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4 Track Bummers
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 2917
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 5:41 pm    Post subject: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

I've been 4 tracking lately. I started out mostly using it for demos but I'm really enjoying the workflow and sound so maybe they'll end up as the final product. Who knows.
Vocals are a Beyer M700N plugged into a Danelectro echo pedal
Piano is a little Cameo upright mic'd with a Blue Baby Bottle and BB pick-up.
Drums are an AKG D224 on OH, RE15 on snare & 664 on kick (all mixed to one track).
Everything is running through a Yamaha PM430.

The deck needs some new belts so some tunes have a bit of a wobbly feel. It'll have to get fixed but I'm kind of liking it at the moment.

Have a listen if you'd like -
https://soundcloud.com/a-david-mackinnon/sets/4-track-bummers
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floid
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 03 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:12 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

Cool
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SpencerMartin
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 27 Feb 2015
Posts: 78
Location: Akron, OH

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

Dang, awesome songwriting! Those could definitely be finals. I did have a craving to hear some tight/deadened/simple bass to really enhance the groove though. Maybe some of those classic upper range electric guitar stabs along with the snare mixed in really quietly too. Have you thought about adding anything else?
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 2917
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:30 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

SpencerMartin wrote:
Have you thought about adding anything else?


Yes and no. I'm in full on writing mode at the moment so I'm really trying to focus on the basics. The 4 track is great for that. Once it's full you can maybe add one more part while mixing down but then you're done.
When I demo to Pro Tools I have a tendency to get sidetracked with arrangements, overdubs, sounds, etc, etc. I'm trying really hard to write a tune, record a demo, mix the demo, move o to writing the next song.
I have a few ideas for extra parts, strings & horns come to mind but I'm not there yet.
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 2917
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote


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SpencerMartin
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 27 Feb 2015
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Location: Akron, OH

PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:46 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

A.David.MacKinnon wrote:
SpencerMartin wrote:
Have you thought about adding anything else?


Yes and no. I'm in full on writing mode at the moment so I'm really trying to focus on the basics. The 4 track is great for that. Once it's full you can maybe add one more part while mixing down but then you're done.
When I demo to Pro Tools I have a tendency to get sidetracked with arrangements, overdubs, sounds, etc, etc. I'm trying really hard to write a tune, record a demo, mix the demo, move o to writing the next song.
I have a few ideas for extra parts, strings & horns come to mind but I'm not there yet.


That's a smart approach - I haven't thought of it that way. It's not really a demoing process, but lately when I start recording a tune I track a bunch of different drum patterns first and move them around to create the final drum part. The problem is exactly as you described though - instead of getting the structure put together in a timely manner I instead end up tweaking the sound of them over and over again even after the point of having gotten a sound I'm happy with. Several times...

I wonder if your approach could be approximated by someone (such as myself) in Pro Tools by imposing certain limitations. No editing allowed, limited track count, limited plugs, etc. It'd be a make believe 4 track! Just minus the character, discipline, and coolness factor...
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SpencerMartin
gimme a little kick & snare


Joined: 27 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

Holy eff, I just checked out the photos. That's a dope setup!
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2015 11:59 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

SpencerMartin wrote:

That's a smart approach - I haven't thought of it that way. It's not really a demoing process, but lately when I start recording a tune I track a bunch of different drum patterns first and move them around to create the final drum part. The problem is exactly as you described though - instead of getting the structure put together in a timely manner I instead end up tweaking the sound of them over and over again even after the point of having gotten a sound I'm happy with. Several times...

I wonder if your approach could be approximated by someone (such as myself) in Pro Tools by imposing certain limitations. No editing allowed, limited track count, limited plugs, etc. It'd be a make believe 4 track! Just minus the character, discipline, and coolness factor...


I've never been able to set limits for myself in pro tools. If I can do something I will do it. A good start might be to get into sub-mixing sources. In my case with the 4 track the 3 drum mics get submixed to one track. The echo/reverb gets printed with the vocal. The 2-3 piano mics get submixed to a track.
It also helps to limit your sounds. I've got 3-4 things wired up and ready to go and I'm not really moving beyond those sources right now.
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markjazzbassist
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Joined: 25 Apr 2011
Posts: 358
Location: Cleveland, OH

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 12:00 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

sounds great! i had a teac 3340s and did the 4 track thing for a while. it was great and fun and i loved being limited. the only issue i ran into was mixing in stereo. with 4 tracks it was usually 1 left 1 right 1/2 center and 1 elsewhere. i found that mixing in mono with 4 tracks had a better sound since it wasn't so sparse in the stereo field. but to each his/her own.

bass would help too Smile but then again i'm a bassist and hunger for the low end Smile
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
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Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:22 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

That is indeed a cool set-up, and they sound real nice and streamlined, A.David.
I can hear an expansive, washy, reverb-y treatment on "The Miles from Here to Nowhere," though...

GJ
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
Posts: 2917
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:02 am    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

Reviving this slightly old thread to add a new tune to the pile.

https://soundcloud.com/a-david-mackinnon/everything-comes-apart?in=a-david-mackinnon/sets/4-track-bummers

I started doing a little bouncing on this one and managed to cram a fair amount of stuff onto 4 tracks. I'm pleasantly surprised by the results. I got the full arrangement I was after and didn't end up with a wall of hiss and noise. There might be something to this 4 track business after all.

I started with click and a scratch piano/vocal on tracks 3 & 4. Added drums on track 1 (2 EV 664's, one on kick and one as a heart/crotch mic) and drum room/chord organ drone on 2 (this was a mic in the bathroom off of my main basement recording space. The chord organ had notes taped down and was sitting on the floor of the bathroom). Next I added piano on 4, wiping out the click track. The piano has a PZM taped inside the foot panel and a Barcus Berry pick-up on the soundboard. They get mixed together to one track and I bounced the drum room/drone track to it as the piano went down. Next I added tambourine on 2 (wiping the old drum room/drone track). Then I added RMI Electra-Piano and a String Machine to 3 (wiping out the scratch piano/vocal) and I bounced the tambourine track along with the keys as they went down. Then I added the vocals and the electric guitar in the breakdown section. The vocal was done with a Beyer M700 plugged into a Dano Reel Echo pedal for slap back and then run through a Gap 73 pre (dialed in pretty hot). The guitar was played at the same time with the amp across the room and no extra micing beyond the vocal mic.
That filled up all 4 tracks and I still wanted bass so that was added during the mix.

So, on 4 tracks we have -
1 - Drums
2 - vocal and guitar
3 - RMI, string machine & tambourine
4 - Piano, drum room and drones
Bass is a bonus track added in mix down.

I kind of amazed that I managed to hang onto some small level of fidelity while bouncing. I'm pretty sure it's because I only ever had one generation of bounce and the stuff that got bounced was always secondary instrumentation/atmospherics and pretty bright to start with.
I'd forgotten how much fun this kind of recording can be. I did a lot of years on a tascam 38 and got pretty good at it but that was a number of years ago. I forgot how much planning has to go into the tracking. It's like a jigsaw puzzle.
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markjazzbassist
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Joined: 25 Apr 2011
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:07 am    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

sounds great, and great sound. i like the juxtaposition of the piano right and the string/rmi left
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Aitor
audio school


Joined: 19 Jan 2016
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Location: Spain

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:29 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

I really like it, good songs and nice feeling
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A.David.MacKinnon
mixes from purgatory


Joined: 07 May 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 10:41 am    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

markjazzbassist wrote:
i like the juxtaposition of the piano right and the string/rmi left


The RMI is a bit of a secret weapon. It sounds so shitty and uninspiring on its own but does some kind magic when it's blended into a mix. I've almost sold it a bunch of times but always end up using it for something and change my mind.
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springreverb
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 01 Jul 2011
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:34 pm    Post subject: Re: 4 Track Bummers Reply with quote

Everything Comes Apart is really nice
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