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#3893 08/15/07 04:59 PM
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tip 001. (more to come).
if looking at a new system.
consider dual core 2 gigs ram.
(acer have a quad monster at 900 buks.lol.)
xp is my recommendation till vista gets further.
(prolly vista plus plus will come out...lol.)
in particular two 7200 rpm hard drives.
(drives are dirt cheap these days.)
and buy drives with 16 mb caches.
(audio work loves big caches.)
one drive for windows. one for recording.
use the win drive to back up your songs from the recording drive
as well as to dvd.
i will use this thread for my tips..
instead of lots of different threads.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3894 08/15/07 05:03 PM
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tip...002. recording levels.
when recording a track.
try and aim for no higher than -6db in ptw's meters.
in fact i'm even starting to track lower than this cos i'm finding ,
my mixes sound better.
when creating the final stereo mixdown master aim no higher
than -3db.
this will give the mastering engineer room to do their triks.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3895 08/16/07 07:21 AM
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Good manning - keep them coming - (you came back at just the right time!)


Blessings,
Mark.
JUMP - you might FLY !
( Gospel songs on www.soundclick.com/mark1000 )
Web site - www.freewebs.com/fishmarkos1
mark1 #3896 08/16/07 01:39 PM
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cheers mark.
tip...003. (some basic stuff.)
1. You hear pops/clicks or other anomolies on playback.
If you get this condition occurring, and your running a pci sound card,
look at what devices are in your pci slots.
heres what happens. Typically another device in a pci slot is locking out
the pci sound card and causeing the anomolies often.
solution..the best approach is not to have anything in a pci slot
except for the pci sound card. Particular problem devices for a pci sound card
that might cause anomolies are net cards, (disable task while recording),
and ive seen some tv tuner cards and fancy gameing cards also cause the problem.
if at all possible use a seperate pc for the internet.
sometimes all the net programs and protection software can create issues
for a pc doing multitracking particularly on pc's that aleady have low real memory less
than 512mb.
In addition if you contemplate running lots of real time plug ins in addition
to softsynths it should be clearly understood that certain tasks of this nature can make major resource demands of a pc.
often even i gig of memory isnt enough. depending on number of instances.
you willl have to run real life load tests to determine what higher levels of memory you need.
a few instances of some dsp intensive plug ins might even tax a 2 gig memory machine.
some people have even had to go to the extent of dedicating a pc just for plug ins/softsynths.
just be aware of these potential issues.
2. your system seems sluggish or you cant record too many tracks on a modern pc.
solution...if your running 256mb ram try a ram upgrade to 1 gig.
also check dma is enabled on your hard drives. if dma is not enabled,
you wont get optimum throughput for daw performance.
IT MUST BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD the WIN OS needs memory itself to run.
on a 256 mb memory system there is the potential for problems.
Ideally for multitrack recording you need two 7200 rpm hard drives
with the biggest caches you can get. and a gig of ram preferably.
In addition dont use on board sound cards, your asking for problems.
as the digital convertors in them arent the greatest.
a good proven inexpensive sound card is an maudio 2496 for decent low latency and noise recording.
3. if running a laptop and you have problems, one issue is some internal laptop drives are SLOW.
you can get upgrades now for a number of laptops to 7200 rpm drives.
Once again also consider getting also an external hard drive 7200 rpm
solely for recording with windows on the internal one.
never use the mic input for recording that came with a laptop.
often they are noisy. consider a proper external usb or firewire sound device.
4. BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING OR ANY RECORDING YOU MUST IDENTIFY TO PTW
the midi and audio drivers that ptw should use in PREFERENCES.
IF YOU DONT DO THIS....your asking for problems.
READ VERY CAREFULLY THE PTW SETUP INFO/HELP IN PREFERENCES.
AND REMEMBER TO CLICK THE BUTTON THAT SAYS MOVE SELECTED DEVICES TO TOP.
5. If you get further playback problems with a sound device...
consider trying another. it might just not interface well with your particular pc.
VERY IMPORTANT......IF YOUR USEING A SOUND DEVICE THAT HAS ITS OWN LITTLE SETTINGS APPLET,
make sure you read the manual carefully and that the applet for the sound device
is set up properly.
The basic steps you should follow are to set up the applet for the sound device properly,
and set up ptw's preferences properly BEFORE RECORDING.
6. An additional trick is if you experience playback problems and you
HAVE A LOW MEMORY PC; in AUDIO PREFERENCES in ptw, try reduceing the value of the
TRACK BUFFER SIZE, and see if the playback then becomes smooth.
This will sometimes work for some sound devices.
7. Try not to record to the drive that windows is on,
as i said. Record to a drive specifically for recording.
8. If you encounter problems running asio drivers.
Try the non asio normal windows drivers. asio can introduce its own
overheads possibly. ive found that the normal windows drivers on most sound cards i try these days
(ie...above the cheap consumer sound cards) are pretty good.
particularly in xp. And i'm not seeing some of the probs i used to see.
9. if you dont see waveform after recording an audio track its likely
you dont have the line in fader up or it might be muted in the applet for your sound card.
unmute it or push the fader up in the applet.
10. I cant cover every possibility. But these are typical basic problems folks new to digital recording encounter.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3897 08/16/07 01:48 PM
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tip...004.
a quik way to see if your pc is getting taxed.
(i developed this technique useing ptw..
when i had an athlon pc.
with a dual core pc...now i dont need to use it.
but it might be usefull to users with single processor pc's.).
heres the trik.
watch carefully PTW's TIME and NOW read outs.
they should be fluid under normal conditions...
BUT....as your system becomes more and more taxed,
youll notice they can become "stickier" n less fluid.
and even more so as even further tracks/real time plug ins etc etc get added.
this is a major CLUE that your taxing your pc.
at least i found it was when i was running a one processor system.

(only 900 more tips to come....lol....seriously...its gonna take me bout a year to post em all. )


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3898 08/17/07 10:26 AM
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tips...005.
Windows should load faster on boot up if you use a lrger cache hard drive.(eg 16mb.) look at seagate perp drives.
Be aware that coming i suspect large memory array support also increases overhead possibly.
Try and keep messageing programs off your daw.
(offspring useing a daw can really clog it up with messageing apps.
ive had to clean up friends daws for this reason. )
Before buying a laptop or desktop, test the sound device with it.
This ensures the pc is compatible. also test out your audio software.
On a laptop consider upgradeing the internal drive to a faster one.
Test the speed of your anticipated pc purchase before buying.
Heres several TESTS to do before buying... Click on a desktop icon and watch how quickly dialogs display.
Also time with a watch how fast different pc systems take to copy a file.
You can also check in powertracks the anticipated track counts via the menu.
But the mother of all tests is to record a 3 minute 44.1/16 bit audio track.
Then hilte it in the audio edit window by clicking SELECT WHOLE.
Then pitch shift up an octave. (EDIT>>AUDIO EFFECTS>>PITCH SHIFT)...
and time with a watch how long the pitch shift takes.
The fastest result is the fastest system. Repeat on various pc's to see which is fastest.
you can also repeat useing the other effect dsp's...in ptw
Another test is to load up a test song youve created with 30 tracks.
Then start loading up real time plug ins. When doing this, watch the TIME
and NOW readouts carefully and note when they start to get sluggish.
other tests include timing how long a large section of audio takes to paste in the audio edit
window. In all these tests the fastest pc will become apparent.
ie...the pc that supports the max number of tracks/plug ins and processes the fastest.

You can get more than 48 tracks in powertracks. Heres how.
Mixdown the 48 tracks to a stereo wave, then re-import to a new blank session.
Back up your songs. Did i say back up ?? YES BACK UP YOUR SONGS !!
No matter how good the pc, hard drive malfunctions CAN OCCUR.
The advantage of two drives is you can back up your song seq's on the win drive.
but dont be lazy. What if sadly something destroyed your pc ??
Also consider backing up to other mediums and storing OFFSITE.
A bank is a jolly nice idea for example.
Heres a hint to consider. JUST BECAUSE YOU DID A BACK UP TO DVD or CD or whatever
DONT ASSUME IT WILL ALWAYS BE READABLE. After creating a back up ensure powertracks can read it.
sometimes for many reasons the back up might be to a medium that might have a problem.
Thus test your back ups before storing them away.
In addition retrive your back ups at periodic intervals to ensure they are
still readable.

Ensure your hard drive is set up for the highest performance.
Some retailers forget to set the DMA mode on a hard drive.
Ensure the DMA is set. In win>>control panel>>system>>Device manager.
NOTE. prior to xp you click on the hard drive properties.
For xp bring up the drive controller info.

If you have a bit of a clunker pc, sometimes a little upgrade might work.
Run tests, maybe with a new hard drive you can return or say some more memory.
if itsone hard drive. try a second one for recording to.
On higher performance systems, you might want to run tests with different memory brands.
You might get a faster responsive system with some brands over others.
several sites on the net always test various memory brands as a guide.

Sometimes buying a used pc is a viable option if cheap enough.
Once again run the outlined tests on it. Maybe add another hard drive or more memory.
Reason. as folks upgrade to dua/quadl core pc's the market will be littered with good used pc's
at cheap prices. Be aware of future trends. And time your purchases.
Its never a good idea to be an early adopter and buy right at the top the fastest most expensive pc's due to rapid obsolescence. Some trends i predict.
Not only will we see over the next few years common two processor systems but also 4 and 8 and even 16 processor systems.
and maybe lots more. Thus be carefull when you decide to blow lots of your hard earned cash.
Silicon tech on which pc's are based is coming to the end of its life cycle.
other tech like molecular for example is being worked on in labs around the world to
increase computing power.

How to keep the bad guys out of your system.
In this regard There are many ways to protect yourself by simple means
without buying lots of protection devices. Ideally as i said use a seperate used system for netting.
but if you cant do that. Heres some tricks to help.
1. Youve just got your new shiny pc home. Before opening ptw.
i want you to do several things. Bring up task manager or whatever you use to monitor tasks and note
down the listed tasks. ie...take a picture of it if you can.
yes i KNOW its a pain, but it will help protect you in the future.
When you can check if there any changes to running processes that you havent initiated.
for example...if you see some weird task running in the future that wasnt on the original
list when you bought the system. But be aware it might be a net task because you installed the net
after buying the system. Thus after each change like this take a new snapshot of task manager.
What your trying to nail down is anything you didnt authorise.
Like some nasty program you didnt authorise for example.
2. Really monitor the windows temp folder.
junk can build up there over time. and will need clearing out.
when you get your system home. check it. (there might be a couple of items left by the retailer).
And thats OK....but you want a snapshot again. Whether blank or otherwise.
Once again..every few days check the temp folder and see if any junk has built up from your original
snapshot and clear it out. Thus retrieving disk space.
3. WINDOWS SEARCH IS YOUR FRIEND !!
THIS IS A BIG TIP TO KEEP OUT BAD GUYS.
When you get your new system home, use the SEARCH FUNCTION, all files.
In the box provided enter *.exe. this will list all programs on your computer.
take a snapshot of it. notice VERY CAREFULLY THE DATE COLUMN AND SIZE.
click the date column for the most recent dates. and jot the top ten down by name.
once a week run the *.exe. and ask yourself if you see any new exe's
you didnt authorise ?? Another hint is youll notice you can do a search back one or more days.
do this every few days useing the CREATED option.
this will tell you if any new exe's have been created that you didnt authorise.
By comparing with your original snapshot of your system it will help you identify anything thats changed
you didnt authorise. follow that date column. THATS THE KEY !!
and will give you clues hopefully of anything nasty that might have invaded your system.
by comparing to your new virgin system as orioginally set up.

Make sure your power supply does not get stressed over time.
Without a good power supply a pc cant operate.
Heres a nasty problem that can arise. Originally you bought a nice pc with a good power supply.
BUT !!....over time you add more and more peripherals to it.
maybe more hard drives or whatever. If you add enough peripherals a scenario might develope
where the power supply is taxed under load. This could end up impacting the processor for example.
The processor load CAN get quite severe with lots of tracks and plug ins.
THUS, to be safe. when you buy a new pc overspec the power supply if you expect to add lots of peripherals
down the road. By overspec i mean MORE power in it than you might need in the beginning.


if you get funny noises, WATCH OUT.
A pc is a bit like an auto. You get a feel for it.
but one day you hear a funny noise. maybe where the hard drives are located.
normally a pc should be very quite, unless you have a cheap clone with a noisy fan.
what to do ?? if you hear a funny noise from the hard drives i would get a
pc tech to have a look immediately and not carry on blindly.
it might be a hard drive about to fail. Once again, all your critical
data should be backed up in case of this possibility. did i say BACK UP ??
It still stuns me how people still dont do this. and loose their songs theyve
spent days over creating. i see it all the time on various recording forums.
for example a pc with just one drive that sudenly crashed.
One plus of a seperate internet machine is you could also store back ups of songs on its hard drive ...something i do religeously.
just in case your recording daw DOES FAIL.
(lots more to come.includeing ptw specific triks ive used.)


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3899 08/17/07 10:46 AM
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tips...006.
In control panel ideally you should see no flags of device problems.
(check periodically.)

PROTECT your pc/gear and watch for ground loops.
Particularly if you live in an area prone to power surges or problems
with anything to do with power. Buy a surge protection device and place it
between your pc and the wall socket.
Also be aware you open yourself up to ground loop problems possibly
if for example some gear in your studio is connected to a different wall socket than your pc is. Think of implementing this chain of power.
wall socket>>>protection device>>>>a series of power bars (also with basic surge protection) feeding your pc and gear with power.
some studios even go as far as to install a dedicated electrical circuit).
a qualified electrician can help you in this regard.
Also you do have insurance coverage for your gear ??

Test your hard drive transfer speed.
hard drive transfer speed n seek time spec is very important for audio recording.
the faster the better. a slow hard drive can bog things down.
Various manufacturers offer hard drives with high transfer speeds.
what does transfer speed mean ?? Basically it means how much data can be read or written to a drive every second. the more the merrier.
for example in a test one of my drives can transfer at plus 50mb/sec.
meaning fifty megabytes per second. Enough for my needs as i dont
run a zillion tracks and plug ins. And this brings up an important point.
There are many ways to do a song. Think carefully about do you really need all those tracks and plug in processes running ?? Over 35 tracks ive found for example one starts to loose control and ones perspective on a song.
Often one ends up over producing ?? I'll talk more on this later.


ptw trik...what to do if ya got a garbage sound card and NO MONEY.
Want to see how noisy your on board sound chip is ?? run this test.
bring up the ptw meters. notice the calibration ??
with nothing connected to the input of the sound card and with line in selected,
DO YOU SEE ANY GREEN LED's lit up ?? If you do ...this is typically sound card
noise. not good. Also built in sound chips can lead to other issues like
latency and/or tracks not lining up. SO WHAT DO I DO YOU SAY ?? WITH NO MONEY ??
well there are a couple of tricks you can employ.
first trick. record your audio track. and bring up the audio edit window in ptw.
hilite a blank area of the track. click PLAY SELECTED AREA.
notice you can hear the noise ?? if you solo it ?? and of course if you speakers are high enough.
so lets clean the track up. EDIT>>>AUDIO EFFECTS..select NOISE GATE.
MAKE SURE BEFORE YOU DO THIS YOU HAVE CLICKED SELECT WHOLE IN THE AUDIO EDIT WINDOW.
ensure compressor is not selected in the displayed dialogue.
ONLY noise gate.
in the dialog for noise gate, try various thresholds from -27 db to -15 db.
which one ?? thats easy. the hotter the recording the more you can set nearer the
-15 db setting. if the track is quite low in level, nearer the -27 db setting.
the idea being you dont want the noise gate to cut out bits of the track.
by hiliting a section of the track and testing the noise gate with different settings you will, after time, and experimenting get a feel for which threshold value
doesnt cut out signal. an optimum value to start off with is remember those LED's showing noise
of the sound card ?? if the LED's show -24 db. try setting the threshold around -24db.
another trick with built in sound chips is youll botice they "sizzle" if you listen carefully.
as do lots of electronics these days. particularly cheaper devices.
a way round this is to do judicious cuts of EQ in the 2k to 8k area.
if you really want to nail it. use the included pg real time analyser plug in.
bring up the ptw mixer (ctrl-8). click FX and select the rta plug in...and note the frequencies displayed,
(HAVEING RECORDED JUST A BLANK TRACK FROM SOUND CHIP.)
and use an eq to cut the offending frequencies in the track.
NOTE...parametric eq is normally used to hone in on a specific narrow range versus graphic which is more broad based.
(More on EQ tricks later on.)
Another trick to consider with on boardbuilt in sound is to record a track in sections.
to minimise latency problems and things not lining up.
heres how to do it. eg......vocals.
name two tracks lead vocs 1 and 2. record your first verse at the beginning of the song,
on the lead vocs 1 track. BUT STOP AFTER THE FIRST VERSE. dont carry on recording while the
backing track is playing for ten seconds befor the next verse for vocals plays.
the audio edit window is your "friend" here. bring up the lead vocs 2 track. It will be blank.
and click on it a few seconds before the backing music starts...then record the second verse.
for the third verse..same idea. bring up the audio edit window now for lead vocs 1...and click a few seconds just before
the third verse starts and record your third verse.
in summary ....by alternating between the two tracks for vocals we are minimising
"drift". if instead we recorded all three verses in one go on poor sound chips in multitracking over time youll find
that things drift in timing possibly. This is about the best you can expect useing this trick.
you can do the same for lead solos...ie..dont start from the beginning of the song
recording blank audio until your first solo starts at say one minute.
start recording 10 seconds before (ie..50 secs) to minimise drift possibilities.
OK you say...now i have two tracks of audio but i want one. no problem.
name a third blank track FINAL LEAD VOCALS. and cut and paste to this track
from the two tracks you did. (more on track tricks later on).
but youreally should look at getting a decent soundcard rather than useing an on board or
built in soundchip.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3900 08/17/07 10:56 AM
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tips....007.

A trick if you cant afford a fancy pc.
a nice sempron good for 40 tracks prolly or more is around 300 buks.
but lets assume you cant afford that. what can you do ??
well, there are several tricks you can use. without spending money.
firstly before doing any serious recording, run a test. lets say granny gave you
her old pc. firstly thank her. i miss my granny !! god bless her up in heaven.
then bring the pc home. and ensure without plugging it in that nothing is clogging up
the fans. if you dont know how to do this get a pc tech to do a general clean up.
maybe a fresh windows install. ensure the hard drive or drives are blank ready for recording.
now lets see what grannys pc will do !!
install ptw and just start recording blank audio tracks. one after the other for 30 seconds.
ALL THE TIME WATCHING THE PTW NOW TIME READOUT LIKE A HAWK.
normally if a system isnt being taxed, the NOW time box will fly by.
as the system is asked to playback more tracks while recording a new one..
youll see at some point the NOW will become "stickier". And not fly by.
It might occur after 20 tracks for example. Make a note of when this "sticky"
condition occurs. This is prolly nearing your max track count. But on some pc's
you might get quite a few more tracks. before grannys pc starts puffing out.
once again you can use monitoring software of various types to monitor load as well as windows own features.
maybe you can improve things by putting in some used memory you get a deal on for ten buks,
provided it works well of course or a new hard drive for 80 buks.
one thing i WOULD ADVISE. DONT try and get by with 128 mb ram.
even on grannys machine i would recommend adding ram. because windows needs ram memory itself.
Lets say you can only get 20 tracks before that NOW box starts getting sticky,
no problem. as before mix the 20 tracks to stereo mix (FILE>>>WAVEFILES>>MERGE)
and then reimport the stereo mix to a new blank seq song session...
and record 19 more tracks.
Another trick to consider on grannys donated machine is to do mostly midi recording.
in contrast with audio tracks. midi represents a light loading on a pc if you use external midi modules for playback.
therefore consider on a really slow machine only useing audio tracks for your final live keeper vocals
and lead instruments. ie....USE MIDI TRACKS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN.

Your first real song recording.
NOT SO QUICK ! youve installed ptw either downloaded from pg or from the sent CD's.
and its a nice smooth install isnt it ?? your eager to record a song.
i understand. youve read the manual and you understand you need to select a track,
arm it as either an audio or midi track before recording. (by clicking on the midi plug for example).

but before you do this i want you to get ORGANISED.
firstly make sure you have read about selecting your input and output
midi and audio drivers. (more detail on this to follow).
then i want you to do some housekeeping tasks that will make your recording life easier.
in the future. create a new folder on your recording hard drive and name it
ptwtemplates. in this folder you will store standard song templates.
for example i write songs in many styles. you might think about a template for each
song style. SO HOW DO YOU CREATE A TEMPLATE AND WHAT IS IT ???
a template does not store any tracks at all. its basically a skeleton of your settings.
which can be used time and again. an example of a template would be if youve given custom names to
tracks one thru 16 for midi tracks and tracks 20 to 48 as audio tracks.
( i normally leave 17 thru 19 as spare midi tracks in case i need them later).
so now please look at the TRACKS window. and assign common names to each track you know
youll need on various sessions. for example kik drum or snare or violin or lead vocal one
or lead vocal two. ie....STEP ONE. decide on your track names.
and i would like you to name one extra track and call it "PUNCH INS TRACK".
(more on this later). Maybe a punch ins track for midi and one for audio.
this is a trick i use to save doing punch ins on tracks ive already recorded if i change my mind.
(moreon this later). I also would like you to think about which tracks should be midi and which audio.
If your mainly a audio person with a bit of midi. maybe you only need to designate a few midi tracks.
In summary think about your track names, set your tracks to be audio or mono or stereo audio.
(read the manual for more info)....then FILE>>>SAVE AS and name the seq template or
some custom name you wish to give it like. rok template or country template or whatever and save it
in the ptwtemplate directory file. the PURPOSE of all this being you dont have to go through sertting up
your track names and settings for each new song. you just OPEN the template.
and there it is. all your settings and names. in summary think about useing this technique for
song organisation. THE NEXT THING BEFORE STARTING RECORDING OF A NEW SONG IS
the following procedure. navigate to that ptwtemplate folder.
in the folder right click with the mouse once again to create new folder.
then rename it to your song name. ie..if the songs called "rok my socks".
call the folder socks or some unique name. this is where youll be storing your song seq consisting
of all your tracks and settings. NOTE...song seq's can get quite big due to the size of audio files.
SO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE LOTS OF DISC SPACE. The next step is load up ptw...
to start working on "socks" or whatever song. FILE>>OPEN and navigate to the
ptwtemplate folder and load in your custom template we previously talked about.
voila !! all your tracks are already named, and all your midi and audio tracks are set up.
neat huh ?? NOW...before starting recording you need to save the template to
the "socks" folder you set up. so SAVE AS...but this time name it your song name
like "socks" or whatever and navigate and save it in the socks new song folder you have set up.
NOTE THE NAME OF THE SEQ IN THE BLUE LINE AT THE TOP OF THE PTW WINDOW.
youll see it say socks or whatever name you gave it.
you are now ready to record. it sounds more complex than it really is.
its just a organisation method which youll come to understand is usefull once you have a lot of
songs youve recorded. ie...by navigateing to the ptwtemplate folder youll see all the ten songs (for example)
that youve recorded over time neatly organised.
ie...in summary within ptwtemplate ...song a, song b, song c, song d etc etc
ie....a CENTRAL REPOSITORY FOR YOUR SONGS IN ONE PLACE. within ptwtemplate folder.
rather than being spread out in various folders all over the place.
Lets recap.
1. create a standard track template for each genre you work in and store in ptwtemplate folder.
2. open the template in ptw and save it with a unique NEW NAME in a uniquely created
sub folder with a unique song name within ptwtemplate folder.
This is the method i use.
(lots more to come over next year.)


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3901 08/17/07 01:01 PM
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tips....008..songwriting.
before i get into oodles of tek tips on powertracks (ptw).
i would like to discuss in general songwriting.
just from things ive picked up over the years.
gleaning triks from Audio Engineering shows, in big studios,
writing my own songs..lost count..etc etc..lol.
and on some occasions ive had the privelige of meeting some big names.
who were kind enough to give me insights.
let me preface by saying .
ITS WORK...tons of work.
and i dont have all the answers.
but ive come to form certain opinions.
as follows...
1. what makes a great song ??
well its doubly difficult these days to come up with
something original cos so many great songs have been done in the past
by so many gifted people.
and there are only so many notes in the scale.
but if u have the passion burning inside you.
what ive learnt is some basic key things.
some basic words.
MEMORABLE HOOKS AND SOUND PICTURE.
a senior producer for example..said to me once u MUST try n capture the listener
in the first ten seconds with a memorable music hook,
and again in the song middle and at the end of the song again.
the idea at the end being to make the listener want to play the song again.
sound picture relates to how the song is "painted" n presented.
many many times i fail frankly. and so do many people.
one hears how it sounds in ones mind...but often one has difficulty achieving it in reality.
i dont have to list all the great artists cos i think u know what i'm getting at.
but if u want to be successfull think sound picture and hooks.
a hook basically is a set of notes the listener has trouble getting out of
his or her mind. ie...memorable.
2. gear alone wont rescue you.
ive recorded on everything from junk cassette decks to small home set ups and large
home set ups right thru useing major studios.
and on really really expensive gear.
and ive concluded gear alone wont rescue you.
as an example, once, as an experiment i took some songs i had recorded on not the best gear, and my wife had a booth selling crafts.
(for extra pin money.)
so i sold cassettes of my little songs in her booth.
not to make money, but to get feedback from real people objectively on my crazy songs..lol.
what they hated n liked etc.
i was amazed to find that i sold many thousand cassettes of the songs.
any top audio engineer would have called me/criticised me on some of the production
flaws in the songs..which i knew very well.
but the general public were more interested in whether the songs
did anything for them.
let me say i dont consider myself an ace audio engineer.
ive just picked up lots of things to do with the black art of audio engineering over the years.
my first love is writing new songs. then the problem begins..
how to engineer them properly.
all i can say is u try n try n fail n fail.
but sometimes the recording gods reward your hard work.
what is interesting is sometimes i compare songs ive done on the
most expensive gear to songs i did on junk gear,
and sometimes the ruff songs have a certain charm.
ive also found in my travels that ..and ive done this more than once...
ive taken a demo ive done on ruff gear and had trouble reproducing the sound /improveing the song
on expensive gear. (and also vice versa.)
so..whats the solution ??
well my personal take is 10k buys you a pretty decent studio set up
today. my personal opinion is that all one needs is powertracks,
some decent mics and mic pre's etc etc and of coursea decent sound card convertors.
and if u cant do a decent song with that then somethings wrong.
ive had all sorts of arguments with people over the years who have very fancy set ups.
then i show them what powertracks will do for the ridiculous low price, and they are amazed.
some people ive come across have spent thousands on recording software,
because they believe by buying such software it will automatically
mean a hit for them.
sorry , but life isnt like that.
in reality all they needed to buy was ptw and from money saved buy decent ADA convertors n mics n preamps.
to get a hit song or a great song is just tons of work.
particularly experimenting with different sound pictures n hooks.

in summary to all the above, instead, what i do when i get gear lust is
i stop myself and focus my energies instead on writing another song.
i firmly believe gear alone wont guarantee anything.
if your starting out recording songs, ptw alone has way more facilities than were available years ago.
its all u need.
just my opinion.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3902 08/17/07 01:13 PM
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tips...009. the black art...more stuff.(n speakers.)
erm...what speakers should i buy ??
let me tell you speakers/monitoring will drive you nuts if you let it.
remember that in the past big songs were often mixed on less than stellar speakers.
even though the studio might have had fancy expensive monitors.
why ?? because most folks dont have superb speakers.
some do, but a lot dont. some might be listening to your song the first time
on a junky radio or a tv speaker or on a boombox.
Thus ideally you need a variety of speakers.
and play back your mixes on a variety. computer speakers (for people playing your song
on the net), a mono check speaker, maybe a radio speaker,
a boombox, and maybe a decent set ofspeakers (if you can afford them).
you should also check how your mix sounds over headphones.
In summary its a heck of a balanceing act getting a mix to sound good on everything.
and i often fail. even great mixes done on 5k speakers have been known to fall apart on a small tv speaker.
once again the black art of audio engineering laughs at our puny efforts to beat the boss of the black art.
Youll notice i talk often about the BLACK ART OF AUDIO ENGINEERING.
what do i mean by this ?? the answer is that in many respects recording audio is a bit of a black art
in many respects. with lots of hidden tricks and pitfalls.
Many of which i'll attempt to point out. from my experience.
Ive paid homage to what i call the god of audio engineering for quite a few too many years.
and he still laughs at me. for example some days i sit down with a junk mic and for some reason a good track is recorded or a good song.
other days bad by comparison. same with expensive mics.
This is one cruel god to worship. for example you buy a 2k guitar amp
cos it sounded good at the store, but then someone gives you a used 50 bukker amp and you sling a guitar peddle in front of it and get a more pleasing sound than the 2k jobby
from your speakers.
this is the god of the black art laughing at you again while you try and fathom why...!!!!
LOL...definitely a cruel god to worship.
Or you buy a fantastic new set of speakers but your mixes end up
not sounding as good on different mediums.
this is the god of the black art laughing again !!!!
In summary...in theory your mixes might sound better the better the monitors and other gear you buy. but not necessarily.
(i'll cover guerrilla mixing on the cheap later on).
But for now i just want you to think about the concept of testing
your mixes on different speaker mediums from cheap to pricey.
(Radio shack sell a little box that lets you flip tween different speakers.)
once again there are no magic solutions ive found. once i did a mix at a top studio, and it didnt translate well on other speaker set ups.
One advice i CAN give you. is to think carefully how much you wish to spend on monitors. You could spend your life saveings away without getting the ideal solution.
ALSO PUT FUSE PROTECTION ON YOUR SPEAKER LINES.
Radio Shack normally sells them. They are likkle plastic gizmos you put a fast blow fuse inside. you connect them before the + input of the speaker.
Please consider these if your speakers dont have protection.
also watch out you dont connect your speakers around the wrong way.
Lets say your driving them with a stereo amplifier.
THE POSITIVE (+) OUTPUT of amp goes to plus input of speaker.
THE NEGATIVE (-) OUTPUT of amp goes to neg input of speaker.
to ensure things dont get out of phase.

syndrome... i spent 50k on recording gear and my songs dont have the quality of the old hits.
LMAO... Been there done that. Want to be really blown away ??
listen to the Patsy Cline hit "after midnight" recorded in the 50's,
and many other recordings back in that era. Listen to the fabulous sound of her vocals on after midnight. amazing. So how did they do it ?? back then ??
you spent all this money and you cant get close. right ??
even with supposedly superior tech today.
well pal neither can a lot of people. I mean really listen to those songs from the fifties.
i encourage you to listen deeply and analyse them. Do internet searches on the producers/engineers at the time.
brilliant people often working under trying situations.
My perspective is once again it was how they used the equipment at that time.
remember i said gear alone wont rescue you ??
because of track limitations they had to record live in a big recording room.
maybe useing creative leakage with the singer in a seperate booth.
Think about it logically. If you had two mono tape machines lets say.
how would you do it ?? i suspect you would record to one machine the backing arrangement on one machine. then bounce the backing to a second machine while
recording the lead vocals and other lead needs like lead guitar possibly.
I suspect a lot of the "old sounds" come from studios building their own
equipment in those years. Money alone doesnt gurantee youll be able to recreate those brilliant sounds. Just to show you the lunacy of spending lots of money on gear.
One day i did an experiment. just useing a cassette deck mic pre through some tape electronics
and recorded a track in ptw. after futzing around for some time i got a lot closer to what i was looking for. In many respects i got flukey useing the cassette dek mic pre.
It gave me more of a "vintage" sound with the tape deck electronics than other approaches.
Next day i thought i would try a different instrument......nope..not as gooood.
The god of the black art laughing at me again....lol
gave me a little teaser of the magic "vintage" sound to make me chase my tail for eons.
The BEST you can do to get those old sounds is to experiment basically without driving yourself crazy.
A lot of the old engineers prolly laugh at our puny attempts to emulate their brilliance. Basically they were just totally gifted. And i respect them highly.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3903 08/17/07 01:20 PM
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tips....010.
THERE ARE NO RULES.
You will buy a hundred books on recording, talk to your buddies with
a big studio who will tell you do this or that. Or read some of my own
tricks.... But IN THE END THERE ARE NO RULES.
just because someone used a xyz mic on a session or eq'd their kik drum a certaion way
and sold a zillion records. doesnt mean you will. why ??
answer. THERE ARE TOO MANY VARIABLES. AND THATS THE TRUTH.
in fact you might do more harm to a mix that previously sounded good bcos on the net
you read that "Mr big time record producer" gives a slight bump to a certain instrument at 550 hz. Once again. been there done that. Why ??
every song is different. we are all different.
I mention all this because i see young people all the time following certain
equipment idols slavishly.
i did go to university which taught me to think for myself.
And heres my position. Haveing studied physics.
Lets suppose IN THEORY you copied down to the finest detail the studio, the gear,
etc that was used on a particular big song. I doubt you would get the same sound.
There are just too many variables. In summary. be carefull of chaseing your tail like this. In my case these days i just do the best i can.

This is supposed to be fun. If you dont become a huge hit producer.
Dont sweat it. And dont beat up on yourself.
Just accept the fact that there are brilliant people out there
that have this magic ability to create magic songs.
Not all of us can fly a jet for example.
In my case i have loads of songs to still get out of me.
but if i follow every slavish fad i wouldnt get much done.
SO BREAK THOSE RULES AND experiment like crazy.
try a new crazy effect chain...maybe youll invent a new sound or
record some strange sound then morph it into something else.
(ptw effects are very good for morphing...more on this later.)
Dont let perceived boundaries/gear stop you.
get crazy. record your pet budgie chirping then see what you can do with the sound. go into the garden and record the trees rustling.
IN SUMMARY THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. this is what creativity is all about.
people will tell you mic a guitar amp a certain way..x inches off axis from the cone.
useing an abc mic. BREAK THE RULE. many engineers have. try something different.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3904 08/17/07 01:24 PM
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tips...011..naysayers etc
You worry about criticism of your songs or mixes.
been there done that. heres my approach.
just do the best you can with each song. thats what i do.
all my gear in total cost 5k. i had to sell off fabulous studio gear to help family.
but hey thats life. one copes and moves on. noone said it was easy.
dont be AFRAID of criticism. just take it on the chin.
thats what i do.
there will always be people in this world who take pleasure in criticising others. even if you produce the most awfull songs, and ive done a few lulu's myself,
the KEY is youve had fun, and youve taken this song idea. nurtured it and brought
it to fruition. THAT IN ITSELF IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT.
No person has the right to put you down. There are good ways of criticising and bad ways.
You can tell the people who are critising in a good way.
They might say for example, i might suggest you bring up the kik a bit or not use as much reverb on the vocals or a seasoned engineer will say it might be a good song
if you considered re-arranging it this way or that. this is GOOD criticism.
The bad criticism is where someone is obviously hell bent on destroying your creativity no matter what you do.
ie, just bypass these. and take them with a grain of salt.
In summary be open to criticism, but dont let it stop your creative drive.
REMEMBER,,,,,in the past it took some songwriters 50 songs or lots more before they
finally got that magic song hit. An old friend of mine used to say it takes 20 years to be an overnight
success. Let me lay out my worry frankly. A young person sets up a studio and produces his first song.
Some people then jump all over him and pan it. He retreats very hurt, sells all the equipment and gives up. Because his feelings have been hurt.
DONT LET ANYONE DO THIS TO YOU. ive talked to such folks who have been hurt over the years like this,
and tried to encourage them. why ?? because the person who gave up might just produce a great
song further on down the line.
IN SUMMARY...if its your PASSSION.....like it is with me. just go ahead and produce your songs and to heck with any arrows that come your way.
Just do your best. thats all you can ask of yourself.
For me after doing lots of my own songs and helping other people, i STILL GET A RUSH,
when ive taken a germ of a song idea out of my head and hear the first few tracks playing back.
Thats why i'm in it. For the joy this gives me. I suggest you adopt the same approach.
DONT LET THE NAYSAYERS GET TO YOU. just do your best.


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3905 08/17/07 01:34 PM
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tips...012.
How to test your songs out on others.
So you think you have a nice song. What i used to do is try and get impartial feedback from
people. You could go to a local sunday market for example and try and sell a few CD's or cassettes,
and tune into what the "normal consumer" likes and doesnt about your songs.
for example a few years back i did this for fun. ie..."took it to the streets".
people who dont know you. cos family and friends are obviously biased.
for example one song i thought was pretty strong i didnt get good feedback on.
another one that i didnt like as much folks wanted cassettes of.
so go figure.
But its a jolly nice way to see what folks like and dont like.
for example one of my songs my wife detests because she isnt into heavy metal guitar laden songs.
but others told me they liked it. so i was confused. Thus i took it "to the streets".
well i can tell you i was surprised. everyone wanted a copy who was a headbanger.
In summary test your songs on a wide range of people.There are all sorts of genres and niches to fill.

The mic signal chain.(my suggested chain).
Heres the normal signal chain when recording from a mic.
mic>>>mic input of recording mixer(or mic pre) >>>line input of soundcard.
on the output side.
soundcard output>>>a second mixer>>>amplifier>>>monitoring speakers.
some folks leave out the second mixer. but i find it usefull.
for many things. particularly if you have a multiple output sound card.
You can mix the different channels coming from the fancy sound card useing the second mixer, and prepare headphone mixes for musicians etc or add some outboard
reverb for a vocallist that might need it in track laying.
years ago i once used one mixer but found myself disrupting settings to switch tween mic and line inputs.
the advantage of this approach is just ease of organisation.
for someone with just a stereo sound card you prolly wont need the second mixer.
It just makes things a bit easier. Typically a stereo line is tapped off the second mixer
to headhone distribution gizmos. What are these ?? Essentially they are a unit with many headphone outlets where musiciand playing together laying down tracks
plug in their headphones. but if its only you and a stereo sound card,
just plug a headphone into the amplifier phone jack and you prolly dont need the second mixer.
If you have no money and you need a cheap amplifier, maybe someone in your family has a old stereo receiver or amp you can use.
just plug the stereo line output of the sound card into the stereo amplifiers line input.
If you cant afford a mixer, plug a dynamic pro mic (via an xlr to quarter inch adaptor)
into a cassette dek mic input and take line out of dek to soundcard line input.

Setting levels/tasks before true recording/housekeeping.
Ok so youve placed the mic in front of your favorite guitar amp or say a friend with a sax or violin.
whats the next step after setting up ??
ANSWER. do a dry run recording. I hope before this you already created your song folder
and named the seq template and saved it in its song folder as i mentioned earlier ??
You should also have done pre-production planning.
ie..roughed out your song on paper with all the lyrics and arrangement.
I just use win notepad for this. You also might think about creating your own design of a track sheet
And do a stack of print copies.
Typically such a track sheet lists lots of info like song name.
lists the tracks and their names (reflecting the seq template layout),
and on this track sheet youll be writing down all the settings you used on the recording.
from simple things like mic used. how it was positioned.
and your friend the guitar player that uses a certain guitar gadget with a certain setting.
all this should be reflected on the track sheet.
The track sheet is essentially a log of everything done in the session while recording
the song. Thus haveing done the start of the track sheet.
carefully bring up the mic level and look at ptw's input meter.
Have the plyer or singer play or sing whatever and watch that meter like a hawk.
If you have a mixer with metering and an overload indicator on the mic channel,
also watch that too. you dont want the overload indicator on the mixer to be red
constantly. just the occasional flash is ok.
Now there IS LOTS OF ARGUMENT ABOUT WHAT LEVELS TO RECORD AT useing a pc soundcard.
some folks record slap dab to zero. i dont agree with this.
there is no margin of error. I normally watch the levels on the mixer LED's
and piw's input meter and with the singer singing or instrument player playing
record tween -10 db to -6db. in that range. This leaves some room for error in case
for example the player or singer jumps around in level.
But generally i record in this range. around -6db usually.

0db is digital brick wall.
Now do a test recording for 30 seconds.
To record in ptw click on the track number and click the record button.
(YOU DID SET THE TRACK FOR AUDIO RECORDING AND NOT MIDI DIDNT YOU ??)
HINT...midi tracks showa midi plug. audio tracks a little wavelet instead
of the midi plug.
stop ends recording. and say ok to save.
Youll now notice the waveform. play it back. how does it sound ??
Not happy ?? experiment with different mics and different mic positions.
This is a whole learning curve in itself.
redo in a room thats very dampened (with sound absorbing panels and traps)
versus a more "live" room .
notice the difference ?? Thus before proper recording starts you have to decide several things.
The mics to try, the various positions on the source to try and the different rooms to try.
For example if your in a house. Do a recording in a small cubby hole
or closet filled with dresses/clothes versus the main living room.
notice the difference in the sound picture ??
In summary location of recording plays a big part on sound picture and texture.
Think about this very very carefully. ie...the location you want to record in and its impacts
on the recorded track. ie...if your someone starting out experiment with different mics in different
rooms to test the impacts on a track and differences.
also experiment with mic positioning. putting the mic futher away from the source
will let in more room sound. think about this aspect.
In summary run several tests before actually commencing recording the track.
dont just slap up a mic anywhere and record the track.
THINK !! about the sound your going for.
If you feel you have a good sound now go ahead and record the whole track.
Notice after recording you will see the waveforms in the tracks, audio edit and bars n tracks window.
(i will get into the finer points of audio editing post recording..
eg..cleaning up a track later on).
If you dont see any waveform after recording but you saw it on ptw's input meter.
its likely a setting is muted in your sound card.
for example muting line input in windows mixer is another example.
(more on windows mixer later on).

The dam singer pins the meters with screaming. what do i do ??
This is a common problem. particularly some folks get comfort by
holding the mic and/or swallowing it.
heres the solution. get a cheap mic you dont care about.
you wont be recording with it. let them hold it, scream into it...
whatever. and pretend its hooked up. then place the proper mic on a stand in front of the screamer,
with pantyhose strung around a hangar placed on a mic stand tween the singer and the real mic
youll be recording. and set the real mics levels useing the mixer and watching ptw's levels.
end of problem. OR have the singer read the next topic.

Working the microphone.
this is an art in itself. mastered normally by professional singers for example.
who know that belting into a mic can overload it.
various techniques are emplyed by the artist. for a more intimate feel
they move the mouth closer to the mic with less vocal volume and move their mouth
away from the mic for the "volume blasting" notes.
If you have a problem vocalist its best to gently explain this technique.
notice also as you get closer to the mic you get more proximity effect.
once again the further away the more "room sound" is introduced.
if the vocallist is agreeable...explain gently working the mic techniques.
but if not , and your levels fluctuate wildly you will have to
plug in a limiter of some sort as a patch insert in your mixer.
to control the wild fluctuations in level...before they hit the sound card.

What microphone.
Theres are many different types of mic.
useing google i would spend some time visiting various manufacturers
sites to see the vast array of recording and broadcast mics.
Its massive. mic choice is a massive article all unto itself. but i'll try and summarise.
For a small studio you should have at least one good dynamic lioke a shure sm57
(used on lots of hits) and a condensor mic.
The latter normally needs some type of phantom powering.
normally 48 volts dc. Thus youll notice a lot of mixers have
this feature. You will need to turn it on for these types of mics.
Typically dynamics are used on robust sound sources like guitar amps and vocals.
but not always. condensors are normally reserved for "sensitive"
sources like acoustic guitar and various orchestral types of sounds.
But once again there are no firm rules except IF IT SOUNDS GOOD IT IS GOOD.
As i said before rules are made to be broken.
THUS TRY BREAKING THEM.
One thing i should warn you about. Condensor mics are very
sensitive beasts. Thus they will be more prone to pick up your noisey computer fan !!
if you have one and your doing lead vocals with a condensor mic.
Also on some vocallists and sound sources you might be surprised to find a simple dynamic
will sound better.
Now..let me make a point about the old venerable sm57.
some folks new to recording dont like it. but a lot of very seasoned engineers do.
why the disparity ?? the answer is simple.
The 57 is very sensitive to the mic preamp or mixer its signal is being sent to,
or as is known in the trade "looking into".
For example you might not be too impressed with it hooked up to a 50 buk mass cheaply produced mixer.
but now hook it up to a rented hi end mic pre costing 2k buks..
and you might hear a whole different beast come alive.
in summary dont judge it on one situation alone.
Now i dont want everyone going out buying hi end mic pre's they cant afford.
I just want you to be aware of this issue.
From my tracking down of the issue its prolly related to when it was designed years ago and the type of
impedence it likes to look into. You see on some hi end mic pre's you can change the input impedence.
on some low end mixers you cant.
Therefore if you encounter this problem its prolly that
your mixer doesnt handles the sm 57's unique characteristics possibly as well as some other
esoteric mic pre solutions re impedence.
Thus if you cant afford a hi end mixer or mic pre.
(who can starting out ??)
you might audition many differenty dynamic mics from different vendors.
maybe one will suit you better if you have a low end mixer.
One other point i'd like to make.
Lets assume your great aunt emma was kind enough to leave you a trust fund.
or HA HA !...your worried that your sinking fund might sink...so you decide you might want a vintage mic.
Thats all well and good. Some folks swear by them. Me, i'm kinda this way n' that.
In my opinion instead of spending 2k on one vintage mic, 2k will buy you a nice mic cabinet if you
shop around. There are some quite nice inexpensive mics around these days.
Some folks poopoo the chinese mics for example at 50 buks.
Others like them. Its up to you to audition various mics and decide.
I'm showing my own biases here. But if i were asked to build a reasonably priced mic locker.
I qould prolly look at a combo of mics. Maybe a shure dynamic like a 57, Or the older shures.
sometimes you can get them for a cheap price. or used EV dynamics for 40 buks.
Mixed in with a couple of the newer brands. One being the CAD mics which have gained a good rep.
And i think overall it doesnt hurt a budding studio to have at LEAST one beyer mic.
ive always been a beyer fan of the M88.
but there are loads of others. Often its how you use a mic.
For example a friend gave me some cheapie no name dynamic 58 type mic.
It sounds bad on some things. But occasionally if its feeling kind it just seems to be right for a
track. In summary keep an open mind.
(more tomorrow..will prolly take a month to post all the tips.)


retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly songs...motagator.com/bmanning
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3906 08/17/07 04:16 PM
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tips...013.
A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.
(hopefully this will help newbies see all the aspects
of a recording session. it will take several posts to explain.)
the best way i felt to explain some powertracks triks is
to step the reader thru a real recording session.
how i might do it.(there are many ways.)
heres the scenario.
a local band has come to you called "CEFE"
who model themselves after their heroes.
a certain well known rok band they admire.
(lets see if u can gues their heroes name..lol.).
they have given u a v ruff cassette of a song they want to re record
that was recorded v v ruff to cassette with one mic.)
it is assumed u have basic gear like mics/mixer/pc with sound card,
monitors etc etc. the band brings in all their own amp/guitar/drum gear.
for interest sake..lets make it difficult.
you only have a stereo sound card..but good quality convertors.
(eg maudio or some other like julie etc etc.)

STEP ONE. prepare for the session.
in advance of the band coming in....u need to do some things.
after makeing sure your pc/rig is working fine of course.
listen to their song on cassette.
its called "lets Power Rock."
try and assess its bpm.
cos CEFE is a bit sloppy n it would be nice for them to
have a clik trak to record against.
but before doing this...
create a new folder on your drive called "lprcefe".
ie.band name plus song name.
now open up powertracks (hereafter ptw).
use one of your ptw templates u custom created (as mentioned earlier for rok
band clients.)..load it...so its displayed in ptw.
with all the track names...mebe changeing some track names to reflect
CEFE's needs and SAVE AS into the lprcefe folder a seq called lprcefeseq.
this name will also be displayed at the top of the ptw screen.
tip..notice if u hold the mouse over a track in ptw mixer the names of the tracks are displayed.
now record the bands ruff cassette into ptw on an audio trak .

after stopping.
on another track while the bands ruff is playing back,
record yourself tapping a crappy mic (one u dont care about.)
for a minute. add up the taps on playback to get a bpm idea.
lets say its 140 bpm.
record a drum machine into an audio trak in ptw set to 140bpm.
or.if no drum machine use ptw's fill track with drum pattern
feature. set tempo to 140.
have the band do a couple of ruff run thrus of the song while listening back
to the clik track over their headphones.
adjust the tempo to suit them. either faster or slower.
at this point convert the midi track to an audio track.
so lets say now track one is the clik track.
(i always use trak one as clik trak audio.).
once again save as to the lprcfe seq.
now lets turn to setting up the band properly.
lets assume its two guitarists plus bass player n singer n drummer.
normally we would baffle off the drums...
but lets do it old style useing leakage.
our general strategy on this song will be to record
a good kiking stereo rhythm track of the band.
then do overdubs n embellish the song n final lead vocs.
so lets start off with the first track.
what i term the bed rhythm track..in stereo.
on track two in ptw.
(track one is clik audio.)
heres how i would set up.
put two guitar amps in front of the drums .
put a mic on each guitar amp...but also so the guitar amps capture the room sound of the drums.
put one mic in front of drums. plug bass player into a direct box ,
then into the mixing console.
now very important.if you have a mixer with individual pans on it..
MAKE SURE...your send to the sound card stereo line input is proper stereo.
a common mistake for folks new to recording is to set up these pans incorrectly.
for example ..if sending 8 mic channels to two group faders feeding the stereo sound card,
and each group fader has pan controls...ensure one pan control
is rotated totally left.. n the other totally right.
make sure on the ptw track 2 , its set to record stereo.
assuming on the mixer mic channels you have pan controls.
pan one guitar cab mic all left n the other all right.
pan the bass center mebe if that is your preference.
and lets pan the one drum mic center also.
in this phase before people jump on me we are just getting down a guide rhythm track.
that we might or might not use later on.
also plug in the singers mic but route it not to sound card ...
but around to the back end monitoring.
so its not recorded. ie.singer is just singing along low down as a guide for musicians cans.
noew have the band play after haveing set up the mics etc
n mixer levels/send to pc.
while band playing look at ptw input monitor led's.
aim for -6db on ptw leds input.
if too hot..eg...-2db...
lower the send to sound card from mixer.

now haveing done that lets record the band proper.
now clik ptw's red record button..(make sure track 2 is selected in
ptw tracks window).and have the band playthru the song.
a dry run. for say 20 secs.
hit stop. play back.(ptw's PLAY button.)
what does it sound like. ??
if it dont sound great...then (and this is where an assistant can come in handy.)
try tweaking the guitar amp sounds.
or...LOL...yell at the guitar players for useing too much distortion..lol.
a common guitar player mistake when recording.
now this is where we get into what i call the black art of audio engineering.
if the drums suk...then they need to be tuned properly.
if the kik drum sounds like junk or the snare, you might have to put a trigger
on either (a common trik.) and trigger a sample that then is fed into the mixer
thru a line input n mixed in.
if the bass suks...then u could try compressing it before the mixer and/or
try a bertter sounding bass.
mebe the guitar amps have lousy sound.
in which case youll need to try different guitar amps.
but there ARE some triks in ptw we can do to address some things as i'll detail
later on.
so the first stereo recording on track two didnt come out too well huh ??
another technique is to try again but this time repositioning the mics,
and seeing how a new track recorded on track 3 might work.
this is a common cycle in studio recording.
ie....trying different approaches till the source recorded track sounds good.
let me suggest something.
one of the best bed tracks of this nature we are dealing with here i heard was done in a
loading dock. mic on the kik (replaced by a sample.)..
two drum overheads...then two guitar amps in front of the kit
with a mic on each. picking up leakage from the drums also.
you might have to try lots of run thrus before getting the source track right.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3907 08/17/07 05:02 PM
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tips...014.
A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
ok.after replaceing a guitar amp and tuning the drums n replaceing the bass players lousy bass
or haveing the bass player play better..lol....
you finally have u think a good first track in ptw.
what i would normally do in this difficult situation
is give each trak in ptw i recorded a different take name.
for example track 2 ...name ..."bed track take 1"..
track 3...bed track take 2 etc etc etc.
till i had a good take and then delete the bad takes of course.
or mute em..in traks view or mixer view.
after each take i normally would save as again to the seq name.
ok..so we finally have a good take right ??
so lets now analyse the take.
at this point you should hear a guitar on the left side..another on the right.
bass n drums center.
sounds good right ??
n the bands happy on playback.
they actually kept in relative time to the click...lol..
so its pretty solid.
at this point tho you hear on playback low down a bit of amp noise.
lets try lowering it.
try ptw's noise gate. (as i mentioned before.).
and see if more clarity is obtained in conjuction then
bring up ptw's 10 band real time eq.
a recommendation. its tempting to boost eq...a common mistake.
CUT is often more effective. notice the extreme left band of the
10 band eq ?? try lowering it, n see if a clearer result is obtained.
heres the reason. in lots of situations theres lots of junk build up in lowest end
frequencies. (also the ptw real time analyser will let u look at the frequencies in the track.
and display their preponderance.)
but what i normally do after recording is clean up a track
particularly focusing on the lowest of the low end.

now lets experiment further.
mebe the track sounds too dry. ??
you dont have to commit any fx at this point.
but mebe for musicians cans for further tracking.
copy our perfect track 2 bed track to track 3.and label it
bed fx. and add some ptw echo or reverb to it.
just a smidgeon. then bring up track 3's fader in tracks view or mixer view just under the dry
original track two. this is where a lot of experimentation
comes in. there are numerous ptw reverb n echo/chorus settings.
so..before the band had come in you should have experimented to see what was
pleaseing for mebe useing in the CEFE session.

if theres some frequency that really stands out badly.
try ptw's built in para eq. hilite a bad bit in ptw's audio waveform window.
and use the ptw analyser to display the offending frequency
that stands out. then hilite the whole track and dial in ptw's paraeq
with the same freq's and process the track n see if the result is better.
at this point i'm just giving u an inkling of various ptw tools.
when used together and over time as experience is gained they can save
you lots of problems. and solve various probs for u.

(as an aside.if your adept...and experiment...ptw's real time echo chorus is superb for vocal
tracking...more on this in later posts.)

ok....back to business.
lets say no matter what u do u just cant get the bed one track sounding right.
ok...in that case we are going to use it as a guide then.
we will thus record each instrument as a track on its own track.
first drums then bass then the individual guitar tracks as individual takes on seperate tracks.
thus you would need to name track 4 as rhythm guitarone.
trak 5 as rhythm guitar 2, trak 6 as bass etc etc.
if things were really drastic i might leave blank tracks in ptw tween
different tracks.
so lets say trak 6 the bass is recorded on.
i would leave trak 7 blank n name it bass spare just in case i needed it to record another bass take.
(more to come.)
(perhaps people could comment on if they are finding this thread usefull or not, as its a ton of work for me posting a ton of tips over the next month or so. in fact ive just scratched the surface so far....lol. please comment in the off topic area...so this thread is left intact for folks to copy in entirety as i enter all the tips.)

manning1 #3908 08/18/07 04:51 PM
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tips...015.
A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
you find no matter what u do ,
the drum track isnt happening.
let me give u some background.
(as i said i dont claim to be an ace record producer...
just from my experience.)
ive recorded everything from opera singers to rok bands to awhile back
a fun time recording a little hip hop group.
and out of everything ive recorded, drums have given me the greatest grief.
and the same goes for lots of my friends.
the drum sound suks or the drummer is poor or the recording
space is poor , and many reasons.
no matter what you do, when the CEFE rhythm track plays
back after a couple of test tries its realised that the drums are a big problem.
so what do you do ??

luckily in ptw there are lots of little helpers to help you create a drum track.
lets look at a few. there are various deep features in ptw.
and also triks that some folks might not be aware of.
lets start off simple.
for creating simple drum tracks for the rhythm guitarist and
bass player to play along to ,
EDIT>>>fill track with drum pattern.
clik on a blank track in ptw and perform the above selection.
youll notice various styles.
now i'll cover some triks.
because i know what your going to say.
you play it back and you go...heck that sounds "cheesy".
why does it sound "cheesy"..???
well the answer is cos your useing the cheesy MS synth built into your pc.
if you want to hear a nice drum sound send the midi out of the pc
to a great sounding external synth or midi module with wonderfull drum sounds in it.
or to a sampler youve loaded great drum samples into.
it must be clearly understood. midi is just computer data.
to get great sounds out of midi tracks you must use great sounding equipment that
takes in the midi data and converts it to sound.
like an external synth or sampler or mebe some plug in running on the pc.
(as an aside some people are also now useing drum plug ins like jamstix, addictive drums and
many other products with built in sample libraries that can sound great.
but lets keep things simple right now so i can explain some ptw features.)
if u loaded up the standard rok style it might sound ok.
but did u know u can change it to other drum midi instruments ??
i draw your attention to..
EDIT>>>pitch transpose midi.
this particular feature has lots of uses.
for lots of different midi tracks.
after filling a track with drum pattern, bring up the pitch transpose dialog and start
entering /experimenting with different values.
then after each value change..hit PLAY.
notice what happens ??
YES...the drum track changed didnt it ??
if u experiment a lot with the value field enough ive found some interesting
different sounding drum tracks can be realised even if all u have is the cheesy MS synth.
notice how the drum instruments change ??
now go into classics view and hold your mouse over the KEY heading.
wow .whats that ?? , yes its the same idea.
if you change that key value in the classics view the drum track will change.
heres a trik to experiment with.
fill two tracks with different drum patterns...then on each
track start changeing the key value in clasics view or
use pitch transpose. if youve stuck with it and experiment ,
with it youll notice a drum track can be changed.
once by experimenting in this manner i came up with a drum track that gave me in return
a brand new song idea.
now ..if u notice theres another interesting feature in ptw.
ACTION>>>drum grid editor.
the drum grid editor lets u build your own custom drum patterns if u wish.
hmmm..lets think now...what if we created a custom pattern in the drum grid editor then filled
a track with it ?? while at the same time haveing it play back with ptw's standard
fill track feature ??
go ahead.experiment n try it !!.
this idea in the past has given me new song ideas.
now..hmm..what if after this we then went back and tried pitch transposing our
midi drum track created by useing the drum grid editor.
just try it n experiment. cos theres some neat stuff u can accomplish.
some people spend money to buy libraries of midi drum patterns.
but , if your willing to put in the time you could build your own midi
library of as many drum patterns as your heart desires.
(by the way your library of drum patterns you create can also be used as patterns for
lots of other midi instrumentation. not necessarily just drums.
a trik i'll cover later on.)

i talked earlier about the band CEFE's problem with a bad drum sound.
if u had have been forward looking when u reviwed thewir cassette demo
before they came in for the session, u could have called up
a midi drum track from your library created in ptw just in case
the session went bad due to poor acoustic drums.
and impressed them possibly.
for example the hip hop group i recorded awhile back had no drummer.
so i created a midi drum track for them.

in fact the sky is the limit.
between ptws various facilities u could create an unlimited number of drum patterns and fills.
for example for fills, u could hook up an external midi keyboard and create lots of fills,
and store them for usein various ptw song projects.
another option would be to rent a midi drum machine with lots of patterns in and record those
into ptw on midi tracks for saveing in your midi drum tracks library.
another option if u have biab, is you could use its intelligence to build midi
drum tracks in various styles. and use them in ptw.
in summary lots and lots of options.

now allow me to mention one of my favorite windows that some folks new to ptw might not be aware of.
it has a ton of power and i laud the ptw devs for creating this window.
think of it as a ARRANGER.
it can be used for lots of different things.
in the case of drums..lets say you have created different drum patterns on different midi
tracks. but you want to try different arrangements of the drum patterns.
this is where the BARS WINDOW is YOUR FRIEND.
notice when u filled track with drum pattern ??
something has happened in the bars window ??
notice how bars have been filled in ??
also notice anything u do in a bar in a midi track the bar is filled in ??
now lets say we have different patterns on different midi tracks
in ptw but we want to change the arrangement of the drum patterns.
mebe try a fill in a different place or do things like change a pattern at a specific bar.
or say you like the drum patterns at bar 22 but you would like the same pattern at bar 52.
no problem. the bars window will let u achieve this and accomplish a brand new drum track arrangemt useing
ptw's common editing commands like copy n paste etc.
to get used to the bar windows power ...run tests copying midi
bars from a track to another track.
basically just drag over the block or blocks your interested in,
(even across tracks..) and copy n paste where u want.
NOTE..in paste youll see paste and 1 track paste.
the latter is used for pasteing to one track.
eg....copy bar 44 of track one and paste to bar 67 of track one.
whereas paste can be used where for example...
copy bars 33 to 37 on tracks 4, 5 and 6 to say
bars 66 to 70 on tracks 4,5, and 6.
OR you could decide to copy to brand new tracks.
for example copy bars 33 to 37 on tracks 4, 5 and 6 to say
bars 84 to 88 on tracks 12, 13, and 14.
do u see the power of this ??
ie..the ability to try many different midi arrangements.
in summary the bars window is very userfull for trying
various drum track arrangements.
for example..lets say the midi drums you like in the first
chorus but u dont like the pattern in the third chorus,
so u would like to use the midi pattern from the first chorus in
the third chorus.
the bars window will let you do this.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3909 08/18/07 05:10 PM
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Manning, aint read it all,just got in from a gig, believe me i will, every word, a dozen times.

please know that people like me hang on to the words of you, and others on this Forum.

When i first came here, I foolishly thought people on here wouldn't share any worthwhile "secrets"of recording, and were trying to make it look difficult,

Now i hear me echoing words of you Mac and everyone else, i say things like, "well it all depends on "XYZ etc...and how much time, money,etc..you got to dedicate to the given job.

Wether it's a good or bad thing, you people are my most honest friends, so i know it's not just me, this is the first place i come to for answers,and usually the last, welcome back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


and thanks for your time


Have A Great Day!!!
manning1 #3910 08/18/07 05:57 PM
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A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
ok..finally youve created a good basic midi drum track for the band
CEFE, and it sounds nice. but why dont we go further ??
now i'm going to cover some extra triks.
and how to make the drum track sound even better.
perhaps , for example u cant afford to spend like some people ive come across 500 buks on
all sorts of sample libraries and /or fancy midi keyboards
with great drum sounds in them or samplers etc etc.
there IS a solution. without spending any money.
mannings nuts i hear u say..lol.
well let me explain for those amongst us with no money.
and i'll show u i'm not nuts..lol.
within ptw is a whole suite of effects.
did u know u can use these effects to morph sounds into other sounds ??
these ptw effects combined with things that make a sound around your house
or apt can be used to create some pretty powerfull drum sounds .
IF...your willing to work at it.
so stuff that 500 buks u were thinking of spending on samples back in your bank account for now.
the whole idea is to use FOLEY techniques in ptw.
what is FOLEY ??
well most times u watch tv or a movie....
u are exposed to FOLEY techniques.
the rustle of trees or a eerie sound or footsteps,
and a million and one other sounds which are actually recorded in a foley
room in a studio. ie..recordists record the sounds in a recording studio.
then these are edited together at the right time points to match the movie images.
You can do the same to augment your drum (and other tracks.)
if you just cant afford sample libraries.
in summary , build your own personal custom audio sample library.
how do you do this ??
well in this case...start tapping things around the house
and listen how they sound. shake salt in a tin, bash a rubbermaid
lid, tap lightly a glass full of water (water glasses have been used on some big songs.),
try and make a drum sound with your mouth into a microphone,
bash the garbage can , in fact try lots of things in your house.
anything that makes a sound u find pleasing and record it.
just THINK , and EXPERIMENT.
when u find a usefull sound just record it into ptw and save it.
as a likkle audio file.
also there are various free royalty free samples u can find on the net.
or u might have bought a music mag that includes various samples.
alternatively say a buddy has some latin percussion , ask to borrow it,
so u can record the sounds.
gradually over time thus try n build up a sample library of interesting
sounds u can use not only on drum tracks but various other tracks.
be inventive also. for example i remember on the hit years ago called TELSTAR
i think it was they needed the sound of a take off.
so they recorded a loo flushing and reversed the sample.
a wonderfull example of not only inventiveness but the black art of audio engineering.
ecen if u CAN afford expensive sample libraries...they cant cover every sound.
its logically impossible.
thus think carefully about building your own custom foley
or samples library of various sounds.
for example once i gave my cat a treat , and stroked her so she purred.
and then recorded the purr into ptw , and used some triks in ptw's fx suite to morph
the purr into a totally different sound.

how does one go about morphing in ptw ??
a LOT is experimenting. all i can give u is clues cos every sound source is
different. but ive done a LOT useing ptw's.
EDIT>>>audio effects>>>pitch shift.
combined with weird things useing auto wah and if i remember also ring mod
and in fact most of the effects on the list.
a lot is experimentation and willingnes to spend the time
morphing different sounds. radical flangeing for example can do weird things.
it can be as simple as scrapeing two bits of sandpaper together,
and recording that to some of the other things ive mentioned earlier.
for example once i got an unusual usefull animal sound by combining
various source sounds together, and then morphing the combined one sound into something else.
there are also lots of free audio plug ins on the net for even more testing for variety.
and also mebe try ptw's built in tc helicon feature and see what u can get out of it.
all i would advise is spend some time seeing what sorts of interesting sounds u can get
out of common things u find around your residence as a start point.
sometimes the special sound might not sound great up front in the mix but down lower it might.
i just want the reader to think about low cost ways of creating unique sound samples.
in summary....be inventive.
(more tomorrow.)

manning1 #3911 08/19/07 02:49 PM
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A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
ok.the band CEFE have heard your drum tracks you created
useing some of the triks ive outlined,
and a good basic drum track is there.
and they are happy.
you dont want drums too fancy at this point cos,
once the whole song is down and/or as the song
is recorded the whole drum arrangement idea might change.
but the drummer is kinda annoyed that your drum track
sounds good..lol. and has stepped out for a coffee.
but the band want a cynbal track done to make the drums just a bit realistic.
luckily u have some nice cymbal samples.
in your library of samples.
but how do you place those cym samples at the specific
time points in the song the band wants ??
once again a trik is involved.
name a trak in ptw hits trak, set a mic up in front of the band
member that wants the cymbol trak, and tell him to tap
the mic with a pencil (use a crummy mic..!) each time
he wants cymbols.
record the pencil taps. (not too high !! in level.)
(while playing back the song.)
now go into ptw audio edit window after recording the taps,
and youll see a series of signals recorded.
at various time points.
place the mouse just at the start of each tap, and note the
time that ptw displays. write down all the times.
then copy the cymbal sample u decided to use imported to
a spare track...copy it. EDIT>>>>1 track paste.
and enter the time in the paste dialog. the FROM box.
ie...paste for each time where a cymbal is needed.
once u have this special cymbal trak done just wipe the
pencil taps trak.
now..before folks jump on me , there are other ways of course.
one could simply record a midi note from a midi kbd
into a midi trak in ptw to do a similar thing , then
note the times etc.
but the idea above assumes there is no midi kbd available or cant be afforded.
this idea can be used in any song.
useing this idea you could add anything to a song.
perhaps u have some nice samples of some african drums for example.

now lets return to our mythical recording session.
lets recap the tracks.
track 1 is the clik.
track 2 its been decided that the live off the floor with the poor drummer wasnt working.
so we have muted this track.
tracks 3 thru 6 mebe now become the drums weve just created.
with the combo of techniques ive discussed.
after haveing mebe created audio tracks from midi tracks.
so....at this point at least we have a decent drum track.
now we can proceed to get the rest of the bed tracks down like the guitars n bass.
so lets redo track 2 now with say just the guitarists playing along
to the drum track ..you..the engineer has created.
i would leave a space tween tracks and now record the stereo
guitars on track 8 leaveing track 7 free (just in case u want to
add another drum track later on.)
this brings up another point. a seperate track sheet.
i would strongly suggest u run off on your pc printer a track sheet u designed.
showing things like client name/song name.., ptw's 48 tracks.
with a nice big area against each track for track notes etc n run off lots of blank copies.
this track sheet will be a record of everything that occurs in the session n equipment settings etc.

now let me mention one thing.
another alternative to recording loud guitar amps
(lets say your in an apt...) would be
to use something like a pod. or one of the other little boxes that has lots
of guitar sounds in. in this scenario.
the guitarists might sit near u in your control room, hook
their guitars into a pod, the output of each pod would say go into a mixer ,
and the stereo output of the mixer fed to the sound card line in for recording.
its just another option.
its up to you as the engineer to politely coach the band.
for example if u find out that the bass player as well as the poor drummer
is not that great, but the two guitarists are, i would leave the bass player out of the equation at this point till
u get the first rhythm guitar guide tracks recorded.
cos u might have to do several takes of the bass player ,
and then do a composite trak of the various takes.

so now lets get just those rhythm guitars down on trak 8.
which youve named rhythm guitars.
make sure in ptw trak 8 is selected of course !
then press ptw's main record button and away we go.
STOP of course to stop recording.
now....on play back things are starting to sound better.
the new stereo guitars on track 8 are kiking with the drums.
hmm...but on reflection , listening back...the guitars dont have exactly the right sound dialed in.
there are a zillion options at this point.
one of course is to do another take.
so now you would name track 8 rh guitrs take one.
and now on trak 9 rh guitrs take 2.
some times the guitarists might be nervous on the first take.
so just do another take on trak 9.
but mebe they want to hear back a bit of track 8 as well.
what youll typically find is hearing some of track 8 while also recording track 9 will enervate them.
you should be able to get a big rhythm sound.
and this brings me to the concept of "stacking".
sometimes youll find just one track is a tad "wimpy"..
but double tracking of this nature (or even triple tracking.)
can realise a BIG SOUND. once again its all experimentation.
stacking is basically the concept of recording whereby settings on guitar amps
are subtly changed or guitar pick up selection..thus creating
a pleasing rhythm picture.
NOW..lets not forget ptw's large effects suite in all of this.
you can try a zillion and one things.
BUT dont go overboard...try teeny bits of effect.
for example hilite a bit of audio track to test out,
then EDIT>>>>audio effects >>>>chorus or flanger or reverb
try just a touch of effect. ie,,,largely dry with just a touch of effect.
frankly this is what seperates the top audio engineers
from the rest of us. ie...these type of decisions.
this is all about the black art of audio engineering .
ie...DECISIONS YOU MAKE. ie.which of the many ptw fx facilities will improve that rhythm track ,
or say a third party plug in. there are loads..but beware...
they CAN consume lots of pc resources.
mebe u use a bit of ptw's real time echo chorus and see how that sounds.
now let me explain another trik.
for those with low power pc's.
theres TONS you can do with ptw's non real time plug ins
(EDIT>>>audio effects.).
and my concern is many folks might not have discovered their depth.
for example..this rhythm track. mebe it sounds wimpy.
hi lite the trak in ptw's audio edit window. (select whole.).
then see what u can do useing audio effects >>>compressor mebe.
lots of luverly compressor settings there.
notice if u clik the drop down arrow at the bottom pg have kindly put some standard settings in ??
try some settings of your own also. (just undo if not happy.)
and dont be scared...just cos its a setting for drums say...
with some adjustment u never know...it might just work.
u dont know till u try. just oodles of settings to experiment with.
a tip .when experimenting....like this...
name a trak test trak.
for example lets say we want to experiment on the trak 8 the guitarists just did.
duplicate it to a trak named test track.
for example ..lets say our test track is trak 40.
make sure trak 8 is selected in tracks view..then...
TRACK>>>duplicate...and in the box provided enter trak 40,
and notice now trak 8 has been duplicated on trak 40.
thus u can experiment on trak 40 (the clone of trak 8)
without affecting trak 8 .
heres another trik. try this sometime.
this track 8 with the guitar rhythms on ??
duplicate it to track 9. then offset track 9 a smidgeon from zero start marker.
what we are doing here is slightly moveing forward in time..track 9.
(experiment with 5 to 8 millisecs for example.)
what is the purpose of this ??
it really depends on the source...but now track 9 (the clone of 8)
together with some of ptw's effects , u might get a new interesting sound picture.
in particular this technique might be usefull for getting a wider fx palettte
on a very slow pc where u cant run a lot of plug ins.
its all EXPERIMENTATION.
and it can result..if done properly and the clone trak is displaced from zero by the
right number of milliseconds a distinct sound picture.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3912 08/19/07 05:32 PM
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tips...018.
A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
ok..lets deal with mr bassman.
we now have the rhythm guitars working well mebe
double tracked for reinforcement.
mebe reinforced with some ptw fx.
let me say , just before i get to the bass track..
and appropo to this post particularly is what i
call "guerilla recording".
a wise and very kind to me audio engineer (who i swear could wring sounds out of
a tin can...lol,.) once said to me 30 yrs ago,
to use guerila recording ideas.
what is "guerilla recording".
basically its getting a song down with little money,
and not much gear. and youll see that many of my tips
use this idea. a good example of GR is...u see a crummy old
midi sound module with some sounds in for 50 buks at a yard sale or in a pawn shop.
some might bypass it. but you might be surprised what sounds
you can wring out of it n even weird sounds useing ptw effects n
mebe some guitar pedals.
for the beginning recordist there are a slew of
deals like this out there.
me personally.i LOVE things discarded by others.
cos its a challenge to see what i can wring out of them.
so how does this relate to mr bassmann ??
he arrives, to the studio...but no bass..cos assumed the studio had one.
which u dont..whaddya do ??
theres a trik.,.just to produce a filler bass track.
take a guitar and cut the treble and play the bass notes on the
6th n 5th strings. then invoke mebe after recording some experimentation with
ptw's compressor. ive fooled some layman with this down low in the mix.
mebe try the ptw 5 band eq. (EDIT>>>audio effects>>>tone control.)
notice the drop down window. notice the "low n punchy" setting for example
n many of the other settings or try your own setting.
try also the graphic eq....(bass boost setting.)
and the parametric eq for even finer experimentation.
(i'll get into eq'ing more in later posts.)
just be CAREFULL...if the bass has been recorded too hot..
and u apply eq u might break thru the 0db digital brick wall.
thus before experimenting with eq..select whole in audio
edit window..then..
edit>>>audio effects>>>gain change, .and in the drop down select -3 or -6db n process ,
whichever is most appropriate.
and this brings me to a point why normalising is sometimes or often wrong.
BECAUSE...later u might do a boost for example and break
thru the digital brick wall.
thus dont be too eager to use normalisation.
once again its choosing the right tool at the right time.

just experiment with it. and see what u can do with that guitar as bass track.
mebe try just a tinge of flangeing.
note..something to think about.
u solo the guitar acting as a bass track.
(to solo...select track then S icon.)..
but by itself it dont sound so great.
this is a dodgy way to do things.
its best to listen in conjuction with the other tracks.
in this case the drums n guitars.
it might just fill in nice.
(ive actually sometimes when ive not had a bass been able to fool some friends with
a guitar as bass, where ive conditioned the track somewhat).
another trik.try doubling the track by playing it again,
mebe use a different guitar amp with different settings where youve
eq'd favoring bass frequencies.
once again its lots of experimentation and being prepared to
spend the time.
another trik applicable to whether useing a real bass or a guitar as a bass is .....if u have one..
use a bass patch on a midi keyboard. and record the audio out on the midi keyboard to a ptw audio trak.
mebe the pitch is too high that you recorded to sound like a bass.
in this case try the ptach in ptw's pitch shift (clik down arrow.)
that says octave down. dont necessarily use the bass patch on a synth.
mebe some other patch shifted down an octave in ptw..sounds better just under the
guitar as bass track.
to recap.
in this scenario.lets say track 10 is the guitar used as bass track.
and track 11 a synth used as bass track.
tho laborious....if u had no midi keyboard..and the song was just a few number of chords u could paint in
bass notes in ptw's piano roll window.
there is also another interesting way....i call it the poor mans rhythm section.
i'll briefly touch on it here..and explain in more detail later.
once i have more basic stuff detailed.
you CAN make a rhythm section, comsisting of many different midi instruments out of drum patterns..!!
no i'm not nuts ....lol. you can make base tracks or trumpet tracks or any type of track.
now HE IS REALLY NUTS i hear u say. lol.
nope. remember midi is just data.
do this sometime. set up a midi pattern useing several midi drums.
and say useing the drum grid editor. and plonk on a track for one bar.
then on a second track copy it to bar 2, then on a third trak to bar 3.
ITS A TRICK..follow me. now look in the bars window and loo n behold the tracks are filled in.
with midi data.and so is notation !
now go to the classics window and useing your guitar to tune to..
bar one on first track.set key such that when it plays back the notes
are around a C, on next track a F , and on next track a G.
(youll have to experiment a bit with key values.)
set all 3 tracks for a bass patch. notice what happens ??
wow !..we have a bass playing..!!
try now a trumpet patch or any other patch.wow trumpet or whatever.
al without a midi keyboard.
believe it or not for fun ive actually done whole songs where the whole
rhythm section was derived from the drum pattern.
with the bass changeing chords etc.
its a trik ...lol. lots of work .but a trik.
if u know your music theory..of course an implication is useing the right intervals in
the original drum grid pattern. and of course u can always use the piano roll
and ptw's event editor to change notes etc etc.
also think about this. a different midi track is needed for each chord change.
thus if the song has chords in it C , B flat and F for example..
youll need a track for each chord...related to the bass.
if you follow all this correctly....wow..lol n behold...
youll see also the bars window showing all the blocks filled in
where the chord changes occur !!
so..in the foregoing situation where the bass player didnt have a bass, if u were adept...
u could create a bass track from the drum pattern as a filler bass.
just to keep things moveing along or use the guitar as bass trik.

now lets assume we do have a bass.
there are lots of ways...a slew in fact.
some people will go naked into a direct box.
others mic a bass amp in conjunction with a direct box.
others a bass rockman. others useing other bass specific gadgets for
improving the sound of the bass on its way to the sound card.
some people might for example record bass on track 10 in ptw useing the direct box.
then reinforce it by say playing a bass thru another bass gadget and recording on track 11.
(or whichever tracks youve designated as bas tracks to record to.)
ie...if its a wimpy bass .mebe try double tracking it.
but for our purposes.
lets say we record CEFE bass to track 10 via a direct box.
thus we would name track 10. bass...direct box.
(updateing our track sheet of course that we made for the song.)
after recording the bass...see if it can be tightened a bit.
select whole in audio edit window...invoke ptw's noise gate...
(some basses might have some low end noise.or bass devices.)
and try various settings for threshold. say -23db to start.
if u find your cutting out signal try -25db or lower.
it depends the level the bass was recorded at.
you could also try duplicating the bas to trak 11 for example then shifting
trak 11 forward a few milliseconds n see if it thinkens up a wimpy bass in conjunction with eq.
for broad quik eq corrections i often find ptw's tone control
rather usefull.

the next topic will cover a little digression ,
cos its very important before i get to the rest of this CEFE
song and further track laying.
its called "CLEAN UP YOUR TRACKS AFTER RECORDING".
and how to tips. useing the audio edit window
and various ptw features.

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