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How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

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AHornsby
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How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby AHornsby » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:11 am

As some members already know, most of the Beatles catalog consists of 4 tracks. Perhaps it was due to the times and the evolving technology of that era but lately I hear so much going on in most music that it becomes tenuous and a turn off no matter how good the production is.

Of course, each musician should garner his/hern own track but as we know that given the musicians like to hear themselves over everyone else, to what extent does each track take precedence over the entirety?

I'm not as developed as some of you are in the workings of Mixcraft (or music production for that matter) but since I have never gone past 5 tracks, we can start there for the sake of argument. So, five it is.

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outteh
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby outteh » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:50 am

The Beatles and their engineers overcame the 4 track limitation by bouncing. So many of their later songs are actually multiple tracks many times over 4. The ending chord in Day in the Life is actually 16 different instruments overdubbed to obtain the effect. Something to ponder! :D

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Mark Bliss
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:47 am

Correct. Many of those "4 track" recordings (which is amazing) were actually often many many tracks bounced down repeatedly. One big obstacle was the accumulation of tape hiss and noise, which is a big part of why what was accomplished is so amazing.
Another method few are aware of is the efforts to use multiple tape machines and synch them together. Including early very crude methods to do this. And sometimes purposely slightly un-synching the machines.

One could look at the availability of unlimited tracks in another perspective, but to me, it simply eliminates a lot of steps, hassles and time. Lots of saved time.

I used to work on 16+ track projects bouncing to and from 4 track tape, and simply put, its a lot of extra work we are lucky to not have to face any more.

A recent project I worked on had 40 tracks. More than half were layers of BV's. Having unlimited tracks made it easy.
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aj113
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby aj113 » Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:51 pm

It's a bit of a misleading question. Tracks are often separated for their effects and processing among other things. For example a lead vocal may be split (not duplicated) into five separate tracks depending on the effects required at any given time.

There may be 32 tracks of backing vocals for one word that only appears once in a mix. Technically that is 32 extra tracks but they're silent for 99% of the mix.

Drums - five close mics and a pair of overheads gives seven tracks immediately. With parallel processing that might easily double to 15 - and that's just drums.

My projects typically have 50+ tracks.

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AHornsby
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby AHornsby » Mon Jun 26, 2017 8:59 am

(Would like to listen to some of your work aj...)

I suppose the question is a bit misleading for this day and time. Evolution is at work and we've come a long way since Elvis at the Sun Studio.

With that in mind though does anyone have a comment about a maximum number of tracks then? At what point would there be too many? Which SFX can be done without? Which would be missed? Which are absolutely necessary?

I suppose the answer lies with prerogatives.. which brings us full circle.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Jun 26, 2017 4:47 pm

Well, I dunno.

I could record one mic, one channel, one track.
Or I could record as many channels as a mixing board I could beg borrow or steal supports and export to one DAW track.

Too many? If I organize, color, create subgroups and still get lost and confused, I probably am using too many tracks I guess. In my real world, if I cant find a way to get clean playback somehow, I guess perhaps that's too many tracks.
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outteh
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby outteh » Tue Jun 27, 2017 5:41 am

When your DAW no longer responds efficiently, that's too many tracks! :lol:

Anorax
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby Anorax » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:55 pm

outteh wrote:When your DAW no longer responds efficiently, that's too many tracks! :lol:

So... five tracks?

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outteh
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby outteh » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:12 am

Are you really having issues at 5 tracks? :D

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Mark Bliss
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby Mark Bliss » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:26 am

Anorax wrote:
outteh wrote:When your DAW no longer responds efficiently, that's too many tracks! :lol:

So... five tracks?

:lol:
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AHornsby
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby AHornsby » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:40 am

LOL Tom. Apparently the magic number is somewhere between 5 and 50 tracks... with a heavy lean toward 5.

mixyguy2
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Re: How many tracks are absolutely necessary?

Postby mixyguy2 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:17 pm

How many tracks are absolutely necessary? As many as it takes.

Hey ask a silly question - :)

Really there's no pat answer of course. It varies with the specifics. I'm solo, so 1 or 2 isn't uncommon and rarely more than 5 or 6 (excluding sends).


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