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Do you track everything clean or print it with external effects?

Asked 1962 day 8 h | Viewed 5386 times | Updated 1892 day 12 h |

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Gravatar photo Twisted Engineer

I've mostly been an advocate of only recording audio with no eq, compression, or any other effects already applied.

What is everyone else out there doing?

Recording clean or recording modified audio?

8 Answers

  1. Answered: 1959 day 10 h (1) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoPablo Santiago

    I just would do that if I have a clear idea in my mind of exactly what I want that instrument to sound like in the final mix, so if I make it sound very "raw", I record with effects or processes inserted, but usually I record dry. What I never do, is record something mixed with the return of an effect, for example, a lead vocal with reverb or echo, because this way I can not alter the relationship between dry / wet mix and it restricts me with respect to the balance with the other tracks involved. I hope you get the idea I wrote it in Spanish and I translated it online. :)

    The other way that i'll record wet woul be in a live performance with the full band. then i'm listening somethin very close to the final result.

    • By the way that's my answer, i forget signing in....

      Pablo Santiago | Sep 18 at 08:09

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  2. Answered: 1953 day 18 h (1) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoBrian Zieske

    It depends on the project.  I usually dont record drums with compression.  If I am recording to tape I might want to do my boosting eq to tape especially in the upper Hz.  I always track vocals with compression, usually a low ratio 4:1 with slow attack and medium release time depending on the song.  Guitars and keys are always dependent on the project.

    • I think it depends a great deal on what your setup is like. It seems like many people are ignoring external gear these days. I'm all for using a good outboard compressor and/or EQ when it's available, you just can't replace analog with digital...yet.

      Justin Vencel | Sep 24 at 12:09

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  3. Answered: 1962 day 8 h (1) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoguest

    i now record drums without compression...optimising the trim for the absolout loudest transient...They sound well better then i might squash a little off disc to make them more consistent in the mix...Incidently i take out most of the low end when recording the hi hats cos theres a lot goin on down there that you dont realy need....but thats about it...:-)

    • I can see taking out some of the absolutely needed frequencies. Maybe it depends on the outboard gear you have.

      Twisted Engineer | Sep 15 at 10:09

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  4. Answered: 1960 day 17 h (1) | Permalink

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    Gravatar phototheclyde

    There are very few times I would opt to record a wet signal.  I record digital (to a Mackie SDR) and there is enough headroom to get a good signal with no clipping, even on drums, so no compression used.  Most times I have grabbed a wet signal, I have regretted it.

    If you have enough channel, see if you can grab a dry track as well as the wet track - then at least you have that if you decide the recorded effect no longer works for your mix.

    • It seems that with current technology there is fewer and fewer situations where you might want to record with effects printed to the signal. It's just too easy to add effects later and experiment.

      Justin Vencel | Sep 21 at 01:09

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  5. Answered: 1955 day 18 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoGear Guy

    With unlimited undo, massive processing power, and an almost unlimited track count, I don't see many reasons to print an effect as you record.  It's just too easy to throw plugins on and off of any track at will.  Plus most of the newer versions of DAW applications now have fairly robust funtionality built in to handle outboard effects as well.

    Unless you count "room" sound or guitar petals as an effect, I can think of another situation where you might want to do that.

  6. Answered: 1961 day 16 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoDanny Gallagher

    its really dependant on what you are doing.

    the most i ever use on pre-recording is some light compression from time to time, but usually i like to go with a clean and natural sound were possible.

  7. Answered: 1892 day 12 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar phototnjsax

    I always record clean signals that way I can adjust them later. I tend to do a lot of live recording, and I always have the mic and line paths go directly to my audio interface and then to the mixer. I've done that via splitters and the outs on the audio interface.  It all depends on what effect you want to achieve I guess. This makes me want to experiment with wet signals.  It just seems that any kind of compression on an already compressed track will just destroy the sound... although that might be a cool effect.

  8. Answered: 1889 day 14 h (0) | Permalink

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    Gravatar photoMix Master

    With the advent of limitless track count, I'll record dry and wet simultaneously if there is a doubt about an effect (phasers,flangers, etc..).  If it's an obvious effect, I'll print it in an effort to remove one of the way too many options that tend to accumulate.  I'll use Eq and compreesion when needed, but never never never anything drastic.  No more than 2-3dB of compression on anything.  You can always crush it later, but you can't undo it.  And if I find myself cranking away on an eq, I'll change the mic.

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