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manning1 #3913 08/19/07 07:12 PM
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
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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
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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Posts: 1,992
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
Post your own Tips and Tricks here
Joined: May 2005
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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
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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
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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
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 1,992
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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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Joined: May 2005
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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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Posts: 1,992
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Posts: 1,992
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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Posts: 1,992
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.

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