Jump to content
aberdeen-music

The Fans Deserve Better (Digital recording tools: yay or nay?)


Stroopy121
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

I used to be a total purist when it came to recording and making music - I used to HATE the idea of digital amp sims, sampled drums, anything like that. I even used to loathe the notion of using guitar pedals, which I realise now was nonsense but I was young and stupid and being PUNX as fuck, looking for shit to be angry about.

 

Anyway, I've always made a habit of transcribing songs I write, particularly songs that I'm having some problems with arranging or finishing out, into guitar pro or similar so that I can listen back and try to fix shit. I've recently started playing about with Superior Drummer and Amplitube and have been tweaking some old acoustic demos and turning them in to "electric" demos with a surprising amount of success. Mainly just as an exercise in fucking about with stuff, but I'm now actually considering re-recording the guitars and bass, laying down some vocals and making an actual demo/EP out of this.

 

Listening to some of the recordings that are floating about using this kind of tech, I think the results may be just as good (but far easier to come by) than micing up a drum kit and doing it the hard way.

 

 

That being said, I don't feel like I could SELL a recording that was made digitally, but I honestly don't know why. What do y'all think? Digital recordings: a fun set of tools to help with writing music, but completely unacceptable to actually release these, or a perfectly acceptable way to utilise available technology to create the best product you can without all the intricacies, difficulties and expenses involved in live recording?

 

xx

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used Addictive Drums for demos and mucking about previously, but i'm just about to record some tunes for putting out to the world using them. Probably going to try playing gigs with them as well, not as full backing tracks but using drum loops and samples to build songs live. I have mixed feelings about it because it will be a little more sterile - but the music i've been writing and playing recently is so minimal that I reckon drummers would be completely uninterested in playing it...

 

Not a massive fan of amp modelling, I prefer an actual amp and effects - but then I have decent amps and effects, if I didn't I might be tempted to throw some digital doodads in there to compensate.

 

When we recorded with Alkaline earlier in the year we recorded drums live and then did guitars and bass using our effects through his Laney amp straight into the DAW, actual guitar tone but recorded in his living room on a Sunday morning with no disturbances to the neighbours, nice and cheap compared with the 8 hours studio time we paid to record the drums as well :)

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've used Addictive Drums for demos and mucking about previously, but i'm just about to record some tunes for putting out to the world using them. Probably going to try playing gigs with them as well, not as full backing tracks but using drum loops and samples to build songs live. I have mixed feelings about it because it will be a little more sterile - but the music i've been writing and playing recently is so minimal that I reckon drummers would be completely uninterested in playing it...

 

Not a massive fan of amp modelling, I prefer an actual amp and effects - but then I have decent amps and effects, if I didn't I might be tempted to throw some digital doodads in there to compensate.

 

When we recorded with Alkaline earlier in the year we recorded drums live and then did guitars and bass using our effects through his Laney amp straight into the DAW, actual guitar tone but recorded in his living room on a Sunday morning with no disturbances to the neighbours, nice and cheap compared with the 8 hours studio time we paid to record the drums as well :)

Since then I've recorded a full kit in my living room with All Stations Go, sounds pretty good actually.

I'm a fan of whatever fits the sound or circumstances and I think it can work all digital if the mix is handled well. If you want it to sound a bit less digital there's ways to do that with plug-ins and stuff and they work quite well to a fashion.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If we are just talking about amp-modelling software (or pedal models, other effects plugins, etc.) then absolutely I think it's great technology, and more so in the future if it can match, or better, current hardware amps (this could arguably-kinda-sorta-depends be the case already). It may be the case that the best-sounding amplification for an electric guitarist, since the 70s or 60s or 50s or whatever it is, happens to be a massive, heavy fragile valve amp, that moreover sounds best when it is turned up literally deafeningly loud; but if one can get away from the romantic attachment, surely that's hardly an ideal situation. I have some of the Amplitube stuff (though haven't used it, or anything else for a while) and I really love the JCM800 model. I had a real one too, but enjoyed the software one more because I had more opportunity to actually use it. That would honestly be "my" preferred "tone" for any for-release recording I were to do as of right now  (if there were other actual band members, and live recording or engineering, or mixing or whatever else needed done and paid for, presumably there'd be at least some studio amps to experiment with though), certainly for anything rhythm or bluesy lead (I also like the other classic amps, Marshal, Fender etc., just don't see that I'd use them much over the JCM800). The one thing I don't like so much are the high-gain lead sounds - with Amplitube there isn't a good sophisticated sounding one (the 5150 model can do a good Van Halen sound, which is fun; but on my own stuff I wouldn't necessarily want to sound like Van Halen; the Mesa models etc. just sound cheap, wet and fizzy to me).  (Looks like the Amplitube 5150 was the one used in that track in the second video). Weirdly the (good) music I've heard being done on models tends to be real heavy, saturated stuff - prog-y djent and what have you. Often just on PODs actually. Those guys are going for a really digital, compressed, saturated rhythm sound - which I enjoy listening to but isn't for my own style.

 

Anyway tldr is that if it sounds the same, and you are talking about amplifying and playing with the tone/distortion etc of what the guitarist (say) is actually doing with his fingers, and it's cheaper and more convenient, then hell yes, do it. With automated stuff like robot drummers or the acoustic --> electric thing you're talking about, at the moment it's convenient, useful for getting music made which otherwise wouldn't (talented composers alone in their bedrooms) and isn't powerful enough to be concerning either way. Sampled drums I think are ubiquitous in music outside ultra-punx anyway, for whatever reason (didn't RARM drop "samples" from their no-this-that-and-the-next-thing list in latter days?). If one is talking about using loops or drum machines for otherwise live performances, I think it is fine but will weaken the performance for a few reasons, so it's really up to the performers if they want to do it and the audience if it wants to pay for it, If it's just about "digital vs. analogue", I think that's pretty much bollocks. Why stop there? Why not disallow electricity (see Dylan). Or mechanical tools (instrument = tool; who cares if it's digital or analogue) - and only allow a human voice (IS incidentally, with added nastiness of "god says so" and "or else we'll kill you", concededly).

 

For stuff like autotune, where you can actually make a singer sound like they did something they physically didn't, it may be a bit different. (or for some kind of autotune-for-guitar - or whatever - or a Guitarpro that sounds like it's an actual guitarist; I dunno if these are quite around yet). I've heard the argument that none of this is different from Bach writing down a bunch of stuff for loads of instruments, that he could never have (entirely) played himself, and given it to the worlds best musos to do. Same with session musicians playing the on mainstream groups records (Jimmy Page on the Kinks); Busted and god knows how many others. Presumably you could probably replace a mainstream pop megastar singer on record as well and none of her fans would know the difference.

 

But then there's the possibility of doing something a human could never actually play (and then the possibility of saying that it was actually played). There a (dead) guy whose name escapes me, but he used to custom build programmable pianos, which could then play automatically and perform feats (and compositions) a human couldn't (in his case he wasn't saying otherwise; it was kind of the point). And the guitarist Shawn Lane, inspired by him, just using a samples of individual notes, put together an unplayable recording. And then Buckethead heard it, thought it was "real", and his attempts to replicate it are the source of a lot of the wilder tapping one hears these days. Anyway, didn't need "digital" and ended up a force for creativity. There are also examples of people recording insane licks in multiple takes in a studio and then being too feart to try them live, but again not necessarily digital.

 

Tldr if you are not a lip-syncing chart-topper, and you are anyone from a punk to fusion-shred band, if you can't actually play your own stuff you will still probably get found out; though you don't need digital tech to try it.

Edited by scottyboy
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like digital recording and programmed drums. I like recordings that were recorded with the intention of sounding very digital. The entire Jesu output, for example. I also like digital recordings that are trying to sound as natural as possible, though I understand some may only like one or the other.

 

It can only be a good thing that it is easier and more accessible than ever to record your own stuff at a budget, and it can still sound very good. There's lots of free drum machine software, DAWs, amp modellers and such out there. You can acquire a very useable set up for next to nothing. Lots of practice amps have an out that can go into your USB into a DAW. You can even do it through your iPhone or whatever now. It's great that anyone can record anything.

 

A lot of stuff that is properly released seems to be self produced these days, and it sounds infinitely better than when bands would just use a 4 track and a few microphones.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh great, it's shouty, I hate everything guy  :swearing:

 

Ach, whatever tools get the job done.  I wouldn't judge.  Synth bass can sod off, but only because it puts me out of a job :)

 

Haha, yeah that guy is a bit of a dick, but I kinda like him. He makes good points a lot of the time and his tutorials on recording methods are actually pretty helpful, especially for a total n00b like me. And in this case, I think he's especially angry because home recordings like what SvJ was talking about are putting HIM out of a job!

 

xx

 

 

EDIT: Though, I'm also a shouty, I hate everything guy - so it's pretty obvious that I'd like him, I guess!

Edited by Stroopy121
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Synth Bass is one of the things I find really hard to get close to an actual Bass tone when making demos, your jobs are probably safe BassBitches...

 

I'm not that worried - as long as there are musicians whose need for a 9V battery/lead/tool kit becomes apparent at soundcheck on the night, we'll have a job to do ;)

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 weeks later...

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...