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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
xp is my recommendation till vista gets further.
(prolly vista plus plus will come
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
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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3895 08/16/07 07:21 AM
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: Feb 2006
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Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,024
Good manning - keep them coming - (you came back at just the right time!)

JUMP - you might FLY !
( Gospel songs on )
Web site -
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.
the midi and audio drivers that ptw should use in PREFERENCES.
IF YOU DONT DO THIS....your asking for problems.
5. If you get further playback problems with a sound device...
consider trying another. it might just not interface well with your particular pc.
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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3897 08/16/07 01:48 PM
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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 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... 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 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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3898 08/17/07 10:26 AM
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
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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' 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.
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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3899 08/17/07 10:46 AM
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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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 NOISE GATE.
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,
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 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 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 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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3900 08/17/07 10:56 AM
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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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.
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
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
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. 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.
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. navigateing to the ptwtemplate folder youll see all the ten songs (for example)
that youve recorded over time neatly organised. summary within ptwtemplate 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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3901 08/17/07 01:01 PM
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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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
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.
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
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
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 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.
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
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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3903 08/17/07 01:20 PM
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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
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 ??
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
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
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 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.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3905 08/17/07 01:34 PM
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Joined: May 2005
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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.
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.
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.. 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.
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 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
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3906 08/17/07 04:16 PM
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Joined: May 2005
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(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
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". 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 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 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
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
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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ok.after replaceing a guitar amp and tuning the drums n replaceing the bass players lousy bass
or haveing the bass player play
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 ..."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 traks view or mixer view.
after each take i normally would save as again to the seq name. 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
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. 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 please comment in the off topic 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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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 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. 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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Joined: Feb 2006
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Posts: 1,117
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, 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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Joined: May 2005
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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
well let me explain for those amongst us with no money.
and i'll show u i'm not
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.
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 inventive.
(more tomorrow.)

manning1 #3911 08/19/07 02:49 PM
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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 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. 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 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 might just work.
u dont know till u try. just oodles of settings to experiment with.
a tip .when 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.
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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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,.) 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 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 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 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 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 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 n behold...
youll see also the bars window showing all the blocks filled in
where the chord changes occur !! 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. 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.
and how to tips. useing the audio edit window
and various ptw features.

manning1 #3913 08/19/07 07:12 PM
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this topic relates to
"cleaning up your audio tracks after recording in ptw".
there are lots of ptw facilities to help you.
i'm posting this cos one of the basic mistakes i see some people new to recording do ,
is not clean up their tracks. after recording.
one of the biggest differences tween superb top of their game talented engineers n the rest of us
is their religious attention to detail.
one being cleaning up their tracks.
it might be a note slightly out of tune or early or late or a noisy guitar track cos an amp
was noisy, and lots of other things.
so how do you clean up ??
(really its when my mum used to clean my room when i messed it up when i was
a lot of cleaning up can be done in ptw's audio edit window.
(at the main ptw tool bars.)
after youve recorded an audio track...solo it.and really listen.i mean REALLY LISTEN to the track.
you might hear some noise,. or mebe low down u can hear your chair squeking before u did your vocal track,
or some rustling of paper, or your cat started meowing just as you had started recording,
or maybe the start of a word is too high in volume or there is a "P"losive or
the end of a sung word or played note is too low.
as u can see theres a myriad of reasons.
mebe your mic is picking up your computer fan low level noise etc etc etc.

so lets look at ptw's facilities.
lots of the following will involve editing with the mouse.
and this is really where u need to get VERY FAMILIAR with under EDIT...
audio effects...GAIN CHANGE.
i have a feeling some folks are not aware of some subtle triks with
the gain change feature.

first off.if u have a noisy trak. use ptw's noise gate.
mebe just general noise cleanup (compressor not checked.).
try a threshold of -25db for example.
ive covered the noise gate before.
now say u have a cough just before your vocal starts .
in audio edit window just drag the mouse over it.
to hilite the cough, .then EDIT>>>cut...make sure keep gap is selected.
voila!...cough gone.
if after useing noise gate u still hear low level noise tween note playing or singing sections.
once again as before hilite/edit/cut (with keep gap.).
thus no noise between audio clips in the audio edit window.

now lets tackle a little more difficult job.
a note stands out too much. above the other notes.
zoom in a bit in the audio edit window and hilite the note.
try lowering the db useing gain change.

now a "nasty"...a consonant is too heavy on a vocal note...
and we need to soften it. dont hilite the whole word.
just the start of the word.
for example we need to soften a "K" cos the
singer stood too close to the mic at this point.
and mebe do a few undos till u become an adept audio editor.
(over time u WILL.)
notice in gain change there is the fade in option.
after hiliting.try setting start gain per cent at 25.
(it depends on level of the track.).
then process with a cut of -3db say.
if its too soft now. try experimenting with how much level is cut and the
start gain per cent.
all i can give u is general starting points cos every track is different.
but the basic idea is useing fade in in gain change we lower the impact of the
now some people will say use a compressor or "squisher".
my own preference is to even out any problems in a track via
detailed editing of this nature.

another "nasty" .lets take the word "pressure".
the "P" is we might have to edit the "P" via the fade in trick.
but what about the end of the word ?? the "ure" ??
mebe its not distinct n tails off to early cos the singer stepped back a tad ??
now you COULD hilite "ure" and boost its volume.
but heres a likkle editing trik i like to do , just to make u aware
as an alternative.
what we are going to do is hilte "ure" , and EDIT>>>copy.
now follow carefully...clik EDIT>>i TRACK PASTE (!!!!).
and NOTICE...TICK OFF..merge with existing data !!.
(make sure the FROM setting in the paste matches the FROM setting in the copy,
a little detail often missed by new folks.)....
and VOILA !..the "ure" is now higher in level.
if its too high...just use gain change to lower a db or so.
OR....u might try hiliting the "ure", as well as a little blank space after
the "ure" and doing a fade out, mucking around with percentages.

i really urge people to get into hand editing of this nature as it
offers a LOT of control in evening out a track.
another "trick" say for 5 secs in a track suddenly the level
drops. there is another option to useing gain change.
in the audio edit window if you wanted to boost that one section,
just copy the section to a new blank track and push up the fader on the blank track of course and
blend to taste.

another issue is a song note or group of notes played late or early.
or you want to reposition something either on or in front of or behind the beat.
this is just experimenting with simple cut n paste i the audio edit window.
(make sure keep gap is selected.)

youll also notice an overwrite option in the paste dialog.
let me mention where this is usefull.
viz...a series of notes you want replaced by another series of notes
from somewhere else in the song.

there are also other tricks to discover in ptw audio editing wise and in
conjunction with the audio edit window.
think about this one.
remember that "plosive" ?? mebe we can soften it other ways too.
i think i remember once softening plosives in a track by hiliting the plosive n useing the teeniest amount of flange on it
from the ptw flanger as a laugh.
which brings me to another point.
basically any dsp fx in ptw or plug in you use is erssentially altering the
naked recorded audio signal in some way.
thus dont be afraid to experiment with various approaches.

when youve done cleaning up religiously your audio track so its nice and clean,
step back and look at the waveform, soloing the track.
do one final listen for anything thats not distinct and fix it.
while the track is playing watch carefully ptw's vertical line as it paasses
over the waveform.
also look carefully in the audio edit window. while playing back.
and watch the waveform versus the db markers in the audio edit window.
for any final adjustments.

now let me cover one final important point.
you will hear the term ZERO CROSSINGS used often in audio editing.
what does this mean ??
bring up the audio edit window.
look at it. notice where inf is ??
theres a horizontal line ?? the horizontal line is ZERO CROSSING.
ie..where the waveform crosses over.
why is zero crossings of interest ??
well.....if u notice...sometimes cutting and deleteing
a piece of audio realises a little "pop" .
when its done. cos suddenly the audio convertors are being asked to go from nothing amplitude to
a hi level amplitude.
THUS...when cutting audio out of a track most experienced folk do it at zero crossing,
and i suggest you do the same. ie...the start and end of hiliting the audio...
look closely and ensure the start and end of the hilite start as near the horizontal
crossing line as possible.

as you can see from the above there are lots of triks involved in audio editing.
lets cover some more.
someones given you a song and they want it to fade out rather than
slamming all the way thru to the end and suddenly stopping.
i often write a song with what i call a rhythm fade trick.
ie..the song fades with just the rhythm bopping along n fadeing to silence.
how do u do this.
just import the song master into ptw....and youll see the waveform.
go to the audio edit window....and lets say the client wants the fade starting 20 secs from end of song.
just hilite with the mouse. and useing ptw gain change, check the fade out option.
in fact....and i'll get to this later on in posting ptw can be used for lots of mastering of final songs
if one wants to do that , without useing other software.
once again its all in useing the features available.

some other things you might run across is...lets go back to the bass track just laid down for CEFE.
at one point in the song the band wants the bass to ping pong from one ear to the other and back.
how would u do this ?? yes..believe it or not...
u CAN do this in ptw even tho its not mentioned anywhere.
can u figure it out ??
ie...a ping pong effect ??
lets say bars 22 to 30 we want the bass to ping pong around the stereo image.
heres the clue....ptw fade in and out in the gain change dialogue.
and the use of a clone dupe track of the original.
you could do in fact also some wild hendrix guitar break ping ponging around all psychedelic.
the KEY is useing TWO TRACKS (original plus copy of original.). and fadeing in and out bits of audio between the two tracks.
one track in ptw mixer pan all left n the other all right, then start
experimenting lol.

another can actually get the guitar or bass or vocal to move very slowly or faster or very fast from
ear to ear. its all in the application of useing gain change on
pieces of the audio in each. just experiment.

for people starting on this idea. try this if u dont want to get too fancy.
take that bass audio track, and a blank track.
(pan bas track all left and blank track all right in ptw mixer.)
now bring up bars window.
for each alternate bar in the bars window . cut out (edit/cut/keep gap.) a bar of the
the bass track and paste it at the same point onto the blank track.
do this for 12 bars. and play back.
do u hear whats happened...??
on each bar change the bass has moved to either yourleft or right ear..
alternating !! experiment further now.
ive given you all the clues.

one other thing.
did u know u can use ptw to tune individual notes ??..even vocal notes..
?? if a singer sings off ??
lets say when u clean up the bass track in the audio edit window a note is just a tad flat. ptw's good old edit/audio effects /pitch shift can fix it. just dial in a few cents. and experiment till it sounds right.
(tons more to come..for prolly the next couple of months....
please post any questions/clarifications needed in off topic.)

manning1 #3914 08/20/07 01:00 PM
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(laying down the guide vocals..and showing handling PUNCH INS.). this point things should be in reasonable shape.
we have skeleton bed tracks.
(drums/bass/rhythm guitars.).
now its time to add guide vocals.
but before i get to that.
i hope you remembered in the cleaning up tracks phase
to resave your seq for the CEFE song ??
(as well as did any final audio track consolidation...
in case u did heavy editing on some audio tracks. a tracks audio edit whole..
then TRACK>>>consolidate audio region.)
now to guide vocals.
in this phase with CEFE weve also found out sadly the vocalist isnt the greatest.
so we are going to be what is "vocal comping".
ie.getting a good vocal take out of several "bits".
so lets attack it like this.
from now on i'm going to use the letters "tr" for track.
i want you to name tr 12 "voc guide punch ins".
and tr 13 final guide voc 1, and tr 14 final guide voc 2.

what we are going to do is record bits of vocal in tr12,
then as we get them correct, transfer to tr 13.
then we are going to repeat the process from start of song again ,
record vocal bits again and then transfer to tr 14.
in summary we are aiming for two final guide voc tr's...
(which we will add some fx to , and i'll show u how to do that.)
which is called a VOCAL DOUBLE.
the idea of a vocal double is to help strengthen vocals.
in the process i'm gonna explain how i do punch
(which is nice n simple.).

so set up the vocalist so the bed traks can be heard in his/her phones.
with the old pantyhose on a hanger trick screen between
the vocalist like this...
vocalist>>>screen>>>mic>>>>mixer mic input.
and start recording the vocals on tr 12 ensureing that the ptw input led peaks no higher than
-6db. (do some trial runs.)
at end play back tr 12.
well hot dam.the vocalist didnt do a bad job.
verse one and three was good. but verse two was bad. audio edit window for tr 12...hilite the waveform for verse 2
and edit/cut/keep gap. now just duplicate tr 12 on tr 13 ...
(TRACK>>>duplicate ).
now tr 13 has the final vocal on minus verse two which we are now going to do.
WE WILL NOW DO A PUNCH IN. but first erase the data on tr12.
(TRACK>>>>erase data only on tr 12.)
now lets say verse 2 starts at 45 secs.
in the audio edit window for tr 12....
place the cursor with the mouse 10 secs before to let the singer hear a pre roll of the song.
and clik record. then let the singer sing verse 2 only.
repeat until singer has verse 2
ie.just record over the top.
once the singer has verse 2 correct , its a simple cut n paste job to
the final guide trak 13.
me personally i prefer to do punch ins this way.
repeat process for second guide vocal as before initially recording to
tr 12 , then transferring to tr 14 guide voc 2...
and useing tr 12 for any punch ins/fix ups.
there are many ways to do this of course.
and later posts ...i'm going to get a bit more complex when we get to final
vocs rather than guide vocs.
at the end of this process , u should have two final guide vocal traks 13 and 14.
now u can erase any remaining data on 12.
in summary , to do punch ins i prefer a track named punch ins.
and just do my punch ins on that special trak and then transfer
to final tracks.
once tr 13 n 14 are done..once again select whole for each in
audio edit window and consolidate audio region.
now heres a trik.
twould be nice now if we put a bit of fx on one of the guide vocal tracks.
theres a thousand and one settings/choices for this.
ie echo/chorus/rvb etc.
one thing u could do for example is copy tr 14 (guide voc2.)
to tr 15...and name tr voc 2 with echo chorus.
then apply some echo /chorus..(not too much).
to tr 15. mute 14. and bring the fader of tr 15 just under the fader of tr 13 ..
the dry guide vocal one. just experiment !!.
(i'll get more into fx triks later on.)
thus at this point mebe we decide that we play back thru cans the tr13 plus tr 15 tracks.
so we have some fx on the vocals.
u can blend in how much fx from 15 useing ptw mixer view.
(the fader in mixer for tr 15. )
(what i'm attempting to some folks are new to recording possibly...
is introduce triks gradually step at a time..
rather than throwing too much out at one time..
which might be confuseing.)
now also start thinking bout some further triks we can do.
i would like u to think about these ideas for when i get into much more detailed advanced triks.
for example in ptw..did u know , u could create a situation
whereby the effected tr 15 vocal swells at certain points on certain words.
ie..mebe a certain vocal phrase needs more of an accented fx
behind the dry vocal.
if this was a hendrix like lead guitar break u could even get fancier and make it psychedelic , so the effected
tr 15 was swirling around the stereo image moving from left thru center to right and then
to left again. and get a psychedelic result.
now also startthinking re vocals , what if we duplicated a vocal track ,
and then to each duplicate applied different types of fx,
and panned the fx differently. ??
for example original dry vocals center with one fx trak panned
all left and the other panned all right in the ptw mixer.
see what i mean ?? i just want u to get your idea juices flowing at this
point ready for when i cover the FINAL lead vocals.
but for now two vocs for guide is sufficient.

one other point. a way to try and lessen vocal pops.
try putting a pencil...i once used a thin piece of stick .
if i remember ...tween the vocalist n the mic.
you could try mounting it on the nylon screen.)

if u really want to experiment with vocals. try different rooms n mic positions.
for example for a very dry vocal put vocalist in a soundproofed booth.
(if u cant afford one a clothes closet might work.)
if u wanted a bit of room ambience and the recording room sounded excellent,
u could put up a room mic to capture some room sound n mix it in.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3915 08/20/07 03:54 PM
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A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.). this point we have basically built the skeleton of our song
in ptw. what i would suggest is , as a basic concept,
keeping tracks 1 to 16 for the song bed traks/skeleton.
and traks 17 onwards for the song up front/lead tracks and icings.
before starting the next major phase. recording the leads and icings for
the CEFE band , i would like to add some general tips to
think about. as follows.
(these i will be adding to over time, and updateing this post
as i think of more points.)
1. recording runs the whole gamut of emotions.
some days youll be ultra happy. other days frustrated as
just take it all i your stride.
some days the recording gods will be in your favor and other days not.
just dont burn yourself out.
2. a major piece of advice i can give is..
dont go overboard on effects. "everything in moderation".
its fall into traps like get a new piece of gear i want to use
its called being human.
3. dont CONFUSE the listener. for example study the great engineers of the past on great records.
notice all the subtle things they do, and write them down.
for example,...think of this RULe (but break it if it makes sense on a song.).
for example notice ?? on some big record ??
how sometimes the drums are quite dry ?? and in certain places for the sound picture ,
some vocal effect is introduced at various times ??
notice also, while this one effect is occurring in its time slot ,
how everything else is supportive ??
this is all part of picture painting.
4. notice in ptw's various effects how pg have set up already patches for certain instruments ??
REALLY SPEND TIME, going thru all the various effects.
and their presets, .like.WOW...what will "hot plucked bass" do for me.
or "attack drums"..or.."ratty guitar"...(<<<once used that one to create an animal effect..
think outside the box !!.)..or "guitar slap"...or .WOW..
"guitar echo plex" or ."guitar trails"...or.."ambient double"...
or ...."wide slow sweep"...or ...some of the tremelo settings...
or...many of the others and the real time effects.
5. really go thru the various ptw tips of the days, the help files n pdf's and videos.
pg have provided a wealth of info as well as lots of FAQ's.
make sure also u understand all the different menus, and features and what they do.
(i'll be covering some triks with some of them in later posts.)
6. get into backing up your song project seq's religiously.
(a seq basically contains EVERYTHING relating to the song includeing all tracks and settings.)
if you religiously have all songs in their own unique song folder
within a parent folder called "songs". you can also religiously back
up "songs" to one or more dvd's at regular time points .
6. sometimes , like the custom CEFE band song we are doing in these posts.
you might not want to hear the metronome.
i typically turn it off if ive created a custom clik track as per this CEFE case.
(ie...OPTIONS>>>METRONOME>>>make sure recording and playback are unticked. )
7. notice for midi tracks u can achieve higher resolution.
(OPTIONS>>>RESOLUTION and select a higher number.)
8. if your a newbie to midi. do yourself a favor and get a book explaining midi
and also soak up all the midi info.
one COMMON PROBLEM that baffles people is they see midi data on
a track. they have an external midi module hooked up to the pc,
for example via some midi usb or other protocol device but get no sound
out of the midi module. often this is simply resolved by ensureing
the midi receive channel on the external device matches the
midi channel that shows on the track in ptw.
some fancy midi gear requires various parameters to be set up also.
(thus u must consult the manual for the gear in question.)
a simple example of a possible problem.
a track in ptw shows a midi channel setting (CH in classics view of 3 lets say. ).
but the external midi module isnt set to CH 3 receive.
these are common issues to be aware of.
like the guitar tuner plug in, and the MIDI MONITOR.
for example. i bet lots of people havent spent some time with midi mon.
but it can be USEFULL. also in tracking down midi problems.
(click on its help and learn all about it !!.highly usefull.)
10. you have a singer that has problem staying in tune.
heres a solution to try. after his/her first take when u realise u have a problem.
to help the singer stay in tune.
record the singers notes note for note on a seperate track , from a
synth into sound card line input mimicking the vocal notes.
then play this track back to the singer in the singers phones,
while the singer re does the vocal track. it might just help staying in tune.
use a distinct patch , mebe simple piano notes for example.
ie.a patch where the notes are quite "pure".
11. dont be too ready to put yourself into a heavy bank loans position.
for gear..this COULD stress you out. been there done that.
and REALLY EXPLORE all possibilities with your current gear.
in countries like mine consider diy to overcome high retail prices n taxes on gear
n also buying used gear. its wonderfull what 5k will buy u these days.
get CRAFTY with your purchases. for example on the net youll see lots of diy schematics.
for example a mic u can build for a few buks outta a panasonic capsule.
12. as your adding recorded tracks and mixing useing ptw's mixer keep your eyes
like a HAWK on PTW's output led's. n bring your faders down accordingly.
aim for a mix no higher than -3db.
also .if useing a fancy sound card with its own metering.
monitor it ALSO.
13. if your starting out try and record as much different variety and instruments as possible.
this is what i did years ago. this experience is invaluable and imho
is better than takeing theory lessons.
hands on is a very good teacher. record everything and anything u can.
14. really spend lots of time learning mic positioning.
for example , the venerable guitar amp. try micing it close up.
try putting the amp on a chair and micing it.
face the amp into a corner of a room...and mic the wall reflections.
when the amp is blasting. ie..EXPERIMENT with everything and anything.
15. try "re amping". (but watch for feedback probs.).
solo a guitar track and send it out to a different guitar amp ,
and get a friend to twiddle with settings on the amp while u listen over monitors in your
control room. mebe for something "grungy" try sending a vocal track
or a keyboard track out to a guitar amp with a touch of distn for a different "flavor".
just think of all the variable possibilities in conjunction with ptw's built in fx.
mebe u have a reverby bathroom somewhere.
send a track out to it via a speaker, then experiment with
a mic in the reverby bathroom (or stairwell ) or whatever.
(i'm just trying to get you to think about possibilities for extending your fx palette.
the speaker in a reverby space is an old,.)
16. be leery of midi THRU on devices.
it can cause a problem.
lets say for example, you have a few external midi modules being driven from ptw.
instead of daisy chaining them useing midi thru's.
consider getting a midi splitter box with a number of midi outs on it.
so each out goes to midi in of a module.
(more to come).

manning1 #3916 08/20/07 05:42 PM
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A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.). traks 17 onwards will be used to now build on our song skeleton.
thus leaveing some free traks before tr case we need to go back and
add to the bed skeleton traks.
now we are going to enter a new phase of produceing the song..
the lead up front tracks and the song icings.
all thru this process its important that YOU the engineer think all the time,
how can i improve this song ?? and politely make suggestions.
to draw an analogy with a house. weve built the skeletal foundation ,
now its time to build up the final parts of the house.
(make sure youve done any final track cleanups/consolidations/and song back ups.
before starting this phase...that i term the overdubs/leads phase. )
the lead guitarist is itching to do his lead guitar parts.
so lets set up our traks in ptw (just one way of many.)
as follows.
tr 17..named..lead guitar punch ins.
tr 18.........lead guitar 1 final dry.
tr 19.........lead guitar 1 final fx.
tr 20.........lead guitar 2 final dry.
tr 21.........lead guitar 2 final fx.
(i will cover auxes etc later on once the basics are described.)
as before, what we are going to do is use tr 17 for basic tracking ,
for transfer to final traks and also use tr17 for any added punch ins.
and then transfer. two finals are being used to see what synergies can be created.
the idea being a different guitar sound possibly for each final.
then lastly we experiment with various ptw fx.
both real time and non real time. mebe even try third party
real time fx plug ins also.
so..lets start. enable tr 17 for recording after haveing set up a mic or two...
(mebe one close in on the cone, and one further out to capture room
sound , depending what your going for,,, the mixer feeding the sound card..
mix faders of close in and room mic.)
try a test record on ptw tr 17. how does it sound. ???
how does it fit in with the rest of the song ??
how does the tone sound ?? too much distortion.
with pro lead guitarists or session players youll prolly find they have their tone/sound
already dialed in. which makes things easier for you.
(remember once again to check the level coming in by looking at ptw input led meters.)
while other less experience players u might have to politely make suggestions.
ideally a great sound coming in is the best. rather than trying to
retool the sound after recording.
typical problems u might encounter are an attempt to play too many notes or show off guitar prowess.
for example mebe the tune calls for a tender measured lead break thats tasty,
rather than a balls to the wall total maxed out distortion approach.
note that for some recording gigs, some guitarists get frustrated.
sometimes what they are used to live.. playing wise, might not work
in the studio. in the end all u can do is make polite suggestions.
mebe the guitar amp sounds awfull. so mebe a different amp is needed.
or mebe trying a new mic position might help things.
or a different recording area. these type of decisions can make or break a song.
and there ARE lots of variables.
luckily the CEFE lead guitarist is very approacheable, and a good guitarist.
he also understands rok songs normally need a good hooky intro , a nice lead break ,
and possibly a nice tasty lead on the outtro of the song.
he lays down on tr 17 a good track. and it sounds good on playback dry.
he also lays down some nice supprtive liks while the vocal verses are playing.
except for 20 seconds its not too great.
say 2min30secs to 2min50secs.
so....after recording is finished on tr 17.
cut out this section on tr17 (with keep gap.) then copy tr 17
to our first final trak. tr 18.
now we need to address that bad 20 seconds of playing.
bring up the audio edit window for tr 17.
and we will do a retake/punch in of that 20 secs.
on tr 17 in the audio edit window...allow the guitarist some song preroll...
so place the cursor with the mouse for example at 2min20secs....
and record the new 20 seconds section.
(it might take several takes for example.).
once u have a good take its just a before of
transferring the 20 seconds from tr 17 to tr 18.
(you should know how to do this by now.
ie..hiliting the 20 secs in tr 17 audio edit window with the mouse...
cut...then paste on tr 18 at the same time slot of 20 seconds.
a tip..if tr 18 is pretty densely packed with recording either side of
the 20 secs time slot...make sure u use the merge with existing data.
in tightly packed tracks u must be very precise.
rather than overwrite in the 1 trak paste into tr18.
its basically a judgement call...depending on the track.
experienced audio editors normally dont have a problem.)
alternatively if your beginning and nervous.
this will multiply your trak count, but you could ..for example use different tracks for
lead guitar intro, main lead guitar break , and lead guitar outtro..
ie..on 3 seperate tracks then do a comp (composite via editing.)
to one final lead guitar trak . (ie...useing cut n paste.).
so now we have our first final good lead guitar trak on tr 18.
thus we can wipe tr 17. (TRACK>>>erase data only.)
and NOT some other track u might have cliked on.
(when starting out till u get experience it might just be best..
if a trak u are no longer interested in as to use in a song...
u just mute it. the main tracks window.
clik green tik n it turns to a red cross.
just clik the red cross to unmute. classics view...notice the "P" column.
clik on it in a track and it turns to a "m"..for mute.)
now the next step...if u have a powerfull pc....
mebe the lead guitar player would like a bit of effect on the first
final lead guitar 18. but lets not commit anything right now.
clik the FX button for tr 18 in the ptw mixer, and try inserting a ptw
real time effect like reverb or echo/chorus. setting the dry vs wet to suit.
and see how it sounds on playback.
as an aside i'll get further into some of the ptw real time fx later on.
youll notice there are several settings on each.
(so spend some time in your own time experimenting with the real time fx settings as well as the settings in the other real time plug ins.).
(more to come.)

manning1 #3917 08/21/07 06:14 AM
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now we are going to do the second final lead guitar.
lets recap.
why two lead guitars ??
answer...listen to lots of records that have been done
by brilliant people.
an example might be...the first final lead trak
used one type of sound , while the second uses a different type of
guitar sound. useing different guitar pedals or different amp setting or different amp.
mebe one trak is cleaner than the other.
or one trak uses a different sounding recording area.
sometimes only one lead trak is needed.
cos it was a superb take by a session player for example and no other is needed.
sometimes the song might require "stacking " of various takes.
as the reader can see , its all judgement calls of
what the song calls for.
sometimes for example, a final lead might be done low down on the neck,
then a complimentary lead done an octave higher on the neck above the 12th fret.
it all depends what the song calls for.
and involves lots of experimentation.
but in this case the CEFE lead guitarist feels 2 final traks is enough and everyone concurs.
so on tr 17 while tr18 (with a likkle fx) (and the rest of the song traks are playing back.)
he lays down now a new complimentary lead guitar trak on tr17.
same procedure as before. except we now transfer the good parts to tr 20...the second final dry trak.
and then use tr17 once again for any punch ins, then transfer to final tr 20.
so we now have two good final guitar traks.

we now have the option of doing lots of things useing both ptw's built in fx, and eq's etc etc as well as any third party plug ins that we like.
if u look at ptw's fx suite , there are various settings related to guitar traks u can try.
and various eq options. its all judgement calls.
i'll lay out some basic examples.
for example copy tr 18 to tr 19 and tr 20 to tr 21.
then on tr 20 and tr 21 experiment with both real time and non real time fx, in conjunction with panning in the ptw mixer.
for example in ptw mixer pan tr 20 and tr 21 to 3 oclok n 9 oclok,
then add fx to each SUBTLY and see what that gets you.
you can even go bonkers and do things like run a subtle real time effect on tr 19 while running a non real time hard printed effect on tr 21.
one reason i like this approach is if an fx trak gets mucked up.
one can always re copy over the dry guitar trak and start again.
for example.
lets say we hard print an fx on tr 19, then next day we change our minds.
no problem. just overwrite with the original dry trak from tr 18,
and start again with fx experimentation.
what do i mean by "hard printing". ??
this relates to non real time fx.
how do u "hard print" ??
heres an example.
we want lets say, the ptw effect "guitar trails"
or "echoplex" on our fx trak tr 19 and see what that does for the song.
so what we do is call up the audio edit window for tr 19.
select whole. then call up EDIT>>>audio effects>>>echo..
and go to the drop down selector, and youll see various echo presets.
(you can even make your own.). which u can preview on a piece of the trak if u wish before finally commiting.
when u clik "process" youll see a bar go across the screen showing the
trak is being effected. this is HARD PRINTING THE EFFECT ON THE TRAK.
as you can see there are quite a few parameters to try out.
let me call your attention to one important aspect.
you solo tr 19 after hard effect printing....BUT u go...
"well i dunno." NOW..dont be too quick to hit undo.
(eg..EDIT>>>undo echo.)
bring the tr 19 fader under the the dry tr 18 fader and/or experiment with panning of tr 19 in relation to tr 18 and u might get a different perspective.
this is where the whole rubber hits the road , and where the black art of audio engineering occurs. ie..CHOICES AND DECISIONS.
by correct parameter choices on an effect in conjunction with smart setting of level and panning you can either achieve something thats pleasing or not.
it really depends on the choices u make in selecting the right fx, its parameters, and how the fx is mixed in and set for level and pan.
the method ive lead guitar trak
haveing its own fx trak will let you experiment with fx in a myriad of ways in ptw.

heres another example,.......hard print on tr 19 a echo plex setting.
(non real time plug in echo.) a real time ptw echo/chorus plug in (clik fx button in mixer...!) on tr 21 !!.
in this situation we have our two dry guitar tracks mebe panned
center. then lets pan tr 19 to 8 o'clock and tr 21 to 4 o'clock !!
of course one can go to ridiculous extremes.
it all depends what the song calls for.
in some songs for example. mebe all thats needed is pan tr 18 thru 21 center with the faders of 19 and 21 (the fx traks)...lower than the faders of the dry traks. but in other tunes, we might want to go bonkers.

for example.think of this scenario.
we want an effected lead guitar break to move from 3 o'clock to 9 o'clock,.then back to 3 o'clock as tho it is travelling around the stereo image.
OR another example. and neednt necessarily be a lead guitar break, at one point while the lead guitar break is playing.
you wish this spaceship sound to zoom across the stereo image from left to right. how would u do that ?? OR..even fancier...while the lead guitar break is flying around the stereo image, a space ship is chaseing would u do that ??
i'll cover this type of technique in later posts and the solution in some
interesting techniques.
but i'll give you some clues. you will need to have a spaceship sound of course.
and youll need two tracks with the spaceship sound on.
then its a question of clever manipulation of ptw's fade in/out settings in ptw's gain change plug in. as well a panning create the illusion.

i dont want to confuse you right now.
i just want to get u thinking of how the brilliant engineers create all those wondefull sound illusions in various films you might see.
a lot of it is audio editing triks done on audio traks.
in the interim....experiment with gain change fade in/out and panning useing two tracks with the same audio on them as a starting point.

now back to our lead guitar traks.
as you can see from the foregoing, and to recap there are an infinite variety of things we can do to those two final guitar tracks on tr 18 and tr 20 , once copied to their own fx traks 19 and 21.
in fact the options are endless. we can combine lots of different ways various ptw real time and non real time plug ins.
(aswell as third party plug ins.)
if u have a powerfull pc for example you could lay a hard effect down on tr 21 followed by plugging in
a real time plug in or two on tr 21. thus chaining together fx.
just be carefull not to go to ridiculous extremes.
and wash the whole song out with effects.
what you might like to think about is "carefull" useage of fx
like "sprinkles" here and there . and how "sprinkles"/"icings"
might garner listener interest. and improve the "sound picture".
believe me its not easy, and require lots of work and passion ,
and time to find that "just right" effects sound picture.
and dont think for a moment just cos you found a magic combo of fx
useing the ptw fx (or external plug ins.) that it will work on any trak.
cos every situation is different.

in CEFE's case we decided to keep it simple.
we panned tr 18 and 20 center. and sprinkled some fx on 19 and 21 ,
and put their faders just under the dry trak faders to give a hint of fx.
and we panned 19 and 21 center. cos thats what the tune called for.

now let me cover one last mundane , but important point.
we were so excited to try out effects on the two dry guitar tracks,
that we we forgot actually to clean up the guitar traks amp noise !!
on closer soloing of the two lead guitar final tracks , we realise ..
in the spaces when the lead guitarist isnt playing that...low down..
we can hear some guitar amp noise. cos we close mic'd the lead guitarists guitar amp.
so how do we address that ?? we need to lower that noise somehow.
by now u obviously realise how we do that.
(i posted before in previous posts.)
YES..the ptw noise in the spaces where the lead guitarist isnt playing...
hiliting those spaces.and CUT (keep gap.).
in summary..before starting applying fx, make sure youve cleaned up
the two final lead guitar tracks as per my earlier posts.
cos ideally we want the two final lead guitar tracks to be as clean as possible prior to applying fx.

now i want to talk about COMPRESSION briefly.
be judicious in its use. imho..some folks over use it and it can lead to some artifacts in some circumstances.
sometimes i prefer to hand edit the audio track instead in the audio edit window.
gain changeing a section here or there to even out a track.
(useing ptw gain change...but NOT normalising.)
i do this to bring out any notes that might be too low or too high.
ie...levelling out the trak.
another option is to use compression.

sometimes this can be achived with subtle application of eq,
relative to the rest of the song and / or with a bit of compression.
there are compressor options in ptw.
to save me lots of typing,...
please read up on pg dynamics plug in in help and if u notice the non real time compressor under audio
lets take an example. EDIT>>>audio effects>>>compressor.
notice the drop down arrow ?? there are various settings.
as there are in various ptw fx. youll also notice PREVIEW.
without commiting compression to a trak.
simply hilite a pice of the lead trak ( 18.)
in the audio edit window. and bring up the compressor.
(i prefer to untick gate when useing compressor alone.)
notice when u clik a different preset how the knobs settings change ??
(if u clik on help in the compressor will help u get
an understanding of how it works.).
simply put, each audio trak is different, u must be willing to
preview different settings and how they impact the hilited selection.
and dont rush to apply the compressor to the whole track !!.
maybe the track is fine except for a few notes that need
some compression applied.
once again its all judgement calls on your part and useing your ears.
(more black art of audio
be very carefull reading the help and the hints provided regarding different situations.
mebe try just some gentle subtle compression.
it all depends what the trak calls for.
by being willing to experiment with settings , and listening back..
overtime youll get a "feel" for what works.

if your nervous just starting out.
theres nothing to stop you, if your worried about doing something in error, copying say tr 18 for example to a spare ptw blank trak and naming the trak something like "compressor test".
and doing some dry runs before the CEFE band comes in next day.
you never know. you might end up a hero next day when they come in , and youve taken a trak and made it sound better.
either via hand editing or hand editing in conjunction with
useing a compressor option. and other triks.
(mebe even "re amping ".)

in willing to experiment.
and if your new to all u can see, ptw features are extensive.
thus....set aside time each week to experiment with ptw's various plug ins and features.
includeing lots of experimentation on lots of different audio traks.
for example..what will ptw's hum filter or exciter or other plug ins like tremelo or auto wah do for the lead guitar ??
by intimately working with the various fx, over time youll develope
your own techniques for dealing with various situations.

heres one final trik to think about.
try this sometime. put a real time plug in on tr 19 and a different
real time plug in on tr 21, and pan them differently to the dry tracks.
(dont do this in a real session..just for your own experimentation.)
now start shifting tr 19 and tr 21 forward in time.
between 5 millisecs to 10 millisecs offset from zero.
you can shift by hiliting the whole track in audio edit window for example.
and cut the whole trak then use 1 track paste and in the FROM box add a few millisecs to the from time. then do the paste.
thus the track will be shifted forward in time.
(once u get experience with this u will get a feel for it.).
thus we have shifted the trak forward in time.
essentially adding a pre delay of the trak.
depending how youve done it and how many millisecs have been used u might find on playback that the texture of the effect has subtly changed. or in conjunction with a real time plug in.
there are lots of other triks too to discover by playing around with combos of real time plug ins and hard printed fx and shifting tracks
forward in time relative to zero marker, as well as different panning
of effected traks versus originals.
its just a question of spending time in experimentation.

as an aside. remember earlier when i talked about testing a pc's performance prior to purchaseing ??
one of the many things that will help you in assessing a pc's performance is ,
to watch that horizontal bar when u process a track.

on most of todays new pc's ..when you ACTION>>>test audio performance, ptw.... contrary to past years will prolly show
a full 48 track capabilty.
thus...other finer points of assessment of a pc come into play.
one of the things you can do is..for a test of a pc...
(one of many tests.) is hilite a 3 minute audio trak and then
time how long a particular pc takes to hard print a ptw fx.
then repeat with different pc's your looking at.
some retailers WILL let u do this. just use a stopwatch ,
once you clik PROCESS in the effect dialog and time on the watch how long that horizontal bar takes, and the fx process.
(then undo.and try another fx.).
mebe even make up a little chart handwritten with make of pc vertically and a number of ptw dsp tests along the top as column headings. frankly its an interesting little project in itself.
some retailers are leery of this kind of test...for good
but prior to purchaseing my new dual core pc , this is exactly the sort of rigorous testing i did. if u do a lot of this testing on various pc's,
it will give u a feel for their performance.
another test is to time on various pc's how long they take to mix say 30 audio tracks to stereo for example. (just an idea. )
because your going to be doing a LOT of test mixdowns.
when testing out various mix approaches.
when testing song mixes.
i will be covering final mixing later on.

(more to come.)

manning1 #3918 08/21/07 03:01 PM
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before explaining back up vocals,
and how we might do that.
i would just like to discuss track counts in songs.
and there are lots of arguments about this these days.
some people seem to need a huge amount of tracks and plug ins,
(thus needing v powerfull pc's.)
while others can produce a song with just a few traks.
in this CEFE band song...we are already up to tr 21.
(with a few tracks in between blank, just in case we want to add
further tracks to the bed traks. which can often occur.
for example.later on mebe its decided to add a rhythm keyboard trak
to the CEFE bed traks.)
all i can state is my own opinion on this issue.
as follows.

i really start to question myself and the song if i need more than 40 tracks.
cos i really believe that one should be able to get a song presented
within 40 tracks. thus..if i find i need more,
i start to question whether my approach to the song is correct.
(i beat myself up
the other issue is, and ive seen it with friends, .the issue of loosing control of the song.
mebe it IS that more powerfull pc's are out on the market for the ptw
devs to consider upping the ptw trak count from 48.
but from what ive seen some people might find
(particularly folks new to recording...).trying to control for
example 80 traks becomes quite a burden.
(ive seen people loose control of a song with large trak counts.)
in summary...the issue is , one cant see the forest for the trees and looses perspective
of what the song is about.
thus...even though my new dual core is capable of lots more than 48 tracks,
i still insist on keeping myself max in a song at around 40 traks.
and heres something to think about. (and i dont wish to anger anyone.)
a senior engineer in a big studio once said to me,
"if you need a huge number of traks then i suggest you didnt get your original
source bed tracks properly recorded". meaning one is trying to make up for
errors committed earlier in the early tracking stages.

in summary..its difficult. the most difficult thing to accept is ,
mebe the song needs some re arrangement. or a different tack taken with it.
in summary, i take it as a clue that if i need huge track counts in a song.
ive done something wrong in my approach to the song.
but if you find you need more than 48 can always mix down n reimport say bed traks
to free up traks. particularly if u have an older lower power pc.
8 core pc's are now coming out. but they are expensive.
ive heard tales /rumours of loads more cores.
thus just be carefull when u decide to spend your hard earned money.
cos this whole multi core initiative on the part of computer companies
is just the start of something major imho.

next i'll be covering back up vocs.

manning1 #3919 08/21/07 06:51 PM
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ok...back up vocals time.
the band CEFE luckily have come across some good back up singers to help them.
this will really help the song in places where harmony back up vocals
are needed in a chorus or two.
but you dont have a huge mic locker.
there are two ways to do back up vocs.
give each singer a mic, or u could group the singers
round one mic, assuming the singers were very good.
you could even , if u wish put up a stereo mic...
and record the back ups to a stereo track.
in summary many ways.
BUT.ive found (maybe its psychological.) sometimes grouping the singers
round one mic seems to work rather nice.
and doing two takes .(you can do more if u wish).
then we pan the different takes mebe.
as mentioned could "stack" multiple takes to get a nice choir effect,
it depends what the song called for.
but for now lets keep it simple.
as before we are going to use 5 traks.
(we are going to leave tr 22 and tr 23 as blank traks just in case we want to do any
added lead guitar work later on.
so the track layout for back up vocs will follow a format that should now becoming
familiar. cos the song calls for simple back ups in places.
tr 24...named....back up vocs punch ins.
tr b'up vocs 1.
tr b'up vocs 1 fx.
tr b'up vocs 2.
tr b'up vocs 2 fx.

thus group the singers round the mic like this.
singers>>>windscreen>>>mic>>>audio mixer etc.
the procedure is the same as i wont go into as much detail.
ie...record the singers to 24, cut out any bad spots.
transfer to tr 25. then do punch ins on tr 24..and transfer to
final tr 25.
then repeat the whole process for the second round of backup vocs.
recording on 24 and transferring to 27.
(for the experts amongst us.....YES...i KNOW ive used several punch in traks in this project...
but i'm trying to keep things easy for folks new to recording.
as best i can. ie...little steps at a time.....also the punch ins traks have their uses later
as we will see.....!!)
once again the black art of audio engineering rears its head.
things like choosing the right location to record in etc etc.
mic positioning/distance from singers/amount of room sound desired etc etc.
mebe some singers are better than others.
so u want the poorer singers further back mebe without hurting their feelings.
and the good singers nearer the mic.
once again judgement calls are involved.
let me state in some audio engineer recording the client band
or any client has to be rather a "tactfull politician", ..sometimes this
personality trait in an audio engineer can be highly beneficial if lots of strong egos are involved. one does ones best of course.
if its a mixture of male and female back up singers, and this is a producers decision.
does one intermingle them on both final takes ??
or...have a male take , and seperately a female take and pan the different groups differently ??
for example if final 1 was male. and final 2 female.
how would the song sound with panning tr 25 left and tr 27 right ??
do you want this ??
OR...another approach with large groups of back up singers...
do u want a seperate final back up vocal trak for say..
bassos, altos, and sopranos for example...and pan them differently ??
in the ptw mixer ?? once again judgement calls need to be made.
with a large choir for example multiple mics might be used on different sections.
mebe .for example its later decided that ptw will be used on location
in a cathedral to record a choir as another trak for this project, on say a laptop.
then the trak brought back to the studio and integrated with the CEFE song.
lots of possibilities i just want to draw your attention to.
(another reason why ive tried to leave spare tracks i the project..
in case things change. a little point...ALWAYS ALLOW FOR FUTURE CHANGES IN
i wont belabor the same points ive made before...
but haveing got the final 1 and 2 back up voc traks.
u can try some of the ptw fx and other triks like trak slipping forward
in time on tr 26 and tr 28 .
there are a slew of options.
for example.(one of many.).
in ptw mixer ...pan tr 25 and its fx tr 26 to 9 o'clok,
with the fader of tr 26 just under the fader of tr 25.
and ..YES..youve guessed it....
pan 27 and 28 to 3 o'clok withthe fader of tr 28 just under the level of
tr 27. once again the final result depends on your choice of ptw
(or third party fx.), wet versus dry, how u choose to set your pans and levels
of the dry versus effected tracks. etc etc.
once again the black art of audio engineering comes into play.
its really tough ..huh ??
of course u dont need to use any fx whatsover if u dont want.
once again .a judgement call.
once again...remember to clean up your tracks.
consolidate tracks, and back up the CEFE song project.
if.every half hour u get used to saveing to the seq ....
u wont go far wrong either.
heres another point to think about.VERY CAREFULLY...
and an advantage of why i'm a stickler for haveing two hard drives in
a recording pc....
at regular intervals during the day...
i can back up very fast the seq song project on another drive.
just in case i get a bad drive crash on my recording drive.
the problem with useing just one drive in your pc is..
you cant do this.
also..if it goes bad...your in serious trouble imho.
just my opinion.

(more to come.....please comment in off topic....
if u have any questions etc etc.
also perhaps folks new to ptw recording can comment if they are finding this usefull.
this will encourage me to post loads more tons to describe yet....over a couple of months or so.
just doing the best i can/labor of love.
still just scratching the surface of recording.
or PM me...with comments/questions etc etc.)

manning1 #3920 08/22/07 05:52 AM
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okay...the songs starting to get there.
(but before i cover song final "iceings" and lead vocs..just a little aside on some thoughts of mine on songwriting and other points..
before i get back to explaining tracking the CEFE band. )
if your reading this , as one can see, and as i said before ....
doing a song is hard hard grinding work.
theres no two ways about it.
hours and hours of work.
getting the right source sounds recorded, and achieving a pleasing
sound picture with great musical hooks that grab people.
this is NOT trivial work.
and gives one a major appreciation for the gifted audio engineers
who did great records in years gone by.
many times i fail and so do lots of people.
it is VERY VERY DIFFICULT to get the song recorded as you hear
it in your mind.

In your mind you hear this wonderfull finished product.
but achieving the recorded reality is often difficult.
no matter how much gear u have.

which brings me to a point.
some people feel they need to spend a small fortune on recording software,
hi end mixing consoles and all sorts of fancy stuff.
ive owned such fancy stuff..and believe me....what i found out was,
the recording gods often laughed at
this is why i try n tell people that ptw suffices for recording software.
if u think u need more...your just fooling yourself imho.
you could blow 2.5k on recording software.
but still it means nothing if u cant get those source tracks
recorded right !!

in summary , concentrate on getting the source sounds recorded
correctly. cos u could buy a ten million buk recording studio,
and it wouldnt matter if u cant get those source sounds recorded properly with it.

i'm trying to make the foregoing points at this stage,
cos mebe on one of your first tunes youve reached tr 28.
and your FRUSTRATED. this is your first ever recording.
youve spent lots of time learning the basics and setting up your pc ,
and drivers and sound device etc etc.
youve done a few fx "sprinkles"....and dam...the song isnt coming together
like u hear it in your mind.
thus...being human , the temptation is to look for short cuts
and a quik fix solution. i call them instant coffee solutions.
mebe u think , your friend uses
a multitrack software that cost him nearly a thousand buks.
mebe if i get what my friend has this will solve my problem.
nope...been there done that.
the source track sounds still have to be recorded
all the software does is create a record of your work.
nothing more, nothing less. the software just provides a blank canvas
on which u paint your creative sound textures.
in fact your great aunt emma could give you 10 million to buy a commercial recording studio.
but STILL u might end up in the same position at tr 28 somewhat frustrated.
and still not hearing the sound picture u had in your mind for the song.
ive recorded in large facilities and faced still
some similar frustrations. cos i didnt get the source traks right.

so what is the solution ??
the solution is u must be willing to put in the time to get the source traks correct.
in this busy age with families and other jobs..not an easy task.

all i can do is give u one pointer.
sometimes what i do is rough out a song on a few traks .
when i get the initial song idea in my mind.
then try to build from there.
remember that ptw songs folder i mentioned earlier ??
that has a folder in it with its own seq for each song ??
i also have a rough song ideas folder called "demos".
with a folder in it for each demo song. each demo song folder has its own
song seq in it.
i write many new song ideas each month.
honing arrangements and lyric ideas
and store them away in "demos".
then i listen to the demos with fresh ears by loading the demo seq up into ptw,
and i try and assess the demo.
main objective it a strong song ??
there are many ptw facilities to help me.
some ive touched on already.
what i will do on a demo is normally about 10 traks in ptw.
use a custom beat ive created or say modify the drum trak created by ptw fill trak
with drum pattern. then lay down a couple of guitar rhythm traks,
and a couple of vocal traks. try some ptw fx, etc etc.
then i step back from the song. and desperately try and assess it. it a strong song ??
heres how i do lyrics.
i normally write them out on paper firstly and try to hone them.
then in ptw i record vocal traks and see how well the lyrics fit.
i'm always striving for different song and lyric concepts.
many fail. i dont want to take a song further if it just isnt working.
after 10 traks i'm tough on myself.
cos in 10 traks normally i'll find out if the song has some legs,
and worth pursuing
one thing i would urge u to try is actually recording rough vocal trak demos.
this will help you see how the lyrics fit with the song arrangement.
and also give you lots of vocal practice.
and let you hone the lyrics by actually hearing back how the lyrics integrate
with the music.
youll find things suddenly change often once u take lyrics and record first test vocal traks.
mebe some lyric changes are needed for example.

some more things to think about viz songwriting.
if your short of song ideas, soak up everything thats going on in the world around you.
the press and media. think of how you can make a song different.
a new song concept for example. something not done before.
try and strive for 20 new song ideas a month.
this is what i try and do for fun.
also.and i dont wish to anger anyone ...
to expand your abilities..try lots of different song styles.
for example i might write a heavy rok song one minute, a tender love song the next,
a comedy song, then a MOR song, then a pop song.
me personally on some songs i like a bit of comedy in them.
in a song i'm doing now, for fun i'm useing a different comedy vocal accent
from my home countrys accent in parts of the vocals.
this has really changed the song.
if u notice ptw comes with lots of different drum styles.
modify them, come up with your own. anything to generate a new song idea.
if your a biab owner you have a huge palette of song styles to get ideas from also.
thus mebe start your song off in biab with a guide vocal and then bring the midi traks into
ptw and start adding lots more audiotraks and see what u come up with.
for example..notice in ptw all sorts of facilities for changeing midi files.
for example...try filtering out certain midi notes
or changeing them around. adding new notes on top and deleting others in the piano roll.
then bring up the file in ptw's event editor , and change some notes around.
ie..anything to get a new song idea going.
(next i'm going to cover the final icings on the song and
final lead vocals.)

manning1 #3921 08/22/07 06:38 AM
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ok..time for final lead vocals.
let me explain a trick.
remember the guide lead vocals we did earlier ??
theres a reason. and a benefit.
sometimes an artist will learn from previous tracking what works and what
doesnt in a particular song. feeding the artist some of the previous guide vocals,
in lots of cases it can help the artist psychologically.
allow me to explain further.
try this experiment on guitar for example. record any old
guitar trak to a drum beat. it dont sound good mebe on playback,
cos the guitar isnt the greatest or the amp or whatever.
no matter. dont trash the trak.
do another and another with mebe any old settings.
but useing a different setting each time.
if u do this over a few traks youll hear some sorta sound picture emerge.
particularly if u then add a sprinkle of ptw fx on a couple of traks.
then youll find that PSYCHOLOGICALLY cos u have some traks already done suddenly youll
get a surge of creative energy. why is this ??
the answer is you have some sort of trak picture playing back which gives you
a REFERENCE POINT in your mind.
similarly with the lead vocals. if u give the lead vocalist some of the earlier
guide voc trak low down..and i can only speak from experience ...(mebe some will disagree..)
it will help possibly the lead vocalist be energised and get a good final
vocal trak down. cos he is hearing the whole song play back in his cans (phones)..
with some of his own previous guide vocals.
its rather difficult to explain.
but the basic concept is the first trak of any trak type (vocals/guitar/bass or sax..whatever..)
is often the most difficult cos the artist has no reference point
from which to draw. thus .what ive found is sometimes to bring out the BEST
performance in an artist is to let him/her lay down a couple of rough takes
FIRST..which are fed low down to the artist in the cans...THEN ...
often by the third take he or she will nail it.
as i said ....i think a lot of it is just psychology.
(just an idea to try to get the best from an artist.) this case we will feed a low level of the previous guide vocal traks
(sometimes with fx helps.) to the vocalists cans with of course all the rest of the band traks.
try this trik..cos it often works.
and i hope ive explained it clearly as a trick to try.

in this phase , its very similar in concept to before.
(lets leave tr 29 blank in case we want to add more back up vocs later. )

tr 30...named....lead vocs punch ins.
tr lead vocs 1.
tr lead vocs 1 fx.
tr lead vocs 2.
tr lead vocs 2 fx. before . record final vocal 1 to tr 30.
cut out the bad bits. transfer the good to tr 31.
redo the bad bits until they are correct on tr 30.
then transfer to tr 31...via cut n paste.
repeat process for final lead vocs 2.
recording on tr 30 and transferring to tr 33.
then adding fx sprinkles on tr 32 and 34.
and mixing in levels of wet versus dry etc etc as per past posts,
and trying fx panning triks as per past posts and mebe fx trak shifting triks
as per past posts.
the whole aim being to get a very good final lead vocal.
fx will depend on what the song calls for.
once again if finals are good, traks are cleaned
as per previous posts and consolidated , and a final seq save done and the
seq backed up to othermedia.
although we have doubled the final vocal track in
this instance....we might decide the song calls not for a
double of the final vocs, and places ..for example
just a single final vocal, and in other places a final double.
(mebe when the back up singers are also singing....
it depends on what the song calls for.)
for example mebe its the type of song that starts with
a lonely sounding single vocal with just an acoustic guitar,
and gradually other instrument traks comein at various points to
create an intro crescendo effect, until finally a screaming doubled
lead vocal is introduced...then at the end of the song it tails off again to
a single lone vocal with acoustic guitar.
(a typical arrangement trik.)

(lots more to come.)

manning1 #3922 08/22/07 10:38 AM
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youll sometimes hear the term "conditioning" used amongst recording folk.
and this is appropo to lead vocs....(and lots of other types of traks also.). what does it mean. ??
to draw a parallel...u know how sometimes u use a "conditioner"
on your hair in the shower n u get this nice "sheen" to the hair ??
similar idea. you take the raw recorded sound of a trak and condition it with triks that
hopefully will make it sound better.
sometimes the style of music will dictate how much conditioning to do
to the trak. for example...mebe with underground or grunge type styles,
(done a few of those for a,
u might leave the trak pretty raw and full of emotion.
but other vocal styles might dictate conditioning of the
lead vocals.
once again..decisions...decisions.
what does the song call for ??
some of it is carefull application of eq together with
subtle sprinkles of fx. mebe some carefull use of compression.
mebe a custom plug in.
from what ive seen, a lot of it can be achieved by carefully editing
by hand the lead vocal tracks. for example putting a sheen on certain
letters like an "S" at the end of a word.
even going to extremes like eq'ing that one word with the "s" in it.
or mebe a depends on what is needed.
cos each trak is different.
this is very very detailed work. and can be done in ptw's audio edit window.
for example bring up the final lead vocal 1 31 in ptw's
audio edit window, and pay attention to every word and syllable.
if u notice the ptw 10 band eq extreme right fader is for the very hi end treble.
mebe try just a hint of a boost with then some mild compression n see where that gets you.
on lead vocs of this type...i will typically cut the extreme left eq fader
at the very low end cos lots of grunge lives down there.
some final vocs need more warmth, so mebe subtle boost of the bass area is needed.
once again there are no rules of course.
but try and gain some experience working with ptw's 10 band eq.
and running tests on a particular vocal.
mebe also try the para eq. then there are third party plug ins with 31 bands for example.
but i would say if your beginning, start off simple.
also the choice of lead vocal fx will affect things and how u choose to eq the fx.
choices and decisions. for example...on some types of vocals mebe
if the fx dialogue allow might want to cut out the low muddy end
of the fx....cos u want a hi eq fx sheen on the final vocs.

now lets talk about the "quality" of recorded vocals.
some big studios will have a hi end signal chain for everything
includeing final vocs. 2k mic into a 2k mic pre into
very expensive convertors costing prolly thousands.

just to show u i'm human....
my own biggest weakness is better ADA convertors.
but i have other family responsibilites, like a lot of people.
so they are out of my range. price wise.
but one alternative u might consider for final up front lead traks
like vocal finals etc is maybe renting a hi end signal chain.
and assessing whether you really hear much sound quality difference
over plugging your shure mic into a behringer mixer feeding a
audiophile sound card by maudio for example.
for example a great river mic preamp into say a hi end sound device like a lynx or whatever.
mebe also rent a hi end mic also.
if u do this will give u an inkling of how much your signal
chain is lacking or mebe not. for me with my crazy little songs,
and given its an mp3 world i didnt feel it was worth it.
once again u need to ask yourself will the normal consumer
notice much diff ?? mebe a hot audio engineer will.
but will a consumer ??
the way to really put yourself at ease, so u cease worrying about all the gear
u dont have for lead vocs is mebe run a blind test.
one vocal thru your normal set up and one thru the rented hi end signal
chain. if u do this ONCE in your life, u might just rest easier at night.
on the other hand if u notice a huge difference, u will know your weak spots.
and gradually over time save up for a nice signal chain.
ive done it both ways. done final vocs into a hi end signal chain ,
right thru to useing low end gear.
and , as i listen often to the songs ive done with hi end and low end ,
frankly its a tough choice. sometimes u just luck out with good vocs thru cheap gear
and often its the vocal performance itself that matters.
also...some people i talk to have an opposing viewpoint.
they tell me that now they have gone to ultra pure expensive signal chains,
they find everything is just TOO PURE. so they end up putting
some "dirt" back in say the vocals.
which is why there are quite a few plug ins around to do this.
frankly i think the REAL ANSWER is there is no perfect answer and never will be.
all i'm trying to do is lay out OPTIONS for you.
like renting a hi end signal chain and seeing whether its worth your while laying out huge buks in a rapidly changeing tek world.
they ARE lovely on lead vocs. but do u need it ??
only u can decide. but i WOULD at least once in your
life rent a hi end signal chain , cos worst case u might just sleep better at night.
the other reason is trickling down SO FAST,
that a LOT of what is termed "semi" pro gear is actually getting extremely good.
it HAS TO BE. otherwise it wouldnt sell.
renting will let u assess things objectively on final lead vocs without a super huge investment.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3923 08/22/07 06:36 PM
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ok...folks we are now up to trak 34.
with 6 spare ones for "song sprinkles".
(plus we have blank traks that we have left in our earlier recording work on bed tracks etc etc and other tracks.)
thus ,remember when i said try and do a song in 40 traks ??
as you can see this song will prolly be comfortably
done within 40 traks.
heres why i'm pretty firm on this max 40 trak belief of mine.
the answer is cos ni find i'm fooling myself if i need more traks.
let me explain.
typically i find that if i need more than 40 tracks,
i'm compensating. ie..trying to polish something that mebe wasnt a good tune to begin with.
thus if i need more than 40 traks this is a clue to me that ive screwed up.
and believe me ive done major lulus...its called being human.
i just keep in the back of my mind all the time that great records of the past were done with
way less than 40 traks.
for example those great rok n rol records recorded "off the floor"
in the 50's to mono that became hits.

now you can record "off the floor" useing ptw.
particularly a great guerilla recording idea if u have a very slow old computer.
i urge u to try it.
it can be lots of fun, and youll learn a lot bout mic positioning.
what this term "off the floor" basically means is that everyone .
ie....the whole group is recorded "live" at once.
how would u do this in ptw ??
pretty simple actually.
in main tracks view (also u can do in classics view.!)..
right clik over the midi plug icon on a trak and select stereo audio.
its THAT EASY. then record live off the floor.
but let me warn you. you need ace musicians n singers that really jive
together. your main PROBLEM will be correct mic positioning on everyone to achieve
a good sounding track as well as a nice sounding room.
as well as possibly some creative mic leakage.
its not for the faint
if u want to cheat a thing you can do is just record the band firstly on a stereo trak
then the lead vocs n lead instruments on
seperate traks.

what do i mean by the term "sprinkles" ??
sprinkles can mean anything that improves the song.
it might mean useing something as simple as a tamborine..
right thru a whole violin section or mini orchestra for example.
it can also mean doing additional fx to improve the sound picture.
sprinkles .in essence are what makes the final house seem very pretty.
a good corollary is my wife n i sometimes go out on a sunday..
and suddenly my wife says .what a pretty
ie..the house stands out from the rest.
paying attention to the sprinkles idea might just make the song
stand out like the house.

now i would like to pass on a tip on sprinkles.
and its not an original tip.
its one a engineer once passed onto me in a big studio.
he said...over time, try and build in a notebook, and by your own research
an itemisation of every single instrument u can think of includeing all
orchestral instruments that can think of.
a difficult task of course..
but with things like google today...
one could build up a huge list of instruments i am sure to make it a bit easier.
why did he tell me that ??
the answer is that we all get locked into what is familiar.
mebe by useing something unfamiliar in a song , it might add to the song.
for example a guitar band like CEFE might just use guitar sounds.
but if they extended their thinking mebe some orchestral instruments might
add to this song. OR..instead of the same old zillion notes a second guitar break,,,
mebe record a rok violinist for the guitar break.
mebe a harp might be usefull as a sprinkle . or some special unusual softsynth sound that lifts the
song. in summary a "sprinkle" is anything that makes the song more interesting.
in summary try and build up a list of lots of different instruments or sounds u
could use as sprinkles.
ptw itself could help u build sprinkles.

remember when i mentioned earlier that ive used ptw to create odd ball
sprinkle sounds out of common household items by morphing useing
ptw effects ?? these last 6 tracks tr's 35 to 40 is where u could experiment with these types of ideas.

in summary after all the major traking is completed.
take a break and a rest, then come back to the song and listen with fresh
ears. and write down all your ideas for sprinkles that might make the song sound better.
i dont have every answer...but heres a weird tip.
i find at this stage that listening to the song play back on tiny speakers seems to help form my next step
sprinkle ideas. what i do is play the song and sit casually in another room...
trying to put myself in the mind of a casual consumer listener.
dont ask me why. but i find that this way i often hear lots of song or production flaws as well
as any sprinkle ideas. honestly i cant explain why it seems to work.
it just does. or i'll make a test mp3 of the song...
(i'll cover mixdown etc later.) and put it on continuous play so...while im doing say a crossword in
another room , i hear the flaws.

(more to come.)

manning1 #3924 08/23/07 10:55 AM
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ok....youve added your sprinkles to a song.
and we have plenty of spare traks still.
cos we left blank traks tween the various recording phases as well.

if u recorded some sprinkles up to trak 40.
this still leaves traks spare after trak 40 also.
plus.....once we have all our tracking
finished....if pushed, we can also wipe punch in
traks we used to get final traks that i discussed in previous
posts. but generally i try to keep to 40 traks total max in a song.

now lets get into mixing this song.
heres what i do.
firstly mute all traks.
and put all faders down.
then i start unmuteing each track and bringing up the fader
on each trak....but not to its MAX.
i start about a third of the way up.
starting with the bed traks followed by the intermediary traks and then
finally the lead traks and sprinkles.
i watch the ptw output meter like a hawk.
the ptw output meter reflects the level of the mix in stereo.
(u can also use it to monitor a track useing SOLO.).
now..heres a tip.
if u find yourself always pushing up faders on traks for more volume,
its likely your monitoring system isnt calibrated properly .
for example.the applet in the sound card isnt set up properly to send
level to the power amp driving your speakers. if the speakers have a level
control, mebe its not up enough, OR mebe the power amp input level control
isnt hi enough. in summary....i cant explain in more detail,
cos there are so many varieties of monitoring gear and situations.
but heres a likkle TRICK to help u calibrate your monitoring
in your spare time.
fill a track with any audio so that the ptw output meter shows -3db.
and play it while adjusting your sound cards output level control,
(usually a user dialogue in windows.)
and your power amp/speaker combo level controls. for a decent listening level.
if u find your not getting a decent level in your speakers
(assuming they are working properly....check levels on each component.)
in summary if your not hearing well the test track u sent out of ptw at -3db its
likely your monitoring isnt calibrated properly.
one last point to firmly understand. as your bringing up tracks.
NEVER put all tracks at max....never ever. lol.

now i want to cover some difficult mixing problems youll come across.
first one is...youve achieved a decent mix balance..but at one point the bass
guitar track pops out. say tween 1m20secs n 1min30secs.
you dont want to move the fader of course DOWN for the bass trak cos in
the rest of the song it sits well in the mix.
thus what to do ??
this is where ptw's audio edit window is your friend.
just hilte the 10 secs where the bass pops too high, and use ptw gain change to lower it.
conversely....mebe the bass trak might be too LOW in that 10 secs time frame.
once again dont change the fader and affect the rest of the trak.
audio edit window again and try the trik i outlined earlier copying the section
over itself useing merge in the paste...then if too high...lowering it with ptw gain change.
(u could also use gain change itself for the boost...but do it in likkle increments.)
as you can see this is very detailed work that has to be done.
now to a "VERY NASTY ISSUE". lol.
to do with boosting a section of a trak.
you go to the audio edit window and find u cant boost the bass anymore cos its already
a bit high in level.
not a good thing.
at this point u have two options.
either remix the other traks around the bass lowering their faders,
...a lot of work of course !!. also there are other implications for the areas of the
bass trak that dont need boosting....THINK ABOUT IT !!.
is there a solution without doing lots of fader alterations n rebalancing the mix ??
YES THERE IS. AND ITS ONE REASON WHY IF U earlier posts i suggested
leaveing blank tracks btween major phases of recording a song.
ie..instead of re-arrangeing all the faders ..we copy that section of
bass trak tween 1m20secs n 1min30secs, to a blank trak , so we can control
it with its own fader !! thus negateing the need to rebalance the whole mix,
and the work involved to do that. ie...a simple copy n paste jobbie.
this new trak i would typically name sumpin like ...
bass fix up...1m20secs n 1min30secs.
(remember all through your recording n mixing i hope u were makeing notes
on your own custom prepared trak sheet ?? i mentioned before ??
so this little bass "fix up" would be noted on the trak sheet.

from the foregoing one can see that mixing is a lot of work balancing the various
traks and their audio clips etc etc in conjunction with working out
fader and pan levels as well as fx useage.
as ive said...i'm not an ace mixmeister. my first love is songwriting.
i just want u to be aware of some "triks" ive picked up
from my own experience.

now lets talk about automation a bit.
some people use automation in some daw software useing the mouse to draw in
automation etc etc. (ptw will let u record mixer moves for example.
notice the red icon in the ptw mixer ??).
mebe some will disagree...but i find by the time i draw in the automation
or have the software record my "moves"....often i find i get
a more accurate mix result through the type of hand editing i described,
above with the bass. ive used some packages with lots of automation drawing with the mouse,
and i dont weant to anger find with such automation facilities
i sometimes dont get the lines drawn properly with the mouse,
and i spend some time futzing around with the mouse.
i much prefer just going into the ptw audio edit window and achieveing
sorta a poor mans automation via editing in the track itself and working with the trak.
now ..obviously some will say...but your hard changeing the track !!
particularly if u consolidate after.
my answer is...if this is a concern to you..just copy the bass track to a spare trak and name it spare bass track .
(and mute it of course..) in case you change your mind on what youve done to that bass trak.
OR....just save the bass trak before hand editing it to an external wave file from
ptw and name it in the seq song project folder something like..
naked bass back
there is another aspect of fancy automation also i want u to be aware of.
the power of ones pc might come into play.
in theory watching all the little faders and pans and settings etc flying everywhere...
sounds nice n it looks real "purty" to watch.
all those settings are kept as a file by the daw software.
ie..another file to be read and checked and what about the security aspect in case it gets mucked up somehow ??
as always there are both plusses and minuses to each tek advance or feature.
thus mebe the ptw devs have thought about these issues , which is why ptw has limited
automation features for audio traks.
i'm fine with that personally. i said.i hand edit the trak anyway when
difficult issues like the bass trak rear their heads.

now also let me add..if u need to set a pan or fade in ptw mixer...
and i'm sure most are aware of this , u can right clik...
and enter a value. or...of course set a pan or fader with the mouse.

there are two basic phases to creating the mix.
1. basic balanceing of various track components of the
mix useing pans/fades/fx etc etc.
2. the hand editing phase to "finesse the mix".

the idea being to achieve the best mix balance and sound picture over
the monitors that one can.
all the while keeping your eyes skinned on the ptw output meter that it doesnt go over -3db.

(mastering is a topic i'll cover in later posts.)
let me cover one final point firmly.
if u find u have to push up a fader on a trak continually...
dont do it. your fooling yourself.
bring other faders traks down. cos u could go over the -3db
mix level in ptw's output vu.

now on this particular CEFE band song weve created seperate fx traks.
why did i do that ?? answer is i feel that i get better control this way in mixing exactly the level of fx i want.
instead of takeing this approach some people...(no bricks
chain oodles of fx on each track.
my attitude to this is you dont bake a pie just by slapping lots of ingredients together..
do you ?? no...u do it in measured thoughtfull amounts to make
a nice tasteing pie.
therefore if u find yourself useing lots of real time plug ins....
once again...mebe the source traks werent right ??
are you trying to tart something up that wasnt recorded with the right sound
in the first place ??
some people might think i'm anti plug in.
i'm not. all i'm arguing for is a measured approach to fx and plugin useage.
old saying "everything in moderation." youve got the mix well balanced, it sounds good over the speakers etc.
mebe at this point you want to create a stereo mix wave file.
then mebe convert to an mp3 to hear on an mp3 player and/or mebe an audio cd
to play on a cd system whatever.
typically what i do is mix to stereo wave firstly then play the mix in win,
and i have a little speaker selector switch i can switch tween
various speakers. now we get into testing the mix.
thisis an exercise in frustration in example a mix done
useing a fine pair of monitors might not translate to computer speakers or
one of those speakers u attach to a ipod for example.
or u might play the mix back in the car, and get a different perspective.
in summary its a BIG CHALLENGE , and it drives me nuts all the time ...
trying to create a mix that sounds good on headphones, baby mp3 player speakers,
big quality studio monitors, car speakers and any other type of speaker system u can think of.
mebe for example the mix breaks down on ear buds.
or on a certain type of playback system.
this is not trivial. as i think i mentioned earlier once i did a mix in a big facility
that sounded great over the expensive studio monitors.
but didnt as much over smaller speakers.

one thing you MIGHT CONSIDER is if youre hell bent on issuing a serious album
of songs and selling it... maybe is takeing your song mixes to a mstering pro.
these guys are quite amazeing. but it depends if u have the budget.
once , as a test i took a stereo mix of a song to such a person that i knew
was a problem mix, and i was rather surprised at the quality of the result.
it depends on the person hired of course.
another time...i wasnt as lucky, some friends felt they liked my mix better.
but mebe they were being
in summary its really really tough.
no daw software will rescue u in this regard.
cos it all depends how you go about achieving the final stereo mix.
the daw software like ptw is just a tool.
its how one uses it....thats where the rubber hits the road.
at one point years ago i was much more serious than today now that i'm getting so
i used to slave for hours n hours over a mix.
my own problem is i just think up too many new songs...
but i often dont have the time i would like to devote to properly producing each one.
i think my main point is .even if your not the greatest mixer.
just have fun with it, and do the best u can... like i do.

now let me touch on some little ideas after u have created your mix.
mebe you had a drum clik lead in for two bars for example.
before the song starts ??
or u want a fade in or fade out of the song ??
just bring the song back into ptw or your editor of choice.
silence the two bar lead in.
(or u could have done that in ptw before creating the final mix.)
and/or do your fade in or out by hiliting and useing the fade in or out feature
either in ptw or your chosen editor.
for example if u analyse certain hot songs of the past...
youll find sometimes they fade in at a certain level then gradually get louder,
or fade out to a certain level or to no level.
its all a matter of what u want in a song.

now i want to cover a mixing trik.
that i touched on in an earlier post and explain it.
youve seen those movies and heard the effect where the
or spaceship zooms across the stereo image ?? from left to right or right to
left ?? lets say we want it in this CEFE song or for example a rock lead violin,
panning around the stereo image. or say a psychedelic lead guitar
moving all over the place in ones headphones !
how do we do that ??
the proper technical name is DYNAMIC PANNING.
heres what i would like u to do as a test.
to show u how its done.
start up a new session of ptw.
set two traks to audio.
lets say trak 1 and 2.
in ptw mixer i want u to set tr 1 pan all left and tr 2 pan all right.
(ie 7 o'clok and 5 o'clok.)
then i want u to record any old synth sound on tr 1,
for 24 seconds.
if there is a blank space before the 24 secs start i would like u to
cut it out on tr 1 by hiliting..
then edit>>>CUT...close gap.
after this..duplicate tr1 on tr 2. (TRACK>>>>duplicate.)
then i want u to use the audio edit window for both tr 1 and 2.
in conjunction with gain change(GC) fade in and gain change fade out.

now hilite 3 secs of tr 1 and GC fade in. for the next 3 secs, GC fade out,
for the next 3 secs (now we are up to 9 secs.) GC fade in...
continue this process for the whole 24 secs.
once youve done this on tr1...
i want u to reverse the idea on tr 2.
first 3 secs...GC fade OUT, next 3 secs fade in, next 3 secs....fade out..
and continue alternating like this for the 24 seconds.
(god i hope i got this all my daw pc is in
a different yes i believe i did !!
now i want u to hit play and make sure initially your head phones are at a low level.
just in case u set the synth level recorded very high..
on playback u should hear the synth moving around in the stereo image.
if u want it to ping pong fast.
instead of useing 3 sec intervals try 1 sec intervals.
if u want it to ping pong slower use longer intervals than 3 secs.
if u want an effect for the whole 24 secs where the spaceship gradually moves in the
24 sec time frame from one ear to the other.then heres how to do it.
hilite the whole of tr 1 and GC fade in , plus hilite whole of tr2
and GC fade OUT....then PLAY. kinda neat huh ??
hear it move slowly from one ear to the other instead of ping ponging ??
now lets try something else.
hilite the first 12 secs of tr1 and GC fade in, then the last 12 secs..
GC fade out..and on tr 2....first 12 secs..fade out , and last 12 secs fade in !.
see what that does ! listening over phones.
now repeat these steps changeing the pan subtly in ptw mixer.
and see what different pan settings on tr1 and tr2 do.
now lets get fancier. find some industrial sample...
or some sound..record it to tr 3, dupe on tr4...and in the audio edit window for tr3 and tr 4..
do some of the same ideas at various time spans.
once again setting pans initially like we did for tr 1 and 2... 3 all left and tr4 all right.
if you do it right u will find if u put your phones on...
the industrial sound or sample will move around the stereo image while the
synth sound does TOO. kinda neat huh ??
this is called dynamic panning.
therefore see how you might use the idea on your own songs.
and experiment.
for example for a really whacky approach you could then create a fx trak also for
both the synth sound and industrial sound...with a bit of echo.
lets say fx traks 5 and 6. 5 panned all left and 6 panned all right.
and really go to town on 5 and 6 also doing GC fade in and out triks.
if u experiment enough and build your own tecxhniques ,
youll discover lots of production ideas for songs.
in ptw mixer...
as well as the audio level of the different sections of the traks
in the audio edit window for each trak.
(eg break each trak up into likkle audio clips with spaces tween each clip n see
what that does !!. LOTS OF FUN FUN FUN !!!!)
(more to come.)

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3925 08/23/07 07:48 PM
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
OP Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
the SONG and SONG PICTURE and HOOKS are king.
(and some other aspects like money n fame etc.)
ive tried to cover a lot of basics with ptw in a short time via an example session.
(and there is lots more intricate ptw details to explain.)
but would like to digress a bit, and give you further ideas.
i covered in earlier posts the importance of haveing a good song with hooks
and a good sound picture.
lets talk about some added tools that might help you.
firstly u can get a chart showing the frequency ranges of different instruments ,
and post it on your studio wall.
this might help u a bit in the mixing process. and building sound picture.
if u have some instrument or sound not covered by the
something unusual, you could alwats record it to a trak
in ptw, then invoke ptw's RTA (real time analyser.via fx button in the ptw mixer.),
and look at a frequency plot of the sound or unusual instrument.
and mebe build over time an addendum to the frequency chart
to remind yourself.
another usefull tool, and something to help with writing lyrics would be a rhyming dictionary.
for people new to songwriting, its a good idea to get a huge 3 ring binder ,
and fill it full of paper, and just start writing song ideas down and snippets of lyrics.
as well as your thoughts on whats going on in the world around you.
thinking of a good title also is important.
over time as u write down lots of different lyric ideas youll find
u might be able to merge different ones into a song.
conversely , mebe a beat or a song idea will pop into your head.
when this happens to me....sometimes at
i rush to the pc and get the germ of the idea down.
even in its roughest form...then i refine it later on.
if u have a lot of trouble thinking up lyrics,
and eg..youve done a couple
of music traks to quikly get the musical idea down....
dont laugh , but a vocal trak even if its just mumbling.
then play the mumbles back and often words might start forming in your mind.
this has happened to me on many occasions.
sometimes playback will create certain emotions in you
psychlogically .which in turn ..could lead to words asnd lyrics.
maybe also at the same time with just a music idea with no lyrics yet formed..
open up your big 3 ring binder with all the words n ideas you saved over time,
and then try fitting some of the words to the music.
this might get u started.
dont EVER give in to writers block.
cos if u tell yourself you cant do becomes a psychological
instead just keep on writing and writing anything that comes into your head
in your lyric 3 ring binder. at any time of the day.
now another aspect is the TEMPO of your song.
say your working in midi traks trying ideas for example,
and a tempo isnt working. try another tempo.
heres a trik i do in writing songs.
i vary the tempo until i get a "feel" it is correct for the song
in conjunction with the music and style of the song, as well as the vocals and lyrics.
mebe the tempo is too fast for the lyrics or the tempo is too slow
for the particular song. in summary i use ptw to experiment a lot with the tempo
of the song before going into full blown recording of a song.
youll KNOW when a tempo is correct. it just "feels right".
is the only way i can explain it.

now to those memorable song HOOKS.
in summary dam tough.
let me give you some clues to help.
someone i respect said to me in the past , if u want to write
a big selling should have at least a minimum of 3 or preferably 4 hooks.
as i said before...a song hook is something that a listener cant put out of their mind.
how do u go about creating hooks ?? ie..saveing that really grabs people ??
not easy. some hooks just come about by jamming.
for example a guitarist jamming over a rhythm section,
or mebe trying a different instrument completely.
OR...mebe the rhythm section is itself a hook.
a good example of a rhythm hook , would be for example..
george bensons loverly rendition of "On broadway".
everybody knows when that rhythm starts that its the broadway song.
another example of a rhythm hook intro might be the sharona hit by the knack for example.
some might disagree, but if u analyse sharona.
(if i remember it starts on G.) there is rather a lot of interesting stuff going on in it.
for example the main lead break hook.
this was a big selling record all over the world.
notice in the lead my opinion anyway...
how well the notes are presented. and the sound picture ??
not a zillion notes a second , but cleverly starting rather slow.
when anyone hears that song, and that lead break its unmistakeable.
ie..hooks. some might disagree..but i feel a lot of clever
thinking went into that song.
another example of unmistakeable hooks might be the pounding rhythm
that starts off lyndleys version of crazy bout my mercury.
conversely in an older realm , how about the soaring intro
to gershwins rhapsody in blue. a signature intro hook imho.
do you notice a commonality between these songs ??
no i'm not nuts...there IS as commonality...what is it ??
answer .imho that each song immediately through clever
techniques captures the listeners interest right off the bat.
well it does mine anyway. lol.
in summary each of the songs ive mentioned has a memorable start to the song.
(mebe u disagree cos your musical taste is different to mine...dunno.
i'm just trying to use examples.)
anyway i think ive belabored the hooks point enough for someone starting off new
in songwriting to get the gist of what i'm talking about.

IN SUMMARY..the CHALLENGE....and i often fail miserably as do many...
is how to create , record and mix and put out a song that not only
grabs the listener right off the bat but maintains the listeners interst right
through the song. that is if your interested in writing commercial songs.
not everyone is. i just write for fun.
and occasionally at various times in the past sold cassettes of my songs direct to the public.
which helped me buy more

but be carefull of fame.
ive not met many...just a few big names includeing one recently.
(no i cant say who..youll have to trust i tell the truth as i respect
peoples privacy.)...and it does seem to have some downsides from what ive been told.
particularly the fact of trying to lead a normal life.
just something to consider.
me..i decided years ago.i just wanted a peacefull quite life creating crazy

as i said..all the tools are in ptw to do a huge song.
its just a question of how the tools are used.

all i can say is paying attention to lots of little details all
the way through can make a big difference.
one option if u have a great song.....and u feel u cant bring it to its full
potential via your own skills is to export all the tracks
from ptw as wave audio . plus mebe a rough mix.
and take both to a large facility and use top session players to reinforce/add tracks
as well as top engineering talent for final mixing etc..
but this can get costly of course.
but sometimes u can strike a less costly deal with an up and coming studio mebe.
or try and find session plasyers that might help you.
for example...lets say you found some top session players to help you.
how i would possibly approach this is .for example.
an option.
you could start a brand new session of ptw.
import your ruff song mix as a stereo tr 1.
then record the players over the top ....and following roughly the
CEFE approach i outlined..or your own modified approach.
and once u had them recorded mute your ruff mix.

(more ptw specific stuff/detailed feature useage to come.
where i get into lots of detailed ptw features haveing now covered basics.)

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3926 08/24/07 04:57 PM
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
OP Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
buying pc's for powertracks.

i just want to cover this topic and some tips.
cos prolly quite a few people are looking mebe to buy a pc this year.
particularly as ive worked for various computer companies in
my life. and know the biz from several angles of how computers
are marketed. (just a fact..not trying to be an ego
let me explain how the game is often played by vendors.
the new sexy stuff mostly starts off at a high price to catch
the early adopters,,THEN...when the next phase of tech comes out,
...once again the new stuff comes out at a high price..while the older
gets stepped down in price.
for example now the quad core (and also octo)...
(followed by more cores...)
are coming out i expect to see further deep discounting
of dual cores. and even more on single processors.
THUS..if u always buy top end i would suggest your wallet will suffer.
what i normally do is wait out the new cycle for some time.
i bought my own new dual core after the dual core tek had been out for some time.

buying used is often a viable option.
let the other guy takes all the sales tax hits etc etc. lol.
its like buying a car. u can save lots on a demo or slightly used product.
it also depends on the pricing structures in your country.

but there is another factor to consider.
for example here in canada a dual core amd 64 is about 600 buks while a new
quad core i saw in the last couple of weeks is 900 buks.
while single processor systems have dropped as low as the 300 buk range.
(i dont advise getting celerons. semprons are a better buy imho at the
very low end.)
thus as one can see that quad is mighty tempting due to the price
diff of only 300 buks from a dual.

which makes me suspect that cheap 8 cores are mebe only 18 months or 2 yrs away.

processor standard recommendation these days is 2 gigs of ram and two 7200
rpm hard drives. i prefer 16mb cache hard drives.
this will give you a very nice system.

for laptops i normally recommend ..if the manufacturer allows it..
and many do.. upgradeing the internal 5400 rpm drive to a 7200 rpm drive.
at a minimum. (u can google for laptop internal drive upgrades.)
some people might disagree. but this is my stance on the issue.

on the subject of laptops i see soo many people making major mistakes imho. when it comes to buying them.
sorry .but i got pretty strong feelings bout this.
i personally wouldnt buy any laptop without first running tests on
it with ptw and my chosen sound device.
i really wouldnt. but many do.
one only need peruse various forums to see the results when people buy laptops without first running tests.
particularly related to sound device compatibility etc.
therefore yourself a favor.
check the laptop u select is compatible with your sound device
before buying.

as i said before....most modern pc's in ptw's test of audio performance should show a full
48 track capability. most of the ones ive tested anyway.
but of course then we have to remember real time plug ins.
ptw's plug ins are very very good at resource useage ive found.
and there are more than a few third party plug ins that are
reasonable on pc resource useage TOO.
BUT....if your one to layer on lots of third party real time plug ins across lots of tracks.
one needs to be aware of those that might consume lots of resources.
the reason i mention this is.if u google...youll see all the time,
folks with single processor systems particularly haveing problems as well as the occasional
dual core user.
when i moved from a single processor system to a dual , a couple of my awkward projects
resource useage dropped from the 70 per cent area , way down into the 20's.
thus in my case dual is a nice solution.
i suspect for most ptw users a dual core is a v nice solution.
but the price of those quads is getting v tempting. lol.

if u anticipate useing say firewire, i would suggest u insist on a texas instruments TI
firewire chipset. cos it seems where sound devices are concerned there are far les probs with a TI chipset.
the only way to know is to run a test with your FW sound device.

and this brings me to a MAJOR POINT.
all the time on recording forums one sees people asking of others ,
recommended pc motherboards etc n systems etc.
this ignores a basic fact.
the pc industry is moveing dam dam fast. so in a few weeks there
might be a better deal,
also just cos a particular config works well
for one person, another person with completely different sound
devices n plug ins etc n way different song projects...
it might not.
also .on a more subtle level related to motherboards, mebe there was a design revision,
whereby an issue developed.

thus best bet is to take your ptw song projects plus your chosen sound device and test
a few systems out. and see how your projects perform.
an excellent test is pitch shift i mentioned earlier.
cos on some systems it takes quite a time.
thus a good speed test.

now let me explain one point CLEARLY.
you get a new system and u see its partitioned.
you DO NOT have two physical drives. you have just one.
(unless u ordered two physical drives.)
and if that one drive fails your studio is kaput.
i see sooo many people working off one drive systems its scary.
a second drive these days is soooo cheap its a NO BRAINER.
thus get yourself a second drive 7200 rpm with 16mb cache.
they are cheap cheap cheap.

on the subject of vista. my personal belief is i think it needs another year to settle.
and it seems not all audio devices seem to work with it.
some audio device vendors still have to get drivers out.
frankly i'm v happy with xp.
running ptw never a crash or prob yet.
so i'm staying xp till vista matures more.
i just dont need vista.

if u have very little money.
heres a tip.
the sempron STILL is a nice little processor for the price.
u might find a used sempron system for next to nothing/given away.
but to improve things. upgrade the memory to 2 gigs mebe.
and , as well a its internal drive, get a nice new second hi performance drive for 80 buks.
and that baby will do you sterling service in ptw.
..for little money.
but,as always , before buying such a giveaway....
load up a ptw song project on it....and run tests.
the reason i mention this all the fancy
more and more core pc's come out, youll likely see nearly
yard sale giveaway prices on these one processor sempron systems.

me...i might wait for 16 cores.

so..where will we be in five years.??
well....u can throw eggs at me if i'm wrong....
but the trend is obvious. more and more processor cores.
more power etc.
for example there is talk of 1000 processor systems.
i think at a minimum, we will prolly be at affordable
16 processor on a chip systems in 5 years.
(enough time for u to cook those smelly egggs to throw at me if i'm
overall i think the next ten years is going to be a very exciting time.
all i would suggest is a degree of care choosing when to spend your hard earned money.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3927 08/30/07 06:53 AM
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
OP Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
sound devices and typical hairy computer problems.

i want to cover this topic in some detail as soo many problems
new people seem to have whatever recording software they use.
i dont, because i'm v carefull bout how i set things up.
heres the typical problems you run into.
you copy a piece of audio and then go to paste it..but the
paste is SLOW, or when u apply an effect it seems to take a looong time for
the effect to be processed as u watch the horizontal line
display. other typical problems are freezes on the pc
or pops and cliks on playback or the computer seems sluggish.

firstly , understand plug n play sounds good in THEORY.
and with some sound devices and some pc's install of new sound devices
is a breeze. but on others it isnt.
the problem is there are just sooo many different sound devices and
zillions of different pc configs.

lets say your pc has a sluggish "feel" to it.
answer. this can be a myriad of things.
but typically ive found often this occurs when someone tries to run
ptw on the old family pc that is used for lots of other things.
mebe its a slow old processor, or the drives are poor performers,
slow memory etc. i HAVE run ptw on older pc's.
but one must be carefull. some people try to load xp onto a
one drive older pc with 256 ram. this ive found is askeing for problems.
the ram is too low.
it must be clearly understood the OS (windows) needs ram.
AND the daw software needs ram. thus , if your ram is low youll prolly
have probs , particularly if trying to run XP on an older system.
thus , first step ensure that there is sufficient ram.
try a gig for example and see if that helps.
the other problem is possibly the drives arent set up properly.
or they are clogged up.
for daw audio work its important u check that DMA is checked on the drives.
DMA basically is a method of ensuring drives are transferring data
at an optimum high speed. u can check in control panel that its set for your drives.
the other thing is before useing the old pc as a daw, ensure youve cleaned
up the drives. you might have a lot of cookie build up and temp files
(windows>>>temp)...from previous activities on the pc.
another aspect is a ONE DRIVE SYSTEM.
on modern duual core pc's , you can get away with maybe a one drive system,
cos the drives are so fast. BUT i still dont recommend it.
even more..i definitely dont recommend it on a old clunker pc.
why ?? you ask ??
heres the detailed answer.
the problem is that the win OS is on the SAME DRIVE.
and sometimes it can interrupt the audio process (in this case ptw)..
to do some activity. thus by recording to a seperate drive..this
lets windows OS do its own thing.
if you find you get the odd random clik/pop on an old clunker.
try and see if recording to a second hard drive rather than the C win drive solves the problem.
if youve tried adding more memory and a second hard drive,
and assuming youve cleaned an optimised the old clunker pc,
and you cant get say 25 tracks out of it, then prolly you will need to upgrade to a new pc.
on a old pc u should be able to get 25 tracks outta it if its set up
before spending lots of money though on an old system ,
i would run a hard drive performance test. on the hard drive.
there are little utilities u can get (if u google..)
that will tell u the performance of the old hard drive.
me personally , i wouldnt use a hard drive in a clunker pc that
wasnt reported as haveing at least a 20 megs per second transfer rate.
its just not worth it when one can get a new one processor system
for say 300 buks that includes a new hi performance drive.

now let me turn to another issue.
another reason for cliks n pops.
or audio interruptions on playback.
these can occur often with particularly pci sound devices.
if this occurs with you, and your running a seperate hard drive to record to.
check what other devices are in pci slots.
ive mentioned this before. if u have other pci devices , because the
pci bus has finite bandwidth , other devices might be locking out
the pci sound device. if u have this situation.
in windows try shutting them down.(eg network card.) before recording.
on any new system i buy , if i'm useing a pci sound device i try n ensure
its the only device in a pci slot.
i put in no other devices.
gradually with newer technology some of these problems are gradually disappearing.
but u can still run into the occasional problem.
for example, you are useing a firewire or usb mixer where the
ADA conversion is built in. and u get a problem occasionally.
if this is your situation...check if another device is useing the firewire or usb bus.
heres a typical example of a potential problem.
lets say your useing a audio mixer with usb built in AND
useing a usb hard drive external to the pc.
think of a bus (pci or usb or firewire..) like this.
ever drive on a road in your town at 3 am ??
noones around ...right ??
all smooth sailing, no traffic snarls etc etc ...right ??
think of a computer bus similarly.
in simple terms a bus is nothing more than a "computer road"
where traffic travels. in this case data traffic.
BUT the road in your town...the computer bus has a limit
to how much traffic it can carry before traffic jams occur.
thus the more devices that are attached to a computer bus...
the more traffic and MORE THE POTENTIAL FOR OVERLOAD and tie ups.
thus in my example, mebe the usb hard drive is punping traffic thru the
usb bus and thus causeing problems for the usb mixer.
THEREFORE...think carefully before willy nilly loading up devices on various buses.
it all comes down to ORGANISATION of your pc.

now i want to touch on firewire.
many people are starting to use firewire sound devices and mixers etc.
once again be carefull bout loading up other devices..
on the firewire bus ....if your useing the FW bus for
say a sound device. on the other hand it might work.
you wont know if till u try. BUT ...if u DO get probs.
unplug the non audio FW devices and see if the probs go away.
this will be your clue that the FW bus is getting overloaded maybe.
in some cases there are no hard n fast rules.
sometimes youll find the FW sound device doesnt get along with
the particular FW chipset in your pc.
in this case youll need to try an add on FW card.
i would recommend one with a TI chipset. but u might luk out ,
and another FW card might work.

in a modern eg dual core pc i would be surprised if u get many probs.
but if u DO..i hope the above helps.

now lets turn to the sound devices themselves.
there are a huge range of PCI, usb and firewire devices, and its all
SO CONFUSEING ...right ??
youve reached the conclusion.correctly..that on board sound chips
even with mebe isnt the best solution.
cos on board sound chips are noisy.
i told u earlier bout a test u can do to see in ptw exactly how noisy
in an earlier post. (ie..nothing connected...with win line in fader up..
look at ptw's input vu meter...notice the green led's light up ??).
now i MUST say the on board sound chips ARE gradually improving.
it depends on the pc u buy and its on board sound chip.
but STILL its not an optimal solution.
just try a good pro sound interface and youll hear the difference
good quality ADA can make to your recorded tracks.

if u want a good overview of the various sound devices on the market. and have large lists.
(no...i'm in no way affiliated with anyone. in case it crossed your mind..i just find these
sites usefull for keeping abreast of all the sound devices available.)
sound devices can cost under 100 buks right up to hi end convertors costing thousands.
thus it depends on your budget and what you can afford.
one piece of advice is to ensure you can return any sound device u get in case it doesnt work
well with your particular pc. and get a full refund.
in the case of brand new devices on the market....i would give them
a time and peruse recording forums to see if any folks experience
sometimes a new device might have drivers that need further development for example.
typically the MAJOR problem folks have is finding a suitable device that
works well with their pc.
its very difficult to give specific brand recommendations as the market is moveing so dam fast.
but all i can say is folks seems happy with certain brands.
(for recorded audio trak quality.)
for example at the high end folks seem happy with RME and LYNX
sound devices. for the budget conscious folks seem happy with
audiophile 2496 and also the esi julie.
other folks seem to like the emu range.
but the user really must understand how to use the control panel it has properly.
and this brings me to a POINT !
the biggest problem i'm seeing folks haveing is with setting up
the user dialogs that come with many new sound devices.
and their routing outside ptw.
IF your experiencing problems in ptw....
one possibility is that the sound cards own control user dialog isnt set up properly.
typical reported problem is i cant get audio into ptw.
dont see waveforms etc. so people blame ptw.
it must be clearly understood that the sound card and its control
panel set up is outside PTW.
if u dont set up the sound device control panel correctly to get audio into and out
of ptw , then ptw wont work properly.
ptw has no control over these issues.
for example people also seem to sometimes forget to set up delta sound card
dialogs properly.
in summary , u must set up the sound devices control panel correctly for
ptw to perform correctly.
(even windows own audio controls..if useing on board sound.)
a friend has a new yamaha usb mixer that seems nice and clean on a budget.
roland have lots of audio devices. for example the v cheap edirol ua1ex.
if your pushed for money n want to crank out demos.
ive tried it. pretty ok. positive is a simple user control panel.
to get it working well i just needed to change PTW's trak buffer size.
and this brings me to a point...sometimes to get a device working
properly u must be willing to set ptw's audio preferences properly.
if u notice there are a number of settings.
these were put there obviously to help people with the myriad of sound devices
on the market. make sure u read the HELP, and understand what all the different settings do,
and how to identify to ptw your sound device drivers.

ive mentioned a few popular manufacturers of sound devices.
but..there are lots of others of course.
more and more devices are coming out all the time.
how well they might work with ptw and your specific pc
only u can assess via testing.
i'm in some quandary myself , as i'm looking athi end ADA.
but i'm leery of spending a LOT due to pace of change.

some other points to be aware of in running a recording pc.
firstly make sure you dont have any irq conflicts.
(look in control panel). has lots of info on "leaning down" windows
n turning off various features.
and there are other sites if u google.
if useing vista , some folks have suggested ways to deal with vista if u google.
like maybe useing it in classic mode.
once again google is your friend as i'm not running vista.

one final point. if your the type of user that neds to run 48 traks
with oodlesof plug ins...i would seriously think about a new quad core
pc. as they can be had for 900 buks.
(more to come.)

manning1 #3928 09/02/07 06:54 PM
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a poor mans recording control room.

this idea was told to me once by an engr in a big studio.
heres the scenario.
you have a room in your house you use to record your songs.
painted walls etc etc, hard surfaces etc etc.
sound can bounce all over the place right ??
heres some tips. to making it more useable.
1. face your mix position into a corner..
so your nose is faceing the corner...THEN
(follow this closely.)
2. sit down. now ask your wife or a friend..whomever,
to take a piece of string horizontally from each ear to each adjacent wall.
mark each wall lightly with a dot. level with your ear.
3. where the dot is on each wall.
vertically trace up to the ceiling a line on each wall.
4. once you reach the ceiling. with each vertical line on each wall.
run a trace across the ceiling.
ie...line across the ceiling and down each wall.
5. now get some FIREPROOF sound deadening tiles
or auralex (expensive.), and mount on walls and ceiling coming out of the corner to the
line traces on each wall and ceiling.

behind you mebe add some trapping in the corner behind you.
you can google for more info on building even fancier set ups.
with fancy bass traps etc etc.
once i just strung a fireproof curtain across the corner behind me.
it can get real expensive really fast.
you can even spend oodles of dough , and ive seen people DO THAT
without achieving perfection. thus a degree of caution is suggested
in not going overboard.
the aforementioned corner plus sound deadening description is
about the el cheapoist solution ive come across.
nothing is perfect.

big NOTE...when you face desk into corner.
make sure u leave enough space around n behind it so you can get to cables etc.
when you sit down of course your monitor speakers will be faceing you.
with their back to the corner and set that where you sit you
get optimum stereo imageing.
ps.....if u cant afford expensives material...
sometimes in stores that deal with used office furniture u can sometimes find "dividers" that were used in offices once that can have sound deadening properties if u look for the right ones.

manning1 #3929 09/02/07 07:50 PM
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guarding against hums n buzzes n things that go bump in the night.
scenario..your getting a hum or buzz over your speakers.
first thing to check.
are u useing a star grounding system ??
let me explain.
if you plug in say a guitar amp into a different electrical outlet
in your house..than your other studio gear you might get a problem.
what is the star grounding system ??
heres what i do.
i come out of ONE house electrical outlet into a series of surge protected
power bars. thus everything is linked back to the one outlet.
the pc n synths n guitar amps n mixer etc etc.
this way i find i dont get hums or buzzes etc.
you can also go a step further and get a qualified electrician to
install a dedicated electrical circuit for the studio.
but this can cost money of course.
(remember also to put fast blow fuses on loudspeakers..!)
if you have a huge set up of course prolly a dedicated electrical studio circuit is preferable.
one other tip.
before turning on your gear ensure you dont have your speakers up full blast.
i normally turn on my speakers after ive turned everything else on
n booted the computer.
another tip is.if useing vacuam tube based gear n mic pre's...
sometimes they need a warm up time to perform optimally.

while we are at it i'll discuss cableing briefly.
some people claim they hear differences.
i dont buy the cheapest and not the most expensive.
sorry..just imho, but a lot is marketing imho.
but run your own tests with different cables.
in ADDITION if you hear hums or buzzes ,
check you dont have an audio cable..(eg...preamp out connected
to sound card line in.) right by a power cable.
in general therefore keep your audio cable runs seperate
from your power cable runs.
an inexpensive cable tester is also a usefull thing to have around to check
the integrity of mic and other cables.
by the way...if your of a diy bent you CAN buy bulk cable
and make your own mic and other patching cables.
with appropriate connectors.
(just google)
in addition.if you dont have one...consider getting a patch bay.
they are pretty cheap. and LABEL each connection.
they are good for connecting lots of gear and patching things/routing.
you can get RCA or quarter inch types.

(more to come.)

manning1 #3930 09/03/07 04:44 PM
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making money with ptw.
there are many many ways to make money with ptw.
and to help you buy more gear...LOL.
there are LOTS of people out there , (and i dont mean this meanly),
who would like to do a song or a demo.
but often dont have the patience for the work involved.
or they might have a pc but not have the patience to deal
with the right technology purchases etc.
in summary there are many niche markets....
to name a few.
1. doing song demos for people.
2. doing midi traks for people who dont know midi.
3. doing location recording.
for example if u have a nice powerfull dual core laptop ,
a few mics n a mixer , u could go to someones home n record his/her song.
4. arrangeing songs for people who have a rough song idea in their heads.
(someone i knew a few years back made a v good living doing this.)
5. selling your songs directly to consumers,
at markets. (ive done this in the past for fun.)
6. teaching music useing ptw (and biab) as teaching aids.
(for example mebe teach a class of youngsters basic music theory,
and the basics of songwriting.)
another possibility, helping people figure out how to play some popular songs.
(ptw's chord recognition feature would be usefull in this.)
7. teaching people who want to know midi, how to construct midi traks.
8. cleaning up/enhanceing other peoples songs.
9. recording peoples vinyl record collections and cleaning them up.
(this is very time consuming for lots of people.)
10. doing historical family documents.
for example some people want spoken word recordings of
a familys history for posterity.
11. audio books.
(ie..spoken word format of a book.)
another area is technical books possibly.
12. jingles. for ads.
and i'm sure there are many ive missed.
starting out you might have a local newspaper that allows "free small"
or "nominal pay" ads. or u could even have a website.
for example..lets say your a great drummer. you could use ptw to do nice live drum
traks for people. or..lets say your speciality is latin percussion ,
or your a great piano player or sax player, could use ptw to record traks for people.
via your web site.
another avenue would be to sell songs from your web site.
or use a third party web site.
as you can see..lots of niches.

one thing u might think about if u wish to make money with a studio is not to
locate in an area where there are loads of studios all cutting rates to attract clients.
another thing youll get is...."suchabody has XYZ fancy gear or ABC tools..".
my experience has been that typically folks new to recording will focus on
this question. there is an easy reply.
"theres more to it than gear. record a hour with me n form your own opinion."
i never recorded a zillion clients, but quite a few over the years n i found once they came in
n heard their traks play back, they were rarely unhappy.
it makes it easier of course if the talent level is high.
in fact ive found the more talented the easier it is.
when i was starting out i was upfront with people.
and weirdly enough people valued my honesty when i said i
was just starting out , but would work v hard to help them get their song or whatever down.
yes.there were stumbles along the way. starting out.
but mostly i found folks pretty reasonable.
if i screwed up, say on a trak, (eg recording a good take too hot or whatever..),
i would simply offer some free time to make up for the error.
be aware tho' its a LOT of work recording other people.
if your starting out, the best thing is to just record as many different types of talent as possible.
if your a youngster going to school, mebe start off recording the school choir or band
to get experience. or mebe friends.
or mebe the school neds some audio books.
mebe if your a university student the university needs some
spoken technical texts created.

if your new to midi. one thing that might help you develope is to become very familiar with
ptw's extensive midi facilities.
i know of no other product at such a low price with such extensive midi features.
once youve gained a lot of midi experience you might find
an extensive local market for creating all sorts of midi traks
for people. cos many folks find they dont have the time to learn midi.
then creating audio traks from the midi traks for people.

also...dont forget the tc helicon built in feature.
mebe another local market is clients needing back up vocal or some sort of choir traks.
mebe your a female with a great voice. useing ptw...
u could do nice back up vocal traks.

Another possibility (as i mentioned in a past post) is creation of "foley" special effects.
mebe there is a huge need in your area for the creation of special effects.
or mebe some local film companies need some special effects created for a film.

lots of possibilities. lots of market areas.
just some markets to think of.

manning1 #3931 09/04/07 06:02 PM
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a very low cost way to get into audio recording.

i often get asked by friends what is a VERY low cost way to get into audio recording.
so i came up with this ultra low cost studio configuration .
note..a problem with some laptops is they have no line input.
so i see this ultra low cost solution being v usefull for laptop users.
(as always, make sure u can return the gear if it dont work well with your particular desktop or laptop.)
i'm sure folks have many opinions on the subject,
and alternatives...and.of course tech changes all the time.
but for ultra ultra low cost i suggest at least looking at the following.
as an alternative.

to set up for recording audio tracks youll need a mic of course,
a mic preamp , and a sound device.
so our input chain looks like this...
mic>>>mic preamp>>>>sound device>>>record an audio trak in ptw.
for the mic i suggest...possibly. (60 buks.)
for the mic tube mp.(30 buks.)
and for the sound device...behringer uca202 mebe. (30 buks.)
note...pgmusic sells the edirol ua1ex for a bit more money.
( reason to look at the uca or the edirol...
if your starting out.....
is the VERY SIMPLE USER CONTROL panel in comparison to lots of
complex control panels in various sound devices.
which drive some folks bonkers. )
ive used edirol . pretty clean.
(a tip.....record a blank trak, bring up ptw real time analyser n youll see...
low noise device.)

total 120 buks. not bad methinks for the money.
this handles the input side.
now lets turn to the output side.
youll need a headphone amp for your phones. eg 35 buks.
plus headphones. eg....44 buks.

for speakers some people tell me these are good for 100 buks starting out.
(better than puter speakers. remember to put fast blow fuses on the speakers.)

so for about 300 buks total....
there you go !!..
a complete studio. add in the cost pf ptw and some cables.
and we are under 400 buks..for a COMPLETE STUDIO.
(excludeing computer cost.)
not bad i feel.
wish i had it when i was starting out years
very difficult to beat this for the money i feel.
you would connect the stereo out of the uca202 to the
headphone amp and/or the speakers.
(i'll cover a midi set up in the next tip.)

manning1 #3932 09/04/07 07:59 PM
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a reasonably low cost way to get into midi recording.

i realise some folks have very fancy set ups.
but this is a suggestion for folks with little money starting out
with midi.
lets cover the input side first.
how do we get the midi trak recorded into powertracks (ptw) ??
i favor a midi keyboard thats essentially dumb with no sounds in.
sometimes u can pick one up used for cheap.
ideally u want one thats touch sensitive.
if it doesnt have usb built in prolly youll need to buy a midi to usb box
for your computer. (eg pgmusic sell one..um2ex.)

an example of a few controller keyboards might be...
they start at 50 buks.
as you can see there are a lot .
(google for more manufacturers...enter in google midi controller keyboard.)

mebe your into softsynths....
but ..if u want to keep the load on your computer down an option is external midi modules.
read this...
for example pg sell the SD 20.
and there are many others. includeing buying used.

for example ive seen more than a few used roland sound canvas for cheap.
for 100 buks.
just google for lots of used midi modules.
in summary..for 300 buks prolly you could buy a controller keyboard and a couple of used
midi modules that are multi timbral.
this would get you started.

now how do u mix in the audio from the multi timbral sound modules.
lets say u want to mix the outputs from several outboard multi timbral sound modules,
and record the result as a track in ptw ??
for this youll need a line mixer....
eg....el cheapo. 20 buks.
there are more expensive ones if u google.
take output of line mixer into your sound devices line input...
and record audio trak(s) in ptw.

buying used gear n adding some cables n we are prolly looking at 350 buks.

if you have a sound device/sound card ALREADY with midi inputs n outputs...
then simply connect midi out of controller keyboard to midi in
for example, and midi out of sound device to a midi splitter box
with several midi outs . each midi out of splitter would connect to a
outboard midi sound module.
in this scenario...
controller kbd>>>sound card midi in>>>>record a midi trak in ptw.
(make sure the correct mid in driver is selected in ptw preferences.)
sound card midi out>>>midi splitter box>>>>external multitimbral sound module(s).
multitimbral sound modules audio outs>>>line mixer input>>>
line mixer output>>>>sound device line input>>>>record a audiotrak in ptw.

if...on the other hand you have a reasonably powerfull pc...
u can use softsynths. either alone or in combination with external
midi modules.
the attraction of softsynths is obvious. lots of free ones.
and thus it saves buying dedicated often expensive hardware synthesisers. but some of the expensive synths and commercial softsynths have really nice sounds. yer pays yer money (or not) n yer makes yer choice.

manning1 #3933 09/04/07 08:08 PM
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re sound deadening materials for a control room.
up further in the tips.
Russ Demussel sent me the following pm....
which i'll quote in its entirety as an option for folks to consider.

"In reading your tips about cheapo sound deadening materials I have a suggestion you might add to it. You can get foam carpet pad. It's cheap as it gets. It's usually around 4 to 6 feet wide and you can glue/staple it to the walls and cealing. That's what I've got in my sound booth. Blue carpet pad. And it is fire resistant. Very hard to get it to burn. It will melt and puts out a horrible stink when burned. but doesn't seem to flame up. Just a thought. "

manning1 #3934 09/09/07 07:49 PM
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tips...38.(sorry , been busy.)
makeing sure you can hear yourself while recording.
(and other monitoring ideas.).

a common complaint i hear from people new to recording and
this is all down often to incorrect choice of gear often or incorrect organisation sometimes.
for example a friend of mine has a little simple usb audio device for getting audio into/out of the pc.
the problem is a lot of these newish little gizmos often dont have a ton of power for powering headphones.
some do but some dont.
i think i mentioned earlier when recording tracks one should aim
for peaks of no more than -6b, and some pro engineers are suggesting that traks sound even
better if one doesnt have the best sound card convertors recording at even lower levels.
thus the temptation can be to push up the master fader in ptw to compensate and get more level going out to
whatever feeds the phones. it depends on the rig.

BUT..if u have probs hearing yourself, mebe your hooking the phones off
a sound card with a wimpy phone output for example.

therefore i suggest you consider a proper HEADPHONE AMP.
(OR use an old home stereo with a powerfull output to phones.)
in my case ive been useing a older fostex line mixer that i pulled out of
storage (from a studio i sold off.) that has a powerfull phone output.
(sometimes you find em used for 80 buks.)

the hook up would be...
sound card stereo out>>>headphone amp>>>phones.
some headphone amps let several pairs of phones to be hooked up.
usefull for jamming with friends for example.

you can even build your own how good this is...
google for more headphone amp schematics..there are lots.)

(note national also have all in one IC's that will drive speakers also if u search.
some of their all in one chips are pretty inexpensive.
but if u dont know electronics....TAKE A SAFE ELECTRONICS COURSE.)

in summary .if your haveing probs hearing yourself.
1. your sound device passes thru the signal being recorded
to the output.
2. try a reasonably powerfull headphone amplifier.
(pro audio shops that sell audio mixers normally sell them.)

let me now cover something else.
ive never done this...but thought i would mention it.
there is a huge debate currently going on tween hugh end pro
audio engineers (i'm just a songwriter..i dont profess to be a gold record
guy..i just try hard n have
about two terms ITB and OTB.

ITB = in the pc (box) mixing.
OTB = out of the pc mixing.

how do the two differ ??

for OTB normally a sound device with multiple outputs is
utilised..whereby tracks can be sent from the pc to an external mixer.
for final mixing to stereo.
(in the same way as multitrack tape machines were used in past days.)
some engineers feel a better mix is created this way.
but others feel just as good mixes can be done totally in the pc.
anyone reading this might check with pg support...cos i'm ITB.
but...its my understanding with the right sound card/device you could do OTB with
i mention this , just in case anyone is interested for example in
recording a lot of tracks in ptw....then haveing say 8 sound card outs going to 8 ins
of an external mixing console.
ie...just another possibility to consider.

in this scenario...the external mix/monitor console would create the final stereo mix
master. and of course speaker/phone monitoring would be hooked up to this mixer.

now let me comment on speakers.
for monitoring some people use just one set of speakers.
(for value for money i'm kinda partial to yorkie monitors or yorkvilles.)
but i would suggest a speaker switch being fed by a studio power amp,
that in turn can switch tween various speakers.
1. proper monitors (eg the yorks.)
2. a pair of "ratty" speakers. (YES..the problem is lotsa people have them.)
3. a mono speaker mebe. some studios use a tv speaker.
also some people chek mixes on boomboxes as lots of people have em.
(note...u can now get boomboxes fed by a usb port on the pc !).
there are many approaches.
heres an example of a speaker switcher box...
(for non powered speakers.)
(google for many other deals.)

(REMEMBER...put fast blow fuses in speaker lines...!)

simply turn off the speakers when recording with phones.
(note...try and choose monitor speakers that are shielded if your useing an old computer

(if u google youll see lots of power amps for speakers,
as well as speakers with power amps built in.)
(more to come.)

manning1 #3935 09/10/07 07:48 AM
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foam carpet pads are not actually very absorbent - mostly closed cell foam. Open cell foam works better. Auralex makes pretty expensive stuff, but there is a knock-off company in Michigan that has similar products for a fraction of the price.

Another cheap way to go is to find the used office furniture outlet in your area - find out if they are selling any of the old cubicle partitions that normally have quite high absorbent properties. If they are ugly, cover them with some light, decorative breathable fabric.


rockstar_not #3936 09/10/07 04:10 PM
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yes i'm aware of the issue with carpet pads.
i just wanted to include russels comment.
and let him have his say on the subject.
i mentioned office partitions up thread.
god bless.

manning1 #3937 09/21/07 10:01 AM
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an update.
firstly i apologise for not posting tips for awhile.
ive been rather unwell, then got flu on top. jeesh.
finally i'm getting better, but next week will be flying to uk for a month to spend time with my poor old mum.
cos i dont know how much longer i'll have her for.
thus i hope to get back to this in early november.
v v sorry/apologies.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3938 11/23/07 05:30 PM
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a usb tip.
hope this helps someone.
you get cliks or pops with a usb audio device
for recording into or playing back from ptw.
(or even in another application).
you think its ptw thats the problem right ??
read the following.
firstly check if you have other devices plugged into the usb
bus that might lock out the usb sound device.

BUT if this isnt the issue....i had probs with one usb sound device i
was testing. heres how i solved it.
and got trouble free audio.
in case you get probs ..try this.
1. ptw options>>>preferences.
2. click on the AUDIO TAB.
and up come the audio driver settings.
by useing a different setting i cured the problem and
obtained trouble free audio.

in summary i feel some folks dont spend the time understanding
the various settings in this dialogue.
therefore my recommendation is really and i mean REALLY understand what each does. cos they are important.
and u might be blaming your sound device or ptw wrongly.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3939 01/27/08 06:23 PM
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the ptw.ini file.
heres a tip to be aware of.
might help in troubleshooting.

locate the file ptw.ini useing win search.
now clik on it.
notice how the settings display ?
these are YOUR SETTINGS.
dont change anything tho'.
notice how it reflects your devices also ?

it can be usefull to peruse this file if you wish to
say troubleshoot whether a device you have installed
has a problem. for example mebe you "think" you
installed it properly but mebe in actual fact you didnt.

its just usefull to know about this file and how it might help you.
for example resolving device driver aspects.
(but dont change anything....make changes in ptw preferences.)

let me add there are various other files you can display if u clik on
em in your pt folder.(text files.)

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3940 01/28/08 04:32 AM
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the hook up would be...
sound card stereo out>>>headphone amp>>>phones.
some headphone amps let several pairs of phones to be hooked up.
usefull for jamming with friends for example.

Big thanks manning1 for all the gems in these posts.

Just chipping in with a bit of first hand experience. I have an
ART HeadAmp4 4-Channel Headphone Amplifier .

Works an absolute treat. Cannot recommend it highly enough.



mglinert #3941 01/28/08 02:39 PM
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mg..(i like mgb;s.) cheers.
re back up drives.
i'm real happy with my seagate freeagent usb back up drive i got for 90 buks. but still new.
its also got 8mb cache.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3942 02/26/08 09:30 AM
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topic..."things that go beep in the night".

you boot up n you hear "continuous beeps" coming from your system.
like a morse code type of idea.
mebe these didnt happen before but you changed your pc config somehow.
for example added real memory.

this is prolly the motherboard sending out an ERROR MESSAGE.
find out model of motherboard.
go to manufacturers web site of the motherboard n download the tech manual
on the mother board.
(or on manufacturers web siteor contact tech support.)
look in the error code section of the manual.
the "beeps" normally are a "error code".
your motherboard manual will tell you what they are.
if this happens resolve it at the earliest.

manning1 #3943 04/09/08 03:51 AM
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a little tip if your on a tight budget.
re sound devices.
i needed another little roughing out songs rig.
anyhoo to cut a long story short.
i got a toneport gx for it not expecting much .
this unit is 70 buks n frankly floored me for the money.
its a combo device. its more than just a sound device.
its a sound device/mic processor/guitar input/guitar amp emulations built in
plus mic pre emulations built in.
i expected latency.
ran a test in ptw yesterday just useing bog standard mme , no probs.
all lined up. flawless install in xp.
its an asio device but ran great in standard mme.
so i didnt bother with asio.
loaded up an old ptw project , recorded a track no probs.
even the MS synth came thru fine in the mix.
(this unit has no midi).
as always caveat emptor. do your own testing n make sure you can return
within 30 days. if a prob with your pc.
but for flawless.
it has so many fx n guitar cab emulations built in its daft.
its a lotta fun just plugging in a guitar n wailing away.
yesterday it gave me in the space of an hour 10 more new song ideas. use a pro xlr mic with it, just use a xlr>>qtr inch convertor. the way looked at ptw meters on input.
this is a low noise device.
its usb which surprised me.
count me surprised.
god bless.
ps.a tip instead of useing its phone out , plug gx stereo out into a proper powerfull
headphone amp. turn down the backing , turn up the the headphone amp when doing vocs.
i even sang thru a guitar cab emulation for some neato recorded sounds.
BUT DO YOUR OWN TESTING. what works for me might not for you.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3944 09/25/08 07:13 PM
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a really neat tool ive been playing with is..this..

why is this tool usefull ?
heres the reasons.
1. it might help you track down cliks n pops n dropouts
in your recording daw.
2. i would suggest people use it when shopping for a new system.
cos it might save you probs with a particular config.

as a benchmark my amd system has 8 microsecs which is pretty good.
what you want to see is figures in the green.
for example right now ive been helping a friend looking at laptops.
and am finding this tool is really helpfull for assessing laptops.
lots of laptops i'm finding are not measuring up.
so..particularly for laptop shoppers i suggest its use.
been testing out a audio teknica at 2020 mic i was given as a present.
this is a cheapo mic. not bad on vocs ive found.
of course you can make any mic pop if you pound it.
so if you ever get pops with this or another mic, use a pop screen with the pencil trick.

you know the story, you dont have the best room to do vocal recording in.
now there are various products one can buy to stop reflections.
quite expensive too.
so try this cheapo solution. .
take an old outside of an old computer case, or any piece of bendable metal...
and curve it sorta in the shape of a "U".
line it with some sound dampening material.
make it so the mic on a stand is sorta enveloped by it at the back and sides of the mic.
ie..the mic is within the "U" boundaries inset sorta idea.
then sing into mic.
heres another diy idea on you tube i came across.
in a similar vein.

manning1 #3945 06/15/09 11:43 PM
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Can you please compile your tips in a copiable format in your website so we can download it? Thanks!!

manning1 #3946 08/23/09 07:32 PM
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manning .... tnx for the tips ... this could help me a lot for now ...

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freakme #3947 08/26/09 05:41 AM
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heres an inmteresting tip.
hope it works for others as well as it works for moi.
normally i use top o' line akg phones for say
recording vocs.
well my dear wife got one over on
she bought me as a likle present a pr of senny ear buds
for my mp3 player. (11 buks !!)
thought nothing of it.
but being the experimental type i wondered if they could be used
into my headphone amp for tracking. instead of the akg's.
cos friends are always asking for inexpensive solutions.
well i was SURPRISED for two reasons.
1. i dont need oodles of amplification compared to akg's.
2. ive never been able to hear myself so well (my vocs)
while tracking. great clarity.
BE CAREFULL OF LEVEL. they can pack a wallop.
dont burn yer ears out.
mebe they wont work well for some folks..
but they sure do for me.
so i use em all the time now for tracking vocs.
they are senny mx160 series if i remember.
proper set up is important n monitoring etc.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3948 09/24/09 11:48 AM
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subject..expensive control surfaces and add in dsp cards.
the reason for this post is i see lots of people buying
the above for their studios..but ..
i'm not sure some buyers are aware of certain pitfalls.
in theory they sound wonderfull..but..
there are pitfalls.

before buying make sure you can get service/support
a few years down the line.

heres the issue.
these items contain a lot of custom puter chips n smt.
(surface mount technology) and are not items the individual can fix.
also the other aspect is obsolescence.
for big studios that think nothing of dropping 10k on gear
its no big deal. but for the small studio that cant afford
to keep on rebuying it is.

in summary if such a unit fails you could be left with
a doorstop if the manufacturer goes out of business
or the custom chips in the unit are no longer available.
as happened to me once.

in summary..before buying ,
ask these questions.
1. is the unit upgradeable ?
2. for how many years will the internal circuitry be available
in case a problem develops.
and how long will i be able to get service.

its not like in the old days when an op amp could be replaced
in a audio mixers channel.
this stuff is rather complex .

myself, ive reached a point where i refuse to buy any product
that contains digital circuitry unless i can be assured of upgradeability
and future service. eg will the unit work when windows 8 rolls around for example.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3949 10/02/09 05:06 AM
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powertracks..daft fun triks with the MS synth\for added drum sounds.
(for ruff quik guide traks for a real drummer for example.)
and useing pitch transpose midi music in the edit menu.
heres the gig.
notice under edit menu is fill trak with drum pattern.
for the purpose of this example...
clik SELECT PATTERN and choose rock.dp.
fill 50 bars or whatever.
play it back useing the ms synth.
sounds pretty boring does it not ??
lol...well not necessarily.
(i was showing a friend this trik recently.)
lets say you have rock.dp as track 1.
duplicate it to track 2 and mute track 1 for now.
we will now experiment with the pattern on track 2.
and as we find different beats/sound combos we will use the ptw
piano roll to transfer to free traks so they are on their own.
let me give you an example.
edit>>pitch transpose midi music
this is very important to the trik.
(tho youll prolly find more interesting experiments with positive values.)
as a start enter 1 as value. and play back.
dont like it ??
without changeing value (keep at default 1)
keep on cliking edit>>pitch transpose and ok and playback.
till you hear something you like.
or you can have fun and put any number in.
for example lets put a value = 9.
notice now the hihat sound ??
lets say we like it , how do we strip it out ??
easy. bring up piano roll . hilite the midi notes FOR JUST THE HAT.
then right clik and copy.
then in traks view clik on trak 3.
then edit>> 1 trak paste.
now we have the hi hat extracted onto its own trak 3 !!
but lets say you dont want hihat all way thru..
you would like a change in the song.
once again dupe the hihat trak..and use same trik as before .
midi transpose.
for example that hi hat trak. try a value of transpose...
value = we have STICKS !!

triks like the ones above in conjunction with midi editing
can be used to build a more interesting guide ruff drum
when you find something nice. just split the notes out onto their own trak,
of course softsynth plug in could be used also .
but the whole idea is to tart up a boring drum pattern.
nothing to stop you finding free midi drum patterns on the net,
importing them to ptw and applying the above triks on them.
for example lets say you find a nice drum roll. but the sound is boring.
see what you can do to useing the above methods to create something new.
anyway its fun !!

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3950 12/30/09 08:36 PM
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Posts: 5,063
Bumping this back up.

Sundance #3951 01/02/10 07:29 PM
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hi sundance.
happy new year.
topic... handling third party plug ins.
it seems in various daw host software sometimes people
have trouble loading a particular plug in.
sometimes plug ins can be downloaded as just a simple naked dll.
others require unzipping and.or clicking on an installer that comes with the plug in.
a typical problem ive seen friends have is after downloading a particular plug in
they cant seem to load it in their fav host daw software.

heres one reason why.
sometimes its hidden deep in the layers of a directory/file structure.
thus sometimes its difficult to find.

heres a simple solution.
instead of haveing plug ins scattered deep in a dir structure..
set up a folder on the desktop called "plug ins".
ie a central easily located folder containing your plug ins.
this way when you want to try a plug in..
you know exactly the folder it will be in ..
viz "plugins folder". or call it a unique name like
you could even set up 2 folders.
one for instrument plug ins and one for fx.
this way you will know exactly where to go to load a plug in.
so when you download a new plug in just set it up
in your central plug ins folder.

now the question becomes ..but i already have 50 odd plug ins
scattered around my system. what about them ??
do i move em all to the new plug ins folder ??
on this aspect you might want to be carefull..
cos i dont have a good answer.
mainly cos i dont know every plug in.
if the plug in was downloaded as a simple naked dll with no installer.
you should be ok moving it to the new plug ins folder.
but if it used a special installer i would be carefull.
you might ant to ask the developer of the plug in bout this aspect.
cos it might be hairy depending on the plug in and how it was registered
in windows.

something else i do re plug ins is...
if i am trying a new plug in for the first time i
try and assess how much of my pc resources it uses.
i would suggest folks be sensitive to this aspect.
i also undertake a performance test.
i look for clues like how fast does the plug in take to load and display.
and does my system seem to suddenly become much more sluggish.
after a time you sorta get a feel for this.

i personally stay away from plug ins needing dongles etc.
but thats up to the individual person whether they make that decision.
cos i dont want to get into that debate as its been debated on
various recording forums.

the other thing to be aware of is even the most powerfull
system has a limit to its resources.
it is also important to remember that if you wish to run lots of plug in instances
you should really assess your memory needs.
cos plug ins can consume lots of memory depending on how the plug ins are designed.
a typical problem ive seen is someone records a few traks and loads a few plug ins..
and gets a sense of security that all will be ok with more traks and plug ins.
please dont make this assumption.
also its important to remember that the OS itself needs memory.
in summary if you have low real memory and/or an older processor
monitor very carefull useing win task manager your processor and memory useage.
particularly problems ive seen are with systems with older processors
and 512 or 1 gig of ram. thus i normally recommend at least 2 gigs of ram.
to be on the safe side. anyhoo memory is cheap these days.
many studios with heavy plug in needs are now in fact useing much more than 2 gigs of ram.
in summary ..if you want to use lots of plug ins but have a low real memory system.
you might want to monitor carefully your memory useage.
another good clue to look out for is when the time read outs in your daw
are not as fluid as usual. and become "sticky".
this is a clue that your system might be getting under strain.

finally just cos your mate fred loves a certain plug in..still make sure
you test it on your own system.
cos for all you know your mate fred might have a super duper i7 system
with scads of fast memory while you still have an older single core system
with slower memory for example.

good luck n happy new year.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3952 01/03/10 09:17 PM
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topic. some plug ins i tried today. a heads up.
today i tested a bunch of plug ins i have here.

each month...and i suggest folks check it out..
computer music mag from
has a load of free plug in software.
my dear wife n friends occasionally get me the mag as a bday or xmas present.
from my tests every single plug in i tried loaded fine for me.
the only thing to be aware of is that SOME midi plug ins
triggered from a midi trak need changeing the midi channel.
eg i had to do that for erratic.
i suggest folks check out computer music mag
cos its very interesting the freebie plug ins they give on their dvd's included with the mag.
heres my comments bout specific plug ins ive had with various
computer music mag versions from different months.

for midi traks...
1.astralis orgone..a very wild synth ...loads of settings.
i'm no synth expert but synth freaks should try this freebie.
2.amb bass rack..bass sounds.
3.cm303..bass sounds. dominator..synth sounds etc .
note ..dominator is kinda amazeing...
actually it freaked me out...loads of stuff once again for synth freaks.
fill a trak with a drum pattern for example n try some of the dominator presets.
for rhythmic synth sounds for example.
this is a serious synth for free imho. genesis..another synth.
6.erratic cm from
a very interesting drum sample player with lots
of off the wall drum sounds included.

audio plug ins.
1. cm vocoder..very very interesting vocoder effects.
2. cm compressive martin eastwood...
an interesting comp with lots of comp settings.
compressor freaks should try it out.
for free it might just float your boat.
3. magnus ambience..lots of reverb settings.
4. tal reverb. another reverb.
5. sanford phaser cm.

in conclusion if your looking for some plug ins and are new
to recording or even a vet ..if you dont know about it..
computer music mag free dvd's that come with the mag
might have some usefull plug ins you can use in your songs.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3953 01/04/10 11:20 AM
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more on plug ins.
a situation..
so over the last few years youve downloaded lots of plug ins.
some came as naked dll's and some with fancy installer schemes.
and possibly registration and other schemes.
as a result people sometimes loose track of where their plug ins are
on their system. you might have 100 different plug ins scattered
around various foldrs etc etc and under different company names.
but your lost possibly as to where all the plug ins reside.

firstly step back for awhile.
and assess your go to plug ins.
what ive started to do is keep an inventory in a notepad file
of locations where plug ins reside.
thus if i find a new one i am gaga over i make sure i install it
to my desktop plug ins folder....
i talked about earlier.

but what about all the plug ins previously scattered
around ones system ??
how do i find out their locations ??
particularly on a system that a person might be useing not just for
song creation but also lots of other biz and family apps ??

windows search to the rescue.
in win search enter *.dll.
wait for search to complete.
cos its gonna list a ton of dll's.
not just plug in ones.

when win search is complete you will then be able to see
where the dll's are and in which dir's and folders etc etc.
A BIG NOTE. dont delete anything.
cos lots of the dll's listed are used by the win OS itself.
you will need to go down the dll list and then make notes
in your notepad plug in inventory list.
in summary dont just willy nilly start deleting dll files.
cos you might be deleting an important one.

also a note....lets say you find in your list the
"uber vintage 1953 tube emulation " dll that you had forgotten about
but you wish to transfer it to the plug ins folder i mentioned
earlier so you can use it... you might not be able to.
cos it might use a detailed installer/deinstaller/registration/
protection scheme.
you will have to assess this yourself
cos i cant cover every plug in known to man.
possibly youll have to use it from its existing location.
or go thru the hassle of uninstalling and then reinstalling
to the plug ins folder i talked bout earlier.
it depends on the plug in. if its a detailed install/register/deinstall
process it might be best to contact the creator.
worst case win dll search could bring up its location so you
can at least nail down where its located so you can use it.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3954 01/04/10 11:48 AM
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so you cant afford an i7.
whats a cheaper solution ??

well imho i7 right now is king.
a great processor.
and i predict this is the start of big moves by intel.
if your well off i say go for it.
lots of ram and two hi performance drives 7200 rpm with
32 mb cache in each. use one drive for OS
and one for tracking.

but lets say your leery on spending big money on a new system..
and anyhoo prolly a i7 mk2 will come out so your worried that
what you buy today might be replaced by something better tomorrow..
(note ..i have no inside info..just my gut telling me the i7 is the start
of a new era in computing.)
whaddya do ?? whats the strategy ??
this is sorta the predicament i'm in as of jan 2010.
i would love an i7 ...but its the total cost to my wallet.
so i'm leery.

heres an alternative to check out.
no its not an i7. but if your crafty you prolly
can get a hell of a lot done with it.
unless you go crazy on huge numbers plug ins on traks
that consume lots of processor n memory resources.

the deal right now is i feel the amd 620 quad processor.
read about it here...
99 buks.

in summary if your thinking bout a new system you might want to think
about one with this processor in for those on a budget.
remember 8 and prolly 16 and more cores are coming prolly in the next few years.
this might just tide you over and save up your buks for when
8 or 16 core processors are cheap.
as always try n run tests on any system before buying if you can.
to assess its performance for you.
another alternative is amd quad phenom or intel i5.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3955 01/24/10 06:16 AM
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useing powertraks with reaper.
i'm aware that some users use both.
so heres a couple of interesting tips.
1. powertraks plug ins can be used in reaper.
cos reaper supports dx plug ins.
and can be used with reapers own plug ins.
so you can combine things.
i like the ptraks dx plug ins cos they are low resource useage.
in reaper prefs simply scan for dx plug ins.
2. powertraks has lots of usefull midi features
that might be usefull for midi in reaper.
for example...if you notice powertraks has a feature to generate
a quik drum trak plus also a drum grid editor.
so if you want a quik midi drum trak.
use powertraks to do a quikie midi one.
then export as mid and import into reaper.
then in reaper plug in something like drumcore free to the
reap midi trak imported from powertraks for realist sounding live drums.
3. useing pg vinyl dx plug in.
altho supposedly this is for vinyl records theres nothing
to stop you useing it in reaper as a plug in on an audio trak thats
problematic , maybe for example a rough piece of music
you recorded from casstte dek.
the pg help docs have info on its useage.
might be usefull in cleaning up a bad cassette or other recording.
lastly if your recording vocs in reaper for example , try this.
make a folder trak, and various child traks for different vocal traks.
load powertraks echo/chorus plug in on the folder trak,
and record your vocs NOT on the folder trak but on the child traks.
experiment with different settings on the pg echo/chorus in conjunction with
other reaper plug ins.
now repeat with pg reverb and see what you get.
lots to discover tween useing the pg plug ins and reapers built in plug ins.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
manning1 #3956 03/23/10 04:26 PM
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couple of things to check out.
1.hard drives.
in the past ive been a heavy proponent for budget of useing
32 mb cache 7200 rpm drives for dedicated recording daw work.
cos they are cheap at 70 buks, and ive seen lots of people encounter problems with
small cache hard drives, 2 n 8 mb.
plus there is a small price diff tween 32 n 16 mb cache drives.
i notice now there are 64mb cache drives available.
eg 84 buks.
not had a chance to try em.
i'm sure we will see more.
2. cheap speakers.
my old pair of minimuses by the shack went blinkety bloo.
had em a looong time.
ive used lots of fancy hi end studio monitors in the past..but being on pension
unaffordeable to me now.
plus got various medical bills.
so ive been looking around for replacements for the shaks.

whether these will last i dunno.
worst case i'll use em to listen to mp3 player tunes.
they are a brand called edifier R1200.
power is built in. just hook em up to out
of sound device. i got em for 50 buks.
frankly i was a bit surprised when i hooked em up.
been listening to various hit cd's n my own stuff..
n for 50 buks i cant complain.
as to whether others will like em, or if they will last ..i dunno.
but for someone with a guerrilla no money recording set up.
possibly check em out.
whether they will last like the shaks for years..i dunno.
but i dont care at this
heres a fuller review.

retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.
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