Self recording brings out the OCD I didn't know I suffered from...

Cauldronics

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Lots of good advice in this thread.

Ear fatigue is real. So is brain fatigue. I did a marathon session a couple years ago tracking 15 or 16 songs, 1 or 2 takes each. Then, I helped mix the tunes that same day. When I listened back with fresh ears the next day, the first songs to be mixed sounded pretty good. All the "later" mixes were super harsh with way too much high end. Why? Because of ear fatigue. We couldn't "hear" the highs because of exhaustion deafness.

You aren't doing yourself or your band any favors at all. Send in the first 2-3 takes and get feedback. Most likely, everybody will be thrilled with them.
Another note about ear fatigue to follow up on the good advice here:

Listening at lower levels than what’s “fun” or more pleasing will extend how long you can go before ear fatigue sets in. I was offered the advice by more than one professional mixer who said that keeping the speakers at moderate conversation level achieves this. It results in a better mix, to boot. The level shouldn’t change much, and when it does it shouldn’t be for long, and it should go back to the reference level.

I don’t imagine this will hold up through an entire day of recording and mixing, but it should allow for better results without burning the candle at both ends in the same long day.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Some more good points being brought up.

I don't concern myself with listenner fatigue that much. When listenning back, I don't blast the volume until I have found one take that grooves to my liking, then I will listen to it once or twice a bit louder in a rough mix context.

I track with in-ear monitors and set the volume of those a good 8-10 db lower than the average acoustic practice level. The mids and highs in my IEM's are somewhat subdued and the bass a bit boosted wich is good to preserve hearing and still getting a good thud from the kick. I usually reference with some closed backs Senheisers that tend to be on the brighter side, so I know right away if I was off with my mic placement or my processing.

I don't usually do any mixing on my own, my brother who's also in the band, owns a nice studio with tons of outboard gear, so he does, and I'll go lend an ear and twist a few knobs from time to time.

But here is a goodie he lent me for tracking my drums, I just got it plugged in yesterday: 8 channels of sweet sweet Phoenix saturation.
20210308_230121.jpg


Maybe I'll try expanding from my current 4 mics setup. Although I love the tones I'm getting at the moment.
 

Wenindowt Role

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My band and I are in the midst of recording an album each from his own house. I've always been a pretty loose kinda guy and I like un-sanitised, organic feeling music, warts and all. Wich is pretty much what this band is about.

But now, being alone at the helm, with no producer or buddy to tell me when we're "close enough for Rock n roll" I'm kinda getting lost in chasing that all elusive "perfect play-through take".

Whatever that means...

I've spent most of the last 2 weeks loop recording for hours on end every day, doing well over a hundred takes per song. And these aren't intricate fusion chop-fests either, they're pretty straight forward country-rock-ish 4/4 songs. And yet... View attachment 488255 Maybe I'm trying to compensate for a bad case of impostor syndrom (for a bit of background info on me and my band, you can check out this post in a previous thread) https://www.drumforum.org/threads/5-days-studio-retreat.177041/post-1992406

All this with only extremely minor variance between takes. I KNOW this, and yet, I just don't get up to press Stop for hours and I end up playing myself to freaking exhaustion just so I can say that I've played all my parts without edits. Next one's gonna be THE ONE!!!

But there's always a bum hit, an ever-so-slightly rushed or late fill... Minor goofs like the ones peppered throughout all those wonderful old school recordings I hold dear, despite (and often times because of) the imperfections.

All in all just small errors or discrepancies that would probably be burried in the music if we were playing live together, or that could very easily be edited out. But since I'm playing alone, often with just a click and guide bass/guitar tracks, there is nothing to hide behind. And I can't shake off the urge to do the "absolute best" I can. Even if my joints are now protesting my over-zealous dispositions...

Anybody had any similar experience, difficulty with self-policing and letting go while recording themselves?
Well, there's no law that says you cant all be playing together while recording a specific track, you'll need headphones and a monitor mix plug in for your computer. As for the rest of your concerns, My guess is you will never be satisfied. Not because of your drumming, the song or maybe even your recording (depending on what you are expecting/ intend on utilizing it for).The main reason is you've only got one head and you're wearing too many hats. You sing as well, right? Also, if you're playing along to scratch tracks or only a click its not only tough to feel inspired but fully present and firing on all 8 cylinders playing the arrangement and concerning yourself with the actual drumming, the elements of your kit, its tuning/ sound, the intended recorded 'drum sound' including the room's character, mic selection, placement, judicious EQing, mebbe a splash of reverb or delay, some tasty compression, all this combine to make a drum track fit comfortably and sound full and balanced within a recording. It's a tall order without experience (making all the mistakes beforehand) or preferably, bringing in someone who already has. You tube and tutorials are helpful in the way a roadmap is, you're less likely to get lost but your intended destination and how great the drive was is another story. Plus, with someone dedicated to the recording who doesn't mind passing on some of what he/she's learned, it makes for a much more enjoyable, creative, and productive environment.You can take the time to flesh out fills, subtlety and dynamics, the overall approach to your part recording-wise as opposed to the constrictions of a live arrangement. You'll be exposed to alot of ideas/ options you likely wouldn't have considered otherwise. I once recorded a roots americana track with wire brushes, a Los Angeles telephone book, some thin mismatched hihats and a 14“fl tom on its side pointed into a cardboard box while my DWs and Horst Link Sonor Signature sat idle. This collection of stuff sounded awful but a large diaphragm and vintage ribbon mic, some 50s era savvy and a pleasant piece of sonic real estate in the final mix brought the magic. I think you've got an interesting concept going having individual bandmembers involved in the process of tracking /recording their own tracks . Make it easier on yourselves and get the satisfaction and outcome you deserve by enlisting someone to corral it altogether, turn potential frustration and doubt into a productive effort with some skills under your belt as a bonus, then from then take it as far as you want. I started recording because I couldn't stand the drum sound little 'demo' studios gave me back when...
 

Wenindowt Role

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Another note about ear fatigue to follow up on the good advice here:

Listening at lower levels than what’s “fun” or more pleasing will extend how long you can go before ear fatigue sets in. I was offered the advice by more than one professional mixer who said that keeping the speakers at moderate conversation level achieves this. It results in a better mix, to boot. The level shouldn’t change much, and when it does it shouldn’t be for long, and it should go back to the reference level.

I don’t imagine this will hold up through an entire day of recording and mixing, but it should allow for better results without burning the candle at both ends in the same long day.
[/QUOT
Some more good points being brought up.

I don't concern myself with listenner fatigue that much. When listenning back, I don't blast the volume until I have found one take that grooves to my liking, then I will listen to it once or twice a bit louder in a rough mix context.

I track with in-ear monitors and set the volume of those a good 8-10 db lower than the average acoustic practice level. The mids and highs in my IEM's are somewhat subdued and the bass a bit boosted wich is good to preserve hearing and still getting a good thud from the kick. I usually reference with some closed backs Senheisers that tend to be on the brighter side, so I know right away if I was off with my mic placement or my processing.

I don't usually do any mixing on my own, my brother who's also in the band, owns a nice studio with tons of outboard gear, so he does, and I'll go lend an ear and twist a few knobs from time to time.

But here is a goodie he lent me for tracking my drums, I just got it plugged in yesterday: 8 channels of sweet sweet Phoenix saturation. View attachment 489016

Maybe I'll try expanding from my current 4 mics setup. Although I love the tones I'm getting at the moment.
Excellent to have another pair o
Some more good points being brought up.

I don't concern myself with listenner fatigue that much. When listenning back, I don't blast the volume until I have found one take that grooves to my liking, then I will listen to it once or twice a bit louder in a rough mix context.

I track with in-ear monitors and set the volume of those a good 8-10 db lower than the average acoustic practice level. The mids and highs in my IEM's are somewhat subdued and the bass a bit boosted wich is good to preserve hearing and still getting a good thud from the kick. I usually reference with some closed backs Senheisers that tend to be on the brighter side, so I know right away if I was off with my mic placement or my processing.

I don't usually do any mixing on my own, my brother who's also in the band, owns a nice studio with tons of outboard gear, so he does, and I'll go lend an ear and twist a few knobs from time to time.

But here is a goodie he lent me for tracking my drums, I just got it plugged in yesterday: 8 channels of sweet sweet Phoenix saturation. View attachment 489016

Maybe I'll try expanding from my current 4 mics setup. Although I love the tones I'm getting at the moment.
Excellent idea having another pair of trusted ears when mixing. Different sets of speakers for playback is something I learned from post production audio sweetening. I cannot understand mixing to headphones AT ALL.
E]
15—16
 

scaramanga

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And again, dcrigger for the win.

The further along I got in my production/engineering career the more I realized that there is no record without a great drum take. And so, the further along I got in my production/engineering career the less I was able to play drums in the studio. All I can think about is how important my next kick note is to the success of the entire project everyone is counting on me oh my god I am wasting their time I want to die!

Wait a day or two, edit the worst out of your recording, wait a day or two, and listen.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Well, there's no law that says you cant all be playing together while recording a specific track,
Well, but there litterally IS: We live in Canada, 2 of the boys live in a different province still currently under an inter-provincial travel ban, otherwise we'd be doing this all together for damn sure...

Your comment on hiring outside personnel would be justifiable in other circumstances. I understand most people just skim over text-heavy threads like this so, sorry if I repeat myself, but we have everything we need internally, in terms of gear and expertise for this to work. Everybody's got a great space and a few good mics. Two of our bandmembers have full fledged studios. Of the two, one is my brother and he's a full-time film/TV score composer and record producer. His studio is a smorgasbord of world class hardware audio gear, a litteral dream list for any recording enthusiast: 1176's, LA-2's, LA-3's, Neve 1073 and 1084 strips, Neve 2254 comps, Shadow Hill mastering comp, distressors, Fatsos, 16 channels early 70's Electrodyne mixing board, plus a slew of other "colorful" preamps and vintage mics... We got the "assembling the pieces back together with MOJO" covered allright.

As I said, recording each from their own home is about Plan D. Originally, we were supposed to be recording live all the 5 guys in the same room. That was Plan A.

But as the travel restrictions tightened up at the beginning of this stupid second wave, we had to adapt. So we pivotted to doing it from my brother's place for the 3 local guys and the 2 away guys would work from the other band member's studio (wich is in their province). That fell through as well due to my brother booking 2 back to back Film soundtracks this spring. It monopolized most of his daytime schedule and our whole area is under a very crappy 8pm curfew, no "non-essential" night shifts allowed...

So I had no choice but to be ressourceful if we want this album to see the light of day. Recording drums is something I've wanted to learn to do on my own for a while anyway, so nothing is wasted here. I might feel overwhelmed every now and then, but in the "overwhelming" department, twisting knobs and hitting tubs is pretty manageable versus other forced adaptations.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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And again, dcrigger for the win.

The further along I got in my production/engineering career the more I realized that there is no record without a great drum take. And so, the further along I got in my production/engineering career the less I was able to play drums in the studio. All I can think about is how important my next kick note is to the success of the entire project everyone is counting on me oh my god I am wasting their time I want to die!

Wait a day or two, edit the worst out of your recording, wait a day or two, and listen.
I totally agree that Crigger is pretty much always on-point and his answers are very well thought-out, this one is no exception.

I'm definitely lightening-up my approach to the project and will try to focus more on the "is it groovy" part of the equation more than any other consideration.

P.S. I'm a huuuuge Bond fan and The man with the golden gun is among my favs. I love your nickname...
 

JonnyFranchi$e

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I totally agree that Crigger is pretty much always on-point and his answers are very well thought-out, this one is no exception.

I'm definitely lightening-up my approach to the project and will try to focus more on the "is it groovy" part of the equation more than any other consideration.
IS IT GROOVY?

Yes.
 

Evdoggydog15

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Drummer/producer here ..sounds like you aren't playing to enough tracks. A click and a guide track? Nope. Drums are a reactive instrument. You need context. My advice ..get the drums close to complete. Get bass, guitars and percussion, scratch vocals on there. Come back and do the drums. The idea that everything needs to build off a final drum take is a fallacy.
 

DamnSingerAlsoDrums

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Drummer/producer here ..sounds like you aren't playing to enough tracks. A click and a guide track? Nope. Drums are a reactive instrument. You need context. My advice ..get the drums close to complete. Get bass, guitars and percussion, scratch vocals on there. Come back and do the drums. The idea that everything needs to build off a final drum take is a fallacy.
You are 100% correct!

That's pretty much the way it's shaping up now. The first 3 songs were more arduous because not everyone was up to speed and the tracks took forever to come in. On a few songs I jumped the gun and added dummy basses and guitars that had a bit more mojo myself to give me some energy.

We then had a good talk all the guys together and we agreed to all be more diligent. We now start the songs with more "meat on the bone". My brother and I belong to the "get it as close to the real deal from the get-go" school of thought. Meaning: if we do a guide track, we'll use full blown pimped-up tones and play like it's a keeper, because in the end, it very well might be. Tracks with great tones and intent are way more inspiring to play on... The other 3 don't usually work that way so there was a bit of adjustment.
 

Evdoggydog15

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You are 100% correct!

That's pretty much the way it's shaping up now. The first 3 songs were more arduous because not everyone was up to speed and the tracks took forever to come in. On a few songs I jumped the gun and added dummy basses and guitars that had a bit more mojo myself to give me some energy.

We then had a good talk all the guys together and we agreed to all be more diligent. We now start the songs with more "meat on the bone". My brother and I belong to the "get it as close to the real deal from the get-go" school of thought. Meaning: if we do a guide track, we'll use full blown pimped-up tones and play like it's a keeper, because in the end, it very well might be. Tracks with great tones and intent are way more inspiring to play on... The other 3 don't usually work that way so there was a bit of adjustment.
Nice ..sounds like you are figuring it out. Even with a click, the placement of the snare and kick is relative to everything else. You want to be around the grid but certain sections will vary. Trying to find that pocket without other well played and performed to play to is VERY hard. Also try doing 5 takes in a row all the way through and examining each take section by section. I guarantee each take will have a different feel and placement..comp from there. If other players need to re do parte to better match you, so be it!
 


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