85: Super Hacks – Part 1 (Recording)

85: Super Hacks – Part 1 (Recording)

Reason number one for doing this episode: 

Malcom wanted to say "SUPER HACKS" on the show. ?

Reason number two for doing this episode: 

There are a couple of tricks that we've discovered and learned over the years, which we would actually call "super hacks", because they are really useful, sped up our workflow, solved problems for us and increased the quality of our work. Of course we wanted to share those with you!

Let's start with recording hacks in this episode. If you find these helpful and are a sucker for hacks and tricks like we are, we'll do another one on mixing. And maybe another one. We'll see.

Listen now, take notes and use these super hacks in your next session!


This episode was edited by Thomas Krottenthaler.

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

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


Benedikt: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the self recording band podcast. I'm your host Bennett tine. And I'm here today with my 


and cohost DoCoMo and flood. How are you?

Malcom: Hello. I'm great, man. It's always nice getting to see you?

twice in the Same. 


Benedikt: Same. Yeah, absolutely. 


what has been, what have you been up to since Monday?

Malcom: Uh, 

I worked on a really cool production yesterday. I 

was doing location sound thing. Um, I got to work with, a lot of, Um,

legally blind people all the way from entirely blind 

to late. so no sight born with no sight to partially like peripheral stuff and, uh, people that have lost their vision later in life.

It was 

a very 


day and, and I felt like pretty honored 

to be working with such 

a, a, a very unique and talented and persevering 



people. They're 


They're up to a good cause. And I'm not meant to talk about yet, but [00:01:00] it was like, it was 

inspiring for


So had a great day yesterday. 

Benedikt: That is very cool. Um, I have a follow-up question for that. Is it.


has, has 

it, does 

it have to do with music or is it on a 



Malcom: Completely different 


Yeah. Yeah. Entirely, entirely different. More of a, like a social


kind of campaign and, uh, 

and much needed for sure. So it was very, very cool, 


Benedikt: very very cool. Well, looking forward to that 


at some point you got to 

uh, like give me a 


of things you've worked on. Like, I just want to know what, what you actually doing there, because I don't know, 

like the only thing I know was that 

the music documentary you were doing, I think that was the first thing you 


Malcom: Yeah, that 

Benedikt: Right in



And after that, I don't 

really know 

Malcom: it's been all over the place 

all over 

the place. Yeah. 

Benedikt: How long 


it take for productions 



to actually before they are actually 

released? Like, is any of the stuff out yet 

that you've worked 


Malcom: You 

know what hilariously 


[00:02:00] like, we're talking 


three years of being in, in the film world with that music documentary starting. And, 

uh, I think like one of them 



Benedikt: That's what I was 

Malcom: yeah, 

it's a, 

there's a couple like 


and stuff 

like that that have come out and some pilots for 

some stuff. Um, but it's like the slowest 

turnaround. So I can't 

wait till have.


stuff I can point to as a portfolio in this industry, 

otherwise it's just like 

credit. I have credit. 


I can put that down on my CV and you know, on 

my like 

websites and stuff, but I can't show it to


And I know a 

lot of it, I 

still can't 

even talk 

about because of NDAs 


stuff like that. 

So it's 

Benedikt: Yeah. 

Malcom: just, uh, 

like trust me, I'm 



can't really prove it.

Benedikt: Yeah. I mean,

um, I think these credits I'll find, but

it's, it's obviously 

cool to have a movie to point to, 


Malcom: absolutely. So coming soon. yeah, 

Looking forward to it.

Benedikt: Great.

[00:03:00] Great. 

All right. 


Today is a fun episode. I, this, that helps. So. 

I expect it

to be, because 

today we are talking about

super hex, At least that's 

the working title. I, 

don't know if that's going to 


the final 

title, but We're talking about 

recording super hex. So little things you can do 


that you might have not

thought about it's 




I dunno, how to,

how to call these like unconventional techniques maybe, or like problem 


Malcom: It's 

the black magic 

of recording. 

Benedikt: yeah, 

Exactly. Exactly.

So we try to cover, 

a couple of 

different topics 


and, uh, 


to inspire 

you to use those 

things because they are fun and 

they can really be problem-solvers.

They can 

really help you, 

Attack, address situations that might 

frustrate you. I remember 

I remember 

using a couple of these things and 


thinking I have the 

solution for 

the problem that was bothering me 

for so 



looking forward to that and to hearing the [00:04:00] stories of you using


let's start with 

the first one on our list here, 


I am curious about it

just because of the name of it.


call it dragon


What's the dragon 

Malcom: So the dragon force technique 


of course

named after the band



And it 

comes from the 

story that 


They're like really fast, maxed out



at a slower tempo 

and then 

edit it 




Uh, I have no 


if that's 

true and regardless to,

if it's 


they're amazingly 






this is not a knock 


DragonForce they can play 


they can play that 

fast, but for recording to make it 

perfect, perhaps 


use some trickery. 

And, uh, 

so actually my first experience with the dragon force technique was, uh, actually on my own bands, 

album, band, Rascals, the

albums Tempest, and the song is called little longer.

Now, if you want to go check it 


but this 


it's not even that 

fast. it's it's about 


fast. [00:05:00] And that happens





iterations, but 

I was just 

like, not 


with how.



tight, it was turning 



Ryan Jones engineer that was working with me on



was like, ah, 

I got,


Goes to the end of the 


drops the tempo 


Um, I can't remember 

how much

he went, but 

essentially it doesn't really 

matter as 





and got me to play.


so slow, so slow that I couldn't possibly 



up. And, and 

just like 

I had to do it a 

bunch of times 


then just to make like



so perfect. 

And then you 


chopped at he's transient, 

moved back 

into the tempo 

grid and just 



All those 


to the grid and



slower and


than you


they just kind of

chopped off

the sustaining tales 



and dah, 

dah, dah, dah. it, it 


just like


ridiculously perfect.


of a 


and uh, 

that's the dragon force technique? 

Benedikt: Awesome. 

Awesome. I wonder how many [00:06:00] 

messages we'll

get or 

comments we'll get 

for people who like, if you can 

play it, 

just write A different 

song or 

write it slower or whatever. Um, 

do, did you 

have any like ego issues with

that or 

Malcom: not at 

Benedikt: or ethical or whatever you want to call it? Problems 

with like recording something that 

you can not 


Malcom: No, I 

just needed it. 

I Like, and I think I 




It's just, 

couldn't make 


sound that stupidly. 

Perfect. This was like the equivalent drum 


onto a 


I was making guitar 


for each of those 


essentially, and, and then

piecing it 

together. And, uh, 

I'm so thrilled 


how it 



So yeah, no qualms. 

Benedikt: absolutely. Yeah. I don't have a 


with stuff like that at all,

but, um, I can, 

I can understand if 

like people are hesitant.

To record something that they don't feel confident about or

that they can't reproduce live. I don't know. 

But at the end of the day, 


you're making a record, 

the record, 


gotta be, it's going to be the best.


it can be, and it should be the best it can be.


[00:07:00] regardless of, of what happens live, I


Malcom: And also

we were 

spending money, 

hand over fist in the 


So it was like, 

wait, this will get 

what I want 


Okay. Here we go.

I will it. 

I would have given the guitar to somebody else at that point, 

Benedikt: Exactly. Yeah. Maybe 


could have 

nailed it but it's just faster that 


Malcom: much 


Benedikt: Yeah. 


So hack number two

is kind 

of a similar thing. 

Um, and this time this is 



Maybe you are having a hard time trying to hit a very high note and 

you, maybe you can sing it, but 

you're having like, no, it's not your best 


or at the end of a long day 

or, um, you hit it a couple of times and now 

the voice is 


um, not, but it used to be, 

could be a couple of reasons 

or it's a high harmony 



don't necessarily 

sing live, but you want to track it in the studio.


what you


If you could just 


everything down

a bit, sing it to 

sing [00:08:00] to that, like 

pitched backing 

track, and then 

pick it up again. 

for example.

Malcom: Right. 

Yeah, that that's, 


pretty much the move, right. Is 


if you 

can't hit it, 



you want,

you can 

just pitch it 


sing it to that, 

pitch your voice back up. 

And while, uh, 

or you sing, I've 

heard people like sing a similar, 

like sometimes melodies 

workout that 

you can kind 

of sing 

the same. 

Same melody, 

but transpose 

down a few notes kind of 


and then just 


that up. 


but it's, 


kind of hard to do that because it doesn't 


like it's 

hard to 




differently and that's 

what that 

requires. So if you 

pitch the song, 

then you get 

the sing, the 


melody just 

in a different key.

And then it's easier to shift it up. 

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. By the way, there have 

been things like, these are 

not new. 

Like people have done things like these, even on tape and sometimes 

like for creative 


I heard a podcast 


Um, again, I've talked about

this, this dude a couple of times, [00:09:00] because I think he's really cool. Um, 

Vance Powell talked 



I think it was a record that

it was not a check white record, but check what 


involved, I think, 

and they recorded. they wanted to record a bass part that was not. 

Um, possible 

to play on that 

base that they had. 


they use the 

tape, very speed, slowed down the tape, 

played higher up, And then 

I can't remember correctly, but they slowed or 

they sped 

up the tape and then they slowed 

it down.

So it gets lower than 

the base 

echo can actually play. 

I think that was the. 

Something like that. So they play the different base line basically, and they 

calculated what note it's going to be that depending on how much you speed up the 

tape and 

stuff, and then they 

slowed it back down and then the 


was lower than it can 

actually go.

And it sounded 

pretty cool.

So stuff like that, 

trickery, trickery like that 

have always has

always been 

done and 

there was tape various 


There were 

other things 

that you could use. They were like whole rack 


where you can, could pitch things up and 


Malcom: Yeah. 

Benedikt: Um, so [00:10:00] this is not something new. 

Uh, it has always been

done that way 

and you've heard it on many 

records without 

even knowing


Malcom: Yeah. 

So when you 

pitch shift your vocal around, 

depending on how you do it, it 

can kind of change. 


I think it's called the format of your 



so if you 

sing something.

Hi for you, but 

it's actually 

already going to get 


already too low, 

And then you pitch it up your, your, 

voice. If 

you're a 

guy, for example, 


going to kind 

of become more 

chipmunky. um, and, 

And more female 


which it can be 

exactly what you 

want Um, like if you want a female backing

bow, cool. This can kind of



your voice into 

one a little bit. If you 

do it the right 

way, a little 

altar boy 

can kind of manipulate that as 



you can kind 

of like try and 


it, makes it 

sound like it's not using in your 


If you want 


Benedikt: Yeah, that would have 

been my 


super hack. I was just thinking about that, 


little Archer ultimately thing, because if it's only you and you want harmonies and you don't want 

them to sound all Like you, 

the alter blood can 

lets you [00:11:00] 

change the other formats.

That's what it's 

called. And like, Um, 

yeah, you can turn your 

voice into a 



Basically. It

doesn't sound like you anymore. You 

can, and you can do that without 

changing the pitch actually. Or you can 

change the pitch and, 

change the way your 

voice sounds.

So that's a pretty quick hack 


you can, 


can make gang vocal sound 

like more people. You can make, create harmonies. That sounded like a 

different people, but it's just.

Uh, So that's 

actually a 

pretty cool super heck I think, because I know for a 

fact that a lot 

of people struggle with this. They, 


I get asked quite a bit, um, 

whether they

should even record harmonies because it's only them and They, don't want it to sound like it's only them. So 

why should they bother at all And I always 

tell them, like do

it because I can always make them sound a little


So don't be afraid 

to record backings or anything like, 


Um, if you don't have a lot of people. to.


Malcom: Yeah, 

I've told him, I would say in a lot of cases, it's actually totally fine for it to be the same voice as


It blends so well, usually that 

it's [00:12:00] kind of almost better half the time,

Benedikt: Yeah, 



Okay. Yeah. 

So yeah, pitching, pitching stuff around and I don't know, different dolls. 

Um, do this differently. Some lets you do it pretty 

easily and

quickly, but with others it's 

a bit 


a pain. So there are, um, 

incubators, for example, it's a cool 

thing you can just highlight, 

you could just select 


and then you can just 

transpose them.


can just, uh, you just use the mouse wheel And transpose them, 

up or down as many 

steps as you want. And then you hit play record and 

then you re redo that




it's different in your doll or

whatever you're using, but there is usually a way to just 

quickly, uh, transpose stuff 


Malcom: Yeah. A little, 


different approach. Well, it'll be different in every door though. 

So just, there's a way for 

Benedikt: Yeah. Okay, cool. 


the next 

one, have you ever 



Malcolm your hands in warm water? 


did this to my twin brother, trying to 


him pee the bed 

once, Cause that's apparently a 

trick, [00:13:00] but couldn't quite get a glass big enough 

though. So, 


Benedikt: know that move. 

Like I think everybody knows that, but I've never actually 





told me 

that it 

actually worked 

Malcom: totally.

Totally. Yeah. I 


if that's



urban myth, but,

Benedikt: maybe. 

Malcom: um, no, I have not done the 




So why don't 

you explain 

what that is? 

Benedikt: Yeah. So 

we don't 


to make people pee. We are trying 

to get rid of, 

get rid of 

squeaks when 

we record 

acoustic guitars, 

because then that can be 

an issue. 

And usually it doesn't bother me as


Um, but it 

depends with some strings, some guitars And like the 

combination of the hands, the strings of the guitar, I don't know, 

uh, can be. Can 


annoying squeaks 

when you make up acoustic guitars and I've read and tried 

it. And 


really worked 

that apparently 


guitarists, like really good ones,

um, have done that forever. 

They would like before [00:14:00] They go on stage, they 

would soak their hands in. Like, not everybody 

I think, but some of them


soak their hands in warm water and 



the skin softer and that 



helps. You get rid 

of the


I think.

There might be a risk because


it feels, it feels like, it 

would, that might be 

a risk of getting blisters on your fingers if you do that.

Malcom: Yeah. I 

Benedikt: don't play for too long, 

uh, it can work really well. I've tried it and it worked like a charm.

Malcom: right? Yeah. I could

see how that works better on nylon strings, than metal strings 

potentially. But, um, 

it it makes sense. 

And sometimes those squeaks 

are just the death of you. So 

this is 

like definitely a 


hack. If you need it, you're going to need it bad. 

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. 

And I don't even know. 

I don't even understand why it has 

to be, I read it, 

but I don't even understand 

why it has to be 

like warm water 

I suppose. Like water would 

just be 


but like, I don't know, whatever. Try it 


hands, make them softer [00:15:00] and get

rid of the 

Malcom: Yeah, let 

us know if it gets rid of the squeaks. 

or it makes you 



Benedikt: of two things will happen. 

no, which one, 



simple email. We'll 

do no, 

no photo or video proof. 

Benedikt: Exactly. 


Malcom: Uh, the next one we've talked about a hundred times before, but it's just so good that I always want to mention. It does using a paper towel or really anything under the guitar strings that you're not playing to make your guitar cleaner and less. Ugly sounding.

Um, so yeah, I always have like three pieces of paper towel in the back of my camper. One of them starting to become like the soft pleasant cloth, because it's been used so much, but it's also kind of gross and dirty because of all the stuff that comes up strings, but it's, it's ancient and, uh, and yeah, you just slide it under, like, depending on the guitar you usually between the pickup and the strings.

And then, uh, while you're playing the strings, you actually play those ones. Don't. Resonate or you can't bump them and stuff like that just cleans [00:16:00] it up another, it seems like it's cheating, but it gets the job done makes your guitar sound better and cleaner. And once you start distorting things and compressing things heavily, all those little noises build up.

So sometimes you just want it to be so clean and this is the way.

Benedikt: Totally. Different, um, tricks here. I've seen the tea, the paper towel, of course, of course. But I've also seen that people taping strings away um, I, I was always afraid of like what the glue would do to the strings if I remove the tape. So I don't want to, like the people tower towel just doesn't do any damage.

And then, um, you can entirely, you can remove strings entirely, which probably messes with the tuning a bit, but because of the, the, the string tension on the whole instrument, the. But you could technically do that. Um,

Malcom: Yeah,

I think for like those pop punk octave guitar parts probably taken out that string was the trick because it was just no thud being added by that middle string at all, which is pretty cool.

Benedikt: Yes, exactly. But for most [00:17:00] situations, the easiest and fastest way to do it is just the paper towel.

Malcom: Yep. Now one super hack inside of a super hack, those little foam earplugs that you can get, you know, just trying to sleep and stuff. Those are like really handy for this. Cause you can put a. You can like they're small enough that you can put them under just one string. You can cut them into two and do like two different strings across different parts of the neck.

Um, they're much easier to manipulate onto single strings then than paper towel is.

Benedikt: Oh, that's, that's actually pretty cool. So you could technically do the Okta thing and just dampen the middle 

Malcom: Yeah

Yeah. You get in there and get just the, the eighth string, for example, or just G and then, or you could do like the, a and the B or whatever it called. It's a very handy.

Benedikt: Now, if you're wondering, by the way, how you're supposed to play all the other parts, then if you do. Listen to the last episode that we did, you don't have to play a song, start to finish. You can comp songs. You can, you can comp take. So that [00:18:00] means you can just record one part. Do the people use the paper towel or a foam plug your plugs trick, and then just remove it for the next part.

So just in case, you're not aware, um, listen to episode, I think 84, it was, um, the last episode we did. And then we explain the whole concept of like comping takes and putting the best parts of each take together. So you don't have to play, start to finish just a side note here.

Malcom: Yeah.

I it's funny. Cause like the idea of doing. The whole song doesn't even come to mind for me anymore. It's like now I think of the part and then it's like, okay, first step, choose the part. Second part. Second step is optimize the instrument for that part, which means using paper towel or whatever I need to mute.

I needed strings tuning to the frats were playing on, uh, you know, choosing the pick for that part. It says all. So under the microscope, it's funny.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. All right. So, um, and maybe we [00:19:00] should add here in case of people are not aware. There are these things called threat reps that you have different names, but I go call them fret reps. Um, you've probably seen it. Mental guitarists use those all the time. You it's a, it's a, what is it made of cloth?

Some, some sort of cloth. I don't know. Um, foam blocks that are not foam, but yeah, it's, it's a, a wrapper that you, you wrap it around the guitar neck, near the headstock. Um, like above the neck, near the headstock, like above the. the thing, the basically. Yeah. And that keeps the strings above the nut from resonating, from ringing That might not be a problem for you, but maybe you just didn't notice so far it can be, for some reason, was like, when you want to have, when you went to have super clean, um, the fine core. Um, super heavy chucks that are very, very defined and clean and almost like mechanical sounding. I'm getting rid of everything that resonates and brings is, is huge.

And it's like what? You sat Malcolm, [00:20:00] like these little things, just add up, you have a ringing string here, you have this, um, ring there and you have this like all these resonances and stuff. And if you can get. Of of all of these, it just compounds and you end up with a super clean, super heavy, super defined, um, court that you hearing.

And especially with like very, very distorted guitars. This can help a lot because the more distortion you use, um, the more obvious those things get.

Malcom: Absolutely. Yeah, I actually don't own one of those. And just in certain circumstances, I've had dentists like reach over and hold it with some paper towel or something and be like, all right, play that again. So I get one, be worth investing in.

Benedikt: Yeah. I only noticed the difference once I've tried it, I've never bothered. I never thought it was an issue. Um, and then I saw all these people use it and, uh, I wanted to try it and only then did I realize what it actually does? Like, bother me before, but now for certain parts, it kind of bothers me.

Malcom: Yeah.

for sure. It's, it's definitely, uh, a move that can be needed. And the other cool thing about those is you can actually slide it over the nut onto the, like, [00:21:00] just onto the first frat. And then while they're changing chords, you know, if there's like big jumps, when they lift their fingers, It doesn't ring the open string.

It stays muted or more muted, I would say. So it's very useful there as well. And that's another, I mean, we're gonna talk, but let's just talk about two man guitar recording right now. 

Benedikt: Yeah Nicholas

it Yeah 

Malcom: So two man guitar recording is usually when you have an engineer that is able to get. Protocols or their doll? Well, their left hand is holding the guitar for you to help do things.

It can be anything from, uh, what I was just talking about, where you reach over and you're muting certain strings while they play apart. And then sometimes you have to like, come in and out. If you're watching the live stream of this, you're getting a good visual of me moving my hand around like a crazy person.

But, uh, it. You're just doing whatever you can to help the guitarist along. So yeah, often that's muting and unmuting strings. Sometimes it's even fretting for them. Um, if they like have this weird pinky reach, you can be the [00:22:00] pinky smoother. Uh, sometimes it is tuning. Um, sometimes it's volume, they're playing the part and you're writing the volume.

Um, Not for them. It can be really anything changing the pickup. It's whatever they need, but it turns a guitarist into somebody with three to four arms.

Benedikt: Yup. Absolutely. It can also mean like operating the pedalboard and

all sorts of things.

Malcom: That's good one.

Benedikt: I I've, I've seen, uh, uh, Rick rundown once where, uh, Metallica was at the time, Metallica guitar tech. I don't know if it's the same guy still, but he explained what he does live with. Hetfield's. And it's just insanity.

It's because half those running around on the stage, like it never touches a pedal. Like there's nothing in front of him, he just plays. And, uh, but he's using all sorts of different tones, different amps, even different distortion, pedals, delays, reverbs, all that And behind the stage is this huge wreck.

And there's this guy with the set list and like all the cues. And he has [00:23:00] to like turn things on and off and switch between things at the right moment. And he explained that in sane setup and the, like what he, what he has to do during the show. And I was just thinking like, re like, imagine if, if he misses

Malcom: Yeah.

Benedikt: this, like switching something at some point, like you've been Metallica's guitar tech for the longest time.

I think. know, but 

sounds like super stressful job to me,

Malcom: Yeah, screw that.

Benedikt: yeah.

Malcom: I get it though. Like, I think paddleboards are probably the main reason people screw up parts of life. So they're just doing that brick and jump and trying to get their delay turned on. Not too late, not too early. It's just a nightmare. 

Benedikt: Yeah

exactly. Yeah. then the studio, this can be too many targeting, can have many applications, as you said. So very, very useful. And you think, and it doesn't have to be the, the, the engineer, or like, if you're in Africa doing band, you're the band and the engineer in one person or, or in one group. So maybe somebody else in the band can just do that.

[00:24:00] So you can focus on, on your job if you're engineering, but whoever has one hand free at least can do that.

Malcom: Yeah, totally. Just a, whatever it takes to get the part done.

Benedikt: you ever do like the real time, uh, tune tuning thing

Malcom: think I have, yeah, I think we did like a boom kind of thing and then bringing it back up and it was just easier for me to do it. Um, I also like consider myself pretty good with hearing pitch and being able to get back to an exact kind of thing. So it was just easier for me to do it in that case.

Benedikt: Yeah, because that's not so easy to do, with a little practice, it can be done.

Malcom: Yep.

Benedikt: Nope. Cool. right 

Malcom: now, 

Benedikt: go 

Malcom: well, I thought maybe we should segue into the equivalent, but on Durham. Um, so two men drumming, uh, the, the, the main idea that comes to mind is, is [00:25:00] muting the symbols for them, um, so that they can focus on playing whatever's coming right after. Um, and, and maybe even be quicker. I mean, I'm always amazed at how good drummers are at muting symbols, um, or, but it doesn't even have to be symbols.

It can just be muting any ringing drum. Um, and sometimes that's more than. They have limbs. So you can just have somebody in there and just be like, all right, you're going to meet the Toms. I'm going to mute the symbols or whatever, and just get this really clean. And, uh, so yeah, that is only possible with the help of your friends.

Benedikt: totally. Yeah. I had some, and especially with the Tom saying there's no way a drummer, even if it, if it was just a part that you could play with one hand, whatever might be, but like there's no way you can reach below. Uh, flora, Tom, and mute the resonant head and play at the same time. So you need the second person to do that.

And I've had a situations where I had to mute the resident heads because there was just, they were just too audible for that specific, quiet part that we wanted to do or whatever. So, um, yeah, do that. And also I think [00:26:00] muting symbols I'm I'm also, I also think that I love drummers are very, very good at that.

Surprisingly good. But also if, if someone else does it, it's almost always more precise. It's like, Um, and you, you would be surprised how much that can actually matter if it, whether it's done like sloppy or really spot on. So I think, yeah, this symbol choking the symbols, meaning the symbols, um, is, is something you could experiment with.

Um, have your friends do that. If you do that, please wear hearing protection. If you've never been in a, especially in a small room next to a drum kit, you will be surprised by how damn loud it is. If right next to the symbols.

Malcom: Yes. Yeah. We're hearing in protection. Absolutely.

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: Yeah, uh, that that's about it. Um, for, for the two minute drumming, I think anyways.

Benedikt: Did you ever have any ever had a situation where you would actually need, um, more than two hands, like an actual [00:27:00] part where two people drunk?

Malcom: not, not that I've tried to pull off in one take, I mean, I've, overdubbed an extra Tom or something like that or an extra crash. Um, but I haven't had that come up in just regular. 

Benedikt: Yeah no, me neither. I was just thinking about whether this could be a cool hack for some parts, but I don't know a fun thing to experiment with maybe,

Malcom: Yeah, I think it could be possible, you know? 


Benedikt: Okay. So. Uh, but talking about rums, there is something that I use all the time and I really love, and that is we call it here on our list. Uh, temporary dampening for drums. What we mean by that is whenever you stick something onto drum head to dampen it like a moon gel or tape or whatever people use to dampen their drums.

To like muffling techniques. It does the job, but it also usually dampens the attack a lot and just alters the drum tone entirely even it can even change how you perceive the tuning, just the hat, the whole hat [00:28:00] just moves and reacts differently. And there's a way around that. The first thing you could do without affecting the upper, the better head at all is you can, before you put on the better head, you can put a very thin class or like a paper towel or something like that inside the Tom, for example, onto the resonant head so that it lies on the resonant head.

And then when you hit the. This thing will lift up and then fall back down again, depending on how heavy it is, it will go be quicker or faster or slower. And this can sound with more heavy stuff. It can almost sound like a gated drum effect where you have the full sustain when the thing lifts off and then you'll have the gate close.

So to speak when it comes back down, but with a very light material or something like a cotton ball or something like that, you can have a. Uh, subtle dampening and just less annoying resonant hands. If that's something that bothers you with your tuning. So that is something I really like. It also gets rid of the basketball effect and Toms.

I really like that sometimes sound like a [00:29:00] bouncing basketball. You know what I mean? you can, especially with certain mikes and you can get rid of that by, by using this technique. Sometimes I put up a really heavy cloth in there and it just works. Um, and what I like about it is that the moment you hit the Tom, it just lifts off and lets the attack through.

The part right after the attack and then the dampening starts and it doesn't change the whole drum sound as much.

Malcom: Yeah, it's a little transparent.

Benedikt: Yeah. And the same. And then, um, another thing you can do on the, on the better head is there's actual products for that. Now they're called snare weights.

Malcom: Yeah That's what I was thinking of.

Benedikt: Yeah Th they are attached they're dampening, um, things that are attached to the rim and not to the drum head.

They lie on the drum head, but they are attached to the rim. And if you hit the drum, the same principle applies, it lifts off. Let's detect through the whole head can move, and then it comes back down again and, and applies that Anthony. And that just sounds more natural to me. And they come in different weights and sizes.

[00:30:00] Some of them, I have ones. They are. This artificial leather, I think. And, um, that you can fold them and make a small one or a bigger one. Um, they have some that are made of like the same material as the actual drum head. Like, you know, you can, you can just put an, an old drum head onto drum, head to them, or a ring made of the same material or something like that.

And the snare weights makes products that are a part of. Like cut up drum, head, that's attached to the rim. And it's the same principle that if different types of those things, but you can easily make them yourself or just tape whatever you have to the rim, but not to the drum skin.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. I don't think you already mentioned it. Some people just like fold their, open their wallet and put half of it. Like pretty much the crease of it's on the rim and then it just kind of flaps.

Benedikt: That's 

Malcom: sometimes it flies off, but

Benedikt: yeah.

that's a good one or just, um, that's a pretty heavy effect, but can also work. You can put, [00:31:00] um, a towel or a light, like a lightweight cloth thing, just over the edge of the drum. Just a little bit, depending on how, how far you put it in that, like how much of it covers the. Um, we'll change how, how much dampening you apply, but you can do that for a really muffled sound and yeah.

All kinds of cool things without damaging the head and without changing how the head moves when you're.

Malcom: Right. Totally. Yeah. I, this is kind of both, but I had a sweater of mine, like a flannel that we put on a floor, Tom, for most of the song and it just made the drum really have no sustain the floor. Tom just was a very thirsty. Quick. And then at a certain point we had somebody else. This goes back to the two men drumming, uh, pull it off for the drummer so they could just keep playing the part.

But now the, the drum was wide open. So you can kind of like daft and end on and in the same take, if you want.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. Awesome. And what was also wide open was the whole lid, your, and your shirt

Malcom: Yes it did punch a hole right through my [00:32:00] shirt. I didn't expect that. Honestly. I thought it was going to be fine, but apparently drummers hit hard and consistently to 

Benedikt: Yup 

Malcom: the accuracy was on.

Benedikt: Yup.

That's a good one, actually, just to be able to, to remove and apply it again for certain parts.

Malcom: Yeah, totally. It's totally like I do it quite a bit. Even with moon gels on the snare and stuff. Like the verse will just be choked up a little bit harder than the chorus potentially. Um, it's totally like micro little changes like that. Add up for sure.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. And with mulching moon gels, I can think of two other hacks real quick I absolutely want to mention. The first one is. It might sound obvious, but maybe you haven't tried it. Many people just put the whole moon gel on the drum. First of all, you can cut these things and just put smaller pieces of it on the which is a completely different effect, more subtle.

And usually a little bit of it is plenty. Usually you don't need the whole thing. And then the other thing is if you need the whole thing or if you need more [00:33:00] than. Try making really small pieces, like cutting it into really small pieces and then applying it sort of symmetrically around drum, which sounds much more natural most of the time, then just applying it on one side, because like you D it's, it's sort of logical, but you, again, you don't really change how the whole drum head moves you D you dampen it in, in all directions similarly.

So yeah, 

Malcom: Yeah 

Benedikt: do that,

Malcom: Th that's totally valid. Um, it, it sounds different than they just the whole thing on it. I would say that like, don't be afraid to use the whole thing if it sounds right, but generally when you cut, like I just usually I'm just cut it into fours and then make it a little plus sign essentially out of it.

Uh, that sounds more like the snare. Like if you just want the drum to be more controlled, it sound the same. That's the move.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely. And then there is another hack and that's really a hack. And the first time I heard that, I thought the guy was joking. Um, I heard it from Matt [00:34:00] brown and amazing drum tech. Um, I saw him, I saw him speak at a conference and he was just using whole moon gels on the symbols to get rid of like harsh resonances and crash symbols.

And he didn't use it on the edge of the similar or like anywhere you would, where you would hit the symbol, but he just put it on the Belle of the symbols. And as I thought like that, that's gonna sound like crap. And what it did was. Countless times since then, what it does is for most symbols, especially the cheaper ones or ones that have like nasty resonances or very bright, it, it leaves the, the, like the sustain and everything sort of sounds the same and is just as long, they are also not more quiet, but they sound evened out.

It's almost like you applied sooth during recording. just evens out the resonant peaks and valleys in the, in the upper mid range. And, uh, at the top end of your, of your symbol. Uh, at least that, that's what it sounds like. And you can already hear it in the room, but you can especially [00:35:00] hear it when it's miked.

And I've never thought that it sounded better without them. I've never, I didn't use it in every single session because sometimes the symbols just sounded fine. But whenever I, whenever I thought the symbols were a little bit harsh and I tried to, I tried the strike, it just worked and it was always.

Malcom: Cool. Yeah, I've never tried that. I mean, I've definitely done some symbol muting techniques and stuff like that, but I've never tried moon gels, so that's really cool.

Benedikt: Yep. Super easy and really, really works well. I've even included that in my, um, in one of the, the academy videos that I have, um, because it's like, yeah, it's just such a game changer. Um, it has been a game changer in a couple of sessions. Yep. By the way we just opened coaching.

Malcom: Oh really?

Benedikt: just opened our coaching program because I mentioned the academy.

Now we've just opened our new coaching program. And maybe you've maybe when you hear this, when you listen to this podcast, you've already heard the [00:36:00] ad at the beginning for coaching program. Um, so essentially if you want to help with your recordings, if you want to improve your recordings and need help with that, and you want to integrate.

You want to have in-depth coaching and guidance, one-on-one coaching group coaching, the whole thing, a whole catalog of curated videos, a personalized roadmap for you that guides you through the whole process, um, customized for whatever you need to accomplish your goals. We offer this coaching program now, and you can go to the self-regarding band.com and just apply for a completely free coaching call one hour coaching where we discuss where you are, where you wanna go.

What would help you get there? And, um, we'll figure out whether or not our coaching program would be a good fit. And if it's not, you can just run with what you learned in that coaching session and it's completely free. So go to the self recording band.com and hit the apply for a call button.

Malcom: Awesome. That's so exciting.

Benedikt: Yeah. Yeah. It's awesome. I've I'm doing the first couple of calls now with people who book those calls and it's super.

Malcom: Great. Yeah, I'm [00:37:00] sure that's going to be a big success.

Benedikt: so. And it's, I'm definitely sure it's going to be a big success for the people going through that coaching. And also even just booking those free calls because we really go in-depth and, uh, we've seen a couple of amazing transformations already, so.

Malcom: Oh yeah. It's investing in yourself as always a good idea listener. Always.

Benedikt: All right. Now the next one, you've got to explain that again. Um, 

Malcom: All 

Benedikt: sort of get it and I think it's a really, really cool idea, but I've never tried it.

Malcom: Yeah, I think I tried it once and honestly it didn't work. Um, I saw,

I think 

Benedikt: included in


Malcom: but it's a super hack. It's just something weird. Uh, and it was using drum sticks on a bass guitar and. I think it was Garth Richardson. I saw on the video. I can't remember though. This was so long ago, but essentially the bass guitarist was fretting the notes and somebody else was playing them with drumsticks and it sounded clingy and heavy as hell.

But, uh, [00:38:00] there's going to be a certain time and a place it's like a good right hand. Wasn't enough in this case, I guess.

Benedikt: Yep. 

Malcom: So let know if that works.

Benedikt: I wonder how they, like, how, how did they do that? They, they do the paper towel thing as well, because, or did they just hit the string so precise that the other strings wouldn't ring.

Malcom: I honestly can't remember. This was over a decade ago that I saw this video for sure. It's just came to mind while we were talking about this.

Benedikt: Yeah, because I would think like the sound of it can be pretty cool. I assume like I'm sure. But I was just thinking if I would hit a base with a drum stick, the whole thing would like vibrate and rattle and make all sorts of noises. So

Malcom: You'd have to yeah. Be accurate and probably be muting. I think you're right. And mute those other strings. It probably would only work on those. Like, I don't know, you'd need a certain amount of tension for it to really pay off. I think


long scale probably, but I don't know [00:39:00] if you try that, let us know how it goes for you.

Benedikt: I can imagine. It's super cool. Unlike just the low open, low string on this very heavy part where you want that, that piano, like tone and a lot of attack and like gnarly and maybe even like a little pitch bends thing that you can hear because you're hitting the strain, you know, like I don't know.

I can be really.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. And, uh, just make sure you don't miss choose a drummer. You trust.

Benedikt: Exactly. Exactly. All right, cool. Um, that's a great one. Now the next one also is about base and it might be obvious to some people it might be, um, totally new to. I remember when, like when I was starting out, I was afraid of, or I've never even thought about plugging bases into guitar amps because I thought I would damage the guitar amp or the speaker or whatever.

And that is not the case. [00:40:00] Like, I mean, if you damage your emptying that don't Sue me,


you have to try and see, uh, I, um, there's no responsibility here for, for whatever you do. Um, technically there shouldn't be an issue because it's just the pickup. It's an instrument. That's the same impedance or similar impedance.

And actually some guitar amps have been designed as bass amps and vice versa. So I've done it countless times. Other people have as well. Um, so you can absolutely plug a bass into a guitar amp. And why would you do that? Well, because. I remember I had a small practice base amp that was not too great sounding.

It had cool low end, but it was very clean, very boring sounding. It had didn't have, um, an interesting mid range or a usable distortion. And like, yeah, it was just not suitable for the heavy music that I wanted to make. When I discovered that I could plug the base into a guitar amp, especially with fresh strings on, as we always preach that would have, that would give me like this, um, really clear.

[00:41:00] Bright gnarly sound. And I could just dial in the distortion. Uh, even a clean amp just had more, usually more distortion than a bass amp. So because there's less headroom and you can just drive it a little bit. Um, it, it just sounded very, very. And I used to use a splitter and I sent the bass into the bass amp and the guitar amp at the same time.

And I used the low end from the bass amp and the mid range and the upper arbitration at the highest, the top end from the guitar amp. I would just turn the bass all the way down on the guitar up and just use the upper part. And I would turn it the treble down on the bass amp and just use the lower.

Similar to what we do in the dauno, which could also be considered a, um, a super hack, but that is part of mixing, which we'll cover in another episode, but it's like a similar thing. You just split up the base into low end and mid range and top end, and you can saturate the Stuart the top end and the mid range and have full control over that.

And I personally think that a lot of guitar amps sound really, really, really good. [00:42:00] Um, in that application on basis, I don't know why that is. I, I obviously have a sense amp and the dark glass and some plugins and all those things, but sometimes I still use a guitar amp to do that trick because it just sounds killer some guitar drums.

Just do that trick very, very well. Um, I don't know. Uh, and then, and then there's of course the classic Joyce's that can do both like the impact. Dan's like Queensland still went. It's still an H um, use it on, on guitars Aton. Um, it's obviously also a legendary bass amp. So there are apps that can do both, but like putting your, your base through an 800 or something like that can be very, very awesome.

Malcom: Very cool. Yeah. I definitely came up under the impression that you were not meant to do this. And now that I think about it, it doesn't make any sense. The it's just, they could do the guitar speakers, just not going to reproduce the really sub-base stuff. So it's not going to damage it. It doesn't make sense to me, but for whatever reason, [00:43:00] that was what went around in our youth.

And I bet most people listen to this. I've heard that at some point. So again, if you're, if you could talk it out, it does break, not our fault,

Benedikt: No. No. Um, and if you think about like, think about Lemmy stone, for example, bass into the marshal,

Malcom: Yeah Toby. Toby.

Benedikt: So yeah, not our fault, but I'm pretty sure that you can't do any, any damage. And also, um, You're not supposed to, or, I mean you can, but the way I use it, I'm, I'm not, um, putting the full, low end or trying to get a bunch of low end guitar speaker.

I just try to get the grit, the upper mid range, the top end, the distortion. Um, I even turned down the bass. I don't even try to capture that. So, because I think bass caps over to the, I can do that shop much better than a guitar cap can. that's not even the point.


Malcom: you're not trying to run it at like, as a bass amp at bass amp volumes for a stage show. It's yeah. [00:44:00] So if you were trying to make your guitar out into a bass amp that maybe that's where problems go to.

Benedikt: Yeah, probably. Yeah. Yeah. So again, when would you do that? If you have. A crappy bass amp, or a small practice amp that just doesn't sound exciting. Doesn't have distortion, but you might have a guitar amp that sounds cool. Or even a small guitar with great distortion or a pedal or something like that. Just try and use it and if you get, if you can get that, that modern Nali, um, distorted heavy bass tone that you hear on, on so many records it's can be the solution to that.

Malcom: All right now, this next one, we got to touch on singers a little bit. I guess we did. We did the pitch shifting of vocals, but when they get one more, um, although I'll let you take this one because it was your note and I think it's.

Benedikt: Okay. So two things like two fixes for this. The problem is a lot of right. One to move in front of the mic. They just feel the energy, the excitement, they just can't [00:45:00] stand still. And that's totally fine. Like if you have a single like that in your band, or if you are a person like that, it can be better to just do whatever you feel like, and like focus on the performance and the vibe and the energy more than just focusing on the right distance to the mic and like the, my position and standing still.

Because if you have to think about that stuff too much, if it's. Um, if it's not natural to you and you have to think about that, it can actually ruin the performance. I think. So if that is the case and you obviously got to try, but if that is the case, the first fix to this is just grab a handheld mic.

Like. Can totally work. Sometimes the tray like the trade off obviously is that it doesn't sound as bright and not as expensive, usually then as a condenser mic, but that trade off can be totally worth it. If the performance is much, much better, if the energy is better, if like it just feels better, then I would always prefer that take compared to a boring and careful take in front of a condenser mic.

So. [00:46:00] I think most people would agree here. That's the first, um, fix. And again, Metallica example have field in front of, even in front of the turndown, like cranked studio monitors with the SM seven in his in the control room. Um, everyone, many people have seen that probably in the documentary. Um, those takes ended up being on the record.

recorded some of the vocals in the control room in front of cranked, big speakers, um, with the SM seven in his hands and it just worked.



want to do.

Malcom: um, I do want to say that this isn't an excuse to not try and learn Mike techniques. And stuff like that. It's just, if, if you haven't had the opportunity to get good at it, and during the studio, all of a sudden you need to get the job done, then, then don't be afraid to pivot into this approach.

Um, but you should absolutely try to become prepared for the studio and, and learn some technique and, and go that way.

Benedikt: Agreed agreed. [00:47:00] And then the second fix, and that is, might be the best of both worlds sort of is if your room allows for it, if you have a controlled treated room, um, and you find a great mic position or a great position for the singer and the mic in the room. What'd you can try is you can set your condenser, Mike, to Omni, if a debt to do this many mikes have like switchable pull up patterns.

And if you can go from cardioid or HyperCard or whatever you have to Omni, and this is usually the, the round circle symbol on the, if it has that, you have a cardio, uh, you have an Omni mode. What that means is the mic is not directional anymore. So if you set it to AMI, it's not only hearing what happens in front of it, but also what happens in the back and next to it on the sides.

It's not exactly the same around the Mike usually, but pretty close to, to that. And the beautiful thing about is it gets rid of. The it helps you get rid of the proximity effect. The Mac doesn't have a proximity effect anymore. The proximity [00:48:00] effect is that when you go closer to the mic, it sounds more basic.

So you can hear that now. Probably if I go very close to the mic, it sounds more basic. If I go away from the mic, it sounds less Spacey, so less low end, and that effect goes away if you switch to Omni. So that means, and also. Due to the lack of, of a directional pattern. You can just move around the mic without changing the sound too much without proximity effect, without other filtering that happens.

And that allows you to move a little more freely. The downside is that if your room is crappy, if you have a ton of. Um, then the mic will pick that up as well, more so than a directional mic because everything that's coming from the back reflections from the walls and stuff like that will be louder. But if the room allows for that, that can be a great fix.

And I've heard that I heard it in a podcast also that your group, your work, whatever you want to call her, um, uh, she used that technique [00:49:00] or. They figured that she felt more comfortable moving a little bit more. And instead of using a traditional cardioid vocal mic, they switched to, to Omni and use that on the record for that reason.

So she felt good performing. She could move a little more and it sounded.

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. I've definitely had some good luck with Omni. Um, have you ever used any of those nice to mix where there's a variable felt, uh, like kind of, um, pattern shifter, so you can kind of go towards Omni, but not all the way if you want, or towards figure eight? Um, that can be really cool too. I've found that like some people just need me to open it up a little bit more so that it's not so.

Up the middle, uh, the pattern. And so sometimes if you're lucky you've got an access to a mic like that, and you kind of find the sweet spot.

Benedikt: Yeah, absolutely agreed. Um, I have, I have done that and it's super nice. I'm the type of person I'm always afraid that. I'm doing something I'm not supposed to do, which is kind of weird because I always encourage people to be brave and make bold [00:50:00] decisions. And I've tried to do that myself, but whenever I'm in this in-between thing between two parents, I'm thinking like, what am I doing?

I don't see exactly what I'm doing. Just kind of feels uncomfortable. So I have done it. Um, yeah, it's just the OCD,

Malcom: Yeah, you prefer one or the other.

That's great

I would say genuinely, I do as well, but every once in a while it's like, ah, just open it up a little bit more.

Benedikt: I agree that it's very, very useful and cool to have that option. And I have never tried these mikes and I'd love to where you can change the polar pattern after you've recorded. There are a couple of mikes that let you do that with a software. There's the Townsend labs sphere, a modeling Mike, and a couple of others.

They have two, two diaphragms, two membranes, and you can record. And then afterwards change the.

Malcom: Yeah, 

Benedikt: maybe could be a solution if you didn't realize that was an issue. So I don't know, I haven't tried it, but I figured like if you just used, if it just record it and you thought it was [00:51:00] fine, and then you figured that the proximity effect was like too much, or the sound was changing too much while the singer was moving.

Maybe you can solve it by just changing the polar pattern after you've recorded. like a cool thing to me, but I have.

Malcom: I have so many doubts, but maybe it works fine. I haven't tried it either. So I can't say.

Benedikt: I don't know. I think actually it's not only this modeling make. I think there are a couple of others. They let you do that as well. Now I I've seen a couple of, dual diaphragm or whatever you want to call it. Mike's that have that option with the software, even if they're not modeling mix, I don't know how it works, but I've seen it a couple of times now.

Malcom: cool. Yeah, if you've used that and it does work, let us know my fear is that it just tries to trick you into thinking it works it like

unless it's.

Benedikt: could, be some face trick or whatever. I don't know. Like, but maybe that's, I don't know. I don't want to say too much about it because I don't know enough about it. Um, I'm always skeptical, but if it works, it sounds like a very cool.

Malcom: Yes, it does. It sounds. All right. Um, yeah. [00:52:00] Well, I think that's, that's probably plenty for the super hacks tracking episode. Um, we do have plans to do a super hacks mixing episode. So stay tuned for that. It will be more super hacks on the way. I just like saying super hacks now.

Benedikt: Me Me too. Yeah, let's a couple more of these. These are fun. So we've got, we're definitely gonna do. Um, uh, mixing one with mixing hacks, super hacks, and you know, what also would be fun. you, the listeners, if you have your sort of hacks or things you've discovered or heard of, or want to know whether it works or not.

Um, first of all, you should just try, but if you know of any super hacks like that, just let us know. And maybe we'll do sort of an audience episode or,

like present your super hacks. That will be cool. We would learn a ton from it and we could like, um, yeah, let our community, our community benefit from your hacks and your experience.

Malcom: Definitely. Yeah. So head to the self recording [00:53:00] band.com/community, and you can post it in there.

Benedikt: Absolutely. 

Malcom: That was the first time I remembered the link 

Benedikt: Yeah I'm so 

Malcom: episode, 85. I did it. 

Benedikt: also, by the way, you said episode 85. 

why don't we, 

it's not going to be so 



we hit like episode 



Malcom: Oh, 


gotta start thinking about that. 

Benedikt: What are we going to do 


Malcom: maybe 


I can 

fly to Germany and we can do 

our first in-person episode,

Benedikt: That would 

be red.

I'd love to come to Canada. 


Malcom: our first in-person meeting ever. 

I bet. I bet most listeners aren't aware That 




each other in person. 

Benedikt: never, we've, 

we've known each 

other for 

three years now. 

or So 

Malcom: I think so 


Benedikt: time. 




All right. So send us your super hacks 

don't know if you have

ideas for a great episode, 

100 or a celebration thing, we could do it.

whatever, let us know as well. you 

can never 

plan that stuff early enough. So, [00:54:00] 

All right.

Malcom: Thank you. 


Benedikt: Bye.

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