[00:34:24] Malcom: It's a total balance. 

[00:34:26] Benedikt: but there are a genre. That's what I wanted to say. There are genres where it just has to be completely spot on. And in those cases, there is no way around going through it, like bar by bar, even like node by node sometimes. And just putting it on.

[00:34:37] Malcom: Yes. Been there a lot of work, but it's kind of, it's the sound I a hundred percent agree. Yeah. it is fascinating. I think again, when I going back to tracking and, and carrying too much while you track that like that's something I deeply relate to. I've left the studio feeling like I hate everything about a song and then a week later I'm able to listen to it as a song again. And I'm like, this is really good. [00:35:00] Um, 

[00:35:01] Benedikt: Yeah.

[00:35:01] Malcom: doing that. I mixed a song yesterday and I'm like, damn, this sounds awesome. The fields there and stuff. And at the time I was deeply concerned about the tightness of the band, like deeply upset about it. Um, and, uh, and so I'm still learning this, like I'm, I'm, I'm obviously as a result of hearing the song yesterday, I'm carrying way too much. About tightness while tracking, because this is more than tight enough. It's like, it's really good. And, and this is a genre specific thing. Again, you have to, it's a sliding scale, but at the time I think I was in like Uber polished, pop, modern rock mode, and I needed to not be while I was tracking it. And, uh, I mean, it worked out, but I was like, oh, I don't know. I don't know if we got this one and the band nailed it. They Totally. nailed it. So always learning, keep adapting.

[00:35:47] Benedikt: Yeah. That's that was it. I hope Stephan that, uh, this was helpful that this answer to your question, maybe one more actionable thing at the end, uh, in case you're still worrying, like, yeah, but what do I actually do if once I've [00:36:00] identified, if it's late or early or. 

[00:36:02] Malcom: Um, 

[00:36:02] Benedikt: Whatever. So I think there's two things we should give you there and you sorta have to look that up yourself and you will be able to once you know what you have to look for. So the first thing is mentioned, Malcolm, you mentioned it already is slip editing. So slip editing is the basic technique that I would start with. W which means you cut. The quick explanation would be you cut right before the transient. You don't cut into the transcend. That's important. You don't want to cut away the pick attack or the stick attack. So you cut right straight, like right before the transient starts and then you move. Uh, and then you cut right before the next transient. So you cut out a transient or a whole part. If that's what's late or early, then you move the part or the bar, the hit or whatever you cut out. You move that to where. And then you close the gaps that result from cutting and moving. And you do that by either grabbing the event or region or whatever it's called at your door. You grab that, you drag it to the next one to close the gap, and then you do a CrossFit and you have to be careful to grab the right [00:37:00] one because you don't want to get a double transplant. And if that doesn't make sense to you right now, you just have to try it. And you'll see what I mean. If you grab the wrong one, the transplant will come up again and you'll have two of them. You don't want that. So you have to grab the right one. To avoid the double transient, but you just cut it, you cut it out, move it where it's supposed to be. You close the gap and then you do a crossfade so that you don't get a weird click and you have to experiment with that a little bit. Like how big, like how long the crossfade should be, where exactly to cut, you know, there's more to that, but that's, that's the kind of easy part you just have to practice and you have to maybe watch a YouTube tutorial and then just do it a couple of times. And then, you know exactly what I mean. Um, but that's slip editing. That's what that is called. Uh, just don't make it, just make sure you don't have weird gaps in your audio regions and make sure you do cross fades and make sure you don't get double transients and stuff like that. 

[00:37:48] Malcom: I had an interesting question that pertains to this recently. And it was why do we chop right before the transient and after, you know, what, why is it that, why is that the spot? And the answer is because that is the [00:38:00] quietest part in the audio. You're going to find generally you want to cut where there's no noise. And if it's a performance, there probably is still some noise. But the note before is fading out as much as it can. And the next note hasn't started. So that's why we're cutting it. There. 

[00:38:12] Benedikt: Yep. That's why. And there's also a psychoacoustic effect. There's even a name for that. I don't remember right now, but, um, The thing is, if you cut right before or after a transient, the louder, even like, even if you get an artifact, even if you get a click or a small pop there. If the transient and the small artifact are very close together, our brain is only able to hear one of them. Like the loud transient will sort of make you not hear the other one, the other click. It's really fascinating, like I've seen, there's YouTube videos on that, where you can see an experiment where they have an audible, totally audible click in there. If you isolate it, it's a clear click. Everybody can hear it. But if it's like a couple milliseconds right before a snare hit, no matter what you do, you can't hear it. It's like not there because the scenario hitch covers that in a way, even if, even though the scenario is after that, we still can't hear it. Like it's not there. [00:39:00] So. 

[00:39:01] Malcom: monkey brains. 

[00:39:02] Benedikt: it. Yeah, yeah, exactly. And if you do that, right, wireless is a notice still sustaining where it's not the quietest part. As you said, Malcolm, then you hear in the sustain, you're going to hear a slight dip or blob or something, you know, and, and that, that doesn't happen if you use the quietest part. And if, if there's a nearby loud trends, it's even better. So, yeah, totally. Right. Cool. Thank you for that. Um, that that's important. and then the second technique that I want to leave you with is time stretching. We've also briefly brought it up in the, in the episode or Stephan, you even brought it up in your email. So time stretching means you don't cut and move and close the gap. You. Stretch or compress the audio. And we don't, we're not talking about dynamics compression, but time compression. So you make a note longer or shorter. So in that case, you don't have to close the gaps, um, necessarily because you're just changing the way it's like, we just explained, you're just changing the way form it's in. Every dog has a different, sometimes you have to close the gap, but the difference is you're just, you're not [00:40:00] leaving the audio as it is. And just moving into a different spot. You're changing the audio. Making it longer or making it shorter. So a note that is not long enough can be stretched and the note that's too long can be shortened. And, um, that can be the solution in cases where slip editing just doesn't do it anymore. If the note is too far off and you slip. You it sometimes it's not possible to get close to a transient. Sometimes it's not possible to do it without getting a double transplant. And in those cases you have to try a Titan time stretching, but there's obviously, um, also downsides to that. So that might introduce other artifacts depending on the source. And you know, you just have to try one of the two and see which one. And sometimes you have to pick your poison. Sometimes both of them leave artifacts and you have to decide, which is like the less annoying one, or you just have to rerecord it, you know? So, but these are the two techniques that I, that I think you should look up. The first one is slip editing. The other one is time stretching, and you should learn how to do that in your dye. And then you should experiment with both and just know that if one [00:41:00] doesn't work, the other one probably works. And if none of them work, then you'll probably have to just record it.

[00:41:05] Malcom: Yeah. Yeah, you got it. Yeah, there's, it's a really good use of your time, uh, and effort and even money if that's what it takes to learn. Some of these skills, like time searching is about. And if you can get that roughly figured out so that you can correct something fairly quickly without causing damage. It's a, yeah, you're going to have a much better time in your dog. You're going to feel much more at home there and less like you're in a hostile environment. 

[00:41:32] Benedikt: Yeah, totally talking time and money because it's just mentioned it. Uh, we just, we didn't even say that in the episode, but we wanted to, and I think it's important. Maybe you shouldn't do it at all. Maybe you should just hire somebody to do the editing for you. Uh, a pro that is quick and that is who is experienced. 

[00:41:49] And even if you, yeah, 

[00:41:51] Malcom: I think I can speak for both of us. We don't offer this, this isn't something you, can hire either of us for. So we're suggesting this entirely unbiased and it's something we both [00:42:00] hire people for. 

[00:42:01] Benedikt: yeah, exactly. 

[00:42:02] I mean, 

[00:42:03] Malcom: do it, but 

[00:42:04] Benedikt: I have to be fair. I offer it, but I don't do it myself. Thomas does it. And like, we offer it for people if that we, who we work with or where, like I don't have it on my website or offered as a service, we don't do editing only, but I offered for people when I'm mixed that I'm mixed for it need editing. I offer it. And also I had a coaching client, um, recently in a very awesome band from Australia day. Uh, they wanted to do it themselves, then they realize maybe we just should just get it done and that you guys edit it. And then we did it. And, um, they were stoked on the result. So we, we do it, but it's not my main gig. And, and Thomas is, I think at this point, Thomas is way better at it than I am because he does it all the time for me. And I haven't done it in awhile. Really. 

[00:42:42] Malcom: told the 

[00:42:44] Benedikt: I mean, I know how to do it, but he's probably quicker than I am. And you know, so that you should probably just hire somebody. And even if you want to do it in the future and you want to learn it, which is a skill you should learn. As we said, you should still hire somebody in the beginning just for the learning effect. Because that way you [00:43:00] have something, you can compare your stuff to you. You will know when it comes back, you will know. Oh, no. That's what it sounds when it's in time. You know, if the person you're hiring does a great job, you have a reference, you can compare to what you have now, and that will help you learn so much, so much quicker. Like, um, this will basically answer the whole question of what is tight enough. If you hire a good person and they do a great job, then you'll hear what but tight enough means compared to what you had in the beginning.

[00:43:26] Malcom: I can't stress enough how much I would recommend recording your drums and sending them off to get edited. And then, and then if you want to learn, try to do the restaurant from there, but you'll, you'll get these drum tracks back and you're going to be like, damn, this changes, everything record into these is awesome. Um, and, and now you've got this kind of foundation. We've talked about this a hundred times. I think, um, you know, getting that foundation down to make the rest of the song on super. 

[00:43:53] Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. All right. So I think that's it for this episode, Stephan hope that was helpful. And let me know if you have any followup [00:44:00] questions to that, and again, go to the surf recording, band.com/community, post your stuff there, get feedback. And maybe we can have a discussion there because I think that's also a subjective thing. Like. What tight enough actually is. And I see kind of this trend right now, where even in the heavier genres, people gravitate towards the like little imperfections a little more again. So we kinda hit this, this, we were kind of over this peak of like music being so perfect that people are now wanting like the imperfections and the rawness a little bit more, even in the metal genres. I see that trend. So. Yeah, this is probably a subjective thing and worth talking about and discussing because it's a matter of taste in the end. And I would love to hear your, your thoughts on that. Um, so, uh, let's, let's discuss, 

[00:44:46] Malcom: Thanks for listening.

[00:44:48] Benedikt: thank you for listening. Bye bye.


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