We’re big, we’re bad, and we’re back with another episode of FAQ Friday!
This week we a bunch of marvellous questions (as per usual) Let’s get to your questions! This week’s featured question is:
“Would a song not only being mixed in the box but also recorded in the box sound different than one that’s been recorded using real amps, Mics and mixed on real physical equipment?”
Yes. But not always for the exact reasons you would think.
If I was recording Eric on guitar and I had an SM57, stuck it up on a Vox AC30 and gave him a plugged in Les Paul and he played a rhythm part, I could split that DI and go into my DAW and find a really good AC30 Emulation and then I could decide what to do. Some plugins have mic placements and they have IRs. I have an IR that is an AC30 Cab recorded with an SM57. I bet I could get really close.
If I wanted to do that with everything- For example, if I wanted to record Blair Sinta at Sunset Sound and then create a full Sunset Sound drum package, I could probably, painstakingly, reproduce the drum sound in that room because it’s all recorded with the same gear with the same part and programming.
After a while, it is possible to mimic it exactly, give me some time and we’ll get close. The question is why? Why would I do that? The reality is they are different tools for different jobs and I’m not looking to replace a human being. If I hire any of the drummers that I hire and send them into Sunset Sound with a beautiful drum kit and put beautiful microphones on them- I want the sound of that room and their creativity. That’s what I want from them, that’s it. I want them to play with the artist in the room and bring their creativity into it. It’s more than the drum plugin, more than the sounds, it’s the creativity.
Does that mean that I could give Vinny a keyboard and have him program it? I’m sure he could figure it out, but why would anyone ever ask one of (if not) the greatest drummer in the world to do that?
It’s a great question, I do think you can copy, and I do think things can be the same, but it’s a different process and it’s “horses for courses.”
If I wanted to do a real Zeppelin style drum part only using a drum plugin, I COULD do it. I would sit there, program it, work on the sound. You could do it, it’s all about the ears, reference the sound you want and get it there.
But why? What is the end result?
What’s great about drum plugins and amp sims, is that you can get from A to B super quick and get very usable tones much quicker then you could running into a studio from scratch and micing up a whole drum kit. By the time I’ve miced up and got a tone I could have programmed 4 Drum parts!
My point is, I get what you’re saying and it’s a great question but it’s definitely back to the phrase “Horses for Courses” – Shirt coming soon haha
Why are you trying to do that? If you’re trying to emulate classic 70’s rock drum sounds, you can do it, it will just take some time. But if you want something that has good snappy modern drum sounds and will get you from A to B quickly open up your drum plugin and program it. If you want a good heavy rock tone that you can just plug in and get immediately then just open your amp sim.
The point is a variation of stuff that you can pick and choose from. That’s what I love. The best of both worlds to me is one that I can choose something quick and easy to use, plug in and I’ve got a metal guitar solo sound straight away.
We tried out the Howard Benson plugin this week- We grabbed the red Marshall emulation, cranked up the gain, plugged in the guitar, and I got a great lead guitar sound! Don’t need to change my own Marshall sound. It can stay on the crunch sound I love, we got it and started using it in 30 seconds. – That’s the beauty about all of this technology!
The thing that’s important about the “older” way of doing it, is that you have many people in a room together, working with each other, working off each other creating something great. The beauty of the modern world is you can do it all on your own.
So Horses for Courses, that’s my quick and easy answer, should have just said that.
We also cover the following questions during this episode of FAQ Friday!
• Regarding choosing the busses, is it something you do specific to your console or were you going down the line to choose the next available one? (0:47)
• I am a singer/songwriter and the only thing I record using a microphone is vocals all Guitars are direct in line then amp sims for electrics and drums are addictive drums. Have you ever done mix in the box for this kind of production? (3:58)
• When working on a track, at what point in the mix do you submit that track to the artist/producer for comments and questions? (5:25)
• Is there a standard procedure for using doubles in genres? Dave Grohl is Exclusively using doubles, right? (7:50)
• Do you only mix by Ear or do you go By feel also? (9:35)
• My band is recording. Some originals in a stupidly small studio so we have to use electric drums. How would you improve the ‘Machine Gun Rolls’ especially on toms? (17:48)