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#445288 - 12/15/17 08:09 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] How many tracks does your song usually have?
fantasyvn Offline
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Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 106
Could you pls help me with this question.

If you generate a song in BIAB, usually it only has a few tracks (bass, drum, guitar, piano, synth).

If you add your own vocal singing the melody, and some harmony vocals, it seems you still only have about 10 tracks.

But when I saw some mixing tutorials on the web, especially for the professional songs, apparently a song may have 60, 70 tracks.

How can you have so many tracks? Could you pls explain what tracks you should or can add after generating the song in BIAB?

My sincere thanks,

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#445290 - 12/15/17 08:27 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16511
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
My jazz CD had 32 tracks, not unusual for 13 players, but even that was complicated to mix. What you may not know is that a set of drums can easily eat up 12 or more tracks, with separate mics on each part of the kit and some overhead mics. But if somebody needs more than ten to record a single singer-songwriter, they are probably just showing off their mic locker. Not only that, but there are very precise placements required when using multiple mics. It is normal to double up the lead voice for some added depth, but I also cannot imagine why so many tracks. Mixing expertise is something that takes time and experience to develop. You can read a lot and get opinions but ultimately just go with what you know sounds right.
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#445295 - 12/15/17 08:36 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 10028
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
And even with the same instrument, you don't always put it on the same track. You might want different effects applied at different parts (perhaps the solo is processed differently than when playing the chordal parts). Putting the same instrument on multiple tracks gives you great flexibility in managing the sound.

You might find yourself doubling some tracks to fatten the sound. You might double harmony tracks to get a choir feel. Even if you only have a few drum tracks, you will probably have separate percussion tracks for each instrument. You might split your harmonies to multiple tracks. If you go for an orchestral feel, you are definitely going to have a bunch of tracks, depending on if you use a "strings section" sound or build it yourself with individual instruments.

If you do a mix of MIDI and audio, you will probably render each MIDI track to an audio track, but keep the MIDI track (even if muted) in case you need to make any changes and re-render.

It's easy to find yourself with many many tracks.
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#445456 - 12/16/17 04:20 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4111
Loc: South Carolina
BIAB has a feature that allows you to gain additional tracks that effectively provide the means to exceed the 8 track physical limitation. Each track in the mixer can have as many as 10 different instruments. Using the bar settings menu, near the top, select the Realtracks button and follow the prompts to quickly select and load an instrument at any bar. Changing instruments this way duplicates having two tracks and using F5 to mute/unmute between the two instrument tracks. So, using all 10 of the available instrument change slots equates to 10 tracks. This could result in having 60-70 instruments in a normal BIAB 7 track song. (no audio track recorded, all BIAB tracks) a fast and easy way to check out this feature is to create a chord chart and search for "medley" in the stylepicker. BIAB has created several medley styles that change by bar and part marker.

An added benefit to do instrument changes on a single track is BIAB automatically adjusts to the changes and creates smooth endings, transitions and intros.


Edited by Charlie Fogle (12/16/17 05:01 AM)
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#445470 - 12/16/17 06:32 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
fantasyvn Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 106
Great advice from all of you. My sincere thanks.

I will try out gaining additional tracks in BIAB.

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#445534 - 12/16/17 11:14 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5295
Normally, my tunes have about 12 to 18 tracks. Sometimes less, sometimes more. It really depends on the song. I think the most I have used is about 24.

Professional studios that record the songs you hear on the radio often have well over 100 tracks.

It's not uncommon for a song project for a hit singer like Mariah or Beyonce, for example, to have well over 100 vocal tracks alone. Keep in mind that not all the tracks will be complete tracks. They may have just a section of the song....a verse or a chorus, or even as small as a line or a word. That gives the mix engineer a lot of options for finding the perfect take and comping it out to the final vocal track. many of those tracks will end up as doubling and harmony tracks in the final mix.

In our home studios, we often don't have the reasons to lay that many takes so we might record several..... in one of my projects.... ( Missing Person ), there are about a dozen vocal tracks beyond the instrument tracks. There were 2 singers, and each had at least 3 lead vocal tracks as well as several harmony tracks. None of them were cloned. They were all unique recordings. When I mixed them, I took the best vocal performance and put it in the center and up front. The other two were -16dB or so panned left and right respectively. The harmony tracks were also panned L&R but at around -12dB for a thickening. Volume envelopes were used to bring the various tracks...vocal and instruments, in and out, up and down as needed.
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#445538 - 12/16/17 11:49 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18587
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
For us it's around 30-40 normally.

Two takes of drums can easily eat up 16-20 tracks, so that's really not a lot.
During the writing stage this will be more like 20-30, but final takes often get a couple versions of each track .. then additional 'extras' like additional backup vox, a unique sound/effect here and there .. it can add up fast.

There have been only a couple times I can remember when the RB/PT limitation of 48 tracks caused an issue, but it does happen.
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#445635 - 12/17/17 04:06 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
fantasyvn Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 106
Thank you so much.

Regarding the instruments in BIAB, during the mixing process, do you usually double any instruments, hoping that the sound will be fuller? For example, the bass? Or do you just keep one bass as originally done in BIAB?

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#445636 - 12/17/17 04:11 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: Charlie Fogle]
fantasyvn Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 106
Hi Charlie,

It seems that I was able to do as you instructed when I clicked Realtracks.

Thank you so much.

Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
BIAB has a feature that allows you to gain additional tracks that effectively provide the means to exceed the 8 track physical limitation. Each track in the mixer can have as many as 10 different instruments. Using the bar settings menu, near the top, select the Realtracks button and follow the prompts to quickly select and load an instrument at any bar. Changing instruments this way duplicates having two tracks and using F5 to mute/unmute between the two instrument tracks. So, using all 10 of the available instrument change slots equates to 10 tracks. This could result in having 60-70 instruments in a normal BIAB 7 track song. (no audio track recorded, all BIAB tracks) a fast and easy way to check out this feature is to create a chord chart and search for "medley" in the stylepicker. BIAB has created several medley styles that change by bar and part marker.

An added benefit to do instrument changes on a single track is BIAB automatically adjusts to the changes and creates smooth endings, transitions and intros.


Edited by fantasyvn (12/17/17 04:22 AM)

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#445650 - 12/17/17 05:58 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18587
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
I do not double BiaB instruments as a general practice.
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#445684 - 12/17/17 10:58 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Charlie Fogle Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 4111
Loc: South Carolina
Originally Posted By: fantasyvn
Thank you so much.

Regarding the instruments in BIAB, during the mixing process, do you usually double any instruments, hoping that the sound will be fuller? For example, the bass? Or do you just keep one bass as originally done in BIAB?


A lot of producers when recording a live bass track record two feeds from the performance take. Though a DI (direct Box) into the DAW as well as they will place a mic on the bass amp. This gives them more versatility to manipulate the tone, fullness and adding effects. Many times the bass track is a mono signal so there is no advantage to doubling other than to increase the overall volume of the track without raising a slider or increasing the gain. Many RealTracks offer a direct in version of the instrument so the signal is 'dry' and available with no tonal treatments and the user can feed that signal into an VST amp modeler such as Amplitude or similar. That would provide a similar effect in BIAB/RB or any DAW to recording two feeds if you use the BIAB 'treated' track and mix that with the amp modeled DI track.

What I do more often is to use a number of different bass instruments from different styles to create a unique style from the many different instruments. This method provides a lot of additional RT audio for the BIAB generating engine to select from and I end up with a composite track that is virtually impossible to be replicated by another BIAB user. An example, and this is just an exampled because I don't know the actual amount of recorded audio a particular set of bass tracks I may select have, is assume for this example, each bass track has 1/2 hour of recorded audio. Using two bass instruments would provide the BIAB track generation and hour of audio to select from as it will access the audio of both RealTracks. Four instruments would be double that amount and so on.

It probably does not equal out to that example in a real amount of time because access is determined by the chord chart, but the percentages are accurate. In other words, the applicable recorded audio that the BIAB track generation would have access to would double by using multiple instruments.

Regardless of the actual RealTrack Audio accessed, you will be creating a unique, track.

It is sometimes useful to double a rhythm instrument and pan each wide to widen the stereo image of the recording but that is a technique that works better on some songs than other and really comes down to the mix you are trying to accomplish.
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#445770 - 12/18/17 02:41 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: Charlie Fogle]
fantasyvn Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 106
Great. Thank you so much for your informed advice.

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#445775 - 12/18/17 03:30 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
BlueAttitude Offline
Expert

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 985
Loc: Ontario, Canada
You can sometimes get nice results with BIAB doubling rhythm guitar parts, because when BIAB is generating the parts each guitar track will be slightly different. Then pan those two tracks right and left.

Here is an example of a song I did using that technique, 99 Degrees

Sounds good to me anyway smile

The two BIAB tracks panned left and right are 364:Guitar, Acoustic, Fingerpicking Ev 065

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#446451 - 12/20/17 08:57 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Tobias Offline
Expert

Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1545
Loc: Way too close to Palm Springs,...
In the final mix I usually only have 2 - 5 instruments playing at once at any given point in the song. Add to that a short interlude where a solo instrument cuts in for a few bars and add to that a lead vocal and some background harmonies.
Depending on the song some of those instruments might be stereo or doubled.
This could be up to around 10 - 12 tracks used in the final mix. My drums are always either 2 tracks or one stereo track of either RealDrums or MIDI drums.
During the process of recording I'll often have upwards of 20 - 30 tracks. But, they get muted in sections, I copy/paste/merge sections from them. One is just a tempo track. Others are first takes that have the original expression for reference. Others are ideas that I can't throw away 'cause I'm a hoarder. There are lots of reasons to have excess tracks that you never hear, or don't know they are there, in the final mix.
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#446617 - 12/21/17 06:32 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7235
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Under 10 tracks. That is using pre recorded drum tracks which probably had 5-10 mics on them. My ability to ‘arrange’ kind of falters after 5 tracks or so. We have heard MANY BIAB songs that could have used about 1/2 of the tracks used and it would have sounded less cluttered

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