#25: Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 1)

#25: Troubleshooting – What To Do When Things Go Wrong (Part 1)

Troubleshooting and solving problems are just part of making records.

Things will go wrong at some point and we need to be able to deal with those issues fast, so we can continue working on the art, stay in the zone and keep the creative energy and vibe up at all times. 

  • Have you ever felt the frustration kicking in after hours of searching the internet for a solution to some seemingly trivial problem? 
  • Has making a record ever seemed like a tedious and difficult process to you?
  • Have you ever been wondering why something just doesn't sound like it's supposed to and you are kind of stabbing in the dark trying to get it right?

We've been there and want to make your life a little easier by sharing a whole list of solutions to common "audio problems", so you don't need to go through the same frustrating process of figuring it all out on your own. Instead you can apply the advice right away and continue focussing on what really matters.

This is a two part series, as there's really a lot that can, and will, eventually go wrong. Let's start with part one, where we discuss technical issues and "tone problems" that you need to overcome if you want to capture exciting sounding tracks.

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

TSRB Podcast 025 - Troubleshooting - What To Do When things Go Wrong (Part 1)

[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] Big episode on how to fix different situations that you'll eventually encounter all of these. So, 

Benedikt: [00:00:06] and it's good to have a list like this or your notes. So whatever handy, because when you're in session and shit hits the fan, it's like great to just have a couple of solutions. This is the self recording band podcast, the show where we help you make exciting records on your own, wherever you are, DIY stuff.

Let's go.

Hello and welcome to the. Self recording band podcast. I am your host Benedict time and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. How are you today, buddy? 

Malcom: [00:00:37] I'm great, man. We're up a little bit earlier than usual, but uh, this is a nice way to start the day always. So I'm excited. 

Benedikt: [00:00:43] Yeah, me too. How are you?

I'm pretty, pretty good. I've told you before we started the episode that I'm feeling a little burnt out at the moment because of all this course thing that we talked, we've been talking about and like I'm on a semi vacation, but not really because I have to work on things which is always kind of [00:01:00] tricky, but it's been good to spend a little more time with the family this week.

So. All good. Um, yeah, funny enough. I've taught, I've listened to an episode of the six figure home studio podcast that we both listened to today. And, uh, Brian, the host talks about like how he's feeling burnt out right now. And he goes through something like this kind of every summer. And I, I thought back the last couple of years and it's.

Actually pretty similar for me whenever, like in summer, when there's a lot of things that you can do in your personal life and with the family and everything, when that kind of private, like free time stress, if you call it that way, like if that adds to the actual workload and stress, that's also a period of time where I kind of feel burned out, burned out sometimes.

So yeah, it was funny to hear that on the podcast today, but 

Malcom: [00:01:49] yeah, that's a, yeah, that's a good point. I've I've got like. Marches like my yearly midlife crisis around January, February, I decided to start working on something [00:02:00] totally new. And then around March, I'm like, Hmm, I kind of let this become all consuming.

And that was not, that was not the goal. So I have to sort it out. Okay. 

Benedikt: [00:02:09] Yeah. But you're feeling good at the moment, right? Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:02:12] Oh yeah. Yeah. Things are awesome right now. Awesome. 

Benedikt: [00:02:15] That's good to hear. Well, let's jump right into it. Today. We have an episode on basically a troubleshooting episode. So we go through a list of things that can potentially go wrong and often do go wrong.

And we go through this list of frequently asked questions and problems that come up when people record. And we, um, try to give you as many answers to those questions and problems as possible solutions to those problems. And it's kind of a, what to do when things go wrong, uh, episode, because things will go wrong.

Like they do all the time, even like in a professional setting, some things just go wrong. And the more experience you have, you just know what to do when those things come up. And this could be a very, very valuable episode episode, actually, I think, and eyes a [00:03:00] chest. If you're listening to this. That you, uh, grab, like, I don't know, pen and paper or a note app or something like this, because it's going to be a lot of, uh, things that we go through pretty quickly and a lot of solutions, a lot of tips and tricks.

So maybe you want to take some notes, make some notes off of things. Um, so yeah, that will be a good episode to do this, I guess. 

Malcom: [00:03:20] Definitely. Great idea. Taking notes on anything is a good way to just learn more. 

Benedikt: [00:03:25] Yeah. Yeah. I I'm big on this. Like I'd never did it for a long period of my life and I kept forgetting valuable things that I learned, but once I started just writing them down, even the act of writing it down helps remember it a lot.

Malcom: [00:03:39] Yeah. Yeah. That's the only reason I ever write notes. I never read them ever. I feel like I've never gone back to read them, but that's not true, I guess a couple of times, but, but almost always, it's just the act of writing it down. Helps me like internalize the information better. 

Benedikt: [00:03:53] I just lock it in quick side note.

He'd do you. Do you keep a journal or something like this, this to you? Do you do journaling [00:04:00] or 

Malcom: [00:04:00] no, I don't. But I've been thinking that I told they should. 

Benedikt: [00:04:03] That's a thing that I found very helpful as well. Like I do that in the morning and in the evening, just five minutes or even just one minute, just a couple of sentences that sentences.

And I've got this, this journaling app. Um, called day one that I use, which is gives you kind of templates. We're just answering a couple of questions every day and just the, yeah, after sitting down thinking about those questions every single day and writing it down without ever reading it again, but just writing it down.

Um, yeah, it kinda kind of helps and it's a cool habit I've found for myself. So 

Malcom: [00:04:33] fun fact, I just wrote down day one journal app. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That'd make notes as we have our own podcasts. You see that? 

Benedikt: [00:04:42] Yeah. Works great. Awesome. So, yeah, let's go into this. Let's get into this. I kind of categorize this into like, uh, I put the things down to like three categories.

Um, one is like technical issues, which are most, not most of the time, pretty [00:05:00] easy to fix. Then there are kind of tone problems. There is often not one solution, but we give some suggestions for solutions for those things. And then there's a third category, which is kind of arrangement problems because sometimes it's not the individual tone that doesn't work, or sometimes it's not a technical problem, but sometimes things just get in the way of each other.

And, um, yeah, that's the third category here. 

Malcom: [00:05:24] Big episode on how to fix different situations that you'll eventually encounter all of these. So, 

Benedikt: [00:05:29] yeah, exactly. And it's good to have a list like this or your notes or whatever handy, because when you're in the session and shit hits the fan, it's like, Great to just have a couple of solutions.

Malcom: [00:05:38] Yes. And even just knowing the terminology. So getting familiar with some of the words we're going to be using in this will help you be able to Google up solutions and stuff like that. If you don't know what it's called, it's, it's really hard to find help. 

Benedikt: [00:05:50] Oh yeah. True. All right. Let's start with the technical issues.

I'll just start with the first one and that I wrote down, and this is I'm very easy. Fix no [00:06:00] signal from your max. So you plugged in, you're making sure your interface and you want to sing into it or record something. And there's no signal. If you're using a country answer, my problem could be you didn't turn on Phantom power.

Yeah, definitely. 

Malcom: [00:06:13] Yeah. Phantom power, uh, easy one to forget, uh, for sure. Cause like your defaults normally turn in that, off on your channels strip. Um, and, and then, so you have to remember to turn it on when you need it. And the other thing though is just double checking your patching. So making sure it actually is going into the right channel.

So, you know, despite having fountain power on and the game cranked up on the preamp, you think it's in, it could just be on the next channel over and you mistakenly got it mixed up when you were plugging it in. So double check your, uh, your routing. 

Benedikt: [00:06:44] Yep, totally. And that kind of, we could jump to the next point on this list here.

And this is like no signal in your doll, which could be because of the routing, because you've assigned the wrong input channel to the channel you want to record on. 

Malcom: [00:06:57] So also very common. Yeah, yeah, [00:07:00] yeah. Me too. Actually, 

Benedikt: [00:07:02] every time before we, this podcast, I have to check this because I'm switching interfaces and sometimes there's an input assigned to the track that's currently not active or in another interface or something like this.

So I have to choose the right interface, the right audio device first, then the Dar settings, and then assign the right input of that interface to the actual channel. So. Yep. 

Malcom: [00:07:24] Yep. Yep. So double check the input and the output 

Benedikt: [00:07:27] and the output as well. Yeah, exactly. Because it could be the signal on the channel, but you might not hearing anything that that might not be hearing anything and that's because you haven't assigned an output or the wrong output or it's muted or something like that.

Malcom: [00:07:38] Yeah. And you'll know that's happening because you'll see, you'll see input on the fader of that channel. Like, you know, the metering of inside your door or your preamp, um, they give you prenup has any faders or sorry, metering. Uh, you might see that you're getting signal there. So that kind of helps you narrow down how far it's reaching.

You kind of want to look for these indicators to see, okay, well, it's definitely hitting the preamp. [00:08:00] I can see lights happening in there and then I can see light inside my door, but I don't see lights on my master. A meter. So something's going on there? We know it's between that point B and point C kind of thing.

And just break it down until you know, where it's probably happening and that'll help you, uh, hopefully locate it. 

Benedikt: [00:08:19] Yes. Also, there is a thing I don't know about other doors, but in, in Cubase and I think in pro tools as well, you have to arm like the track. So you have to enable the record function on that track.

And so that when you hit record that it actually records. And if you don't do that, you might hit record, but it doesn't record anything. So that's another one. 

Malcom: [00:08:39] Yeah. Yeah. There's in pro tools. There's a record enabled, which you need to even pass audio, but there's also an input monitor, which will let you hear the track, but not record it.

So you have to be careful. 

Benedikt: [00:08:51] Yeah. Same thing. Same in Cubase. Yeah, the monitoring, next thing here, um, it could be that you are hearing [00:09:00] kind of a weird delay or a phasey sound or something like that. Uh, and that could be because you've enabled this input monitoring, um, button, but you could, it could be that you have enabled the monitoring through the door, but also maybe direct monitoring through your interface or the software of the interface and that those two get mixed and one has a slight latency or something.

And you hear kind of this. Weird fuzzy, um, sound. So that could be the case. So you should always either, um, enable monitoring through the door or direct monitoring before the door one or the other. 

Malcom: [00:09:34] Yeah. Yeah. Essentially, if you have the same sound coming from two different sources and they're not perfectly sinked up, it will sound weird and crazy.

And usually undesirable. 

Benedikt: [00:09:45] Yeah, exactly. So that's, that could be a problem. Also with some interfaces, they have a loop back function. My army interface has something like that. So if you enable that function, the, the main output gets routed back to inputs one and [00:10:00] two, they have that because their analyzer software that comes with the interface, um, gets signaled that way.

So you need to enable that in order for the analyzer to work, but then inputs one and two does don't work anymore. Um, so, and you can use it for other things as well, but if you have that loop back enabled, it could be that you hearing it twice, you could monitor a channel one and you also the loop back from the output being routed back to the channel one.

So that's also thing. Very cool. 

Malcom: [00:10:27] Yeah. My does not have that. 

Benedikt: [00:10:29] Yeah, mine has that. It's pretty handy, but it can also, but it has cost problems for me as well, because I haven't checked that button. And I was wondering why I was hearing things twice until I saw that the loop back wasn't able to. 

Malcom: [00:10:39] Great moment to say, read your manuals for your gear, because if you didn't know that was a feature, you would never figure it out.

Yeah. You know, you'd be like, what is going on? This is so weird. I'm telling you. 

Benedikt: [00:10:51] Yeah. Like manuals are like, do you read when you buy a new plugin? Do you read the manual? 

Malcom: [00:10:56] do now. Yes. Yes. Uh, and it is been [00:11:00] such a good decision and like, you know, it's not like I sit down and put an hour in. I just skimmed through it.

Make sure any, like, you know, I'm not going to read how the ratio works on every compressor. Cause it's the same on every, every compressor, but you know, often, especially nowadays there's all these there'll be like plugin with weight or, or I guess on this new compressor, I got a, it says wait or focus, pawnshop cops.

So good. Uh, but wait or focus. I'm like, okay, well what does that actually mean? That's those are arbitrary words. And, uh, by looking on there, they're pretty much EQs. Cool. 

Benedikt: [00:11:31] Yeah, I have to look into this one. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but I haven't got it yet. And, um, yeah, but people seem to love it, the pawn shop, so, yeah.

It's fun. Um, yeah. And then I, sometimes I actually discovered features of plugins, like years after I got them. So reading the manual can be very, very helpful. 

Malcom: [00:11:50] Oh yeah. Yeah. Like there's some plugins that are so advanced. That I'm still finding features even after reading the manual. Like, you know, I did just didn't read it thoroughly enough.

[00:12:00] Like the fab filter stuff, for example, I didn't know. You could have the side chain, have a little detection circuit that you can move wherever you want. Like it's so cool. 

Benedikt: [00:12:08] Yeah, exactly. Things like that. Sometimes you have to have to expand some weird menu that's hidden or something and then like, yeah, yeah.

Exactly. That's great. Awesome. All right. Um, then also a monitoring thing is, um, the latency where we common issue. And I get questions about that all the time. Actually, this week I got a quote request from someone who said, he's basically ready with his song and he wants it to be mixed, but he needs to record some guitar overdub.

And he has some latency issues that he just can't figure out. Um, so I like this stuff comes up a lot and people ask about this a lot. And there can be, um, a number of reasons for latency. So the obvious one, I think is the buffer size, at least to me. So if you have the buffer size set high and your Dawn you're monitoring through the Dar, then, um, yeah, your computer takes some extra time to process everything which gives you more CPU, power, or more CPU resources [00:13:00] to process everything.

But that will cause latency, of course. And so you have to lower the buffer size in order to get lower latency. 

Malcom: [00:13:08] Yeah. In layman terms, you're just giving your computer more time to think with a higher buffer, which is great when you are mixing and doing heavy processing. But, uh, pretty unusable when you're trying to record, because you need like instant.

Feedback from the sound you're, you're putting into it so that you can perform and play. So lowering the buffer will solve that. That's usually the issue. You just forgot to turn it, make lower the buffer after a mix kind of thing. You're like, Oh, it's pretty obvious. Like I do that all the time. I mean, it's not that I forgot, but I just test it and I could hear that it's set wrong.

So I just go change it. It's kind of like a constantly go into that menu and changing the buffer. Another thing that can cause us though is some plugins. There's plugins are getting better and better computers are getting better and better. So there's all of these plugins nowadays that don't affect latency, which is awesome.

But there's some that definitely do. And if you have those [00:14:00] in your chain, you're going to have introduced latency in your monitoring. So you have to watch for those. I think most doors I know ProTools does anyways, but I would say most of us probably have a delay compensation, a window where you can see what is happening for as far as delay caused by plugins.

So you can just throw a plug in and plug in on and see if it's adding delay or not. And visually check it to see if you're good. Um, sometimes you just have to make them inactive and just track without them though. 

Benedikt: [00:14:27] Yeah, exactly. And, um, some like if you're in Cubase called trick, here is there is a feature.

I don't know where you enable it. I've always have it enabled, but you'll find it out. So when you open the mixer window in Cubase, you can choose what parts of the racks you want to display. So you can choose if you want to see the, the, the inserts or the Q the built in channel, strip, the Sans, whatever the inputs, outputs phase, I don't know, like all these things.

And you can also. Enable a little latency window or like a yeah. [00:15:00] Display. So above every fader, there's a small box where it just shows you the latency that this track causes. So right now I have a, um, in this session here, there's a track that I'm not using. It's just in the template and this track causes like there's a lot of plugins on it and it causes 119 milliseconds delete.

So that's a lot. And if I would have that enabled and recorded through that, um, channel, or if it was just enabled in the session, There would be a lot of latency, but I can, I can see, like, by looking just quickly looking at it, I can immediately see which channel is causing the latency. So, yeah. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:15:33] Yeah.

There's a, I think called delay compensation in all Dawes modern does where it kind of does math and tries to solve these problems for you. And up to a certain amount. It can do that in quick enough for you to be able to record too. But that button can be turned off either by accident or for some mysterious reason.

And you'll, you'll probably notice pretty quick. Like if you had a full mix and you turned off to lay compensation, the whole mix would just turn into like a mushy pie of garbage. [00:16:00] So find out where that button is, because you'll always want to be able to just go make sure it's on delay. Compensation should be on.

Benedikt: [00:16:06] Yeah, absolutely. What do you do if you have a session that's like you already mixed a bunch of stuff, or you did some, some stuff along the way, like during recording and the mix is already pretty far, but you still want to do some overdubs and all the plugins are just there and you, no matter how low you set the buffer size, it's not possible to record without latency.

Or like if you set it low enough, then the computer doesn't. Isn't able to process it anymore. The CPU is not enough anymore. So what do you do in those cases? 

Malcom: [00:16:35] I mean, it almost has to be CPU issue because I can just set my recording track to a different output. And it'll compensate all of the other tracks to allow me to record in time.

Um, but if, because of CPU, which is definitely possible in this situation, you're explaining, I would just do a bounce. Um, so I would render everything I've got into it mix essentially, and then bring that mix into a new session or [00:17:00] whatever, and just record to that. So there's no that now there's no plugins.

I just have like a reference track that I'm tracking to. Which works, you know, I like having all the tracks there so I can like adjust what I'm hearing really easily, but this totally gets me out of that in a pinch. Yeah. I'm doing that later today, actually. 

Benedikt: [00:17:16] Yeah. Yeah. That totally works. Um, another option is that you'd use direct monitoring, so you don't monitor it through the DOB, but you just monitor the direct input, take through your interface or the software that comes with the interface.

Yeah, the problem with that is that doesn't work obviously with like absence or anything that you need to have like in the door and you want to listen to it. But if you record a vocal or some acoustic instrument where you can, we just need to monitor the dry signal or like use the built in effects of the interface or something, then you could just not monitor through the door.

And the problem soft, basically. Yeah, that's an option or you can, I don't know if all tasks can do this, but you could freeze tracks. So, um, there's incubator. It's called freeze. I don't know. What's [00:18:00] what it's in pro tools. That's the same. Same. Okay. Yeah. So if you click freeze, it will render. One track that has a lot of plugins in it.

And it will like you can, you still have the same session open, but you can like tweak the plugins anymore until you like, like unfreeze it. Um, so that frees up some resources for recording. And when you're done, you can just click the button again and all the plugins will be there. For you to tweak again.

So that's also an option. 

Malcom: [00:18:27] Yeah. Yep. Definitely. Cool 

Benedikt: [00:18:29] latency. That's a big one then, um, noise or weird artifacts or stuff like that in your, in your signal. So there might be pops and clicks. So you, you might, everything might be working fine. You hear audio, you have signal there's no latency, but when you played back or even during recording, you notice that there is some weird pops or sounds that shouldn't be in there, right?

Yeah. So what are some common. Uh, reasons for that. 

Malcom: [00:18:54] This can be quite a few things. Um, it could be your computer having a hard time kind of keeping up [00:19:00] with the buffer. So like it's just not processing properly, uh, or, or your interface is set to like a wrong clock. Um, cause essentially your computer and your interface have to communicate in clock to each other.

And if they're not doing that, it starts introducing things like pops and stuff like that. Um, both Danny and I run a program called Sono works reference, and that can sometimes introduce, uh, some, some weird artifacts and stuff like that. And usually it's just a monitoring, you know? So, uh, but if you don't know what's going on, it can be a little concerning, I think.

Yeah. Um, so I think usually my, my default solution for that is just double checking that everything is set to the same settings. So if I'm recording, you know, at 48 K. My session needs to be a 40. Okay. My interface has to be set to 48 K and uh, Sona works also has to do we set to 48 K. So like anything that needs to communicate is all aligned.

That's that should solve the problem. And if it doesn't, I guess [00:20:00] you might have some problems. 

Benedikt: [00:20:01] Yeah, exactly. And with the clock, it could also be that you expanded your interface with an additional preempt. For example, that's connected through a digital connectors, like eight ads or something like that.

And if that's the case, you have two converters. Working together. So both devices convert analog to digital, and then the, it gets summed in the digital, or it doesn't get some, but like there's one stream of digital data to the computer and. All these, the digital devices before the computer need to run off the same clock.

So you need to set one as the master. And one is the slave. That's the common terminology for it. And, um, if you have, or like some call it internal clocking and external clocking or something. And if, if both are set to internal, those clocks are. Both pretty accurate, but not exactly the same. So there's a slight drift in time.

And then that causes pops in and clicks. So you need to make sure that there's one clock that's like master over everything and, um, yeah, that can be an issue. [00:21:00] Yeah, 

Malcom: [00:21:00] definitely. That's a great point. Um, another common one is not missing cross fades. Oh yeah. Like, so if you record two clips that are butted up to each other and there's no fade connecting them.

They can pop or click, I guess. And that just means you just have to have a little CrossFit and you should always check every little fade. And this is just kind of part of what we do. Recording music is you just CrossFit clips together and, and make sure that the edit is smooth. The less information at the fate or at the cut.

Sorry, I should say the less likely there will be a noticeable noise, like a, like a click, but if there's a lot of information, that's when it starts happening. And yeah, I don't know. I just, I CrossFit everything regardless to if there's silence that or not, it's just kind of like, no matter what, every clip will have fades on either side.

Benedikt: [00:21:52] Yeah. Same here. Absolutely. 

Malcom: [00:21:54] Learn your hockey for fades. And then just get that. It'll just become like a habit. You'll just be like [00:22:00] command a for me is like select everything on that track. Command F is fade or I can just click app. Sorry. And then it's done. 

Benedikt: [00:22:07] Yeah. Same years. Yeah. Do that. Do it no matter what, don't even look at it.

If there's a fight, just make one. Yup. Yeah, exactly. Then another noise issue can be hum. That's in the signal that can also have a couple of reasons. So there's sometimes there's a ground lift button on certain devices. We just, um, click that button and see which of the two positions work. So yeah, you, you often don't know, but sometimes one works and the other doesn't so if that's also a problem, the hum goes away.

So on Dai boxes or splitters, something like that. Um, some bass amps or solid state, like amps have this as well. Um, yeah. 

Malcom: [00:22:46] Yeah. It's always worth having the dig around just for that feature. Um, even if you're, for some reason, not recording a DEI, which you absolutely should, uh, having the ground lift is super handy.

Benedikt: [00:22:57] Exactly. Yeah. And also if you, [00:23:00] what often solve this problem is if you put all the devices in one chain, uh, if you connect them to one power outlet, That often solves the problem. So where you can run into issues is for example, if you have two rooms and you have, can't even be in the same room, so you have, maybe you have a pedal board and one outlet and an amp in the other, and then the interface and another one, and that can cause harm.

And if you connect all of those things to one like power strip or something that often solves the problem, 

Malcom: [00:23:25] right? Definitely. 

Benedikt: [00:23:26] Then also what can introduce noise is just the way you sit with your guitar or bass. So sometimes just turning around in your chair. Can, uh, eliminate those, it can be lights or whatever is in the room, like depending on where your pickups, what you pickups point at, it can cause noise.

And if it just turned around a little it's gone. Yep. 

Malcom: [00:23:44] Yeah. The guitars are just like big antennas essentially. So you got to figure out where the sweet spot is. Usually, especially with single coils. This is where it really is important. Um, they, they just like seem to pick up the most interference and you just rotate until you find like the magic spot.

[00:24:00] You hear stories of people like literally lying on the ground on their backs, because it sounds best like that. He's got to find your magic spot, whether it's not a bunch of noise and you're just increasing your like, signal to noise ratio. And that is always a good thing. 

Benedikt: [00:24:13] Yeah, totally. Sometimes batteries instead of power supplies is the work around.

Sometimes it's just the hum. When you use a power supply with a pedal and you don't know, get rid of it or it just doesn't work, then just use a battery and it's gone oftentimes. So that can be a solution. You have to make sure the battery is full though, because if those run out of power, you can also get noise again.

So. But a fresh battery often solves the problem. Right. And also good power supplies. Sometimes the people use some cheap power supply that technically works, but it's just bad. And then it pickups all sorts of noise. Um, that can also be the case. So good power supply or battery. Yeah. Um, yeah, with the hiss, like hummus one thing, this is another one.

Usually his is something that analog gear introduces and [00:25:00] it's often a gain staging issue. So if you have very low input and like very low signal going into a device, and then you crank the output of it to make up for it, it can cause Hess and noise. You have to get the levels, right? So you have to do the goal is to achieve as Malcolm just said, a good signal to noise ratio and with an unlock, you to do that by adjusting the input signal to the sweet spot where this distance is like the biggest possible.

And if you, if you feed a very low level signal into an analog device and then crank it afterwards, that can just cause noise and his, 

Malcom: [00:25:31] yes. Yeah. This is an especially annoying thing for guitar players. I think with the distorted signals and stuff like that, you know, it's, it's, it's hard to like learn what's acceptable because there is going to be some generally there's going to be some noise and you have to learn what's okay.

And what's not okay. Um, I think monitoring a DEI is a good, good step. Um, yeah, I should be pretty darn clean. 

Benedikt: [00:25:55] Yeah, it should totally then, um, the high noise floor also can be if [00:26:00] you using, if you're, um, accidentally recording in 16 bit, for example, and not 24 buttons. So because if you're in 24 bit, you can record really, really, really quiet signals and then turn them up afterwards and there will be almost no noise.

Um, there's just a very, very large dynamic range that you have that you can use. And the noise floor floor is super low, uh, without explaining why that is. You don't need to know the technical details. It's just. A fact that with 24 bit, you can record very, very, very quiet signals. There's even people I've heard.

I've read an article once of an engineer who records Mike's without Mike preempts, just straight into the converter, like ridiculously low signal. And then he turns it up afterwards and the doll, but that's the cleanest possible signal he can get from the mix and with 24 bit and the good converter this can work.

Yeah. There's still no noise. 

Malcom: [00:26:46] Um, yeah, it's 32 bit with that situation would be. Like absolutely fine. So, I mean, that's, that's pretty wild. 

Benedikt: [00:26:55] Tell me why Fred and I don't know that I don't remember the name. I have to look it up. He uses some [00:27:00] crazy expensive converters and he does like classical music and stuff.

And so uses very, very. Super detailed high end microphones straight into some voodoo converter. I don't know. And then he doesn't use Mike pre's and like, yeah. 

Malcom: [00:27:15] Holy cow. Yeah. Wild. That's the future. 

Benedikt: [00:27:20] Yeah. But if you're using 16 bit, for example, then that's a different story. So with 16 bit, and that was the case back in the day when digital was not as good as it is now.

When you use, when you recorded a very quiet signal and then you turned it up, there was noise. So people try to, to record pretty hot signals to avoid that, but you don't need that anymore. You can leave a lot of headroom and don't have, don't run into noise issues. But if you check the bit rate, if you accidentally recording in 16 bit, or you have some cheap, I don't know, like a mixing desk with a building converter that can only do 16 bit or something that could be the issue.

And if that's the case, you need to record harder signals. 

Malcom: [00:27:56] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. 

Benedikt: [00:27:57] All right. 

Malcom: [00:27:58] So, so, [00:28:00] uh, this is kind of related, but, um, If you are getting weird things, like you bring in a track to your session and it's playing back at the wrong speed, like slow or fast, or your whole session, you opened it up and all of a sudden your songs just at like a totally different tempo, those kinds of weird things where you sound like a chipmunk, that is because your sample rate settings are incorrect.

And Benny and I were just talking about having issues with our interfaces behaving. Uh, this stuff happens. So you just have to watch for that. It's really easy to fix. You just have to go to your interface settings and correct it usually. Um, so either your session or your interface are set to the wrong thing, and once you sort that out, you should be fine.

Benedikt: [00:28:42] Yeah. And there's a way to check that if you are like Cubase it's, if you go to the pool where all the data, like the folder where the actual audio files are stored. Uh, it shows you what separates those files are, are in, and then you can compare that to the set, the setting in your door. And if it's not the [00:29:00] same, then it's weird.

Um, or you can just, if you're on a Mac, you can just right. Click and a, I don't know what the English get info info. Yeah, exactly. And then it shows you the sample rate of the wave file. 

Malcom: [00:29:11] Yeah. And you can use pro tools. There's a session button. So like command two and it brings up all the data of the session.

And then you can see what separate that session's at. Now. This is important. And actually, uh, cause I think a lot of people probably are self recording, but with multiple members. So maybe the two guitarists, both have recording setups and they're sending tracks back and forth. Communicate what. Sample rate and bit rate.

You're recording that for the entire project and just stick with that. Yeah. Um, so that somebody isn't recording that 1644, one and other person's recording at 24 48. I mean, that's not going to be the end of the world, but you should just default to always doing the same thing and both being on the same page.

Benedikt: [00:29:48] Yup. Listen to our episode, episode on checklists, where we mentioned that if you have a checklist for your sessions, that doesn't happen because everyone follows the checklist and everyone has the same sample rate setting. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Okay. Then sometimes the [00:30:00] CPO, just the CPU, just overloads, like it's with an old computer or whatever reason, if that happens again, the buffer size could be the issue.

So you have to raise the buffer size. Uh, if you're not recording, if you're just mixing or editing, you can set it up. You can set it pretty high because latency is not a problem. Um, so to low sense, uh, but for size can cause the CPQ to not be able to keep up anymore. There's also a thing called, um, as your guard or ACO guard, um, in Cubase, I don't know if that's a provost thing as well, or I don't know if it's and Cuba is it's called that way.

If you click that, it's an additional buffer that doesn't affect recording, but it affects like reading and writing automation. So if you increase that buffer than, um, accurate, um, automation is not as accurate anymore, but there is an additional. Yeah, but for, for the computer to process things. So you can play with that.

And then, uh, yeah, some, some dog cars have a checkbox. Cubase has it, where you have to enable multiprocessing or multi-core processing. If you don't enable that [00:31:00] it will only, it will process everything on one or two cores. I don't know if you have like a six, eight core or whatever machine you might not be able to utilize all those cores until you.

Check this box, 

Malcom: [00:31:11] right? Yeah. Look into the settings for your doll, uh, to see how you can get it, to behave best with your computer. There's always these little settings that really do make a difference. I just found one after like four years of running this computer as my studio computer, I found one that enables me to like always run my, my better graphic card.

Like my computer is to, to graphic cards. And so I clicked the button and it now only uses the good one. And my computer runs like a top it's way better. 

Benedikt: [00:31:37] Yeah, that that was pretty annoying. It was the same for me with the, I have the same computer and it was the same thing. And when the laptop switched between the cars, there was always, it's weird, like blip, where I think this weird artifact on the screen, I didn't know what was happening until I figured out that was when, when it switched between the graphic cards.

Malcom: [00:31:54] Yeah. Yeah. My, it was essentially if I like stopped playback by computer. Would [00:32:00] go back to the low one. So when I click play and it was heavy processing, it would crash before it, we managed to switch to like, I don't know. I think that's what was happening anyways, but it was, it was just not working well.

And now it is way better. It's like my computer is on steroids. 

Benedikt: [00:32:13] Yeah. Yeah. Sometimes the little things like that, um, can help also closing other applications. Of course, all those things, like, make sure if you're working on audio, you're just doing audio and you don't have like. Photoshop and like a, whatever you have in the background, just close all that.

Malcom: [00:32:28] Yep. Definitely. Um, committing tracks is another thing like, so if you, we talked about freezing tracks, which is, you could definitely do that. Um, I also like to just commit them. So I like render it permanently. I mean, I've got the old one it's somewhere hidden away, but. You know, it's just like, okay, this is how I want it to sound.

I'm just going to commit it. All those plugins are rendered and no longer being used essentially. So that frees up a lot of resources. Um, and it's kind of my go to for freeing up CPU power. 

Benedikt: [00:32:57] Oh yeah. Good one. Yeah, totally. [00:33:00] And sometimes if the Dodgers crashes, no matter what you do, um, it's often not the computer or the door.

Sometimes it's a plugin. Sometimes it's a weird plugin that you downloaded or sometimes even like, Um, good or well known plugins do that. Some of the, I don't want to talk shit about them, but some, some of the sleep plugins are pretty problematic and like the Tories for that, there's just some plugins that tend to use, tend to crash the Haas.

And, um, yeah, that's a process of trial and error, just deactivate certain plugins, or like remove them from the system entirely. And you might find one that's just causing your door to crash. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:33:34] I really do love the slate plugins and I love the whole. Platform. I think it was a great company, but they, they do have some issues.

They normally fix them pretty quick. Their customer service is great. So yeah, it's not, not, not shit talking to them, but what I'm trying to stress is you want to pay attention to what you've installed on your computer and then how things respond when you insert them into sessions. So it was slate. For example, as soon as I've got a bunch of slate plugins, and I do a bounce, it [00:34:00] takes like four times longer than if I don't have slate plugins in the session.

And I have to decide, is that worth it for my workflow kind of thing. So you want to know how, what, what the trade offs are when you bring different software into your sessions? 

Benedikt: [00:34:12] Totally. Yeah. All right. That's it for the technical issues that we came up with? I think that's the most common ones. Um, Let's move to the tone problems.

So sometimes it's not an obvious technical issue, but sometimes you just recorded something and it doesn't sound right. And you hear that it doesn't sound right, but you don't know what to do about it. And this is what we're going to talk about now. So pretty, very, very, very, very common one that I get a lot is guitar cab resonance is so there's a weird whistling sound or a weird.

Yeah, noise or, or a resonant frequency that we had ring or something to it when the, with a guitar recording that you have to notch out. And if you have to do a lot of those notches and notches, or very narrow ACU moves that you do in mixing to get rid of those, if you have to do a lot of those, it can kind of take [00:35:00] away like the excitement and the character of the guitar.

And it's kind of a compromise often. So getting it right at the source is the best way. And it's important to know that every single cab or AR or whatever has some of these are some characteristics and some resonant frequencies, but there's some ways you can, you can go about like you could use to, to, um, yeah.

Mitigate that problem. So you can, for example, angle the mic a bit. If you're making a real cap, that's sometimes self set. Sometimes the mic straight. Up by the cap. Um, sounds great. But sometimes it just angle it a little bit. It's the same tone, but the annoying frequency goes away. 

Malcom: [00:35:38] Yeah, definitely. Uh, yeah.

Another thing that really works well is just introducing the second mic. You can get some, I mean, this takes a lot of practice and skill and knowledge, but, uh, there's like the Friedman technique and that can really clean stuff up. You just bring it in like one mic straight and another at a 45. And that tends to solve a lot of those problems for me.

[00:36:00] That's like my go to solution. 

Benedikt: [00:36:01] Totally. Yeah, because the two mikes cancel each other a little bit because of the different angle and it tends to cancel out this weird. Yeah. Frequencies. And it kinds of, if you think of it, like as a, as a, like a comb or something like the, it kind of fills one, Mike fills the gaps of the other mic and it just gets smoother as that.

That's the way I imagined it in my head and like, yeah, it just works. 

Malcom: [00:36:21] Yeah. Yeah. Normally we're trying to avoid canceling things out with, with phase, but in this case, it's scent tends to do it in the perfect spot. 

Benedikt: [00:36:30] Yeah, exactly. Also like just choosing the best speaker in your cab is a big one. So you have a four by 12, for example.

Sometimes one of those, it's just not as good or one is way better than the other. So just compare the speakers, just have someone play with at low volume and just listen to the individuals, individual speakers, or take the same microphone, put it in front of each speaker and find out which one sounds the best or has the most even like mid range or whatever.

Our top end and that can solve a lot of the problems. Sometimes. It's just one weird speaker. [00:37:00] Yeah, definitely. Okay. So then symbol bleeds with drum recording symbol bleed. That means you have symbol noise or like bleed from symbols in your close Mike's. So if you're solo, the snare drum, you have a lot of Hyatt in there, or a lot of crashes or sometimes a floor.

Tom, Mike is pretty close to the ride or something like that. And you want to avoid that usually. That's also a pretty common one. Um, yeah. 

Malcom: [00:37:25] Yeah. The, the main thing you can do here is just create distance. Yeah. Move the symbols up away from the drums, um, now, which is gonna make the simplest louder in the overheads, you know?

So like it's going to make the shell seem quieter. You have to remember that kind of stuff, but by creating space, that's gonna greatly. Decrease the bleed effect, the high hat being moved like three inches over is going to make a huge difference on your snare mic, for example. So that's definitely the first thing on the list.

I think for cymbal bleed. 

Benedikt: [00:37:56] Totally. Also just trying different symbols. If you can. The [00:38:00] quieter symbols, darker symbols helps a lot. Sometimes the amount of bleed is not the issue, but sometimes the bleachers sounds weird. Sometimes if it's just darker or more pleasing sounding the bleed is all of a sudden, not an issue anymore.

So that's 

Malcom: [00:38:13] a great point. I don't mind bleed at all if it sounds fine. 

Benedikt: [00:38:16] Yeah, exactly. That's one of the reasons why I love condenser microphones on Toms because there's the same amount or even more bleeds than with dynamics oftentimes, but the bleed tends to the off axis. Sound tends to sound more pleasing to me, not as harsh.

Cool. So, yeah, that's just one thing. 

Malcom: [00:38:32] Then another thing would to be just, I always coach the drummers, I'm working with the shine, hit the symbols lighter, almost always, um, you know, smasher drums, like as hard as I want that really, really hit, but they get the, get the symbols light. That'd be great. 

Benedikt: [00:38:47] Use the off axis of the mic.

So like use a directional mic and pointed at the drum in a way that the novel is pointing to the, to the symbol. So, so if there's a cardiac mic, like straight, like a hundred [00:39:00] degrees in the back of the Mike, it's the most quiet, it's the most quiet. So, um, Yeah. Position makes in a smart way so that you get the least amount of, of cymbal bleed.

Malcom: [00:39:09] Yep, 

Benedikt: [00:39:10] definitely. Okay. Okay. So if you have not enough, like, um, attack on a, on a kick drum, for example, if there's, if it's just not cutting through, so what you can do is you can tune the better head lower, um, that's that, that sounds counterintuitive. If you hear it because you think it gets deeper and it does, but at the same time, if the there's, there's not as much tension, it adds more click to the sound.

So I like to do that. Uh, if, if, if it's like really tight, it tends to sound like a jazzy more booming, less click, less articulate. Oftentimes. So try that. Yep. Definitely. Yeah. There's a thing called impact patch or for lamps land by remote. I think you can put that on the, on the better head. It's like right where the pedal hits, the beater, hits the drum, um, that can at least change this, the [00:40:00] sound of the attacks.

Sometimes it increases it. Sometimes it changes it, but it's worth experimenting with that. I think 

Malcom: [00:40:05] definitely. Um, Another cool thing is just experimenting with what the beater material is. So often the kick pedal beater will have two sides to it. So you can experiment with that. Some people buy like aftermarket ones to slide in there that have like a different, um, you know, you know, it just changes how the drums being hit and that will change the attacks.

Benedikt: [00:40:25] Totally. And like also, so I think they're just tricks, like, um, Gluing a coin or something to the drum head and then all sorts of things, or 

Malcom: [00:40:35] I've done that and it just destroyed the drum or destroyed the skin. Would I wouldn't recommend the, getting the, the metal on there. 

Benedikt: [00:40:44] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But there, there are some like famous metal records that have been done that way.

So you have to drive to experiment, whatever you want to do, but yeah, don't play us if you kill your drum. Mmm. Yeah. And then the head choice, obviously, like there's some hats that are just have more [00:41:00] attack and others that have less attack. Um, you have to do a little research here, but the head choice definitely makes a difference.

Also new hats compared to old hats, they sound dollar and you had some fresh and have a more defined, articulate the tech. Definitely. Um, yeah. Another thing with a kick drum is like a two Boomi or two long, uh, sort of kick drum. Um, what are you doing there? And Malcolm, if you happen, if that happens, 

Malcom: [00:41:24] I mean, so much of the drum is just tuning.

I love to have work with a drum tech on hand, um, because that's just makes it so easy. They're just on it, they fix it. Um, but once if something's too boomy, I'm going to probably try and start dampening it. Um, so like getting a pillow inside of it or a blanket or something and pressing it against one of the skins, you know, you can experiment with each skin and see, which is kind of causing the offending noise.

Um, you can actually even like baffle the drum, you know, like, like lay a blank, like a moving blanket over top of it. Um, sometimes I put panels [00:42:00] on it, so maybe it's Boomi, but it's not really reaching the. The room mikes or the overheads. So it's not really causing their problem anymore. Um, you can definitely do some cool things like that, just to control where the kick is getting regards to other mics.

Um, but first thing I would be doing is probably dampening it. 

Benedikt: [00:42:20] Yeah, totally. That's also probably what I would do first, but as you said, tuning goes a long way. Um, sometimes you can get away with very, very little dampening and it still sounds great. Um, yeah. Experiment with the tuning that the, the relationship between the, the better and the resident had is a big, big one.

I tend to have the better hair, pretty low in the resonant, a little higher, but again, like, yeah, just experiment with that. Um, and dampen it and, but don't overdo it with the dampening because you're going to end up with debt corporate sounding like, um, kick drum. And you don't want that probably. And it's going to be too quiet.

Malcom: [00:42:56] But we should mention though, because I feel like a lot of [00:43:00] heavier music, people are listening to this podcast and that's kind of something you specialize in. So that's kind of your market. Um, if you're planning to fully replace the kick baffled, baffled, baffled, baffled, just like mute that thing as much as you can.

Oh 

Benedikt: [00:43:13] yeah, totally. Totally. Yeah. You basically just want to capture a quick attack sound without any tones or that it's not a, the overheads. Yeah, totally. That's a good one. Okay. So then, um, with the cardboard thing that I just mentioned as a general thing, that when the drums don't cut through in sound cardboardy you had, so we've, we've been preaching that all the time, just use new heads, a decade old has just sound out, sound like cardboard.

It's not good yet. Don't tune, well, use new hats that often sell, solves the problem right away. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:43:46] Yeah. I mean, that will solve the problem unless you just have like the worst drums in the world and they are pieces of cardboard. But if you get new, new, good heads on there, that'll probably do a do a lot.

I would [00:44:00] say, don't go too thick on the heads. Um, this is totally preferenced stuff. Like most people, I think at least over here, like coated heads, which is totally fine, but don't go for like the most. Thick coded thing in the world, because that is just going to be more muted and more muted. So I wouldn't recommend going too far with that.

Benedikt: [00:44:18] Yeah. Depending on the genre. And they also like the, the dampening, many people overdo it with the dampening they'll stick like tape and whatnot on the, on the drum heads. And that will totally kill the drum essentially. So you want to use as little of that as possible and let the drum breathe. Let it ring a little bit.

Oftentimes the ring is much quieter in the recording than it seems in the room. So. Loud drums that have a little ring to them are perfectly fine and better than quiet. Totally dead rums. Even if you're going for a dry sound, you might be surprised how little of that ring actually end up, ends up in the final mix or the recording.

So. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:44:55] Yeah. I mean, I feel like the ring stands out to us because we're [00:45:00] looking for stuff like that. And then once you hear it, you can't stop hearing it cause you're obsessing over it. So even though you've maybe like thrown just like a little tiny piece of a moon gel on the skin and it has solved the problem, you can still hear that note because you are now caught onto it and you're just obsessing with it, but it's no longer a problem.

And you just can't figure that out. Like I've been down that road and then you. I ended up with this big E Q notch and then whatever. And then hopefully you just did that in the dark and a week later you listened to it and you bypass that plugged in and you're like, Oh, I'm that sounds a lot better. 

Benedikt: [00:45:31] Yeah, exactly.

Aye. Aye. I always prefer loud snare drums with a little ring over really dead quiet ones that like. Don't really cut through, then I'd take the ring any day. So 

Malcom: [00:45:41] some of my favorite albums have ring all over them. 

Benedikt: [00:45:44] Oh yeah, absolutely. Because it sounds exciting and lively and just, um, that's better than this, that uninspired yeah.

Piece of cardboard that you hit, basically that happens when you overdo it with that. So, absolutely. Yeah. You know what? We are just like halfway through [00:46:00] our very extensive list here of problems. And, um, we really want you to be able to keep up with that and make notes and implement all of this. So. I think it's a good idea to make this two part episode actually 

Malcom: [00:46:11] I'm with you because I also have to leave real soon.

So 

Benedikt: [00:46:15] that's, that's also good, a good point, but again, I think it's a lot to digest. It's a lot to write down and implement and we're going to continue next week with the second half of this list, because then we're getting into arrangement, which is a whole other topic. And, um, so instead of like, Cutting corners here and being very quick.

Uh, let's just do another one and do it. 

Malcom: [00:46:35] Yeah. Yeah. And we've got, because we've only really talked about a little bit of guitars and a little bit of drums and we got all these other instruments to bring up, so. 

Benedikt: [00:46:42] Yep. Okay, great. Awesome. Let's do that then. Thank you so much for listening. That's it with this?

Pretty fast, pretty information packed episode. I hope that helps though, by the way, this gives you the chance. If you have questions that we should or things that we should add to this list, if you run into [00:47:00] issues constantly, let us know if you do it quickly, we might have a chance to implement that in the next episode, because we're recording these like a couple of days in advance, but I don't know when this airs, maybe not.

Maybe the chance is already over anyway, let us know. And maybe we could do another one in the future, but if you want us to add. To this list, certain things right as an email podcast@thesephorarecordingband.com and then, awesome. All right. Thank you so much for listening. See you next week. 

Malcom: [00:47:25] Thank you.

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