Thread: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

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  1. #1
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    Clown (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Sorry if I'm being a pest here, I know I'm just a bedroom guy but I really value all of your advice here as it's usually the tried & true way!

    So I've spent the weekend rebuilding my Mac Book Pro with Mountain Lion (10.8) and Logic 9. I'm recording an album with a bandmate and have been crashing and generally maxing out the CPU so this was an attempt at trying to maximise what I've got. There has been some performance gain but it still crashes despite freezing tracks etc.

    My idea therefore is to adopt a new workflow as follows:

    recording - keep it simple, as few plugins as I can get away with plus a virtual drummer (EZ drummer)

    drums - the midi drums will then be replaced with Slate or a live drummer

    mix - export all the recordings from above and drums as audio & add to a new project. Use mix busses I can then add a few instances of virtual tape and console & mix bus compressor.

    master - although I don't plan on mastering the final product I thought I could run the stems through the Slate mastering tool so it sounds good for quick sharing. This is optional.

    Is this a sensible ITB solution or batshit crazy?

    Thanks in advance!
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  2. #2
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    It is a sensible solution. I have a MBP 2010 and Cubase. Let me assume for a second that Logic runs even smoother since it's Apple's own app. I start with a quite large template running 60 tracks, lots of Slate plug-ins, 4 reverbs and a few extra vst plugs and 8 VSTi instruments. After drums and a few synths and maybe 10 audio tracks I have to go to a buffer setting of 2048 to get it run without glitches (where it will work until maxead out at about 40, audio tracks, 8 VSTi and countless inserts and 20+ group tracks and I will have to start freezing or bouncing shit). I start out with 192 for low latency drum (superior drummer) tracking.

    Your small project should run glitchlessly to the end of the world. Unless it is a Logic thing where I know shit about. And then John will come tell you he can't fix it but you should consider a 2" tape recorder instead and Jord or Otek will say something so eloquently intelligent I will go kill myself.

    But that is another story.

    Be well - P
  3. #3
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Are you guys running a 32 or 64 bit platform?
    I've got to get a damn mac and I'm looking at options. It seems like if you can get to the 64 bit platform, you can throw more memory at it and it seems to help quite a bit.

    For the same (or a little more) cost, I can get a mac mini that is almost exactly half the spec of my pc. It's so frustrating.

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    It is a sensible solution. I have a MBP 2010 and Cubase. Let me assume for a second that Logic runs even smoother since it's Apple's own app. I start with a quite large template running 60 tracks, lots of Slate plug-ins, 4 reverbs and a few extra vst plugs and 8 VSTi instruments. After drums and a few synths and maybe 10 audio tracks I have to go to a buffer setting of 2048 to get it run without glitches (where it will work until maxead out at about 40, audio tracks, 8 VSTi and countless inserts and 20+ group tracks and I will have to start freezing or bouncing shit). I start out with 192 for low latency drum (superior drummer) tracking.

    Your small project should run glitchlessly to the end of the world.
    40 tracks of audio, 4 virtual instruments plus EZ drummer and 4 FX busses - but thanks! I know it's lots of extra work this way but I figure processing audio only might go some well to help. I have yet to muck about with buffer settings as there is already some latency when tracking with EZ drummer!

    I will let you know. Or give up. Or die trying.
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  5. #5
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Are you guys running a 32 or 64 bit platform?
    I've got to get a damn mac and I'm looking at options. It seems like if you can get to the 64 bit platform, you can throw more memory at it and it seems to help quite a bit.

    For the same (or a little more) cost, I can get a mac mini that is almost exactly half the spec of my pc. It's so frustrating.

    -r
    64 bit - iirc all intel macs run either. OSX will be 64 bit unless you frig it on boot-up! Look for memory limits, 8GB seems to be the norm for laptops and mac mini's - I'd recommend 16MB at a minimum! If I had to buy over I'd get a Mac Pro tower and pimp the shiznit out of it. Good luck with search!

    Andy
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  6. #6
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Going 64 bit gave me 60% more power. I'm on 12 Gb RAM and going to 16 when I can. I went almost latency free tracking by doing a few (costly) stunts.

    1) Get a soundcard with a software monitor mixer. I got the Steinberg MR816 csx. Reverb and EQ/compressor for monitoring purpose only. (Can be recorded but I use them just to get the tracking sound perfect for the cans while retaining the pristinity(?)).

    2) Get an rack synth. I'm getting a SM pro audio V-machine - here's the nifty part. Go MIDI in from a keyboard. Go from V-machine to the computer. Now you have a synth with virtually no latency. Route the synth output to the latency free soundcard monitor mixer. It is just for monitoring - you don't record this. Record the MIDI coming in to the DAW instead. Now you listen to the outboard synth while recording the MIDI. When recording is ready you can listen to the MIDI through any software synth in the DAW. Just choose a similar sound on the rack synth when you record.

    This mean you can keep the DAW at 2048 buffer setting while squeezing out every horsepower form the DAW and at the same time being able to record both audio and VSTi without latency. If the rack synth has MIDI thru it's even simpler. Keyboard->Rack->soundcard MIDI.
    Last edited by Knastratt; December 8th, 2015 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Oboglobesismisticality
  7. #7
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    First and foremost: are you running your audio from an external drive? That's a biggie. It must be 7200rpm or SSD, and not via USB 2.

    I'm on a 2009 iMac, dual 3gHz, 12GB RAM. I can run biggish projects at 64-256 sample buffer (48kHz) in REAPER. Up to 70 tracks, but not all simultaneously.

    I freeze everything religiously, except Superior Drummer (but that is running with minimal sample layers and bleed until each "mic" gets frozen to audio before mixing).

    For the composition/tracking phase I have the absolute minimum going on. No compression, EQ or reverb, only what is necessary for the music - so the occasional delay or flanger or whatever. But anything that is added, like virtual amps or whatever, gets frozen too.

    The cool thing about REAPER, other than having the lowest processing overhead of any DAW software, is its lookahead buffer, which minimises glitches when the playhead comes across new audio regions. You can also add inserts to frozen tracks, so its easy to freeze something, then add another insert or two, then freeze it again, ad infinitum.

    Once all tracking/programming is done, then tracks get consolidated and frozen again. I up the buffer to 1024 samples and mixing can begin, after doing a "save as..." to a new file name. During mixing, everything except for fx sends gets frozen too, except for when altering inserts or if it is a problematic track and I know I'll be fiddling with it a lot.

    I haven't used Logic since version 8, so I don't know if you can do the "freeze stacking" that I use a lot.

    Edit: another couple of things; only have software instrument tracks record armed of you are actually recording something, and (for tracking at least) set your preferences so that muted tracks don't use CPU - then you can track with just the other tracks you need if you have to use software monitoring.
    Last edited by Rev. Juda$ Sleaze; December 8th, 2015 at 03:50 AM.
  8. #8
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    If you're planning on using a live drummer to replace the MIDI drums, why not use him from the get-go and save all that overhead?

    Of course that does require having the song and arrangement actually written in advance...
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

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    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    If you're planning on using a live drummer to replace the MIDI drums, why not use him from the get-go and save all that overhead?

    Of course that does require having the song and arrangement actually written in advance...
    If there was a real drummer waiting in the wings, I'd use the programmed drum version as just a mock-up, then record the rhythm section (or as many parts as possible) without a click and re-record everything with the live drums. But then, I always prefer music with a bit of natural tempo variation... but I don't think I'm in the majority.
  10. #10
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    If you're planning on using a live drummer to replace the MIDI drums, why not use him from the get-go and save all that overhead?

    Of course that does require having the song and arrangement actually written in advance...
    Therein lies the rub! We're (bandmate and I) are on year two of a 6 month album project that he's writing (I'm engineer, co-produca and occasional guitar!). We're using midi drums to get things moving from a song writing point of view and may use the drummer for the more complex stuff but EZ drummer is good enough to provide a 'beat' instead of a click (don't ask).

    I'm not pushing and he's not shoving, so far it's working!
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  11. #11
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    First and foremost: are you running your audio from an external drive? That's a biggie. It must be 7200rpm or SSD, and not via USB 2.
    Nope everything's on the Internal SSD. I have frozen tracks but ultimately I think it comes down to trying to record/mix/master in the same project. Especially when we keep revisiting songs every few months!

    Thanks for all the replies.
    shut up and play yer guitar...
  12. #12
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Therein lies the rub! We're (bandmate and I) are on year two of a 6 month album project that he's writing (I'm engineer, co-produca and occasional guitar!). We're using midi drums to get things moving from a song writing point of view and may use the drummer for the more complex stuff but EZ drummer is good enough to provide a 'beat' instead of a click (don't ask).

    I'm not pushing and he's not shoving, so far it's working!
    Maybe you're not ready to start serious recording yet?
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????
  13. #13
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    I guess the short version of what I meant would be: "even a seemingly weak computer can, with the aid of a small sum of money and some thinking, be used as a powerful recording tool".
  14. #14
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Maybe you're not ready to start serious recording yet?
    Point taken - when does that begin

    Andy
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: (Batshit crazy) Workflow.

    Point taken - when does that begin

    Andy

    Good question.... perhaps your projected timescale is too ambitious?

    Working by yourselves that's really easy to do - I had a "nine month" project that took five tears. And by the time it was done we'd moved on significantly from what the original vision was.
    http://www.johnnyoklahoma.com/

    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    Everything is some mixture of awesome and suck. We simply want the awesome to be highlighted sufficiently that it distracts listeners from the suck.
    Originally Posted by Bob Ohlsson
    The appropriate role for science is the study of observed phenomena to gain an understanding. It is not dictating what people ought or ought not to be observing.
    Hey, if I'm Grumpy, where the hell is Snow White????

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