Thread: NARAS DAW Guidelines

Results 1 to 20 of 40

  1. #1
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Thumbs Up! NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Opening a DAW session can sometimes reveal a jumble of tracks that can take awhile to untangle. And this can even be true of our own sessions we haven't seen in a few months. In the past, engineers could open a reel of two inch + go to work after quickly glancing at a track sheet. With DAW sessions that's usually not the case. These guidelines intend on making it that easy, if not easier, and without intentionally reinventing the wheel. They're simply adapted versions of common practices used with tape applied to DAWs.

    The guidelines debuted as a part of my Hard Disk Life mixing series in 2002. Since then, the Technical Subcommittee of the Florida P+E Wing of NARAS worked hard to extensively update, expand + improve them. They were then reviewed by the national members of NARAS, and we received many excellent suggestions which were incorporated. The resulting guidelines are based on the input of some of the most experienced engineers + producers in the industry, including Roger Nichols, Bob Ludwig, Tony Maserati, Mick Guzauski, Eric Schilling + William Whittman to name a few, and representatives from most of the major DAW manufacturers.

    When followed these guidelines can eliminate much confusion for all operators, provide answers to anticipated questions, solve certain problems before they arise, and shorten the time between when an operator opens a session and when they are able to go to work.

    A lot of work + research went into creating these guidelines + making them useful + applicable to nearly all DAWs. They're specifically designed to apply to Cubase, Digital Performer, Logic, Nuendo, Pro Tools, + Sonar. But they should also apply to nearly every DAW out there. Please let me know if something in them doesn't make sense with your platform.

    And a huge THANK YOU to all of our very talented contributors who worked so hard to make these guidelines a reality: Chuck Ainlay, Carlos Alvarez, Judson Coplan (Apple), Vincent di Pasquale, Frank Filipetti, Trevor Fletcher (Criteria/Hit Factory), Scott Garrigus, Gil Gowing (Digidesign), Don Gunn, Bob Hunt (Apple), Jim Morris, Tom Morris, Roger Nichols, Greg Ondo (Steinberg), David Rosenthal, Eric Schilling, Ron Taylor, Steve Thomas (Cakewalk), Alex Westner (Cakewalk).


    Here are the DAW Guidelines for Music Production:

    Full Version (PDF)

    Short Version (PDF)

    Thank you for downloading them.

    We hope they help you as much as they've helped all of us who use them.

    ---------------------

    And while your over @ grammy.com, check out the rest of the P&E Wing's excellent Guidelines, Recommendations + Session Documentation for Producers and Engineers here. Awesome stuff.
    Last edited by Charles Dye; October 10th, 2008 at 05:50 AM. Reason: new links update
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  2. #2
    A Top 10 Beaver Licker Grumpy young man
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Nouvelle Zealande
    Posts 1,941
    Rep Power 2500000000

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Charles, Fantastic!

    I could only dream that the sessions I receive for mix were arranged in the way described in the guidelines. Even in a way APPROACHING the guidelines! I am also glad to know that I am not the only person who lays out their sessions in such a way that they could be picked up by anyone (including my forgetful self) and be quickly usable.

    Keep up the awesome work!
  3. #3
    Join Date Dec 2006
    Location Vancouver, Washington
    Posts 1,165
    Rep Power 536871077

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    I've always thought these were logical and extremely useful
    from the first time I saw them in Hard Disk Life. I find that it's
    been most helpful in keeping me organized, forget everyone
    else.

    Even if you never deal with another living soul in your studio,
    check these out for yourself!

    Thanks again Charles!
    Allen 'Big Al' Wagner
    My Recording Studio: http://BigToeStudio.com
    My Bliggity Blog: http://HomeStudioGuru.com
    My Podcast: The Project Studio Network Podcast

    "I don't care if you got 90 tracks, what does it sound like, baby?" - Ray Charles
  4. #4
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location near the river
    Posts 110
    Rep Power 236

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Ever since I found them on HDLife I've adhered strictly to them.

    I wish someone would do the same for.omf exports.
  5. #5
    Martini Drinker Van Morrison's enunciation coach
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Posts 3,209
    Rep Power 2500000000

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    OK, so that makes 5 of us.


    Yeah, the sessions I get sometimes...you'd think it was done on purpose, just for spite.

    There's a LOT to be said for the ethic of making work easier for those downstream.
  6. #6
    wardrobe malfunction investigator Can't buy me love...considering rental options.
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Pittsburgh, PA, USA
    Posts 30
    Rep Power 20476

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Make it 6.

    After receiving the nightmare of all PT sessions from a client once, I've started forcing the clients that bring/send me PT sessions to read and adhere to this as closely as possible when they first agree to work with me on a session.

    I've even opened sessions of mine from before I started using those guidelines and thought "What the ever-living hell?", and usually spend way too much time trying to figure out where everything is.

    The guidelines eliminate all confusion (ok well, most), save time, and generally make life better. Thanks so much to you and the rest of the people who developed them, Charles.
  7. #7
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    You're very welcome, SG + everyone. I share the credit for these guidelines with the entire committee that created them. They all put in a lot of time + we all appreciate your thanks.

    Thank YOU for using them + encouraging others to as well.
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  8. #8
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hell's Sink
    Posts 404
    Rep Power 536871053

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    There's one thing in the guidelines that I might like to see differently... As an ICON user, I just always try to keep the track names in less than 6 characters, and omitting all playlist suffixes in the "keeper" track... IMHO the comments field could also be used to extrapolate the info if it's not self-evident.

    Of course some folks have to make do with even less chars, and many don't use a control surface. Oh well...
  9. #9
    Surfing the net at work every day! Wipes with both hands
    Join Date Feb 2007
    Location west wales
    Posts 329
    Rep Power 134218016

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Great idea,

    Very easy to leave a cluttered session build to a pile of randomness.

    I use the comments box all the time, I rarely pass on my material to others but the comments filed is really good for notes such as efx ideas, to do lists etc.

    I always find that the more i use these the easier it is once i get back to a session after a few months.
    "I spent my first 20 years learning to paint, and the rest of my life trying to paint like a child" - pablo picasso

    www.westwalesgothic.co.uk
  10. #10
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    I always find that the more i use these the easier it is once i get back to a session after a few months.
    Absolutely. I use them myself for the exact same reason.
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  11. #11
    Ducked in here to avoid the paparazzi Dated Paris Hilton before she was a tramp!
    Join Date Feb 2007
    Location Sacramento, CA
    Posts 27
    Rep Power 216

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    It occured to me that I could actually pass on a session and have someone think I might know what I'm doing... , but seriously it's great to have a standard that puts everyone on the same page. I've already shared this with others, and all have been greatful.

    Thanks again to Charles and the rest.
    Thanks again

    D.Michaels
  12. #12
    Quantum Psychic Passed out in public restroom
    Join Date Jan 2007
    Location Jefferson State
    Posts 240
    Rep Power 536871045

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Maybe I'm a lame brain or maybe it's too obvious.
    Where is the Pro Tools Session Info Doc kept??
    Within the session?
    Is it under:
    File>Get Info...?


    BTW I was traveling the last two days and read the whole thing cover to cover on the plane.
  13. #13
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Re: DAW Session Guidelines

    Nope. It's not you it's me... sorry, dood. (I put an update in the 1st post.)

    Actually, the Session Info doc isn't available, but we're working on an update that is way cooler.

    Can't explain just yet, but as soon as I can I'll let all of you know about it here 1st.


    DAW Guidelines Update...

    We've pretty much completed the DAW Universal guidelines (a big document), and we're now working on the platform specific guidelines (a smaller subset of documents to address specific unique aspects of various DAW platforms).

    We're also adding some new things to the universal guidelines, including FTP suggestions. If any of you think there are some other elements you'd like to see in the guidelines that weren't in the orig PT doc, please post them here.

    Thanx!
    Last edited by Charles Dye; March 13th, 2007 at 04:25 AM.
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  14. #14
    wardrobe malfunction investigator 329 M/S Hen=Mock Chicken!
    Join Date Apr 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts 39
    Rep Power 65094571

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Hi Charles,

    Looking forward to the new guidelines One suggestion I would like to see is a very simple one page (literally one page) showing an overview of folder structure and layout, with possibly a one line description of each. Giving that to people I work with would be a godsend for keeping sessions organized without them feeling like they had to visit the bathroom armed with some heavy reading material

    e.g.

    Artist Folder
    + Song Folder
    |_+ Song Name-MST
    |_+ Song Name-Vocal SLV
    |_+ Rough Mixes
    |_+ Final Mixes
    |_+ .... etc

    + Song Folder2
    |_+ Song Name2-MST
    |_+ Song Name2-Vocal SLV
    |_+ Rough Mixes
    |_+ Final Mixes
    |_+ .... etc
  15. #15
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Thanks!!

    I'll bring that to the committee.

    Makes sense to me.
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  16. #16
    wardrobe malfunction investigator 329 M/S Hen=Mock Chicken!
    Join Date Apr 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts 39
    Rep Power 65094571

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Thanks Charles
  17. #17
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location near the river
    Posts 110
    Rep Power 236

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    There's a little issue I have faced regarding workflow when producing/engineering a project that I'd like to get a clearer view of.

    Let's say that I have this song, let's call it "Truth", so I (the Producer/Engineer) started by making my Truth-MST file with a proper tempo map and the different optionals I might like to add (reference material, a stereo bounce of the demo, etc). Then what? I usually keep working on the Truth-MST session for the duration of the drum tracking. After the drum tracking I make my edits and whatnot and then I make a new take with the consolidated edited drums and keep working on that, so I guess I might say, I don't make a Truth-SRC session until after I'm done with drum editing and comping and I'm ready to do the bass (or ac. gtr or tambourine or whistle, whatever)-when I will remove the unneeded tracks and soundbytes before continuing. Why am I saying this? I'll tell you why, because just today I found myself finishing the comping and editing of a drum track for a song that is 8:30 minutes long and although I use incremental backups somehow my session got corrupted and now I can't seem to get it open. I have the original drum session track, but that is without any editing, so I just lost a day and a half of editing and it was really discouraging to find that I can't open any of the backup session files either. So I'm faced with the only possibility of just redoing the whole comping based on my tracking documents and then the editing. And I just feel that it would be more forgiving to use an additional Truth-SRC session for the drums and any optional backup sessions (labeled Truth-SRC1, Truth-SRC1.1., Truth-SRC1.2 etc) based on that drum session and THEN just import the finished consolidated drum tracks to the Truth-MST session, that way in the event of a session corrupting gremlin, your >Truth-MST track would be safe. Imagine this situation, if I had kept working on the Truth-MST with all of the tracking sessions and it had gotten corrupted on the percussion session, or keys overdubs.

    Maybe I just hadn't understood the workflow suggested by these guidelines, and I just made my own spit bowl. That's why I ask what do you guys think and how do you manage incremental source sessions, and the whole she-bang.
    Last edited by Baddo; August 15th, 2007 at 08:14 AM. Reason: typos
  18. #18
    wardrobe malfunction investigator 329 M/S Hen=Mock Chicken!
    Join Date Apr 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts 39
    Rep Power 65094571

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Looks like the new docs debuted at AES if the good word of Mix magazine is anything to go by.
    Are they available for download yet?
  19. #19
    Join Date Nov 2006
    Location Hollywood, FL
    Posts 2,351
    Rep Power 536871118

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    They should be available on grammy.com in about two weeks.

    Here's an article from this months Mix Mag about them.

    Notes From the P&E Wing

    Getting Proactive: The DAW Guidelines for Music Production

    by Maureen Droney

    Mix Magazine, Oct 1, 2007


    In 2003, in an effort to simplify life for those who record and mix music, the Producers & Engineers Wing developed the “Pro Tools Session Guidelines for Music Production,” an easy-to-use reference that became a popular tool for many engineers and producers. Now, just in time for the 2007 AES convention, the P&E Wing is debuting a new version of the document. Created, like the “Pro Tools Guidelines,” by a volunteer group of industry professionals, it's titled “DAW Guidelines for Music Production.”

    “A few years ago, an engineer could open a box of analog multitrack tape they'd never seen before, glance at the track sheet and begin working almost immediately,” explains engineer, author and educator Charles Dye, whose writings were the genesis for the original guidelines. “Now that DAWs have replaced tape machines on most recording projects, the amount of time between opening a session from another engineer and going to work has increased; in some cases, drastically.

    “We deal with an immense amount of information today — sometimes several hundred tracks, as well as tons of other parameters and stored settings,” Dye continues. “We have all sorts of creative options and almost endless flexibility. But in many cases, the people who engineer sessions haven't come up through the studio system we used to have, where they learned conventions and good practices — things that were passed on from engineer to engineer. Opening a DAW session can reveal a jumble of tracks that take a while to untangle. This can even be true of your own session if you haven't worked on it for a few months. It's not uncommon on DAW sessions to find 100 tracks in some order that isn't very logical, along with eight vocal takes and no vocal comp.”

    Dye started keeping notes on problems he discovered and compiling notes from other veteran engineers. The need for better project organization and documentation was obvious, and he began suggesting better practices on his Website and in his writing work for manufacturers. But it was when he got together with several Florida-based members of the P&E Wing — including Eric Schilling, Tom Morris, Roger Nichols, Carlos Alvarez and Ron Taylor — that the nascent guidelines underwent a metamorphosis.

    “A lot of people worked extremely hard to update, expand and vastly improve on the original,” he remarks, “and what we came up with was also reviewed by members of the P&E Wing from around the country. The resulting “Pro Tools Session Guidelines” are based on the input of some of the most respected engineers and producers in the industry, including Bob Ludwig, Tony Maserati and Mick Guzauski, to name just a few.”

    The DAW Guidelines were a natural outgrowth of the original Pro Tools document. “We always wanted to make the guidelines universal and to incorporate other platforms,” explains Dye. “This year, we regrouped and got together with power users and manufacturers' representatives of [Steinberg] Cubase/Nuendo, [MOTU] Digital Performer, [Apple] Logic, [Digidesign] Pro Tools and [Cakewalk] SONAR. So now we have input from people like Frank Filipetti, Chuck Ainlay, Don Gunn, Scott Garrigus and Vincent di Pasquale.”

    The DAW Guidelines are organized into two sections: Universal Guidelines that apply to any DAW platform and platform-specific guidelines. Essentially, the document breaks the work process into three types of project/session files: master, used during tracking, recording and overdubbing; Slave, files sent out as satellite projects for overdubs; and Mix, the stripped-down, cleaned-up and notated files ready for mixing.

    “We're not re-inventing the wheel here,” Dye concludes. “We've simply adopting practices that were used with tape for years to DAWs. Following the guidelines will eliminate most of the questions that arise when opening a project/session file. You can open the file and go to work instantly. You don't even have to do a quick, rough mix; you hit the spacebar and hear the mix back the way that somebody else, two weeks ago in a city halfway around the world, was listening to it. It decreases time spent and increases productivity, and life is so much easier when all you have to do is focus on the music.”
    Facebook | MySpace | eSession

    "Digital banjos sound just as bad to me as analog ones." -Pimp-X
  20. #20
    wardrobe malfunction investigator 329 M/S Hen=Mock Chicken!
    Join Date Apr 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts 39
    Rep Power 65094571

    Default Re: NARAS DAW Guidelines

    Hi Charles,

    Any word as to when the new specs might make their public unveiling? Thanks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts