To Bounce or Not to
Let's discuss "bouncing" a bit. Assuming
you're recording on a 4 or 6 track TAPE machine, you will find early on
that you are limited in your creativity by the quantity of tracks
available to you.
Ever been in THIS position?: You have drums
on track one and two (for that stereo effect), and you add a guitar on
track 3. Now your're thinking to yourself..."Ok, I will add bass guitar on
track 4, but then I will be out of tracks...Bummer !"
Don't worry...along comes the
BOUNCE ! Bouncing is a simple technique where you are able to set
the stereo spectrum setup and tone setup for your previously completed
tracks 1,2 and 3, and bounce them to your last remaining track, track 4.
After you do that, you will be able to re-record over your original tracks
1 and 2. Then, you can bounce tracks 1 and 2 to track 3, and have tracks 1
and 2 again available. So, from a 4 track machine, you can actually have 7
tracks available to you. Keep in mind though that when you bounce your
tracks, say tracks 1,2 and 3 to track 4, that what ends up on track 4 is a
keeper...you can't get in there to change anything once you've bounced. So
make SURE you get it the way you want it bounce to track 4 a few times,
vary the stereo and ths tone and see how it sounds), BEFORE you record
over the tracks that made your bounced track 4.
The actual instructions on HOW to bounce on
YOUR machine will be included in your documentation...remember the
documentation?? It's the book that came with the tape deck that you've
never opened...I didn't either until I wanted to learn how to bounce :-)
The new digital 4, 6 and 8 track machines,
they say, will allow you to bounce as much as you want WITHOUT any loss of
fidelity...but too much of a good thing can turn out not so good...use
bouncing as sparingly as possible...think out your tracks ahead of time if
you can, and plan ahead a bit. You'll get the hang of it.
Personally, I hate bouncing...it never
really comes out as clear as I would have liked, and I seem to loose the
definition I like to hear, so like many other people, I learned to
"bounce" a different way.
If in the situation where you are running out of tracks, or wish to
create a composite track, what to do is to make a stereo mix of the music,
and send the output to another deck, recording it in stereo.: I call this
A 4 Track scenerio:
Tracks 1 AND 2 are percussion...track 3 is
bass guitar, track 4 is rhythm guitar...and I am out of tracks with no
track to bounce to right? WRONG ! I send those 4 clear tracks out mixed
the way I want them to another deck or a CD burner and record them in that
way on THAT machine. I treat this initial "mixdown" recording just like I
would any mix for a finished product. I use an equalizer to tailor the
frequencies, I compress the tracks I want (through a compressor in the
effects loop in my deck), and I get the stereo JUST the way I want it.
Then after I have verified that the mixdown
came out the way I want it, I turn right around and record my stereo mix
BACK into my 4 track tape deck on tracks 1 and 2. REMEMBER...once
your do this, your initial tracks 1 and 2 ARE gone...make
sure you're happy with the mixdown 1st.
Gibson Les Paul
What comes back into my 4 track deck now is
crystal clear, mixed and sounding the way I want it to, and I have two
tracks available now (3 and 4) to use anyway I want.
If I add a lead guitar and a keyboard, this
recording is the equivalent of 6 tracks now, and I can mix THAT down and
send it out to my other deck or CD burner again, create a mix, and bring
THAT back into my 4 track and repeat the process in order to add 2 MORE
tracks. There is ALMOST no real loss of signal as long as you start with
strong tracks and record OUT into the other machine as loud as you can
without clipping. I said ALMOST :-)) Please note..everytime you record out
and back, you WILL generate some hiss, and loose a bit of fidelity...but
if you're paitient, you will learn how to minimize this and be able to get
a whole bunch of tracks that sound good.
Where were we...Oh..ok...so..I bring in the
last mix, and have now stereo percussion, lead-guitar, rhythm guitar bass
guitar, and keys.
But I want VOCALS !!
and 4 of them right?
No problem...I now have all the music I
want recorded, and have 2 tracks available right?
I take a very cheap 4 channel mixer that I
have had for years, and get the vocal people together, and we record up to
4 vocal parts at the same time. The mixer is stereo, and I can pan the
individual mics anywhere I want in the stereo spectrum, and record them on
tracks 3 and 4.
If there is vocal
OVER TRACKING required (like if there is only one vocalist who
wants to do 3-4 parts), I would have initiated the "mixdown" techniques.
So you see...it's possible to really get a
LOT of music onto tape from your old 4 or 6 track machine. I also have an
8 Track cassette multi-track recorder that alleviates much of the bouncing
required as I can record a full 8 tracks without having to bounce at
all...but you know what?...I kind of like to go through the "mixdown-send-it-out-to-another-deck-and-bring-it-back-in"
process...there's something about making the most of what you have work
for you that way. It's kind of like re-inventing the wheel to an extent
sometimes...there's no REAL rules, and you can be as creative with your
components as possible, and see what works and what doesn't work. It's all
up to you...the keepers will be used again, and the ones that DIDN'T
work...who says that they were wrong? Maybe they will be
JUST the thing you need on your next recording !
There's really no difference in the sound
quality that I can percieve after a few bounces to another deck and back,
or recording 8 tracks in a row. As a matter of fact, sometimes it sounds
better to mixdown and go back and forth between my 4 track...the tape
heads are wider on the 4 track then the 8, and offer a bit more fidelity
then the 8 track does, and less hiss...
Oh, one word on tape
HISS...learn to back off the treble on each and every track as much
as possible while recording...you will be suprised that lots of treble for
that "fuzz" sound really only makes your track sound worse...boost some
midrange, and back off the treble...you'll be very glad you did !
"...so how DO you record a screaming guitar without waking
up the family !
Or "How to get really good tone using parts found around the home !"
External CD Burner