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Old 03-11-2008, 12:08 PM   #31
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Hmm, I've learned that clicks and pops may be caused by a serious clocking issue. If you are using two digital devices chained up, both relaying the same signal, you will need to connect a wordclock cable to them both, and use your main interface as the master clock, or get something like an Apogee Big Ben (fucking expensive though) to override any digital device in the signal chain.

You said you had an Onyx, right? That is digital, and if you have it running into your Focusrite (am I remembering this right?) then you will have clock issues. Otherwise, I don't know what that would be caused by. Recording on your system drive is never recommended, but I've never heard of problems like that occurring, usually what happens is resources get improperly distributed, and you can get system overloads and shit while recording. That's why I've been told not to use the operating system partition to record onto.

Another thing I'm thinking, since I had some trouble with this on my home setup, is the firewire bus could be overloaded. My issue sounded more like distortion, not clicks. Instead of daisy chaining, try plugging any firewire devices into separate inputs.

But, if it's only as severe as it is present in the recording, that could simply be a bad mic connection or cable. It sounds like a wire could be slightly disconnected, creating momentary clicks and shit. But since you said you are getting a ton (I only heard it like 3 times in that recording), I'm suspecting it's not that.

Ok, now to the drum mix. The kick drum is way too resonant, but it's better, for sure. I had the D112 as close as I said, and I've been told here at the school the opposite of what your results and research have been, which is odd. You would think, the more space between the beater and the mic, allows for more air pressure to move around and resonate before getting to the mic. Also though, right up close means the mic is going to pick up the immediate burst of air, which is at it's strongest point that close. So, I think it comes down to how the kick is tuned. If it sounds boomy and resonant to begin with, I think further mic placement is best, if not, as was the case in my recording, placing it closer brings out more of the attack/click from an already present click in the drum itself. I would stick to that, and experiment based on that premise, if it doesn't work, then I need to work on a better conclusion, haha.

Alright, now your snare is definitely clear and punchy. Is there artificial reverb on it at some points? Because whatever is causing it, I really like it. When it goes away, it's so snappy that it definitely makes me sense more presence and clarity. To me, it sounds really good.

Though, your hi-hat and cymbals are too harsh, I think that is just from your choice of microphones. When it comes to overheads, the cheaper the mic, the more top end distortion is going to happen. It's not clipping, but actual distortion in the mic circuit happening from the capsule to the output transformer. Transformerless mics, such as the Audio Technica 4000 series, are great for overheads since they typically don't distort anything in their circuit. I used 4050's for overheads in my recording, and I found that they represent the above 8k frequencies as fairly smooth and silky. Whereas the room mic I used, an Apex 435, was really quite harsh for the cymbals, so I brought it out of the mix entirely. I really recommend investing in a pair of nice overhead mics, because usually in the microphone marketplace, you completely get what you pay for. But, a temporary solution for your mixes, is to gently shelf the top end, above 6k or more, down like 2 or 3dB.

Anyway man, this is quite the huge post, but hopefully it's going to help you fix that click issue. But yeah, every recording you post, IMO, sounds better and better. Even though I'm a recording student, nothing is more valuable than actual hands on experience. It's the only thing that can make you better at recording and mixing.

Last edited by Ouroboros; 03-11-2008 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:11 PM   #32
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Anyway, yeah, my plan this entire year was to get some death metal or black metal bands to come in and record. I asked Wakeness' band, they were going to come in but ended up changing their minds. I went to some shows and approached bands, but a lot of them already had material recorded or weren't at all prepared to record in the near future. But yeah, I'm compiling my own gear, and after I graduate I have an insanely cheap rate for renting the school studios, so I think that's how I'm going to work until I can afford to build my own live room. Now, at least I have some material to work on for a portfolio, and I am going to try my hand at some amateur mastering in the school facilities, if that works out, maybe you wouldn't mind sending me some wav's of Abhorrent, and I will try my best to master them, without charge.
They changed their minds? That sucks. I remember him saying he wanted to do it. (Jason/Wakeness) You are so fortunate to be able to do that, I'm going to community college and we've got a studio as well, but it's in the process of being completed. When I get into Multi-track recording/Audio Production 3 I will be able to use it and hopefully rent it out and record bands/projects/whatever. Yeah, I will definitely be willing to send you some .wav's of the stuff, just let me know when.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:30 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ouroboros View Post
Hmm, I've learned that clicks and pops may be caused by a serious clocking issue. If you are using two digital devices chained up, both relaying the same signal, you will need to connect a wordclock cable to them both, and use your main interface as the master clock, or get something like an Apogee Big Ben (fucking expensive though) to override any digital device in the signal chain.

You said you had an Onyx, right? That is digital, and if you have it running into your Focusrite (am I remembering this right?) then you will have clock issues. Otherwise, I don't know what that would be caused by. Recording on your system drive is never recommended, but I've never heard of problems like that occurring, usually what happens is resources get improperly distributed, and you can get system overloads and shit while recording. That's why I've been told not to use the operating system partition to record onto.

Another thing I'm thinking, since I had some trouble with this on my home setup, is the firewire bus could be overloaded. My issue sounded more like distortion, not clicks. Instead of daisy chaining, try plugging any firewire devices into separate inputs.

But, if it's only as severe as it is present in the recording, that could simply be a bad mic connection or cable. It sounds like a wire could be slightly disconnected, creating momentary clicks and shit. But since you said you are getting a ton (I only heard it like 3 times in that recording), I'm suspecting it's not that.

Ok, now to the drum mix. The kick drum is way too resonant, but it's better, for sure. I had the D112 as close as I said, and I've been told here at the school the opposite of what your results and research have been, which is odd. You would think, the more space between the beater and the mic, allows for more air pressure to move around and resonate before getting to the mic. Also though, right up close means the mic is going to pick up the immediate burst of air, which is at it's strongest point that close. So, I think it comes down to how the kick is tuned. If it sounds boomy and resonant to begin with, I think further mic placement is best, if not, as was the case in my recording, placing it closer brings out more of the attack/click from an already present click in the drum itself. I would stick to that, and experiment based on that premise, if it doesn't work, then I need to work on a better conclusion, haha.

Alright, now your snare is definitely clear and punchy. Is there artificial reverb on it at some points? Because whatever is causing it, I really like it. When it goes away, it's so snappy that it definitely makes me sense more presence and clarity. To me, it sounds really good.

Though, your hi-hat and cymbals are too harsh, I think that is just from your choice of microphones. When it comes to overheads, the cheaper the mic, the more top end distortion is going to happen. It's not clipping, but actual distortion in the mic circuit happening from the capsule to the output transformer. Transformerless mics, such as the Audio Technica 4000 series, are great for overheads since they typically don't distort anything in their circuit. I used 4050's for overheads in my recording, and I found that they represent the above 8k frequencies as fairly smooth and silky. Whereas the room mic I used, an Apex 435, was really quite harsh for the cymbals, so I brought it out of the mix entirely. I really recommend investing in a pair of nice overhead mics, because usually in the microphone marketplace, you completely get what you pay for. But, a temporary solution for your mixes, is to gently shelf the top end, above 6k or more, down like 2 or 3dB.

Anyway man, this is quite the huge post, but hopefully it's going to help you fix that click issue. But yeah, every recording you post, IMO, sounds better and better. Even though I'm a recording student, nothing is more valuable than actual hands on experience. It's the only thing that can make you better at recording and mixing.
Thanks for the advice bro! Yeah I'm going to experiment with some LPF on the overheads, I've got a pair of Audio Technica ATM450s as well so I'm going to try and do a comparison between both sets of mics next time to see how they really compare when switching them back and forth in a more or less identical position. I'd heard really good things about these Studio Projects C4s though, a lot of people have been raving on them for the price so I found a pair cheap to try out and so far I like them, but AKG 451s are going to be somewhere in my future haha...

Yeah I thought it was weird about the kick drum attack thing as well, but I was reading "Modern Recording Techniques" by David Burns on the airplane yesterday which is considered to be a pretty damn reliable piece of recording literature and it mentioned that you get more click by placing the mic farther from the beater, something to do with proximity effect creating lots of boominess when placed close to the beater? I don't know, I'll have to look into it more. There is definitely a lot of resonance in my kick drum sound there and I did a high pass around 80hz or something as well to help it a bit, but I think it has a lot more to do with the source sound, maybe I'll tune the kick drum down a bit next time and add some more dampening inside the drum.

There is a bit of reverb on the snare yeah, the more I listen to it the more I like it... It's not by any means a great snare sound, but I think I'm getting there slowly! I wish the drummer had hit some toms in this damn recording because I was pretty happy with the tom sound we were getting but none of it getting tracked aside from a few test recordings that I erased before we butchered this tune.

I really want to figure out this clicking/popping issue, it seems to happen at random times when I'm playing the session back, not the same points every time I listen. Also, when tracking I was using the Onyx, no Focusrite, I returned that before I got the Onyx, so it's only one interface. The weird thing is that I still get these noises when listening to the session when my internal soundcard is selected and the Onyx isn't hooked up, so I don't know what to blame. If it was mic cables, the noises would happen in the same place every time I listened since they would be noises that were recorded that way.... I dunno, I would blame it on my computer but I've done sessions with more tracks than this that didn't have these problems, and I don't seem to remember having these problems with the Pull the Plug session which was the exact same setup. I'll just have to experiment again next time and see what happens...

What are your typical buffer settings like using your home rig? My settings in Reaper for tracking this were 8 x 512 I believe. I know in some audio card preferences it only lists one number which is set at like 256 on my M-Audio Fast Track Pro normally and I have no issues with that, so I'm assuming the 8 x 512 is equivalent to just 512 on the M-Audio, and not 4096, because there is no way in hell I should be getting noises due to low latency with that setting right? UGH! Technology fails.
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:37 PM   #34
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Yeah so definitely not a cabling issue, or a firewire bus issue, and that buffer is completely reasonable. I used 512 for 16 tracks on the weekend with no problems.

Clocking problems are destructive, so they would still be present in the recording regardless of what interface is being used for playback, but they would also be in the same places every time, and they can only occur with two or more digital devices in the chain. So, that issue is also eliminated.

Try importing your tracks to a different DAW and seeing what the result is. But first, for playback, switch your buffer to 1024 and see if that makes any difference. Rule is, low buffer for tracking, high buffer for playback.

If these things don't solve your problem, then I have no clue. I think we've covered nearly everything in the chain to troubleshoot.

Oh, see if it happens with other sessions, if not, then that narrows it down to something going beyond an interface or a cabling issue, for certain. I'm thinking it could even be your speaker cables, but if it only happens in this session that is not the problem.

Last edited by Ouroboros; 03-11-2008 at 12:39 PM..
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Old 03-11-2008, 12:46 PM   #35
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Yeah I thought it was weird about the kick drum attack thing as well, but I was reading "Modern Recording Techniques" by David Burns on the airplane yesterday which is considered to be a pretty damn reliable piece of recording literature and it mentioned that you get more click by placing the mic farther from the beater, something to do with proximity effect creating lots of boominess when placed close to the beater? I don't know, I'll have to look into it more.
Look no further, I would completely trust that. Also factor in tuning in the equation, and that's definitely the reason for the kick drum sound I got.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:23 PM   #36
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http://www.sendspace.com/file/pfryfd

Ok, there's my first actual mix of Pastel. I compressed the snare on a bus, blended it with the original (always a good tip for any compression) so that eliminated its distance. Compressed and EQ'ed the toms, so they are really brought out, and lowered the overheads. I also cleaned up some hiss coming from the bass, but the nice tape hiss is still there, I don't even want to get rid of that.

Nothing has been done to guitars yet, and I still think there is a lot of work to be done, I know I can get everything to sound even better.

So, please take a listen and feel free to comment.
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Old 03-12-2008, 02:54 PM   #37
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Sounds pretty good to me man! I think the kick drum might be a bit overpowering during the quieter sections like near the beginning, but other than that everything sounds fantastic. What was the mic/preamp setup?
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:44 PM   #38
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Thanks man, I appreciate the listen.

I haven't automated anything yet, just got an acceptable level for the loud dynamics of the song, so those adjustments will be done.

Anyway, 2 AT4050's for overheads, D112 for kick, 4x SM57s (Snare and 3 toms), ATM25 for lowest tom, Sennheiser MD421's for two other floor toms (this guy has a huge kit), an Apex 435 for the room, but it's out of the drum mix.

For guitars I used two 57's and two AKG C1000s, the 57 being the prominent mic in both cases. Guitars were isolated in a room adjacent to the drum room. Bass was DI, and all band members were in the drum room with headphone mixes playing live.

Preamps were an analog API 8MX2 (8 of the drum mics went into it) and the rest went into the pres of the Sony DMX-1000 console, then through an MCI 16-track tape machine, and then to a MOTU 2408 into a Mac Pro to Logic 8.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:55 PM   #39
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Cool thanks for the info man! Do you prefer LDCs for overheads in general or did you just think it was more appropriate for this type of music where you might want to capture more of the kit as opposed to just the cymbals...? Also curious, when using 57s on toms, do you position them the same way you would with the snare, with a relatively flat angle towards the center of the skin or steeper?
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Old 03-12-2008, 06:08 PM   #40
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I typically prefer LDC's, since you get a very open and well rounded sound. But, using small diaphragm condensers may work best for death metal, since they may pick up fast transients better. Typically DM production is punchy, and there's little, if any, room sound on the drums.

The toms were not mic'ed like a snare. I had them on stands, and they were on a 45 degree angle, in between the middle and the rim of the tom. I should have tried angling more towards the middle, but compression and EQ helped me bring out their boom. Though, it's better to get the type of sound you want at the source, instead of relying on plug-ins to fix it.

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Old 03-14-2008, 09:30 AM   #41
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Here's some pics of when we tracked the drums for Cold...






Also, remember how it sounded like there was too much resonance in the kick? Well it turns out it was the toms ringing sympathetically. So I muted the tom tracks since he doesn't him them in the song anyways and re-uploaded it...

http://www.ashesofthefallen.net/cold.mp3

I rendered this on my laptop using a different driver than last time (ASIO4ALL now, since I only have onboard sound) and it's STILL giving me pops and click and stuff.... I'm gonna have to go through and find out if it's the source tracks or not, it's the only thing that makes any sense...


EDIT: Found the source of the noise, artifacts in the kick drum track. Probably a loose cable or something when I was recording or maybe a dirty pot on the interface... Will have to examine it when I get home... Hopefully it was just a loose cable and not something wrong with the unit :\

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Old 03-14-2008, 11:08 AM   #42
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Well, even if it is a dirty gain pot or something on the interface, I would suggest repairing that yourself if you're confident enough.

It's a good skill to be able to repair studio gear. I've been taking my hand at repairing mics and modifying them as well. Sometime soon I'm going to start building replica mics, since C414 and U87 circuit diagrams are available openly on the net. You can even order the exact mic capsules right from Studio 707 in China, since both AKG and Neumann get their capsules from them. As well as many, if not all, major microphone companies.

Anyway, if it's a dirty pot, it's usually a simple wire replacement. It's just building the confidence to open up the interface itself without damaging it. I opened up my Tubefire to see what types of tubes it had, they don't have a manufacturer name on them, but they are 12AX7's. I'm definitely going to replace them with some Telefunkens or Electro Harmonix tubes, and perhaps also replace the output transformer of the device to get a cleaner sound with less noticeable harmonic distortion. Those upgrades alone will bring up the caliber of the Tubefire to something much more professional.
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Old 03-14-2008, 11:15 AM   #43
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Oh, I forgot to mention something important about the AT4050's. I tried them in all polar patterns, but for that recording I used Figure 8.

Anyway, now that the boominess is gone from the toms, that drum recording is close to as good as you'll get it to sound (aside from the clicks). Also, did you lower or EQ the overheads? Since they sound less harsh. Good job.
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:30 PM   #44
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Oh, I forgot to mention something important about the AT4050's. I tried them in all polar patterns, but for that recording I used Figure 8.

Anyway, now that the boominess is gone from the toms, that drum recording is close to as good as you'll get it to sound (aside from the clicks). Also, did you lower or EQ the overheads? Since they sound less harsh. Good job.
On the original mp3 I ran it through some mastering preset in Izotope Ozone on the master bus to bring up the level and it sounded good at the time but it sounds a lot better without it haha... It must've been doing some EQ in the high end, probably some sort of "exciter" or something going on. Thanks for the compliments dude! I think I'm slowly getting there, hopefully next time it turns out even better.
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