#59: Is Your Recording Good Enough? How To Avoid Common Mistakes, Meet The Minimum Requirements & Aim For Professional Standards – Pt. 3

#59: Is Your Recording Good Enough? How To Avoid Common Mistakes, Meet The Minimum Requirements & Aim For Professional Standards – Pt. 3


Ok, real talk: What's actually good enough when it comes to DIY recordings?

Is there a "good enough"? If so, what are the minimum requirements? What are the boxes you need to check to make sure your record will sound awesome in the end?

The best indicator for "good enough" is when people don't even think about the production when they hear our songs. That's what we aim for.  As a DIY band we don't want people to notice right away that it's a DIY production, right? We want them to love our music!

If they find out afterwards and can't believe how great it sounds - even better! But we definitely don't want the "this song would be great, if only (insert sound issue)..."

That's why we've decided to do a series of episodes on common pitfalls, mistakes to avoid, minimum requirements and standards to aim for.

Here we go - grab a notepad and listen to part 3 of our checklist!

This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

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

TSRB Podcast 059 - What's Good Enough_ - The Minimum Requirements For A Great Sounding DIY-Recording - PT III

[00:00:00] Malcom: [00:00:00] I mean, there's, there's an unlimited amount of stuff we can talk about. Listen to all three of these episodes. It's a long lengthy lesson, but it is, this is the best stuff we've ever done on this podcast. This is 

Benedikt: [00:00:13] so valuable. 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, Benedick tine, and I'm here with my friend and cohost Malcolm Owen flood. How are you Malcolm? I'm great, man. How are you? I'm great as well. Thank you. It's been awesome. Um, uh, great. Like, yeah, most of it was great. I told you before about my little computer issue I had, but other than that, it was a great day and a great week as well.

And I'm going into my last week of recording next week. I have a drum [00:01:00] recording up and coming up and that will be the last recording project. At least that's what's planned. And then I'm just, and before you are wondering, like I'm not quitting the studio or audio work, but, um, I'll only be mixing and mastering from now on.

And, uh, it's a little weird to be honest. But we'll see, it feels weird at the moment to like, not have any recording on the calendar and just mixing and mastering, but, uh, I'm really looking forward to it at the same time. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:01:29] That's an interesting transition to make. Not necessarily not interesting cause it's, uh, it's something that happens all the time in this field and people figure out what area they Excel in and then focus on that exclusively for sure.

But, uh, it's, uh, it's interesting in that. Recordings, what brought you into this world, like into this industry? So it's hard to step away from the thing that got it all started. I think. 

Benedikt: [00:01:52] Absolutely. And also the recording sessions, as stressful as they usually are. They are the only occasions where I actually meet people [00:02:00] in the studio and are not just by myself mixing.

Right. So especially in times like these, like, Oh, we're talking, like, if you're listening to this like two years from now, uh, it's still COVID era. And like in times like these, um, especially, it's cool to have people around sometimes. And those recording sessions were a nice opportunity to do that. Um, At least when it was allowed in these.

Um, but yeah, but like, without that, I'm back on my own again, which I sort of love, but it's also sort of weird. I don't know, but I'm looking forward to it and, uh, it's a, it's an exciting transition for sure. Because now I can really implement all the things I can focus on. One thing I can serve my clients better.

I can, uh, improve my craft more. I can really specialize and like be laser laser focused on, on certain tasks. And that's what I'm really, really looking forward to. That's that's the whole point of it. And, uh, it's, it's going to be cool for sure. 

Malcom: [00:02:53] Awesome. That's amazing. Yeah. I, uh, Um, suddenly pivoting the other way, as I always seem to do, [00:03:00] doing the opposite of what I think I'm going to be doing.

Um, I've got like a 16 song album coming up. Um, so it's going to be more studio stuff than I've done in ages. So I'm excited though. It's a amazing band. I'm going to hold off on saying who it is for now. Um, but, uh, they are so prepared. They are like the poster child of this podcast. I feel like it's, they've just done everything we've said that it's so impressive to me.

Oh yeah. I'm still, 

Benedikt: [00:03:25] yeah. That's uh, that's the best. Uh, I had that with a mixing project where like the band did really check all the boxes and it turned out just so amazing and like, yeah, that's good for you. Like, I hope to, I'm curious too, to hear what it is in the end and how it's, how it sounds like, but 

Malcom: [00:03:39] yeah, I think we're going to be doing a, like a hybrid thing where, uh, they're going to be handling some of it on their own.

I'm going to be there for some of it. So it's kind of a co-production between me and the band. I'm, I'm becoming a band member more than anything, I think. Um, and then of course I'll be taking the mixes on for, at the end. Yeah. But like the. The demoing process, like they've just nailed the pre-production stuff.

We've talked about. They've got full fledged, [00:04:00] multi-track demos for every song. If I listen to something and have an idea, email it to them and they like the same day they send back a new version. It's just so, so awesome. I've already got the multitracks for a song so I can tweak stuff. It's great. 

Benedikt: [00:04:13] Yeah.

That's that's awesome. And also you can tell that they, um, listen to what we say here on the podcast, because they actually got helpful. The things that they can't do themselves perfectly. So that's exactly what we preach and exactly the way to go. So that's the best combination. I think when people listen to this podcast or any education like that, and then do whatever they can do themselves, but also realize when they can't do something themselves or like when they, when someone else can do it better.

And then they. Get the knowledge themselves, but still bring on other people to help them. That's the best thing you can do the best combination. And, um, so I really am really stoked when that happens and I already know that the outcome's going to be great because like, 

Malcom: [00:04:51] yep. Yeah, it's going to be fantastic.

Um, it would have been fantastic, even if we didn't do all this because they're a great band as, so like I would have to screw up pretty bad, but [00:05:00] this is going to be just another level. Um, I think one thing more to say about this that's relevant to the series of podcasts we're doing right now about like the minimum viable requirements for a good mix.

Um, once it reaches us is that we are doing one song start to finish altogether. Um, so I'm handling everything on this one song, the first song, and then that's going to be our baseline for what they need to pull off. Once they start taking some of the elements on themselves. Cause they're gonna know we're going to end, we're going to do all of that in like the real deal studio.

And then so say that you have to do vocals at their home studio. They have to make it stand up with whatever we captured in the real studio that gets like, if it's not getting to that level, then we gotta figure something else out. That's the agreement. So it's like better is better. Yes, 

Benedikt: [00:05:44] absolutely. Yeah.

Well, and I mean, that's also the way to do it, to just start with one song, uh, and like set a standard and like see how you work together. Yeah, iron out, certain things, maybe like maybe some problems come up and [00:06:00] then just find solutions for them. And then once you get to the whole record, it's, there'll be so much smoother.

And so that's also the way we do it, actually, 

Malcom: [00:06:07] three reasons we wanted to do it like that. The first was like the fail fast mentality. Um, so if there's something in the system or our workflow or our even personal connections that doesn't work out, we got to figure that out on the first song, not have it suffer through six songs.

Right? Yeah. Um, and then the second thing was education. I'm, I'm going to be showing them everything I'm doing so that they can try and take that and apply it as much as they can. When they're DIY recording and then three was that about what I said earlier, the standard of quality is going to be established from that first 

Benedikt: [00:06:36] song.

Yeah. Um, yeah, nothing to say about this. This sounds awesome. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:06:41] So you posted? Yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:06:43] All right. So, so let's jump to today's episode. You've already said it. We are again doing another part of our series here and it's on the minimum requirements and we're basically asking the question of what's good enough.

And, um, what's the standard you should aim for [00:07:00] what, uh, boxes you have to check so that you can make sure that the mix will you get back in the end will be amazing. And the old collaboration experience will be good and all that. So we started with part, one was, um, drums, and then we moved on to bass and guitars.

And in this part, three we'll cover keys and vocals. And then we basically, you have basically a pretty long, pretty extensive in-depth checklist that you can go through. And I mean, it's, it's almost like two and a half or whatever hours of content just on this. Um, so I think if you really take the time, listen to all three of those episodes, um, and like maybe refresh whatever you yeah.

Maybe, maybe listen again before, just before you start recording a project, I think you'll be pretty in pretty good shape or pretty well-prepared and you will have a pretty good checklist that you can take notes. Yep, exactly. Okay, great. So when it comes to keys, [00:08:00] um, that's what we will, we'll start with.

I'm gonna let you do the bulk here because keys is honestly something that I don't do as, as often, which is funny because I played piano since like I'm five years old or so. And like, so I, I. I know how to capture them and what they sound like. And I can, yeah. But in the, in the real world, like my day-to-day work, I just don't record or mixed keys too often.

Most of the time, it's just a post-production thing where rock bands with like standard arrangements, drums, bass, guitars, vocals, where they will add post-production elements and that'll get the meaty or some committed files. And it's just here and there, like a little, you know, like a little w whatever, sub bass or pad or, um, some effects, some drops or some stuff like that, but not as part of the actual band.

It's, it's rare that a band I work with has a keyboard player 

Malcom: [00:08:53] in the band, right? Yeah. Well, maybe let's split this up into keys and post-production so [00:09:00] keys, there is kind of two types we've got to talk about here. There is virtual instruments, which is going to be probably what most. Of us are dealing with.

Um, and that's a great thing. They're amazing. It's, it's just truly incredible how great keys have been pulled off in the digital realm, um, that I've, I've got no problem with digital keys at all. Uh, so we'll start with that. The thing that you want to do, if you're using a virtual instrument, um, in your door is send the mixer, the wet version.

So commit that rendering and then also send them the mini. Um, so we get a mini file. That's labeled piano, and then there's an audio file. That's also labeled piano. And that audio file is exactly what you were hearing and. I usually end up using that, but every once in a while, the instrument's just so terrible and unrealistic that I will use the middy into my own library of instruments and find something that works a lot better.

Um, it really just depends on what it sounds like in the mix. [00:10:00] Uh, but if you give us both, you're going to be fine. You're going to have a great result from that. No problem. Um, I guess just do look over your edits of the Medi, you know, and make sure that there's not like weird, like little miss triggers of notes happening.

A mini keyboards are pretty terrible in almost all cases like they really track badly. So it's worth just soloing the track and listening to the whole thing and using your pencil tool in your doll to clean it up just a little bit. It'll, it'll go a long way. Yeah. Anything 

Benedikt: [00:10:28] to add to that? Yeah, I agree.

And that's, that's basically what I wanted to add to this. Um, when I, when we go through the outline, because I agree that you should probably send MIDI or you should absolutely send MIDI and audio just as you would send a Dai and an amp or, um, like middy drums and committed drum instruments. If you programmed drums, it's just the same thing.

But as with the drums, for example, whenever you sent middy, make sure that it's it's, it is the final performance. It is edited and just. No, that if you [00:11:00] haven't made a decision, if you haven't really committed to the sound and all you doing is basically, so when the mixture tells you a cent middy, that doesn't mean you should have asked the real tones and then hope that the mixer would come up with a tone for you.

Choose the instrument, fine tune the performance or whatever, because that could happen easily. Sometimes if people hear, they should also send the middy, they are like, Oh, well then I guess I'm there. Come up with something that will sound good. What maca means here, I guess, is that you should still deliver the best thing you can and make sure the audio would be usable or be the best it can be with whatever you can do.

And just sent the media in, in case so that we could swap like swap out the piano, choose something better. But like not expect Malcolm to choose the thing from the ground up or like to correct your performance or like it's, that's just really important to point out to you because it could end up being a lot of work.

If you do that. I received projects where I, it was my fault to not communicate that [00:12:00] clearly. And like I got stuff that was clearly not usable. Like the audio. But then they were like, uh, well, here's the Mideast. So just do whatever you think is right. And then it turned out that I would have to spend a whole day getting their mini performances to work and choosing the right instruments.

And like, I was basically producing and arranging instead of mixing. And you don't want that to happen? 

Malcom: [00:12:20] No. No. Uh, and yeah, I I've had a similar arrangement where they sent middy and they're like, all right, like, can you do use a different string library than what you used? I'm like, well, I only have the one, I'm not a composer.

I don't have this giant terabyte of, uh, of different strings to choose from. Um, so I, can't sorry. 

Benedikt: [00:12:40] Yeah. And also what people might not be aware of, depending on what instrument we're talking. I mean, keyboards or like yeah, keyboards and strings and stuff like that. It should work, but. Yeah, whenever there are specific articulations that only a certain instrument can do or read, like when there are certain many notes that are specifically on the map for a certain [00:13:00] instrument, then you can't just take that money, put it into another instrument and it will work the same.

So that's also something you have to be aware of. It could end up being a lot of work. And like I, a band sent me MIDI drums, for example, for, um, for a record. And I wanted to use a different library. And then it turned out that they changed the mini-map at, for every song on that record. And it was such a pain to like remap everything for every song and check that arrives.

It's actually a ride and that the Tom is on the right meeting note and then figure out what they used in the first place and get the right mini-map for that. And like, it can be such a pain. And if you have strings or even keys, there might be commands or like articulations that your instrument can do.

But the one that Malcolm has can't do it or has it differently. And so there's some communication to be done and, um, Yeah. And don't expect a mixer to have all the sounds in the work, because as my com set, it's not, he's not 

Malcom: [00:13:53] so right. Yeah. Or the engineer. Right. So if you're recording yourself, you are self engineering.

Um, so you need [00:14:00] to try and make decisions about what you want that sound to be and do your best. And the only reason we're going to change it as if it's not working. Yeah. Um, now there was a lot of stuff in there that we just discussed that I don't think we've ever brought up on this podcast before about articulations and mini maps and stuff like that.

Uh, and we absolutely need to talk about that, but maybe not on this episode, what do you think? 

Benedikt: [00:14:21] I absolutely agree. And you know what, I'm going to make a note and I'm right. I'm going to write mini general immediate episode. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:14:27] Yeah. Mini one-on-one. Yeah. Great. Awesome. Awesome. So stay tuned for probably next week when we talk about it.


Benedikt: [00:14:34] I got another idea, but yeah, that might be the one for next week. That'll be coming 

Malcom: [00:14:38] soon anyways. Yeah, exactly. 

Benedikt: [00:14:39] Exactly. Okay, cool. So anything else you want to add here? Like when it comes to actually, um, Yeah, just move on, I guess, because that's the meaty part, but there are things like real pianos and real keys or Hammons or roads or 

Malcom: [00:14:53] anything like that.

Yeah. So in that case, you're actually making up an instrument. Right. Um, or, [00:15:00] uh, there's kind of an in between here. So let's say you bring in an electric keyboard, like a Nord. Everybody knows what a Nord is. They're the super cool red keyboards that every professional seems to use. Um, and they sound amazing.

So in that case, like the Oregon in particular, I really love. And so if somebody comes in and has an Oregon part on the Nord, I'm going to take the audio right out of that and record it. Right. And like using a, um, like you could just go line in or DIA box, whatever you want to do. Um, but get it in from there.

So I'm not using media in that case, but what I would recommend to our listeners is to still plug in the USB and capture the media at the same time. Um, again, that's going to give us the flexibility to use a totally different organ sound if we want or use that middy to trigger an entirely different instrument, um, if you really needed to.

So it gives you just a lot of power, but that again is a situation where the audio is probably going to be what we're going to use, but there's just no reason not to also grab the USB mini information, I think. 

Benedikt: [00:15:55] Yep. Um, it might even lead to you having another great idea, [00:16:00] maybe because if you capture the media along with it, um, and you do what Malcolm just said, use it for it to trigger a different instrument.

You might do something like, let's say you record a note and you play bass notes with your left hand and some chords or melody with the right hand, you could just look at the middy, get rid of the right-hand stuff and just sent the bass notes to a synthesizer and program a cool bass line below it, or add an additional layer, an octave down or something.

And it will be perfectly in time because you just have to quantize. You know, or like the media is in time with the audio already and you just have to configure whatever, and you have a second layer playing along with the audio in perfect sync. And you can come up with pretty cool sounds there that you can only do that with the middy.

So yeah, no reason not to. That just opens up a lot of creative opportunities. I think 

Malcom: [00:16:49] another huge advantage say that the arrangement gets changed partway through, um, instead of having to re-record the whole Orcon track, you just ditch the audio file of the Oregon, throw on a [00:17:00] virtual organ onto your middy and reprogram that part of the song and you are off and running that easy.

Yeah. So after that, we're on to acoustic key. So things like live Oregons or pianos, um, roads, stuff like that. In that case you're probably using, I would say generally people to stereo miking, these instruments, um, are these pianos that's the norm? So the first thing is just make sure your face is good. Um, which can be tricky on such a long answer.

Um, and the, the other thing, and I'm curious if you've had this, uh, is that I get distortion in my piano recordings that get sent to me all the time. Um, and. I think it's just because it's such a hugely dynamic instrument that people aren't predicting, the headroom they'll need, but I'm not positive if that's the case.

Benedikt: [00:17:51] Hmm. Interesting. I haven't had that. I saw often as least, um, Not that I remember what might be the cost for that. Maybe they get too close to like, is it with upright [00:18:00] pianos or like with grandpa, or it could be 

Malcom: [00:18:02] both, but uprights is actually the one now that you mentioned it. I think uprights is where I most commonly encounter it.


Benedikt: [00:18:09] Then it's interesting because, I mean, I don't know where people make those in these cases, but like when I was thinking, if you get too close to the strings, maybe, but even then it's not a real, like super loud instrument. I don't, I don't really know what causes that. 

Malcom: [00:18:23] Yeah. Well, anyways, like the moral of the story is just record quieter than you think with a piano.

I would say, just be prepared because you can be so soft and, and then really hammer. So it's like a huge dynamic range as possible. Um, I think that might be, and a huge amount of frequency as well. Right. So if you sound check on like some thinner trebling notes and then you drop down to this huge bass chord, it's going to be pretty dramatically different.

Um, so be prepared for that, make sure it's in phase and. Again, if it should sound good, if it doesn't sound good to you, we're not going to be able to make it sound good. Now things with like, Leslie's, uh, [00:19:00] again, that's normally like a top and bottom mic. Just again, go for like a measure of your distances.

Try to make them the same and make sure the face seems to be great. Um, it's, there's a lot of trial and error in that, but, uh, just do, do your best phase is going to be like the biggest thing you can control. I think in that situation. 

Benedikt: [00:19:18] Yeah, I think so. Um, and like, I keep reading the notes here on our outline, because it says, and backhand wrote this, it says, make sure things are in phase and plenty of headphone on things like piano.

Give me that. But I kept reading this line and I'm like, what? At plenty of headphone always keep playing. Yeah. I've had fallen on the piano. So that's rule number one, but like yeah, the, the headroom and the, in that phase, especially. Yeah, I totally agree. It's like the only. Thing you really have to worry about and you, you can't really do anything about that in, in post are not as easy.

Like you can align to kick drum mix pretty easily. You can make, do a lot of things with like transit instruments, but on a piano, it can get really tricky because some notes [00:20:00] might be more in phase than others and it's might be whatever you do. You might end up with a chorusy weird Faizi sound. If you don't get the Mike positioning.

Right. So, yeah, I went in doubt when it comes to pianos, I'd suggest. Trying one of the classic like stereo miking techniques that gives you pretty perfect face. So try maybe an X, Y, or an RTF or something that gets you close to a perfect face because a space pair might capture all the notes, perfectly, give you a wide image, but there's also the chance of like phase problems.

So only maybe do that. If you really know what you're doing, I don't know. This is hard to give advice. You're just, just check for phase. It 

Malcom: [00:20:36] really is because the, like the difference between an X, Y and a space pair on a piano sounds so incredibly different. It's really a tricky instrument to actually tech.

Um, and it has to be tacked with the song in mind. I think that's, that's a big thing, which actually brings me to another point, a few episodes back. We talked about thinking about the panning. Um, arrangement of your productions as you write the song or record. Um, so like where is this piano going to [00:21:00] live in the mix?

Is it going to be up the middle? Is it going to be this wide stereo thing or is it going to be off to the side? If it's going to be like a hard pan element, then don't stereo mic it, just, just throw one up and figure out that the best spot for one mic and, you know, um, because we do default to trying to make it stereo because it is a very stereo instrument.

Um, but if the production is not going to look like that, then there's no reason to give us that, that information. 

Benedikt: [00:21:25] Yeah. For this episode, I think we shouldn't dive too much into actually making keys. We should just talk about the stuff that's the most like that has to be avoided. And in that, in this case, it's like phase issues and distortion because of lack of headroom and agree on that.

And I wonder why there is, I think there is one thing missing on this list, but maybe there's a reason for it. Maybe it's not, it's not been an issue for you. What about. Tuning with acoustic pianos because that's, to me that's a really big one because it's not that you just go and tune before every take or whatever it has to be in tune.

And you have [00:22:00] to do like, you have to maintain a piano. You have to do to tune it every once in a while, I'll get a person into tune it because it's actually pretty, not easy to do. It's not like tuning a guitar. So piano set up can be difficult and expensive. Also sometimes depending on like, if you have to bring someone in who can do that and spend a couple of hours on that.

Um, yeah, but it's necessary. And sometimes there are two sorts of tuning issues. Sometimes the thing is just audibly out of tune and you might not really notice it if you don't have the experience or the trained ear. So the piano itself in itself might have issues. And sometimes it might sound well on its own, but once you put it together with everything else, maybe it doesn't work with your.

Precisely tuned guitars and basses. And like, you can't put it together because the acoustic piano is just slightly off and whatever you do, it just doesn't work. I had that happen. So on its own, it sounded fine, but I just couldn't put it in the arrangement with everything else, because it was just not spot on.

So, I don't know. Did you have that or is that an issue for you [00:23:00] that 

Malcom: [00:23:00] I can't believe, I didn't even think to write that down. Yeah. That's, that's absolutely crucial. Um, if you can't, if the idea of spending a hundred to $300 on getting your piano tacked up before you record that song, doesn't seem worth it use a virtual instrument.

Um, and even still like old uprights, which is what everybody seems to have. Um, even after a good tune are still like pretty imperfect most of the time, like they've just been neglected for years, usually because everybody finds a free piano and thinks they can fix it up. And again, they sound often really awesome on their own, but it's the, the compound effect gets pretty bad.

And there's been more than one occasion where we've recorded acoustic piano and ended up rerecording a VST version later in the process, because we've just been like, this is not work. Yep, 

Benedikt: [00:23:49] exactly. So just watch out for that and maybe. Maybe have something. I mean, it depends on when you record it. Like you probably have some other [00:24:00] instrument recorded before you do piano.

So you have a reference. If you don't have a reference and you start with the piano, but plan on adding something else later, then absolutely program a reference and check if it's really in tune, there's no way around that and get attacked up before you record. Definitely, definitely. Don't forget. It's just a string instrument.

It's like, it's the same, same principles apply as with other string instruments with guitars and bass. You don't shoot it as often, but it's just strings on a huge piece of wood and you, and it moves and changes over time and you have to maintain it and tune it. I have a story to tell. 

Malcom: [00:24:32] Yeah. Uh, so when my band did a record at the warehouse, I can't even remember who told me this.

I think it was probably the house engineer. Um, it's guy named Zach Blackstone. I think he was a great dude and great engineer, but Elton John did a record there. Um, so this whole team shows up and they B-roll in this piano that they've brought specifically for Elton John and it's this grand piano with Mitty built into it.

Um, [00:25:00] and essentially he's able to play the part and then it can replicate that performance back, literally moving the keys. So replay, but he pressed like the keys are moving again without him in that 

Benedikt: [00:25:12] thing. Right? Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:25:14] Yeah, exactly. Um, and so, so they set up and tech, this piano, he shows up whenever plays at once and it says, all right, do what you need to do and leaves.

Literally played at once and I'm sure it, it was awesome. You know, like it's this crazy situation. Cause at first I was like, well, like, are they going to like edit the MITIE? And I'm sure there's a little bit of that. But the cooler thing is that now they can just move the mikes around as the performance just keeps happening and retaking, and they could have different parts with different miking setups.

And that performances is Elton. He's locked in there now. It's 

Benedikt: [00:25:53] amazing. Yeah. We want to, if you want to see what, but like I was talking about it, I think it's called the Emad Disklavier. Is it [00:26:00] called like that? I think, I 

Malcom: [00:26:01] don't know. Well, 

Benedikt: [00:26:02] We say Yamaha, Yamaha, Yamaha, Yamaha. But this, this clever year, all it is determined name is, is that I put that.

No, it's also English. I think this clever. Yeah, it's spelled, there are plenty of videos on YouTube and, uh, it's an auto-play it's also called Yamaha. Autoplay I think. And so if you want to look at that, that's, that's pretty cool. Um, yeah. Well, that's, uh, that's a funny story, but in fact, like, why not? I mean, as you said, you can't change the performance because you can change the middy and then you can also change the mic.

So really no need to play it more than once, as long as he's cool as he's cool with someone like messing with the performance. 

Malcom: [00:26:39] Why not? And, uh, I mean, he's, he's like one of the best ever, so I'm sure it was an amazing performance. Hopefully that was okay to tell Zach you, in fact told me the story. It's not like a secret of the warehouse studio 

Benedikt: [00:26:56] be prepared for the lawsuit.

Like [00:27:00] a lawyer will come at you now that you've told about that. 

Malcom: [00:27:04] So, yeah. 

Benedikt: [00:27:06] Yeah. That's, that's, that's a funny story and it's such a cool concept actually. And uh, yeah, 

Malcom: [00:27:11] I mean, it was like ramping up piano. Yes, 

Benedikt: [00:27:13] exactly. With the ability to change the performance before. So it's like, yeah. Awesome. Cool. Very cool.

Okay. So yeah, the tuning, um, what else is on the list for keys? Well post-stroke yes, yes, yes, yes. 

Malcom: [00:27:26] Post-production is stuff like to me anyways, this stuff like bass drops, you know, sub dropped when like explosions going off and risers kind of stuff like that. Um, and you know, maybe sometimes like pads, like eerie kind of ambiances could be included in that category.

Um, and that stuff is almost always the last thing to go on. For me, it's like, all right, we've recorded all of the like arrangement it was written, then how can we spice it up? And that's where post pro comes into the equation. Um, that's not always the case. [00:28:00] Sometimes there's like a post pro person in the band.

That's always thinking about that, but generally it's like, all right, let's kind of spice things up with some extra extra sauce. Yeah. And again, you just want to send them, that's exactly what you intend to hear. Don't expect the mixer to have a huge amount of post pro stuff. They're going to like spend hours on damping up your song that said.

I do that. I love that. I like really love that process. And it only works on certain songs. Um, you know, like it has to be the right. John referred me to feel inspired to do that. Um, and I have to have a certain level of trust with the band to feel like I'm allowed to do that as well. I think I like, if I get the impression that I'm not meant to creatively add anything, I'm not going to probably go for it.

But yeah, generally, if I have an idea, I feel like I can spice it up and add in some cool, cool stuff like that. Um, but it should definitely be thought of and addressed before it reaches a mixer. Yes. 

Benedikt: [00:28:54] And I think the biggest pitfalls you are, I mean, same thing, suppliers with all the many keys, things that we talked about, maybe you don't [00:29:00] have to send all the middy in for that, because usually you can commit those sounds and just put it in there.

And if it doesn't work, you could could just send a note and say, Hey, I'm not sure about the sound. If you have something better, that does the same job, feel free to use it, you know, like, um, or feel free to change it. Maybe something like that. But I think the biggest pitfalls are not thinking about that at all, because you think it's cheesy or not, it doesn't fit your John rhe, whatever.

I think you should still try. And if it doesn't work, you just can just delete it. But I think you should be open to try it. Whatever can make the songs better. So that's the number one thing. And then I think maybe, I mean, there are really no rules for this. It's like such a creative thing. Maybe the other pitfall or the other mistake that people make is don't expect it to be just part of the mixing.

Because if you want a mixer to do a lot of this, it's just an extra step. I mean, there's no problem, like adding a sub drop here and there or whatever, but like, if you want the mixer to do the whole post-production chop, it's a different job. It's like an additional [00:30:00] service. Yeah. And 

Malcom: [00:30:00] there are people that do that as a specialty and you should consider hiring them.

They're amazing. Like when I hear tracks like, wow, what's game's name. . 

Benedikt: [00:30:09] Oh my God, I think I just his name, but I think , 

Malcom: [00:30:13] you're pretty much right. Um, I hope he hears this and laugh, setup. His stuff is so cool. Every time he posts something, I'm like, wow, you're so creative. And those sounds are like, sounds I've never heard before.

And he's like the kind of guy that can make those sounds from scratch, right. With like literally built them. Um, rather than they just pull from like a library and, uh, yeah, that can really, if your song suits that kind of vibe, it can really be amazing. 

Benedikt: [00:30:35] I mean, I think that's basically, it, there's still one thing with the whole keys category that we haven't talked about, but I think it's the same mistakes can be made as with guitars.

And that is the category of keys that are connected to some sort of speaker, because you might have like a. I don't know, maybe there is a road like, or like analog stuff. That's connected to a speaker and you want to mic [00:31:00] that speaker or you have like a Leslie cabinet or whatever. So, I mean, same principles apply as with other things you might like when you, whenever you make a speaker.

So that could be another situation with keys. Right. But in that case, just treat it as you would a guitar amp, basically. Yep. 

Malcom: [00:31:14] Yeah, definitely. Um, all right. Should we jump into vocals? Totally. Okay. The biggest thing. Is don't clip, which is, again, it's like piano. It's a very, very dynamic instrument and people constantly underestimate how loud somebody going to get once they're excited and singing.

Um, so whenever you do a sound check and you dial in your vocalists level, turn it down, like a couple more notches after you've found what they're at, because as soon as they start, they're going to be louder. I guarantee it it's like a drummer, but the snare drum you're like, all right, hit your snare.

Like you're going to be playing and you get a level and then you turn it down one more because they're going to hit it harder as soon as they start playing. Hopefully, actually. Yeah. Um, so just be ready for that. Um, and then I think you added this Benny, but make sure there's an, a bunch of room sound in the recording.

And that's a very common thing. Is people [00:32:00] underestimating room sound, um, because of your DIY recording, you're probably not necessarily having access to a compressor while you record. So you might think that the room sound isn't that big of a deal, but once you start piling on the processing, that is common for a vocal and mixing all of that room, ambience really comes forward.

So you want to air on the dead side of a vocal, I think agreed, 

Benedikt: [00:32:25] absolutely agreed. And, um, you, you gotta really know what you're doing and you can really love the space you're in. If you want to have it on the recording, we have a good discussion on that, uh, in our Facebook community, by the way. Uh, so if you go to the self recording band.com/community, uh, that will take you to the Facebook group, which is free.

And if you're trying that there is a discussion going on, because someone asked about like vocal room ambience and what to do about it, because he was thinking about whether you should build a vocal booth or use one of these portable mic screen things. Or if there are other other solutions, if it matters at all, if you should just rather spend the [00:33:00] money on recording gear it's that and people chimed in and gave good advice.

So. You might want to check that out. And the conclusion there basically was asthma com said, get rid of the room sound if, if at all possible. And also, um, maybe like also it's, it is important to do that before the recording gear, even like, I would, I would find a spot in your, in your jam space or wherever we record that just works and would invest in that because you don't have to invest much.

You can do it yourself with little, very little financial effort. And like, I would do that before I would spend money on anything else. Like as long as you have some mic and interface, I would tackle the recording, uh, the, the, the ambience of the room acoustics first, before I would invest into anything else, because a better mic will just pick up more of the crappy roof and it's like, or like, you know, so, um, yeah, time in like, check that out, join the Facebook community.

And see the great advice there, because it's too [00:34:00] much to put into this episode, but there was great advice on how to actually build these things, what to avoid, what, to, what like best practices are, but just know that is one of the biggest mistakes I think. And one of the most common things that we have to, to battle when we make is like a room that's not sounding good.

That's honorable. 

Malcom: [00:34:18] Agreed. Agreed. Um, yeah, we, yeah, we can move on. Yeah, I can keep talking about that, but absolutely. 

Benedikt: [00:34:27] Okay. Too much variety in proximity to Mike makes it hard to make.  cool. 

Malcom: [00:34:33] That's where we say differently 

Benedikt: [00:34:34] too much variance. Very, yeah, I think you're right. If you're obviously right. A barrier maybe.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That's always, if there are words in German that are similar, but we pronounce it differently, then that happens. So we have a word like that and like it's just pronounced differently. Those are the cases where this happens to me. Yeah. That makes 

Malcom: [00:34:56] sense. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, yeah, this is, this is a great [00:35:00] point.

Um, if you're constantly moving further and closer away from the microphone, which I mean, I can kind of do right now. But on a dynamic microphone, it's not as bad. Um, on a large diaphragm condenser, which is most people are often recording vocals into. It really is an issue. Um, the, the tonal character risk sticks of your voice, and actually that signal to noise ratio of like the room in your voice is going to change really dramatically.

As you get further and closer to the mic. Um, so I don't know if we've mentioned, like when you get loud, instead of backing up from the microphone, try and just aim off of the microphone. Have we 

Benedikt: [00:35:36] ever talked about that? Maybe we have in the vocal episode, I'm not quite sure, but it's a great one. It's a great tip.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Malcom: [00:35:43] DOB. And that you're still the same distance from the mic. Um, you're just not hitting it full blast because you're aiming just off the side of it. Um, and that's going to lead to a more cohesive. Tone because that that's not changing at all. The proximity stays the same. Um, so yeah, the, yeah, let's not go too long with that.

Just try and [00:36:00] keep the proximity to the microphone. The same. I always like tell people to Mark where their toes are. And then I use like the hang loose symbol to varying degrees for, uh, like a hand distance to the pop filter. Yeah, 

Benedikt: [00:36:11] absolutely agreed. There is something I want to say. I want to add here because the proximity effect only happens with like directional mic.

So if you have, um, a cardiac rate or a figure of eight or anything like that, that's going to have the proximity effect, meaning more base. When you get closer, there is a way to work around that other than, um, like keeping the same distance. And that is you could use Omni directional mics if the room allows for that, because you're going to pick up a lot of room and only directional condensers, um, especially, so that means that you don't have a proximity effect.

And you can move more freely in front of the mic if that's what you need to do in order to make the performance field great. And there is another great tip here that are on the directional dynamic mix that don't pick as much of the room because they are less sensitive when you move further [00:37:00] away. So you don't have the proximity, but you still need to keep some consistency in the distance, but not as much as with like directional mics.

There is, for example, like the Sennheiser MD 21, not four 21, but 21 is like a bra. Like I think it was like a, one of these reporter, um, broadcast, whatever mikes that they used back in the day and, um, or conferences on a table, you see them sometimes. And they are on the directional dynamic mix. And I heard a little, and I thought of that because I heard a story on a podcast recently where I think it was about Bjork, you know, Bjork, the, the artists where she just had to move in front of the mic because like, she's that sort of an artist and a person.

She just couldn't stand still in front of the mic. So they had this issue where. If she would sing. And also if she would sing louder, her voice would totally sound different than when she would sing quieter. And like, you know, you had all the, like, too much variance in like the base part of the voice. So they tried the omnidirectional dynamic [00:38:00] thing and it just worked perfectly and evened out all of the issues in that case.

So just a little tip here, if your room allows for that, or if you have a really that corner in your room that you can use, maybe try it on a directional condenser or even one of those dynamics. They aren't too expensive. So. 

Malcom: [00:38:16] Yeah, that's a great idea. I feel like that's a word that I say wrong that you say, right.

Um, be York is what I've always said, but I think you're right. 

Benedikt: [00:38:25] Okay. Yeah. Whatever. 

Malcom: [00:38:28] It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. I was just like, Oh, that's how you say that word. 

Benedikt: [00:38:32] I, I'm not sure about that, but yeah, no, you have, you can choose 

Malcom: [00:38:37] she's Icelandic. Isn't she? I think so. Yeah. Okay. So if we have an Icelandic listener, please chime in.

Oh my God. I think I just destroyed her notes somehow. What happened? That's I 

Benedikt: [00:38:47] it's fine. Does it look fine for you? I think so. Yeah. Anyway, um, Yeah, proximity of variants and proximity is an issue. So maybe let's move on. All right. Make sure 

Malcom: [00:38:57] you use a pop filter. Yes, [00:39:00] absolutely. Uh, I even use a pop filter on the dynamic mic I'm talking into right now.

It just sounds cleaner. You can't really screw up by using month. There are people that are like, you lose a little bit of high end, but there's never a lack of high end on a vocal, like, I mean, you end up adding some, but it's not like it's doll, right. Uh, if you're doing a halfway decent job, so you use a pop filter as a default, um, especially an always with a condenser.

Benedikt: [00:39:25] Yeah. Nothing more to add to that. Yeah. I even use like the huge, like I'm talking to seven S of seven right now. Uh, and it's not a dynamic, uh, not a condenser, but like I always had pop noise issues with it. So I use the big wind screen that comes with it, not the standard one, but the big one for that same reason.

So. Even if it's not a fun answer, I just try to avoid it at all costs. So 

Malcom: [00:39:48] yeah. I just think not having those big puffs are more natural than whatever the pop filter or foam introduces it. The trade off is so worth it, even if it's just once in a [00:40:00] song. Yep. 

Benedikt: [00:40:00] Okay, cool. Um, that brings us to another noise issue, which is, or like not noise, but, um, stuff that's not supposed to be, um, in the, in the recording too much.

And that's sibilance. So your SS and like S yeah. Sibling noises, your mouth makes are really an issue sometimes. And most of the time it's because people only have one mic and they don't, they can not choose the right mic for the voice, because I think, especially when it comes to siblings, Mike choice is so key.

And like some mics work perfectly with certain vocalists and others just don't. Um, and yeah, but if you, if you're stuck with whatever you have and you can't change it. Then Mike positioning Ken's off that for you. So play with the angle, play with the mic position, try to get rid of, of the S's and the harsh stuff as much as possible, because this can really be a pain later on in the mix.

And you might not notice during recording because it might sound fine to you, but once it gets compressed and we want to cue a little air into it, like a little top end and all these things. These things can jump [00:41:00] out very quickly and very leak in an unpleasant way. So, um, stuff that's not, that might not be so obvious in the raw recording might become obvious in the mix and become a real issue here.

So I'd always go for the darker side when in doubt, and then push some air in the mix. Instead of recording something with a really, really bright mic that might be two sibling agreed, 

Malcom: [00:41:23] totally agreed. Um, too much gain on a cheap preamp. This is a good point because most self recording bands are using the built-in pre-amps on their interface and sometimes they're a little cheap, uh, but they're, they're amazingly good at the same time.

Like we, we are very lucky at this time of technology where the budget preamps are pretty great, where they suck is when they're turned up quite a bit. They, they perform much better when they're not maxed out, um, or close to maxed out even so. Again, take advantage of being able to record [00:42:00] quietly, just turn it up in your doll with the fader instead of using the, um, the preamp game and, uh, or there are things called a fat head or a cloud lifter, and I'm sure there's some other solutions out there, but they are in line, game boosts.

So you plugged them in between your interface. So from the mic into one of these, into your interface, and that gives you some extra gains. So you don't have to run the preamp as hot. That goes a long way for sure. The focus, right. Scarlet is the one that I encountered whenever there's one of these, like a preamp that's been turned up too much.

I asked and it's almost always a focus, right? Scarlet I'm like, I know that sound. 

Benedikt: [00:42:37] Yeah. Yeah. And the truth is that most of the cheap interfaces have the same price range, share the same chips, the same preamps. So whether it's a Scarlet or the Steinberg interface that I have, or some others, I'm not sure which of these have exactly the same, but I know that most of these, um, share the exact same technology inside.

Like it's just stock components in that price range that they all use. So [00:43:00] they all have this issue. I have the issue with mine. I'm recording into a cheap to channel the Steinberg interface here. And my fat head is actually broken and I need to get a new one to repair it. So I'm not using it right now.

And if I don't use like our XD noise on my recordings for this podcast, it would be pretty, pretty noisy. And you probably, you might even notice compared to older episodes where my fat head was working, that the last couple of episodes were a little noisier. I did get rid of most of it, but it's a noticeable difference right away.

And it's exactly the issue. My 

Malcom: [00:43:29] welcome describes. Yeah. I find it's not even just the noise floor. It's also like, like a harshness to kind of everything that like transients just get uglier. Um, and so why does this happen? Why do you have to turn up your game so much that you need a fed head in the cloud after which you mentioned that it's just some bikes don't have enough gain themselves.

So, um, like an SM seven B for example, requires a lot of gain to get up to volume. Um, so if it was on a drum kit, which is a very loud instrument, you wouldn't, [00:44:00] you wouldn't be worried really, but on a voice, which can't go as loud as drums, you end up trying to make up for it with, with your preamp. And that's where the situation arises.

Yes. So probably not a problem with like condenser microphones. Nope. Agreed. 

Benedikt: [00:44:14] Um, all right. Yeah, don't get too close. Um, I mean that's, that can cause a lot of issues. Um, don't get too close is on that list because if you do get too close, you can have too much proximity effect. So it can be too basic. You can get too many like plosives, harsh SS, like the air of like coming out of your mouth, goes directly into the capsule and like full blast and it's gonna can distort it.

Can't even like you could, in theory, at least you could even destroy your condenser mic if you like really blow into it. And like, so, um, yeah, just don't get too close. It's going to sound more natural, more balanced. Less boomy. And, um, you don't have, you're going to have less issue with, with like weird noises that your mouth [00:45:00] makes basically, right?

Malcom: [00:45:01] Yeah. Clean up the pre and post roll sounds of your takes. Um, so that means, you know, you start recording the hit record and the singer is listening to the course and they're kind of, they're humming along until they start singing on the verse. And then you send us these files that have like just 20 seconds of noise while they were waiting to sing of them, like breathing and blowing their nose and stuff like that.

And it takes a lot of time for the mixer to clean that up. And that should have been done before it got to the mixer. So what all of the space where they're not singing needs to kind of be looked at and trimmed out. Um, that could even be depends on the sound you're looking for. But sometimes that means taking out breasts in like the middle of sentences and stuff like that, you know?

Um, I think if you're really producing your vocals, every breath should be left or taken out 

Benedikt: [00:45:45] intentionally. Yeah. And you said left or be taken out and that's exactly what you should do though. There's no recipe to do it every single time because some people will say, you always need to like, get rid of all the breasts.

No, don't do that. And some say always leave them in. No, [00:46:00] that's not right as well. Leave those in that are helping the emotion and the song and get rid of those that do nothing for the song basically. And, uh, you always have to decide whatever is the case, but make it intentionally. And yes, clean up all of that stuff.

I consider that part of editing and editing is always a step that should happen with vocals. So just after you've recorded, make sure to clean up correct timing, correct tuning to D to the degree that's right. For the song, obviously, and then send it to mix, to mixing, making sure that there's nothing in there that's not supposed to be in there.

It's all about. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:46:34] So a situation I had recently was there was a lot of this pre-roll noise in, in the vocal performances. And there was a couple moments where the singer like mixed among this pre-roll noise would do like a little hype sound like yeah. And like stuff like that, you know, like, and I thought he was just kind of getting jacked up, ready to sing.

So I cleared it all out. It turns out a few of those were meant to actually be in the performance, but like, it didn't seem like it to me because it's kind of just mixed in with like [00:47:00] den blowing his nose and kind of just like adjusting, getting ready to sing and stuff like that. Um, so they kind of just wasted some time and burned up a revision.

So. If it would have been cleaned and, you know, there's like hard silence on either side of that. Yeah. I would be like, okay, that's obviously meant to be there. 

Benedikt: [00:47:16] Um, exactly. By the way, that same thing is true for guitars. Um, just say it, like, you can have things like noise from plugging in the guitar or amp noise, hums feedback, whatever that can all be there intentionally or accidentally.

And we don't know often as a mixer, it's exactly the same thing we might get rid of all that stuff. And then the bands like, well, that one feedback should be in there, or that amp noise in between that break is actually cool, you know, but just make sure it's intentional and we don't have to question these things.


Malcom: [00:47:49] Yeah. Cause sometimes it's not as easy as just rolling back the clip to get it back. If we committed some stuff it's like, you know, that could eat up a half hour real easy. Yep. Um, now I'm gonna let you handle [00:48:00] this next one, Betty, cause you know, more about it than I do 

Benedikt: [00:48:02] intonation problems and screams and dirty vocals, um, that cannot be tuned easily.

Yeah. That's an issue. Um, because in the heavier genres or like even in rock music, sometimes when people do this mix of like scream and singing, like not, um, one after the other, but like people sing in a way that they almost scream, you know, like really like rough, dirty, loud vocals, sometimes your tuning software like Melodyne or attitude or whatever.

It can not detect that very well. And um, so what this software does is it detects the notes you're singing and they show up as like blops, like just like mini notes. On a, on a, on a key map basically. And then you can take those blobs and move them to the note where they're supposed to be. If they are out of tune and with really rough, like distorted or like dirty vocals, this sometimes doesn't work very well because the software just can't detect the pitch properly.

And [00:49:00] so I always advise people who sing like that and want their vocals tuned afterwards, that they should be very careful with those parts and make sure the intonation is as spot on as possible, because we might not be able to tune them. There are usually ways to do it, but it might be, it might take a lot of effort.

It might take a lot of time. It's not as easy and sometimes it's not doable at all. So don't just think, well, that take, but usually I'm on the, because usually my opinion is the energy is more important than the intonation because you can always fix the intonation. In these cases, you have to be more careful because.

If you think, well, it takes us so much energy and that screen was so cool, but it was totally out of two, but that doesn't matter because they can fix it anyways. That might not be true in this case. So, um, whenever you have a very rough, very distorted, vocal, um, be careful and at least record an option, that's like maybe.

With, with a good intonation or something, just know that it might be a problem. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:49:59] That's [00:50:00] why it's like a little side tangent that like the, bring me the horizon architects style bands that are doing a lot of that sing scream, pitched scream stuff is so impressive. Like they are nailing that. It sounds like it sounds hard tuned and maybe there is some tuning help there, but like, despite what people might think it had to be really close to sound like that either nailed it or are so close to nailing it for it to sound that perfect.

And again, singing the screaming. Like it's not something you can do for hours and hours on end, so they must've just put so much time into getting that product. It's 

Benedikt: [00:50:32] amazing. Yeah. Agreed. Okay. Cool. Then the next one, uh, kind of. Like we touched on that in the last, um, point actually. So lack of energy and vibe.

Um, yeah. What else can we say here? It's like some just, yeah, yeah, exactly. Because especially with, cause it's just so important you are the instrument or the vocalist is the instrument. And as we said, like sometimes it's the wrong guitar for the chop or the wrong whatever instrument or you need to take care of your [00:51:00] instrument, you maintain it.

And if you are the instrument, the same thing holds true. So you got to make sure that the instrument itself is in good shape. You got to feel good. You gotta have the energy you gotta. Yeah, it's just it's I don't know. It's hard to describe, but some, there are two vocal performances that are both in tune and in time and like everything's perfect.

One can bring you to tears and the other one can't like, won't touch you at all. So, right. It's all about vibe, energy feeling and so important with vocals and more important than anything else. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:51:29] Yep. Totally agree. Headphone bleed. Good one. Uh, just be aware of it, that it shouldn't be a problem. Um, especially the metronome.

I normally turn off the metronome actually for vocalists, but, um, if it's still in there, it's, it's quite low. Like pretty much it only needs to be, you should only notice it on those parts that like everything else kind of like the drums disappear in the song and stuff like that, you know? Um, so it shouldn't be a risk of that bleeding through, but you know, uh, where this becomes a problem is maybe people aren't aware that the headphones are wearing our open ear [00:52:00] headphones, um, where they bleed a lot and stuff like that.

So just, you know, watch out for that. Also make sure there's not, uh, another set of headphones in the room. Thanks. So if you were tracking a band right before you moved on to vocals with multiple headphones sets in the room, and then you go onto tracking vocals, but that other person's headphones are still, they got their station.

Just blaring out music. That's a problem. Yep. 

Benedikt: [00:52:22] Oh yeah. That's a good one. Actually. I must admit it happened to me quite a while. Like when we did like gang vocals and then we were like, Oh, you know what, let's do that one lead part again. And then the lead singer was in there and does it, and all the other four pairs of headphones in the room are still full on, you know, from the gang vocal session that I just forgot to turn them down.

So that can, that can easily happen to watch out for that be aware. I noticed that sometimes when people do gang vocals of group vocals of any sort, that they sometimes do it with a huge group of people and they are very far away from the mic and they might only do like two takes because they are already a lot of people in there.

And the, a couple of issues can come from that. First of all, if, [00:53:00] if it's like a singing part and some people just are not singing in tune, it's impossible to tune that. Like you can't isolate the single voice in a huge group of people easily, and it can be really distracting and weird to have that in there.

The second reason is the more people you have, probably the further away you go from the mic. So more room. If the room doesn't sound good, more issues. Sometimes it's just sounds like a, I don't know, like a basement or clearly not good and it's yeah. More human shoes. And also you might need more takes than you think you need to be able to make it really wide and to like get a cool stereo image and everything.

So just, I'd rather do smaller groups of people and more takes than like having 15 people in front of a maker or whatever, so, right. Yeah. 

Malcom: [00:53:48] Yeah. So quickly run me through what you kind of gravitate 

Benedikt: [00:53:51] towards as a setup. Um, I mean, if it's the typical scenario where it's the band themselves doing the game vocals and they're four or five people and maybe they bring [00:54:00] in two friends or whatever sometimes then I'd suggest, I mean, my studio it's pretty convenient for me.

If I have four people, because I have a dedicated, like four channel headphone preempt, that's close to where they usually stand. So I try to get, get them in, in groups of four people. Um, and I do at least like at the very least dip, depending if they want to like, have this huge stadium like vocal, or if they have one us to have it sound like just the band, you know, that's always, um, you always have to ask the question by, but I have this, this group of four people do at least four takes, so I have two left and two on the right side.

Right. And then I ask if, for if that's, if that's enough or if we should do another pair. So I always have pairs so that I can like spread them out in the stereo field. And if there is like eight people, I just separate them into two groups and have four people do it. And then the other four people do it.

And sometimes I end up with four takes. Sometimes it's eight takes. Sometimes it's even more. And if I want to [00:55:00] create the illusion of really a lot of people, but I don't have a lot of people in the room, I try to mix it up every time. Uh, we do another take. So I, I might rearrange the people. So one person gets closer to the mic and other ones steps back a bit.

I might, um, change the position in the room slightly or whatever. I just try to make it as different as possible. Yeah. And do whatever I can, um, to make it dense and sound like more people, but about distance from the mic. Um, usually as close as possible, but still so that the people are still evenly like, uh, distributed, like, you know, so you have to have some distance so that every voice is like this not, it's just an even balance.

Yeah, but I don't want too much room in the gangs. Like I never liked that. I I'd rather add some breathable room later, but I, I hated when they're too far away and you can't get the room out of the gang vocal. Um, so I tried to get as close as possible, but still maintain a bit of balance between the individual voices.

Malcom: [00:55:59] Yeah. Uh, [00:56:00] this is actually worth mentioning. I find that bands make this mistake where they think anybody can be on the gang vocals and good gang vocals have good singers. Um, yeah, the best ones I've heard. My buddy's band brought in like all the best singers they know for their gang vocal session. And it's like, Oh, these are sick.

Like these a really well projected. There's like tone in each voice there. And they're all nailing the pitch. Like that makes a 

Benedikt: [00:56:23] huge difference. Yeah. Also it helps when they have a feeling for what they are capable of and what they're not capable of. Because sometimes if they know what they're doing, sometimes one person will be like, well, that part, I just can't nail that high note.

So I'm just not going to do that. I just. Join you for the next thing, you know, and they skip that part. If they don't, if they're not aware of that, they try to nail it, but it will sound horrible. So like that helps. And also some people sing significantly louder than others. And if they are aware of that, they can arrange themselves in the room that way.

So they can step back a bit quieter person can move forward a bit. So it just helps if you have people in [00:57:00] the room who sort of know what they're doing and are good vocalists. Yeah, absolutely. 

Malcom: [00:57:03] Absolutely. With you. All right. Uh, so doubles, we've talked about doubles quite a bit recently. Um, they are meant to be the same as lead vocal, and they are meant to be the same as each other.

And that's again, another misconception that happens a lot. Normally when we talk about doubles, there's meant to be two doubles. So you have your central lead vocal and then a left double and a right double. Um, so doubles come in pairs. Everything other linear lead vocal comes in pairs. Um, and sometimes even threes I've, I've definitely been on projects where there's a center left and a right of every, every darn vocal line.

Uh, it takes a lot of time, but, uh, they're meant to be the same. They're meant to be identical. So that's the whole point, right? So this is not the place to get creative, just do a different vocal line altogether, if you want to have variances go in, but then again, double it, it just, we want to have balance available to us.

Um, so that's the key there. 

Benedikt: [00:57:55] Absolutely. And also label it correctly because what I often [00:58:00] have is like, when people send me stuff, I give them instructions on how to label the tracks. And when they call a tractable, I assume it's exactly the same. And I'm going to prep the session and like label the track as double.

And, um, I'm trying to use it as that. And when I, then in the mix, figure out that it's not actually a double, but a harmony or whatever, then I got to rearrange things, reroute things, you know? So. Label things like doubles, harmonies, backing, vocals, add lips stuff that's in between, you know, like all these things label them in a way that makes sense for a stranger when they look at the session, because if something says double, we assume it's just an alternative, another take of the same thing.

Yep. Agreed. Yep. Okay. So I guess that's it. Um, yeah, 

Malcom: [00:58:45] I mean, there's, there's an unlimited amount of stuff we could talk about, but we definitely hit more than like, if you get most of those, we're going to be in really good shape. Um, again, listen to all three of these episodes. It's a long lengthy lesson, but it is, this is [00:59:00] the best stuff we've ever done on this podcast.

I think where this is so 

Benedikt: [00:59:03] valuable. I think so it's some of the best stuff for sure. Also I want to let you know that, um, some of these things, we get out our ideas sometimes for these episodes, from the community or from the emails we get from you. So if you and I got a lot of, uh, like emails lately from subscribers, Uh, where they answered the question that I always send to new subscribers.

So if you want one of those people and you've sent me an idea for the show or a problem you having, just to know that I write all of these down on a list and I will discuss that with Malcolm and we will eventually turn it into whatever soda and to content. So just be patient. I just know that we, we hear you we'll listen to you and that many of these, um, things of these ideas come from our community of listeners and subscribers and community members.

So appreciate that input a lot. That being said, what we also appreciate is if you would, if you like share this podcast with your friends, uh, with other [01:00:00] bands, band members, you know, with your own band mates. So if you get something out of these episodes, if you like, uh, what we do here, if you think it's valuable, just share it with your musician friends, and also please leave a review on iTunes, Apple podcasts, whatever podcast platform you're listening on that really helps us reach more people, help more people like you.

Uh, and we don't. Say that often enough. So I just want to remind you if you want to help us out. And if you appreciate the show, we'd really appreciate you giving us a review. And as I said in return, we always listen to your input and try to make the most helpful content we can for you here. So, definitely.


Malcom: [01:00:36] Yeah. And if you share our episodes on like Instagram or anything like that, please do tag us. Oh yeah. It's like we really 

Benedikt: [01:00:42] enjoy seeing that. Absolutely. So my Instagram is at Benedick tine and Malcolm is Malcolm and flood. Exactly. Cool. Thank you so much for, uh, for all of that. And thank you for listening and we'll see you next week. [01:01:00] .

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Malcom's And Benedikt's Websites:

Outback Recordings (Benedikt's Mixing Studio and personal website)

Benedikt's Instagram

Outback Recordings Podcast - Benedikt's other podcast

Stone Mastering (Malcom's Mastering Company)

Malcom's personal website

Malcom's Instagram

Your Band Sucks (at business) - Malcom's other podcast

Gimme The Beat (The Netflix Documentary Malcom is involved with)

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