How did I get that sound?

I didn’t really have a pre-digital studio life so take for granted that the sequencer records all inboard channel and plugin settings.
So what do most people do for outboard settings? Do you come back to work on projects and find you can’t remember how you recorded some audio?
I’m on one now and can barely remember which guitar I used let alone pickup switch, knob settings, input chain and settings on each component. :unamused: Do you write it all down or just wing it? Or maybe you never leave a piece until it’s finished so the issue never comes up. Anyone use the channel Notes section for this? I started a kind of shorthand for it but didn’t stick to it. Thinking I need to develop some discipline.

The notepad is a good place to make notes about such things for a track; I need to use it more. :wink:

Mixer snapshots have helped a bit, even with its limitations.

Take pictures or even video of complex set-ups.
Cabling at Woodstock 1969.jpg
Maybe use a “Slate Track” if you’re not already doing so. Audio track where you record line-up tones, session specifics (date, time, client, take numbers) comments about a take, part, project, studio, personnel, contact info, etc.)

Projects left in MIDI is not the best way to preserve projects long term. Render all to Audio Files and move out of the MIDI domain. This advice comes from many good and leading producers I’ve learned from. I’d call it a best practice; I need to do it more than I do.

Almost without exception, every top Mixer I’ve seen stresses the importance of organization. Full stop.

When the session is hot, go with the energy. Do housekeeping later, but do it. I need to do all that better.

Thanks for the tips Stephen!
Just working on my own so good the hear how others do it.
I thought of photos but taking pics, importing from camera, then moving to the right folder and renaming to identify the channel all seemed too much of a faff. I mentioned a shorthand I came up with. I just reduced each item in the chain to a series of numbers representing knob and switch settings. Eg. just a simple 982 might represent volume, tone and pickup switch on a particular guitar. Need to decide the meanings for each element beforehand, obvz. Guess I should just stick to that more religiously. Time to be more businesslike about the whole thing and believe the time invested will pay off.

You’re most welcome. The videos and/or pictures don’t have to imported into the project, but could be stored with the project for reference.

Anyway, It sounds like you’re developing a good workflow.

Nice tips Stephen! Thanks for sharing.

You’re welcome. :slight_smile:

Outboard stuff is and probably always will be difficult to register and recall to the point you can reproduce the exact state you had before at a certain point in time? I tend to only focus on the items that I actually want/need to recall and forget about the rest. Some standard like sound can easily be recreated but if you find or stumble on some special thing you know you’ll want to document that for sure! I do it by making photographs from knobs and writing down anything else. There’s just no easy way to save analogue things to a digital file? :slight_smile:

The main thing is that you have to really get all the settings that are involved in the sound/project/chain you’re dealing with. If you don’t or are not sure you did there’s a possibility it will never sound the way it did ?

On the other hand? Some great things are made to be created once to be never recreated again? :slight_smile:

Meaning: Just do your stuff and confirm it’s absolutely awesome. Record the song and forever be done with it!? After some time you may be considered a legend because you scored a hit with that sound and every artist will try to recreate ‘that’ sound?

If you can just tell people what equipment was used and what settings you used it will probably make you some money. If you can’t it will go viral! And people all over the world will try to recreate what you did. And that will make you famous and make you even more money!

For a lot of stuff the Windows Snipping Tool works much better than a camera.

(sorry. didn’t subscribe and missed this.)
:exclamation: Words of wisdom
My takeaway: Don’t get too hung up on it. :smiley:
And maybe also, stop leaving things unfinished.

I photograph most mic setups and preamp settings. I will also do a video as I call out the settings and how it was all patched. I also create session sheets of snake channel-instrument-mic-preamp-compressor-i/o

Yo Raino! We’re talking about ‘outboard’ analogue stuff here? I’m interested on how you’d be capturing this with the Windows Snipping tool? :slight_smile:

:exclamation: LOL! And also words of wisdom! I’ve had my fair share of unfinished projects that sounded super great that I didn’t finish and never could recall ‘that sound’ again when I resumed the project? Frustrating, but you can only blame yourself!