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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: 113
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 Online   content
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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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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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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
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Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 113
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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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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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
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Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 113
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
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Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 113
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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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
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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
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Registered: 09/02/10
Posts: 113
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
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Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 1642
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
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Registered: 03/26/04
Posts: 1585
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
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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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#446773 - 12/22/17 02:25 PM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Janice & Bud Offline
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For us excluding vocals it is typically 4-6. But that's because we favor open "airy" mixes that sound like something a small band could play live in a club, etc. I've mixed projects with many more tracks but, perhaps counter-intuitively, I find it more of a challenge to get a "big" sound with a "small" number of tracks.

No value judgements here....just our preferences. And I should mentioned that often one RT track in our mixes will be comped from many regenerations of that same track...but I count it as one smile

Bud
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#446845 - 12/23/17 05:33 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: Janice & Bud]
Charlie Fogle Offline
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<<< 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? >>>

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
For us excluding vocals it is typically 4-6. But that's because we favor open "airy" mixes that sound like something a small band could play live in a club, etc. I've mixed projects with many more tracks but, perhaps counter-intuitively, I find it more of a challenge to get a "big" sound with a "small" number of tracks.

No value judgements here....just our preferences. And I should mentioned that often one RT track in our mixes will be comped from many regenerations of that same track...but I count it as one smile

Bud


Bud, you actually get to the heart of the OP's original question. Your final mix plays what appears to be 4-6 instrument tracks but the total tracks used to get to that final count may actually be 30-40 tracks. Because of the unlimited track count of many DAW's, these producers he watches on YouTube rarely, if ever discard or erase a track. They save everything and their entire mix is a comp of dozens of tracks.

I recall one tutorial I watched on YouTube where the intro played a single guitar for 8 bars but the intro was comped from three different takes.

There is also a wonderful tutorial in the PGMusic videos and available on YouTube of the artist making a series of videos writing, recording and completing his project from start to finish. At one point, he creates a unique fiddle riff as a focal point of the song by cutting and pasting from 8 different tracks of a fiddle. He saved the riff and places the comp recording throughout his song.

I like to say it's best to have more tracks than you need in case you need more tracks than you've got....






Edited by Charlie Fogle (12/23/17 05:34 AM)
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#447287 - 12/26/17 07:37 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
David Snyder Online   happy
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I think there might be an opportunity here to discuss the difference between basic instrument tracks and additional tracks used for ornamental fills or patches (like a patch to correct a bad spot in a vocal.)

In brief, a BIAB “style” will give you four or five basic instrument tracks to write a song with. It is basically what the Beatles had to work with early on (track-wise) and they didn’t do so bad.

You do not really add extra tracks in BIAB. You add extra tracks by opening the BIAB file in Real Band (the free DAW that comes with BIAB) and generating more instrument tracks there. You add more instruments at your own risk. If you have more than eight or nine instruments in most popular songs, it is going to get way too busy. Eight instrument tracks in a band is about the norm.

Here is an example of what it means to minimize tracks: If in addition to your five BIAB tracks, you play a live acoustic guitar part perfectly the first time through, and decide to keep it, you have one extra track for that instrument part, which is the ideal, of course. If you have to do that in 10 takes on 10 different tracks and chop them up, things will get messy.

For most vocals, even if you do the main take perfectly, you will want to copy that at least twice to other tracks so you can experiment with different effects on each track and then do a blend of those tracks, experimenting with panning effects or other tricks. Or you may do backing vocals. There go another three or four tracks.

And now for drums!

Most people don’t know there is tone toggle on BIAB in the far right hand corner. Moving this and also the reverb switch on the drums will dramatically change their sound. You need to find a good tone for what you want and export at least one track completely dry to make your own effects later (EQ, reverb etc.)

I have found that with Real Drums, if you use at least 3 tracks of the same recording, you can get a pretty fair simulation of a live drum recording session by using EQs and effects (such as Izotope Neutron along with various EQs, including a 10 band EQ) to focus on the kick drum on one track, the toms on another, and the cymbals and snare on another.

If you spend enough time on the drums you can fool many people into thinking you have real drums—almost everyone except for drummers. Well, that’s not true. I have fooled one or two drummers on occasions, good drummers too.

While it may be true that some Nashville recordings have 300 tracks that doesn’t necessarily mean they are good songs. Many of those songs on the radio (to me) sound like a cluttered wall of sound and I can’t listen to them. I would rather hear a great two track song—one great guitar and one great vocal.

Most really good songs have about eight well-chosen instrumental tracks, a few good vocal tracks and as many extra tracks as you need to add what is needed.

The goal in any song is to get what you need done with less. Less is almost always better and more is almost always messy after a certain point.

So, bare bones:

Six to eight instrumental tracks.

About five vocal tracks (including doubles and background vocals).

Three drum tracks.

About 16 to 18 to keep it simple.

Hope this makes sense. Happy Holidays.

* Oh, one another thing, try recording Verses and Choruses (and Bridges too) on different tracks.

There may be a lot of argumentation on this point, but that's okay--and the point is I do not chop vocals. To each his own, but I may sing a verse 100 times but I won't chop it. Even if the take I use has "flaws" and is not "perfect" I find it impossible to get the rock and roll authenticity and passion I want unless all of it flows from one take. (Regardless of how many takes it took to get there.)

Others may do it differently and splice on and on forever and do just great with it, but I just don't find that works for me. I have to do it in one take to get the continuous sound I am looking for.

But again, to each his own.


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#447317 - 12/26/17 11:38 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Will Rockwell Offline
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The last song I finished, "Paradise" has 41 tracks on Pro Tools, 12 of those are BB. 8 of the tracks are vocal harmony and vocorder harmony. There are 10 stereo effects returns as well. I'll often create a second BB version with additional instruments, including different drum styles that can be changed during the song.
I had the advantage of learning engineering working in New York studios, including at Electric Lady under Eddie Kramer, so I get a kick out of building extravagant productions at home.
https://soundcloud.com/willrockwell/paradise
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#447448 - 12/27/17 07:56 AM [Recording, Mixing, Performance and Production] Re: How many tracks does your song usually have? [Re: fantasyvn]
Janice & Bud Offline
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We do one or two vocal takes at most. Janice’s feels like a little is lost each time after that. But when she says she’s ready to record she has as floyd says “lived with” the song and she, well, is ready smile

We rarely ever use styles. Our recent rockabilly tune is the rare exception. I’ve used BiaB enough to “know” the RT’s that work for our Americana approach. I really enjoy starting with a blank slate and building a band - often from seemingly disparate RT genres.

I frequently, especially with solos, comp at the bar level and sometimes comping individual notes particularly when transitioning back to the vocal. I don’t like mixing with a number of volume shaped tracks of the same RT so I cut/paste into one track before getting serious about the mix. I’ll comp rhythm tracks to hopefully get a signature feel through the tune.

With RD’s I often double the snare (learned from floyd) so I have a max of two drum tracks - the kit and the snare.

Like David alluded to there are a zillion ways to approach all of this. And I deeply appreciate all of the productions with large numbers of tracks - it would make my hair hurt to try it
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