A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording

Posted by: Rustyspoon#

A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/24/19 08:32 PM

Hi Folks.
This probably fits a "recording" topic, but since it is an "opinion" question I will post it here.

I started experimenting with recording during my high-school years using stuff I could find at garage sales... which included a "demagnetized" head Sony tape deck with crackling outputs, Radioshack mics, bad cables and other fine relics. I was in and out of my music hobby. Last few years I decided to finally settle on the most convenient concept of home studio, that would be mobile, yet powerful and will not put me on bread and water for a few years. Overall, I am very happy with my setup and amazing software that is available either reasonably priced or free.

If I have to name one single thing that I am not happy with, it would be audio latency. Especially when recording vocals. I know, I know... there are ways to deal with it, such as using a button in Cakewalk that disables all FX from audio engine and a few other "tricks", but I am greedy and like to have all fun plugins and synths turned on, so I can hear whole picture when recording vocals and change things as I see fit on the fly, not post production smile (As most of you probably know that having a small buffer will make system unstable) This "latency" thing never happened with analog setups... This is not a nostalgic cry for vintage gear, just observation.

Curious to know, if somebody would be willing to share a single most annoying thing with digital (computer) recording.


P.S. A positive thought on my issue. I am guessing that with Audio 48k/24bit, as a standard...which stayed like this for quite some time now and with introduction of USB C (gen2)/ Thunderbolt 3 ports that is becoming THE port of choice, latency issue will become a non-issue relatively soon. I assume ASIO protocol will evolve too...
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:06 AM

This one is easy: clipping.

If you do analog recording, going over the limit on a VU meter might even be useful. But any digital distortion sounds dreadful.
Posted by: CeeBee

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:25 AM

It's addictive.
Posted by: Teunis

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:31 AM

We couldn’t do it back in the 70s.
Posted by: BlueAttitude

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 03:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Teunis
We couldn’t do it back in the 70s.


Yeah, me too! I started out back then as well with a Sony reel to reel. Then went to four track cassette.

What a long way we have come!
Posted by: Mike Head

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 05:29 AM

Hi
Yes indeed had a lot of tape recorders in my time being in the hi fi trade including Ferograph, Vortexion, Brenell, Sony, Akai (with cross field biasing) and finally Revox. All great in their own right.

It is sad to think that I have just spent nearly£400 on a valve guitar amp because I love the analogue sound, but should I want to record it I will have to do so in the digital domain. Never mind I have some tape simulator plugins in Cakewalk.

There you go, I buy more and more powerful and faster PCs to improve things like latency, then get more and more plugins and add on bits and slow it down again.
Just go round in circles, but that’s life.

Mike
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 06:09 AM

Yep. Two track SONY tape deck in the mid-60s, four track TEAK with SOS in the early 70s.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 06:35 AM

Since I use hardware synths, I don't have that latency problem.

My first tape deck was a Wollensak 3M and the last a Teac A3440.

Digital recording is much, much easier. Especially for editing and multi-tracking.

The most annoying thing to me is constant software updates, relearning where everything is because they moved and renamed functions, and eventuality that a new OS will render my DAW obsolete.

As Matt mentioned, going up to +3 on the VU meters in the tape days gave some nice saturation and kept the signal higher above the noise floor. Going a little higher than +3 increased the distortion but gradually so depending on what you were recording, you wouldn't hear the distortion. Going over 0 on a digital recorder immediately injects painful distortion and a need for a re-do.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: Mike Head

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 06:35 AM

Hi again Rustyspoon

Just had another thought re recording vocals without having to worry about Latency.

One answer would be to make your backing track on your main all singing dancing pc and software.

But record your vocals on another dedicated PC set up to just record vocals with some single program for just that purpose . (Do not put more programs on this pc than required to make recordings)
You would need to listen to your premade backing track via headphones from your main pc, while you do this of course, making sue that none of the backing sound gets into the clean vocal recording a vocal booth or bay made from soft board would help to keep out any other noises.
After that take the clean vocal to the main machine and sync up and mix.

This way you would be using your vocal PC just like a tape reorder and it wont suffer latency from having to handle the backing software and its plug ins at the same time,
as recording vocals.

Mike
Posted by: KeithS

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 06:39 AM

I have to agree with Matt. Clipping drives me crazy. If you come from a tape background it just makes it seem so much worse.
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 07:40 AM

Back in the late 60s I removed the erase head from my reel to reel and could do an overdub once maybe twice on each track. Quality suffered but it was an experiment.
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 10:19 AM

All this goes to what I've been saying for years and it's from personal experience.

You have to become that total computer nerd who is the one all your friends and family come to with their computer problems. That's just the start. Next you have to be immersed in digital audio because just knowing a PC and Windows in/out/backwards does squat for digital audio because that is probably less than 5% of the users of PC's and nobody understands it other than folks on forums like this one.

The folks who do digital audio well are full time pros in the biz. Studio owners, recording engineers, all those folks. Us users who have jobs, family obligations and all that happy stuff struggle all the time because we'll maybe spend a weekend on it, start to figure stuff out then life happens and we don't do it for two weeks and have to basically start over.

In spite of what we read in the blurbs about all the recording gear, DAW's, plugins, etc it's not easy and never will be. We need to remember there are full blown college courses in nothing but digital audio music production and they assume you're already very proficient with Windows and computers in general. In a related note, I read recently things to never put on a resume when applying for a job. One was to say you know Windows and Microsoft Office very well. Don't bother, it's now assumed EVERYBODY knows that. I know some here really do know all about that but lots of users here are at a pretty basic level when it comes to Windows.

For many of us it's like trying to learn a serious trade by watching some online vids and messing around with it 5 or 6 days a month. Ain't gonna happen fast that's for sure.

It's the old cliche: Everything's easy once you learn it.

Bob
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 11:08 AM

I often run my DAW Logic Pro X with multiple instances of Neutron 2, Nectar 2 and various Waves fx loaded - and also with BIaB open, Safari open, notes/messenger, etc., all with no latency issues. Why? Likely because I run 32 gb RAM. It’s cheap and took me about 10 minutes to install on my Mac. FWIW.

Bud

PS my recording started in an Atlanta studio in 1965 and continued off and on (more off than on smile ) until the present.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 11:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
I often run Logic Pro X with multiple instances of Neutron 2, Nectar 2 and various Waves fx - and also with BIaB open, Safari open, notes/messenger, etc., with no latency issues. Why? Likely because I run 32 gb RAM. It’s cheap and took me about 10 minutes to install on my Mac. FWIW.

Bud
...

Yes, that much RAM is needed to run all those programs concurrently and well. But RAM isn't going to determine recording latency; that's a different solution.
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Matt Finley
Originally Posted By: Janice & Bud
I often run Logic Pro X with multiple instances of Neutron 2, Nectar 2 and various Waves fx - and also with BIaB open, Safari open, notes/messenger, etc., with no latency issues. Why? Likely because I run 32 gb RAM. It’s cheap and took me about 10 minutes to install on my Mac. FWIW.

Bud
...

Yes, that much RAM is needed to run all those programs concurrently and well. But RAM isn't going to determine recording latency; that's a different solution.


Guess I thought more RAM = more buffer.

Bud
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 11:53 AM

Yes, that's part of it.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:09 PM

<< For many of us it's like trying to learn a serious trade by watching some online vids and messing around with it 5 or 6 days a month. Ain't gonna happen fast that's for sure. It's the old cliché: Everything's easy once you learn it. >>


Exactly. That's why nearly 100% of the artists with any analog recording experience would immediately see an improvement in their recordings if they inserted a physical mixer/console into their recording chain. They would also enjoy an immediate 'freedom' from the enslavement mentality of a DAW and the enticement of the unlimited tracks that can be 'color coded' and bussed to a bus routed to a master bus that's so saturated a entirely different and additional software program has to be run to control clipping.


Anyone can learn the mechanics from front to back and beginning to end of any analog or hardware multitrack recorder in a day. With a DAW, if you learn how to split a track, do it once and come back tomorrow, can't remember the steps to do it without having to look it up again. Multiply that by a thousand techniques to get an idea of where you'll technically be a week into recording with a DAW versus running an analog mixer/console into an audio interface; with zero latency to boot... using on board effects with actual knobs and circuits that affect the sound authentically rather than simulation and zero load on the PC CPU... Bob (Jazzmammal) nailed it.
Posted by: Larry Kehl

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:53 PM

The computer part
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 12:57 PM

I can run most audio software pretty well, including several DAWs. But when I record, I want to be 100% in performance mode so I use a pro studio and let an engineer work all the tech stuff out. It helps to understand fully what he is doing so our discussions and edits go faster, but it isn't critical.

And when I serve as a producer, then knowing both the performance aspect and the tech is a bonus, to facilitate communication between the artist and engineer.

I do come with a step ahead of most folks, having taught both computer science and music, but I concur that learning a DAW to a level you can produce professional results is no easy task.
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 03:38 PM

Charlie that's an interesting comment. I don't do recording for CDs. I just play live. I use RB like an 8 track recorder. All the mixing and effects are done in the mixer.
8 tracks to 8 channels from RB,1 channel for vocals,1for bass and 2 for harmony. Total of 12 chanels.The only thing I use in RB is limiters on the 8 ports
Posted by: rockstar_not

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 06:22 PM

Rustyspoon - I agree that latency is probably the biggest irritant to me. I've taken a sort of middle ground with my guitar and bass recordings: I use amp simulations that are dedicated to that, externally to my DAW interface. No noticeable latency, and I have the immediacy of the sound and no playing with it afterwards other than fades and pans.

I see lots of comments above about clipping - it's SO easy not to clip in the digital recording domain that you should never ever have to worry about it. Particularly if you have a 24 bit or higher bit-depth interface.

You simply do not have to worry about it if you are using roughly half of the input range. 24 bit puts the digital noise floor (the noise you get from the A/D converter deciding if it is silence or the 1st step above silence)48 dB lower than 16 bit.

You can gleefully record away without clipping very simply AND cleanly.

Now, if you are in fact depending on tape saturation for your sound - then probably you aren't satisfied with any of the simulated tape saturation plugins.

-Scott
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 08:07 PM

This is one of my points earlier. Probably 60-70% of posters on this forum have no clue about 16 bit vs 24 bit recording, how it works, what the interface has to do with it, don't know what recording "headroom" means, all that stuff. Oh, and the importance of mics and preamps as well.

Just one of many things to learn and being proficient in Windows has absolutely nothing to do with that, it's something you have to specifically understand about digital audio.

Bob
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 08:24 PM

I don't remember how this came about but"0" in a Daw is not "0" on an analog console. An analog console has about 26 Db of gain above 0 left.Or headroom if you prefer.A saw has no headroom at 0. That's it fini.
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 08:48 PM

To answer the original question for me it's not recording latency ,as direct input monitoring deals with that, it's latency in the action of the daw controls. I can't lower the buffer enough to have smooth fader moves and not have the tracks stutter.
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 09:18 PM

That's a function of your computer, interface, ASIO drivers and how it's all set up and it does not require some hot hotrodded machine either. Remember Mac posting like 15 years ago he was getting 5-6 milliseconds of latency? That's about the same latency as you hearing a guitar amp from 6 feet away or a pianist sitting at a grand piano. It's already been measured many times, it's about 5ms from the time the pianist hits the key, the hammer hits the string and the speed of sound from the string to the ear. 5ms. IOW, it's unnoticable so it's all on us. Like I said before, we have to learn enough about PC's and DAW's to figure it out.

Bob
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/25/19 09:42 PM

Not to change anyone's mind because as a hobby, or at a level less than full time, being engineer, producer and artist is both challenging and fun. But I believe most people could make better music and more music using less complicated hardware recording devices than with DAW's.
Posted by: Mike Head

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 04:36 AM


hi

Originally Posted By: silvertones
I don't remember how this came about but"0" in a Daw is not "0" on an analog console. An analog console has about 26 Db of gain above 0 left.Or headroom if you prefer.A saw has no headroom at 0. That's it fini.


The difference here is due to completely different meter design and scaling.
Analogue consoles have Vu meters, these show the rms voltage of the signal, scaled and expressed as power Db.

Digital use pp (peak) meters and show the amount you can use before you run out of bits, hence the more head room between 16 and 24 bits as the range from noise floor to the peak is greater.

Over simplified explanation but might help.
Mike
Posted by: Teunis

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 05:25 AM

I must be very strange but I find using a DAW far easier than bouncing tracks and repeating parts time and again. Then putting up with hiss or a dry mouth noise (even worse with false teeth) or a myriad of other extraneous noises that found their way in.

When it comes to clipping Izotope has RX7 which has a De-Clip module that gets shy of some clipping albeit not perfect. I tried it today on something I recorded too hot about 10 years ago and was blown away by the result. (I have been waiting for the price on RX7 to come down. Yesterday Pluginboutique (Izotope also) offered an upgrade from Ozone 8 Advanced to the Production Suite for US$149. I took up the Pluginboutique offer as the included Izotope Iris 2 free)

Tony
Posted by: 2bSolo

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 06:12 AM

Ditto on the learning curve. There is so much and it never seems to end.

Regarding latency, I was never smart enough to get the right setting on RB. When I moved to Reaper, the defaults worked great and I didn't ask questions, just accepted it. Others on this forum have done very well dealing with latency using RB, so you might want to ask what settings they use.

2b
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 07:20 AM

Right Mike. Just wonder why it was designed that way. It could have been designed the same as an analog console so that 0 still gave you some digital head room if you will.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 07:33 AM

OK so... 2 things...

Latency. If you are using a good interface and it can run native (real) ASIO and not a wrapper on MME.... you should NOT have any sort of latency issues that affect your ability to record and playback with good real-time sync. When people say they have bad latency ( anything they can hear that affects their ability to record easily), I always ask what interface and driver they are using.

Annoying things:

Crashes..... but in the old tape days, the tape would jump off the reel and wind around the spindle.

Updates and obsolescence of software with respect to the new hardware and operating systems.
Posted by: Matt Finley

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 08:55 AM

+1 for the easy wonders of Izotope’s products (and their guide to mastering).

And I think Bob (jazzmammal) has a point: 70% of users don’t understand 59% of these concepts 78% of the time. But my figures might be wrong...
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 11:05 AM

As, I suppose, one of those in the alluded to percentage bereft of advanced recording technological knowledge I can only speak from experience. Before I upgraded my RAM I was having latency issues requiring me to turn off plug-ins when recording a vocal and/or put Logic Pro X into a specific permutation of its low latency mode. Zero issues after the upgrade. A sample of one (me) may mean nothing but for me it worked. Nowadays I just want to record hassle free and have fun at it and let this wonderful digital technology work for me. Thank you PG Music, Logic Pro, Waves, Izotope and Focusrite. I may be a 73 year old curmudgeon but, counterintuitively, I don’t miss one aspect of my 45 years of analog recording. smile
Posted by: silvertones

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 01:17 PM

Come on Janice you don't miss splicing tape to rearrange the tune only to realize you cut in the wrong place? grin in
Posted by: Janice & Bud

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 02:12 PM

Originally Posted By: silvertones
Come on Janice you don't miss splicing tape to rearrange the tune only to realize you cut in the wrong place? grin in


Haha haha! My younger wife lends me her great ear All the time and is the most musical person I know but getting her to join in on a mix is like pulling teeth.

Bud
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/26/19 07:04 PM

73 eh? Me too, I'm 74 in November, I should update my avatar I guess but I have such a nice smile in this one. Hey Matt, make that concept number 60% and you got it...

Bob
Posted by: Rustyspoon#

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/27/19 05:09 AM

Wow!
Thank you everyone who participated in the thread!
It was simply an opinion based post, not a cry for help. smile It was an interesting read. Some posts are straight to the point, some humorous some "outside the box". Excellent tech views had been expressed on human level.


I know exactly where my particular annoyance originates. I am a greedy recording slob and have dozens of instances of VST/Synths opened in the project, that is where the latency rat lives. I do have a decent card (Arturia Audiofuse) with real Asio driver written for it (not a wrapper) and I do have 32 GB of ram.
This latency thing does not take away from creative process much, it is just an annoyance smile

One of the most popular items was "clipping". I overcame this by reducing mic volume combined with a couple of singing techniques or just stepping away from mic on louder vocals. Still get them, but not terrible. I guess it is very different for instruments.



P.S. Matt, loved the formula: "70% of users don’t understand 59% of these concepts 78% of the time." It is a perfect candidate to be tattooed on someone's back.
Posted by: Notes Norton

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 08/27/19 06:05 AM

Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
<...snip...> That's why nearly 100% of the artists with any analog recording experience would immediately see an improvement in their recordings if they inserted a physical mixer/console into their recording chain. <...>

I run MIDI out of one older computer into a half dozen or more hardware synth modules. Since they all have essentially the same latency (+-5 or 6ms) mixing different synths to get the best sound for each part is no problem.

I use a MIDI patch bay to route to the hardware synths and run the outputs to separate channels of an analog mixer. I like the analog because twiddling dials to balance is much quicker and easier than mousing. Plus I can do two at once.

Then I take the output of the mixer, along with any analog I want to add (sax, flute, vocals) into the DAW on a newer computer.

Some things work for me better using old analog tools, and others using new digital tools. It's best for me to have both.

Note: I don't do recordings that I want to release to the world as my new single or album, mostly backing tracks for my duo or demo files for my BiaB styles. If I wanted to do that, I'd go to a pro studio with good acoustics and pro to take care of the recordings.

Insights and incites by Notes
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 09/04/19 06:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Rustyspoon#
Wow!
Thank you everyone who participated in the thread!
It was simply an opinion based post, not a cry for help. smile


Right but realize we are replying to a much wider audience than just you. Who knows how many people from all over the world get some benefit from all these replies.

See what you started?

Bob
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 09/05/19 04:15 AM

<<< Some things work for me better using old analog tools, and others using new digital tools. >>>


Yes they do. Every so often I return to some of the older books, DVD's from many years ago especially if they pertain to functions of old hardware. I recently read a book published in the late 1980's about MIDI by Craig Anderton. In it's day, it was a very complete and detailed explanation of what midi is, how it works and how musicians use it to connect multiple pieces of gear together. Pro's were using equipment costing thousands of dollars to daisy-chain 4-5 single synths to create sounds a $49 keyboard can easily do today. It's a very complex book.

I just finished a second book last night that I'll be making a post about in a few minutes. From 1996, it's a book on home recording by award winning producer Peter McIan. The book is a technical, hands on book about using professional studio multi track recording techniques on a consumer 4 Track recorder. Only the content dealing with the physical limitations and physics of tape are obsolete. This is a book about sound and how to capture it cleanly. One has read 225 pages into the book before there's ever an instruction to hit the 'record' button. There are chapters on recording drums, bass, guitar and vocals. A chapter on microphones. After 216 pages of theory presented in lay terms, Mr. McIan begins a chapter that gives step by step instructions how to record and mixdown sixteen instruments onto a portable home studio machine. Each with it's own EQ, panning and special effects. The book is still in print because it's still relevant to the home recordist. Even if you use a DAW with unlimited tracks. Check out the post over in the Recording Thread.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: A single, most annoying thing with computer/digital recording - 09/05/19 06:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Charlie Fogle
<<< Some things work for me better using old analog tools, and others using new digital tools. >>> ...snip ... Check out the post over in the Recording Thread.


Hours, days, weeks, months or years from now the post over in the Recording Thread maybe next to impossible to find. Unless ...

You have a handy, dandy brother kind enough to provide a link to the post +++ HERE +++ grin