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Geoff Grace

Senior Member
Probably 70-80% of my tracks in a project wind up being audio before the final mix..
Thanks so much for all you've shared. As another who does library music, I'm curious though as to why you don't track everything. How do you decide what doesn't make the cut?

Best,

Geoff
 
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chillbot

chillbot

Sock Muppet
Yeah, I guess that's where being in LA comes in handy. I don't know any TV producers, editors or directors unfortunately. And I'm not great at cold calling either, so libraries are the best option for me.
Yes one of the many perks of living in LA. As I've mentioned in other threads about LA, half of my buddies on my softball team are in the TV industry. Not to mention the basketball gym, golf courses, and other parents at the elementary school.

On another note, I do think it's good idea having a pro coming to the studio. I've been thinking about getting some 1 to 1 mentoring lately, just need a few things sorted in the studio first.
I need to do this again, come to think of it.

The key is to find one that will come into your studio without a holier-than-thou attitude and say "well whaddaya doing it like THIS for??" Not try to change everything you do. The guy that helped me out, I was set up to mix a track and instead of mixing it for me, he had me mix it just the way I usually do but offered tips and pointers along the way. Totally invaluable... and I ended up saving a lot of his presets we made and using them years after.

I'll probably start another thread at some point, but if any one knows any good mixers/engineers in LA that would be willing to help, please send me a PM...

EDIT: Oh, and... I found my guy through the Sonar (then Cakewalk) board. I should track down his name. It would be important to make sure the engineer and you speak the same language.

Good lord, that's an awesome daily number.
Yeah but we both have kids now, it's different. I still aim for 20 tracks/week but I travel a lot more and those 20-track weeks I'm probably working half as much as I used to. Also I have a cool assistant (ass.). I would never recommend anyone work as many hours as I did, it's not healthy and I'm still hurting in a lot of ways from it. But I was happy to do it, as I was broke and crushed with debt, being able to make money was my happy place. In the last 16 months (since I redid the studio) I've done 905 tracks so I guess that's 'down' to about the 675-per-year range but it doesn't feel like nearly that much.

As another who does library music, I'm curious though as to why you don't track everything. How do you decide what doesn't make the cut?
Do you mean why 100% of my project tracks aren't audio? If so, it depends on the track... if it's rock/blues/country/hip-hop or similar probably 98% of it will be audio. There might just be a crash cymbal or two left as midi. But I don't generally render orchestra to audio UNLESS I want to really mess with it with a lot with delays or filters or whatnot. OR, isolate it on it's own stereo pair in the mixer. If you went through my template you see that all the short strings are summed into one stereo pair and processed as a group. But I also have 48 tracks of audio going out from Sonar into the board, so I can throw anything up as audio quickly and separate it out that way.
 
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Geoff Grace

Senior Member
Do you mean why 100% of my project tracks aren't audio? If so, it depends on the track... if it's rock/blues/country/hip-hop or similar probably 98% of it will be audio. There might just be a crash cymbal or two left as midi. But I don't generally render orchestra to audio UNLESS I want to really mess with it with a lot with delays or filters or whatnot. OR, isolate it on it's own stereo pair in the mixer. If you went through my template you see that all the short strings are summed into one stereo pair and processed as a group. But I also have 48 tracks of audio going out from Sonar into the board, so I can throw anything up as audio quickly and separate it out that way.
Thanks, Matt. I wanted to understand your criteria for tracking, and your answer makes it clear to me. As someone whose biggest weakness is speed, I appreciate your insights as to how you work so fast.

Personally, I commit each of my MIDI files to audio every project if for no other reason than archiving purposes. (More on that in the Craig Anderton's Archiving Article in my sig.) But, like you, I often prefer to work with audio over MIDI for a variety of other reasons.

Best,

Geoff
 

InLight-Tone

Senior Member
Hey Chill, I was wondering do you play most of your parts in improvisationaly or write the parts in manually. How good are your keyboard skills would you say?
 

stonzthro

Senior Member
Chill - awesome thread - thanks! When you are rendering through your HW, is that only for your master, or are you sending stems through multiple passes as well?

Gracias amigo!
 
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chillbot

chillbot

Sock Muppet
When you are rendering through your HW, is that only for your master, or are you sending stems through multiple passes as well?
No just for the master.

But everything goes through the board.

Not sure if this is of any interest but I will try to diagram/explain it.

Three slaves each have 8 outputs (4 pairs) digitally into the board.

I also have 16 external synths (32 channels) into the board. (Actually 31... that silly SlimPhatty is so mono.)

I also have 48 channels of audio (24 pairs) going in to the board from Sonar via three MOTU 2408s.

Also all recording (two Avalon preamps, plus a guitar rack, plus a digital board that sums the B3, rhodes, and piano mics) goes into the board.

So anyway that's a lot going into the board. Plus the effect returns on separate channels. I do 95% of my verb on the boards and probably 40% of my compression/gates/EQ. Everything else happens via plugins.

Then I have just 8 channels (via ADAT) coming BACK into Sonar via the MOTUs. So every channel whether it be audio or midi is automatically set to come back in on channels 1/2. So I can quickly bounce any channel back in as audio just by record-enabling a track and soloing whatever I want to record. 3/4 is my live mics. 5/6 is my guitar rack. And 7/8 is my organ/rhodes/piano combo. So that's all I need. Anything and everything becomes audio very quickly and easily.

Lastly, the final mix goes out of the board into the Finalizer 96K via SPDIF and then back into Sonar where I can record the final stereo mix in real time. I can also monitor it and A/B between pre- and post-finalizer with the Dangerous Mind Monitor-ST.
 
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wst3

my office these days
Moderator
That is a very impressive, and well thought out system! If I might, what is the mixer?
 

Geoff Grace

Senior Member
Yamaha 02R96v2 x 2.
Now there's a blast from the past! The original 02R caused quite a stir when it was released back in the '90s. I'm guessing you bought the newer 02R96 around the same time as EWQLSO. Maybe 15 years ago?

Best,

Geoff
 
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chillbot

chillbot

Sock Muppet
Maybe 15 years ago?
Yeah maybe, maybe not that long. I got them whenever they first came out. I've had the displays replaced twice each and all the faders replaced on each as well. Probably up to 15k each now with the maintenance, meter bridges, and i/o carts. And I had the original 02Rs before that. Hardware is fun but definitely not cheap. Though obviously these barely brush the surface...
 

benmrx

Senior Member
Rad thread! I work in a post house, and also do way less 'cinematic, orchestral' tracks then other genres. This thread is quite inspiring. I should really make more use of hardware. I've gotten a bit lazy with that.

I love this thread though. All about boards, outboard gear, etc. I miss my Otari MTR90mkII 2" 24 track machine.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
This is a good thread! Thanks Matt for starting it, you've provided the kick in the seat I needed to return to my template, which I had abandoned entirely earlier this year.

There is something to be said with starting with a blank canvas every time. But the word would not be efficient.

So I'm taking one more stab at creating a template, but I'm taking a very different approach this time - due in large part to this thread.

My first pass was all about the real world. If I was working in the real world who would I want sitting in the room? How could I cover 80% of the projects I take on with the smallest group of people?

This is what I came up with (all individual players unless marked otherwise, many doubling):

Flute, Flute/Alto Flute, Flute/Piccolo, Oboe, Oboe/English Horn, Clarinet, Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Clarinet/contrabass Clarinet, Bassoon, Bassoon/Contrabassoon, Alto Sax Section (X4), Solo Alto Sax,
Tenor Sax Section (x2), Solo Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax

French Horn Ens (x4), French Horn/Descant Horn, Trumpet, Trumpet/Piccolo, Trumpet, Trumpet/Cornet, Trumpet/Flugel Horn, Trombone, Trombone/Bass Trombone, Baritone Horn/Euphonium, Cimbasso, Tuba

Timpani, Snare,Toms, Tams, Cymbals, Auxillary Percussion, Tuned Percussion, Kit

Harp, Acoustic Piano, Electric Piano, Clavinet, Prepared Piano, Pipe Organ, Electric Organ

Choir, Children's Choir

1st Violin Ens, 2nd Violin Ens, Solo Violin, Viola Ens, Solo Viola, Cello Ens, Solo Cello, Bass Ens, Solo Bass

Guitar 1, Guitar 2, Guitar 3

Synth 1, Synth 2, Synth 3

Still a bunch of people (tracks) but it provides a pretty decent starting point, at least for me.

The next step was to "transpose" the people to tracks. Note that no attempt is made (yet) to account for articulations. I think this is about as far as I can go without choosing specific instruments and or libraries. But it has been an interesting exercise thus far.

  • Orchestral Ensemble
  • Winds Ensemble
  • Flute
  • Flute/Alto Flute
  • Flute/Piccolo
  • Oboe
  • Oboe/English Horn
  • Clarinet
  • Clarinet/Bass Clarinet
  • Clarinet/contrabass Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Bassoon/Contrabassoon

  • Alto Sax (X4)
  • Solo Alto Sax
  • Tenor Sax (x2)
  • Solo Tenor Sax
  • Baritone Sax

  • Brass Ensemble
  • French Horn (x4)
  • French Horn/Descant Horn
  • Trumpet Ens
  • Trumpet/Piccolo Trumpet
  • Trumpet/Cornet
  • Trumpet/Flugel Horn
  • Trombone Ens
  • Trombone/Bass Trombone
  • Baritone Horn/Euphonium
  • Baritone Horn/Euphonium
  • Cimbasso
  • Tuba
  • Percussion 1 - Timpani
  • Percussion 2 - Snare,Toms, Tams
  • Percussion 3 - Hand Percussion
  • Percussion 4 - Tuned Percussion
  • Percussion 5 - Kit
  • Harp
  • Acoustic Piano
  • Electric Piano
  • Clavinet
  • Prepared Piano
  • Pipe Organ
  • Electric Organ
  • Choir
  • Children's Choir
  • 1st Violin Ens
  • 2nd Violin Ens
  • Solo Violin
  • Viola Ens
  • Solo Viola
  • Cello Ens
  • Solo Cello
  • Bass Ens
  • Solo Bass
  • Orchestral Chords
  • Orchestral Effects
  • String Effects
  • Winds Effects
  • Brass Effects
  • Sax & Brass Ens
  • Electric Guitar
  • Acoustic Guitar
  • Hi-strung Guitar
  • Baritone Guitar
  • Nylon Guitar
  • Lap Steel
  • Pedal Steel
  • Fiddle
  • Mandolin
  • Banjo
  • Omnisphere
  • Zebra
  • Repro 1
  • Repro 5
  • Oddity
  • Minimonsta
  • impOscar
  • timewARP 2600
  • Jup-8 V3
  • Prophet V3
  • SEM V2
  • Matrix-12 V2
  • Synclavier V
  • Waveframe
  • Darklight
  • Alchemy
  • Absynth 5
  • B4 II
  • FM8
  • Kore2
  • Massive
  • Pro-53
  • Reaktor Prism
  • Realtor Spark
  • MS-20
  • Polysix
  • Mono/Poly
  • Wavestation
That's a LOT of tracks, and I haven't even begun to figure out articulations, although I am hopeful that I can find a way to get away from the articulation per track approach.

Such fun!
 

Iskra

Active Member
This is the kind of thread that makes this forum a great place. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, workflow and template, chillbot - I am not in production music so have nothing to share and I'm just enjoying the read.
Plus, amazing you can make such an incredible amount of music, dude! Kudos!0
 
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