Old 09-23-2012, 05:40 PM   #1
mikeroephonics
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Default #^@& it, we'll do it live!!

In the last year or so, I've been using the grid & metronome less. I simply can't get the rhythmic feel I want by restricting myself to a perfectly-divided grid. The rhythm sounds like a robot and I hate it. I wanted a solution which is relatively fast and maintains a natural feel to the rhythm section.

So what I've been doing for quite some time is this:

1.) Ensure grid & metronome are both disabled.

2.) Play in a percussive rhythm live. I use MIDI but the same idea applies to live microphone inputs & audio Media Items.

3.) Decide what part of the Media Item to keep, and where it should end.

4.) Split the Media Item end precisely where the downbeat should continue. (Example: If you plan on making a 4-bar loop, play in 5 loops live and split the Media Item exactly where the 5th loop iteration downbeat starts.)

5.) Glue the newly cropped Media Item to a new take.

6.) Extend the new Media Item loop to the desired length. (Ensure the Media Item is loop-enabled by right-clicking the Media Item, Item Properties > "[] Loop source" checkbox.)

7.) Add bass guitar, etc.

Does anyone do something similar to this? No grid, no metronome, live input & looped audio or MIDI Media Items?
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:11 PM   #2
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i have experimented with almost an identical process, but if my projects involve anyone besides myself, I am finding it to be a better compromise to go back to using a click. Even if it is just for editing and punch-in reasons. I guess I have instead adapted my work-flow to still use the grid/metronome, but to make sure that I have not lost the human feel.
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Old 09-24-2012, 01:03 AM   #3
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you can play to a click but still have feel, it's all about where you place your notes against the click/grid. You can sit on top of the beat to give an urgent feel or you can sit behind it for a laid back feel, both will sound completely different but will be in time and consistent with the click.

The classic example is where a drummer places his snare, his kik and hats maybe absolutely spot on but if he puts his snare slightly in front of 2 and 4 it will sound more urgent that if he's slightly behind.




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Old 09-24-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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I almost always force bands to record without any click track. It makes it sound real and allows things to rise to the next level. If they insist on a click (with visions of editing madness ahead) I usually catch a 'rehearsal take' that ends up blowing away the beaten to death click version.

Just about any little glitch or stumble in an otherwise excellent take can be fixed with 100% perfection in a DAW. A stiff performance to a click track is useless. You can't fix that.

This is also why I like live music and prefer to record people in a live setting.

And with Reaper, I can mix live sound and bring home full multitrack and all I had to do was hit record. Life in the 21st century is good.
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Old 09-24-2012, 09:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
I almost always force bands to record without any click track. It makes it sound real and allows things to rise to the next level. If they insist on a click (with visions of editing madness ahead) I usually catch a 'rehearsal take' that ends up blowing away the beaten to death click version.

Just about any little glitch or stumble in an otherwise excellent take can be fixed with 100% perfection in a DAW. A stiff performance to a click track is useless. You can't fix that.

This is also why I like live music and prefer to record people in a live setting.

And with Reaper, I can mix live sound and bring home full multitrack and all I had to do was hit record. Life in the 21st century is good.
Another great example of music (like all art) being super-subjective. I am so much opposite of this in process, while I totally agree with the desired end result. I love the live sound and feel, but I have much better luck with almost any band if they have a click, at least the drummer. Maybe only the drummer, but I almost always have a click (unless it is something like a jazz trio)
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Old 09-24-2012, 10:31 AM   #6
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Quote:
I simply can't get the rhythmic feel I want by restricting myself to a perfectly-divided grid.
I love you man, I really do in the most manly plutonic way possible. I got no problem with anyone using a grid or playing to a click but if there is one thing I despise beyond all others is a perfect grid of notes being manipulated to try to make it sound like a person. I have several tunes that I ended up recording by playing it myself and just moving the few notes that were klunkers, muuuucccch better result. Some songs do certainly lend to a grid better than others but it is one of the ones that doesn't, grid isn't every gonna work.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:00 AM   #7
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It is possible to use a grid for SOME tracks or some parts of some tracks, while NOT using grid restrictions for other tracks, instruments. The combination of gridded and ungridded can be great.
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Old 09-24-2012, 11:16 AM   #8
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I, unfortunately, have never had the chance to work with bands who were tight enough to play without a click. What I usually did is record drums to the click but everything else playing to the drums which generally worked really well. Personally, I don't think recording along to a click is a problem for a lot of styles but more the strict editing of everything to the grid, I absolutely hate the sound of an entire band 100% gridded.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Personally, I don't think recording along to a click is a problem for a lot of styles but more the strict editing of everything to the grid, I absolutely hate the sound of an entire band 100% gridded.
Right, that's what I was pointing towards.
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msore View Post
It is possible to use a grid for SOME tracks or some parts of some tracks, while NOT using grid restrictions for other tracks, instruments. The combination of gridded and ungridded can be great.
I do it all the time by slip editing (as per some of the tutorials around here) except... I split on both sides of the hit in question before I slip the edit over. This prevents moving the entire right side of the song left/right essentially destroying what did happen to feel right on its own.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:11 AM   #11
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You can still start with a click and then record a sloppy drummer, highlight a decent part of the performance and make a timing loop of it.

Even Maschine lets you turn the grid off and make free loops, and no respectable beat maker quantizes a groove. It's heresy! But moreover many sampled beats aren't chopped to exact markers so quantizing is out without a lot of hassle time stretching.

I can play to a click and still keep my groove but can't go from one tempo to another to save my life. Most of my songs have various bpms so I do the mikeroephonics route and play something reasonable to make a tempo loop. ;D

-robo

p.s. +/- 15mS away from the beat in reference to a metronome is a "tight" drummer... human response time is avg. 250mS to visual stimuli. The force that tells everyone in the band where the next beat will land probably hasn't been researched.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:21 AM   #12
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I record to a click out of necessity, but despise it.

It is the "sound" of post 21st century "music". Extremely rigid timing.

Nobody trust themselves to groove anymore. Not even drummers; they've been brainwashed into thinking they have to do it, despite the concept totally negating their role in a "band".

Then there's drummers who think they're playing "in time", but are being beat-detected after the fact, unaware. Or just replaced entirely.

There is no subtlety in music anymore, and generations raised on this form of music have little awareness of it, aside from ascribing the word "flavor" to a James Brown loop. Completely missing the point.

I came to quite a watershed moment a few years ago, finding myself playing in a Beatles cover band. Playing to mostly boomers and older crowds, I've never gotten such detailed comments and observations of my playing before. That may have been the last generation to be able to hear "human performance"; the ones that grew up during the "hi-fi in the dorm" era. Oh well.

"Lars can't keep time". I heard that last month from a student. "But doesn't he sound like "Lars"?". Ringo sucks, too. I'd like to hear someone have the balls to say "Stewart Copeland rushes". Whatever.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:25 PM   #13
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Since I've been doing this home recording thing, I devised this plan for our band to record. We just recorded 12 songs this way, and it's working out awesome, we got both live feel and perfect timing

1. Rehearsed with a click till we were bang on
2. Recorded all the songs live about 4-5 times each
3. Take home and edit to taste. Compile the best performances and fix little timing issues. It's actually amazing how you can switch between takes and not even tell. Even on drums!
4. Go back and do vocals, solos, other various overdubs we come up with
5. Mix
6.Master

Really, really simple, and like I say it's working out great. We are on step 4. It has the live, playing together energy, and timing is great. Keys are a drummer who is bang on, keeping very similar tones and volumes, and playing basically the same parts......

Surprised more bands do not do it like this. We threw down 12 songs in 2 days.....now I have been editing for hours and hours, but it's fun in a weird way too. You can really elevate the performance even more. It's an artwork in itself.....

anyway, there you go, recording live, but still with all the modern DAWness......
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Old 09-26-2012, 07:11 PM   #14
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I too record without a click/grid to get a particular feel. I do sort of beatle like rock. Sometimes a click works with out a problem, other times it seems impossible to work against a click and a song won't "take off" properly or is relentlessly maintaining tempo. As others have said, it seems to depend on the song.

Anyway, when recording without a click/grid, sometimes I do a tempo map so I have bar lines and grid to work against, but after drums are recorded.

Tool Idea: It would be handy to have something like a grid measuring tool so I could drag between two points in time and it would show the tempo and grid divisions. This would help pick out sections where I accidentally speed up or slow down or if a note is out of time...
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Old 09-26-2012, 08:02 PM   #15
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Chip, the obvious solution is to f*ck the trends and do your own thing, unless you're recording twerps that never practice for a handsome fee.

Just like the loudness war, there should be a war on inhuman timing and autotuning.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:11 AM   #16
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I hereby grant all of my Internets to Robo.
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:56 AM   #17
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I wasted half a day trying to record acoustic guitar at 90 bpm to a looped midi drum loop , then sung over it , and it didnt feel or sound quite right . Took a 2 hour break ,Turned off the computer, took the headphones off , plugged a cheap zoom drum machine into an amp , sang and played at 90 bpm scratched head then changed it to 89 bpm and bingo . 1 bpm aint a whole lot of difference but if its not right , well its not right . This helps me with the grid and i sure as hell cant use a metronome and sing( or lip the vocals with no sound) n play at the same time , but i can over a drum loop , its just figuring out the bpm or tempo thats the hardest and getting out of those headphones for a break . Thanks for the great thread , Im gonna try and finish up on it today .
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