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Elastic audio/quantizing.

Discussion in 'Ask Justin Meldal-Johnsen' started by TheControlled, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Hey Justin, against all my will and beliefs, I finally resorted to using elastic audio and quantizing the drum tracks of a band I'm recording, purely because in my basic studio, I don't have isolated rooms, so the band have to track separately. This process does not often lend itself well to sloppy, loose rhythm sections trying to play tight, proggy songs!

    I'd like to know, how much quantizing is done on the major records on major labels these days?

    Ie - is it obvious once you start working with a band who benefits from a bit of looseness in their sound (live room tracking the better option) and who needs lots of work with the computer and individual tracking to sound tight?

    Taylor Hawkins dropped the "I wish we had have Protooled the f#*k out of this record, at least it would be perfect!" when talking about a late snare hit on Wasting Light. I wonder if even the Foos feel the pressure for some records to be "perfect"?

    Kind regards,

  2. Dan Bozek

    Dan Bozek

    Aug 3, 2011
    Outside Pittsburgh, PA
    Endorsing Artist, D'addario Strings
    Producer/engineer/Pro Tools user/bass player weighing in here: Beat Detective and Elastic Audio get used tons these days, but remember: they’re only tools to be used in good or bad ways. The good use for me is to save time and get things to jive nicely together when I’m using loops, samples, and sequences together with live drums, and the bad use is trying to “get blood from a turnip” instead of having someone try another few takes…

    I think if you aren’t already mostly happy with the energy and performance of the takes you recorded, then you do no want to go down the rabbit hole of trying to edit them. The end result of hours of frustration will be that you still aren’t happy with the energy and performance of the takes.

    My two cents of course…
  3. jmjbassplayer

    jmjbassplayer Justin Meldal-Johnsen

    Mar 25, 2005
    I would prefer to never work with any band in which the drummer didn't have his act together so much as to require endless BT/EA shenanigans. I come from the world of tape only for the first half of my recording career, so I'd like to instill excellence in performance in people.

    That said, performance is king with recording live musicians, far more so for me than precision. Hence, if I have to lock up some drums to the grid to make things work for my programming, for instance, I will do so, but always only to the mildest extent required.

  4. Dan Bozek

    Dan Bozek

    Aug 3, 2011
    Outside Pittsburgh, PA
    Endorsing Artist, D'addario Strings
    A really good trick if you're new to using EA is to go through and only leave the points you actually want quantized, i.g., if I want live drums to lock up with programming, I'll only quantized the kick, snare, and toms so they don't flam with the programming, but the hat and ghost notes basically stay the way it was played between the main transients. It seems to feel really good that way.