Archive: October, 2012

Practice Makes Better

Larry Crane in Tape Op:

Do people assume that the studio can “do more” for them these days? I think so. Even an artist who might scoff at highly polished, edited, Auto-Tuned “pop star” vocals might keep the concept that we can “fix everything in a computer” in his or her thoughts. Thus, in many people’s minds, the professional recording studio has become a place where magic really does happen, or at least the potential for magic could happen. But I find that most people I record really do want to hone their craft, give performances, and create compelling art. Sure, in most cases we could “get it done” with the (Pro) tools at hand, but what kind of document is that? A series of ragged performances stitched together with creative edits and pitch alteration? Why not start with a compelling performance? I can guarantee that listeners will know the difference and positively respond to the latter.

Beyond the artistic concerns Larry cites, fixing things with a computer mouse is also simply a waste of time and money (not to mention incredibly boring). Whenever I’m working with a new band or artist, I try to impress upon them that every hour they spend preparing (whether at home, in front of an audience, or even—gasp!—in private lessons) will save them at least the same amount of time in the studio. And just because it’s possible to fix things after the fact when recording in a DAW, do whatever it takes to trick yourself into thinking otherwise. I’ve always believed that the biggest sonic benefit of recording to tape comes from the commitment to performance that it demands.

All Buttons In

Chris Randall on the limits of skuemorphism:

My opinion on the matter is that when you are first presented with a piece of software, if that software’s user interface follows some real-world gear, you concentrate on the things it can’t do, or the reasons it doesn’t sound like the “real thing.” If, on the other hand, it is unique to the software, you spend your time figuring out what it can do, while you learn how to use it.

‘Lergic to Logic

Today I needed to do a couple very basic session-prep tasks in Logic Pro: consolidate a few tracks of edited audio, and convert a stereo audio file to mono. Turns out, both of those functions are impossible to do (at least in a simple, straightforward way) in Logic. I swear it took me a half hour to get through what would have taken me literally one minute to do in Pro Tools or Ableton Live. Even now that I know how to do perform those tasks, it’d still take me five times as long. In one of many Google searches I performed in my struggles, I found this gem:

i swear, put the logic developers in a room with people who actually cut records for a living for a day with a notepad and a whole lot of coffee and logic would be without a doubt the coolest goddamn thing ever invented in audio. its so close to perfection, but they always seem to aim too high on new features and wind up neglecting the basic functionality/fixing bugs.

Sounds about right.