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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:12 pm
by LoganE
Hey guys!

I've recently become interested in the process of recording, and have found this forum extremely helpful. So thanks! From RARB/CASA and my small background in live sound, I'm pretty sure I've gleaned what kind of equipment is necessary (and what works), as well as some recording tips. I'll probably start off just messing with stuff myself, but may (hopefully) end up recording the group sometime.

My question comes in the next step, editing, and is this: What would someone you sent edited tracks to for mixing expect them to be? Obviously tuned, rhythmically accurate and organized come to mind, but is there anything else to this step? Should VP be compressed, or is that mixing? What about dynamics, or EQ? I ask simply because I wouldn't want to send "edited" stuff to my mix engineer and have them spend time (and my money) editing it, but at the same time, would like to avoid making them spend time (and money) fixing and removing things I shouldn't have done in the first place.

Hopefully someone can enlighten me on this topic! Thanks!

Re: Editing

PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:21 am
by Tat Tong
A few things off the top of my head:

Compression, EQ, etc are generally not necessary at this stage.
If bouncing to individual WAV files, make sure the filenames are labeled descriptively. And check with the mixer on what bitrate and sample rate (e.g. 24bit 48khz) he wants his WAV files.

Separate either into voice parts (T1_Aaron_Left, T1_Aaron_Right, etc), or into sections ("Brass", "Crazy Chorus Synth") as appropriate for the arrangement. Make sure all tracks are labeled correctly.
Ensure that technical issues like pops, clicks and over-loud breaths are taken care of.
Tuning and rhythm should be spot on. For rhythm, subtle groove issues like where each hit lands (before? on? or after the beat) need to be considered for a good vs a lifeless edit.

For sequenced perc, ensure that the individual samples are good i.e. cut at the correct point so as to have punchy attacks and good fades.
Quality of the sequenced pattern also matters - the groove in relation to vocals, how complex/simple the pattern is, type and quality of drum sounds being sequenced, etc.
Some people like to layer an edited but "natural" loop pattern on top of the sequenced stuff for added realism.

Lastly, remember to edit with your ears more than with your eyes - it's easy to overdo things in AT/Melodyne and get a shiny-happy-perfectly-quantized Glee sound on everything, which may not be ideal. Any other thoughts?

Re: Editing

PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:38 am
by billhare
Practice, more than anything, is what you need. A lot of people getting into this tend to be saying "I want to learn piano, and can we schedule my first concert for 2 weeks from now?" That's all well and good, but woodshedding in private to be allowed to make mistakes without the pressure of deadlines is essential. You seem to be realistic about this, and I think your group has nothing to lose (and possibly a lot to gain) in helping you try - read articles on the subject at (my blog there has a lot of tips, and especially mistakes to avoid), and there's a TON of stuff here on the Forum if you are willing to search around. Maybe some of us producers have some example sessions to show you, and if you tell us a little more about your group, maybe one of us can find something appropriate in our archives.


Re: Editing

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:36 am
by dekesharon
Listen to Bill and Tat. (And Ed, and anyone else who chimes in).

For those who don't really understand this thread: a cappella recording has rather rapidly shifted into a 3 level system: tracking (often done by groups themselves), mixing (done generally by a handful of very experienced folks), and now editing ("cleaning up" the tracks - removing pops, muting anything that doesn't belong, grouping voices into organized units - tenors, vocal trumpets - perhaps tuning or rhythmic alignment...), which is a great entry-level step for an aspiring a cappella audio engineer.

Practice, practice, practice, and contact the best known mixers - ask them to send some overflow editing work your way, and then do your very best to clean it up to perfection. Being responsible, quick, organized and careful will result in repeat business. And before you know it, you'll have full time work. If you're good, and diligent.

I'm thrilled at how many people are making a career of a cappella nowadays. Whoooowee!

Re: Editing

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:34 pm
by Tat Tong
I love how Deke always frames the situation so clearly and succinctly, as opposed to my unfocused rambling :)

But yea, just to second what Deke says, we're always looking out for new editing guys to help us clean up stuff! I've noticed over the years that people who provide editing services tend to move on pretty quickly - either they become full fledged engineers (like Ed), or go on to do other things. So there's plenty of room for more young and aspiring engineers to move in and provide such services!

Re: Editing

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