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Ive been volunteering in our church for many many years and have done a fair bit of studio work. I have always recorded the tracks with a flat eq and no effects (dry mix) and then add everything later so at the very least I have a good and clean start to my mixing. Is this the best way to go or should one record with effects already enabled?
 

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I'd say that is correct. It's good to have a good clean start for a mix... there are some effects you might want to have, but it really depends on the material.
Some people like to have all the signal they can have by adding a little bit of compression. Some people like to have some eq to have a starting point to work with.
I'd say the only no-no's fx-wise during tracking would be things such as reverb or delay or any fx done too much.
 

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My thoughts have always been, its easy to add but you cant remove something once its there.
 

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For me it depends on what it is.

For guitars, if they have a bunch of boutique or non-standard pedals, i'll let them do it if they have it down. I feel that reamping the signal probably loses more than you gain with adding it later, people who have special pedals USUALLY know how to use them so it works ok.

Wah i definately track with the guitar because otherwise you don't get the same feel. You can always do multiple takes and you can always do takes with and without the fx.

Thats me anyway.
 

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Ive been volunteering in our church for many many years and have done a fair bit of studio work. I have always recorded the tracks with a flat eq and no effects (dry mix) and then add everything later so at the very least I have a good and clean start to my mixing. Is this the best way to go or should one record with effects already enabled?
Generally, this is a pretty good philosophy, provided the original dry track has the fundamental sonic quality that you want in the first place.
The biggest problem area for me in doing this is recording electric bass guitar.. often times the bass player will have his/her highs rolled off at the guitar and you can't really effectively boost what's not there. So, with the caveat of telling the bassist 'give me something to work with on the high end'.. go for unprocessed tracks.
 

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There are some people who swear by effects pre-tape. For me, there's a distinct lack of context (the mix is nowhere near finished) so that you can't really judge what effects you are or aren't going to need that early in the process. You don't always know where a mix is going to lead you so I prefer to leave my options open.
 

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I'm going to hop on the other side of the fence for this one. Sure, recording clean unprocessed tracks gives your a nice clean slate for mixing however, for a lot of people that gives them way too much option and often causes more problems than not. I'm a strong believer in getting it to sound great while tracking and having to do very little in the mix (which is important because where i track usually has much better equipment/monitoring than where i mix). If the proper amount of pre-production planing has been taken and everyone (engineer included) is clear and on the same page about the desired sound then i see nothing wrong in looking for that in tracking and printing it. I'd be lying if i said I've ever printed a delay or reverb effect but as far as compression, eq, and distortion along with other things... go nuts! I just dont see why you would get a sound close to what you want/think sounds good and then tell yourself you'll eq it in the mix to sound just right. make it sound just right NOW! 8P

there has been a lot of fredom with non-linear recording/editing and computers and what not but the visuals and multitude of options given to people now days (along with a near infinite amount of undos!) people have no faith in their ears when tracking. if it doesnt sound right to you fix it before you print it, if you think you can make it sound better move a mic or turn some eq knobs, dont be afraid to make decisions.

having confidence in yourself and your decisions during the tracking stage will make the mix stage much more pleasing. theres no sense in pussy-footing around when tracking. most people tend to over process during the mix if they leave it all till then anyway (especially ITB... what with all them pretty plugins 8P)
 

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Just as a side note, i think it definately depends on the effect too, delay or reverb, you can do yourself depending on how they work the sounds into their music, any modulation effects, let them do it.

I've worked with progressive bands where they practically do a dance when playing, you can't emulate that in the mix.
 

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Compression brings up the echoes in a delay patch. Having the delay signal separate gives you much more flexibility in the mix. Record the delay pedal the guitarist uses often on a separate channel and use this in the mix as its only element.

-ashley
 

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I agree that in most of the cases the best way record anything is with no FX, no EQ. Definitely flat is the best way. But there is a different point here as well.

If the amount of tracks on the recorder as well as the routing flexibility of the console allows you to record a dry/flat signal separately from Wet/Eq-d signal I don't see reason why not to do that. Since you can have all material recorded separately and not affecting each other. That's why good board will have a Direct outs... Thus technically you could do both at the same time without any quality loss as well as way bigger amount of choices.

Kirill
 
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