Album Challenge: Post 14 Production List

Summery: Here is a list of production tips that have worked for me. Just jutting them down as a reminder. This list isn’t static. I’ll be updating it as I discover new ideas.

Drums: (I’m using BFD2 but these ideas aren’t specific to BFD imo)

  • Humanize velocity. When I do this the drums have more excitement… human quality? I wonder if differences in velocity can be perceived as timing variations? I’m using the global BFD parameter here. Not sure if you can do it per drum unless you use the grooves page.
  • Add swing timing. Sometimes I like this. Other times it doesn’t work at all.
  • Dry drums: Try dry hi-hats with the quickest decay. Try dry snare direct mic. Don’t use ambient mics at all. Ambiance can take up a lot of mix space.
  • Velocity to dynamics: Try setting at 100% for lots of dynamic variation.
  • Try adding my acoustic kit a la Beastie boys low-fi drums.

Vocals:

  • Use the sm7
  • Double the voice. You might have to do many short takes to get spot on doubles. As a variation try recording at different distances or with a different timbre to the vox.
  • Instead of moving the mic off axis to reduce high end leave the mic parallel with the floor and sing off axis.
  • Get a good monitor mix with non-boomy headphones. Hearing a good mix is important for the performance.
  • Set the compressor up for normalized audio. Record several takes, explode in place, normalize, add compressor.

Bass:

  • Play a real bass. It just sounds better. A real performance has more interesting articulations.
  • Add some transistor type distortion. This adds high end that is harmonically related.
  • Record at half time. This allows me to play faster stuff I normally can’t. When played back at normal speed it doesn’t sound quite the same as real time playing but it’s a sound.

Piano:

  • Vary the rhythm.
  • Vary the accents.
  • Add the sustain pedal. This gives things a certain dissonance that works on some songs.

Acoustic Guitar:

  • Strings can be muted with things like a paper towel. This gives a soft puckish sound.
  • As for vox leave the mic static and rotate the guitar to get the right balance for the song.
  • Try hard panned doubled performances of simple strummed chords.

Effects:

  • Try using the vox as a pad a la “Terrible Doubts”. Use massive delay as I repeat phrases/sounds on the mic
  • Remember I can capture any sound routed through my sound card. Think “found internet sounds”. Cntr clicking on the output channels will route them to my DAW.
  • Autotune can be used to slowly pitch up anything with a stable pitch. It can used to pitch a sample to several different notes to follow a chord progression.
  • The reverb in my bathroom sounds very good on some things. Try committing to some of my house reverbs. A portable recording device can be used to monitor the song (Zoom recorder).  That way I don’t have to lug my whole rig, mics, cables.
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