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Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 6 of 74

Pre-Production: Click Track


Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp

Lesson 6 of 74

Pre-Production: Click Track


Lesson Info

Pre-Production: Click Track

I'm gonna show you Annick's click and why it's important for him to just have given me his click, or for you to make a click with a musician when need be. Check this out and tell me if you wanna listen to this while you're tracking (computer mouse clicks) (sharp metronome beat) (metal guitar riff) (tempo increases) (develops into scream-o rock music) Mind you, the song is in there. This is what he listens to when he plays this live. He has an actual recording of the album underneath that click track. And that's what he was listening to while we were recording as well. Imagine how annoying this would be if you had to hear this. But this is what he needs in order to play well. (sharp metronome over scream-o rock music) Cool. And it's not for you to ever question how the guy needs to hear things. (computer mouse clicking) (rock guitar riff) For instance, that right there maybe I would just use that on the real thing. I mean, it sounds cool. It's played perfectly. Why redo it? I mean, we'l...

l try but if I got this from a band, I can tell you right away that like I already know that I'll probably just wanna use this. This is another like I was saying before with Pre-Pro, you want to be set up to record for real, because some of the stuff you're gonna want to keep and you want to encourage bands who send you their Pre-Pro to do things as high-quality as possible because stuff like this will happen. Where it's just like that. Sounds cool, why redo it? And I bet you that this actually made it to the record cause it sounds like it. But I would use it too, if I got this. And I will on my actual mix of the song. (rock guitar riff) Cool. And you scan around and see what you're working with. So cleans... (clean guitar riff) See, and those are pretty good already. Like if need be, I could just use those, too. Not that I'm going to or planning on it, but it is pretty good. Check out the synth... (synthesizer chiming) (volume of synth increases) (synth melody develops) Again... I guess I'll say this and... you'll hear me say this again. And those of you who listen to the podcast know from this, some of my guests have said this. When you're dealing with a super talented artist, sometimes your job is just to get out of their way. You're just supposed to facilitate their vision. If they already do things great, there's no reason for you to try to reinvent what they already invented. So for instance, those synths, they sound good already. Why would we try to recreate them when he obviously spent a long time on that? By he, I meant John Brown. Obviously, he took his time and got that to sound exactly like he wants. Maybe, part of it afterward sucks? Let's see... (deep synths) Pretty great. (clicking of computer mouse) (deep synths) So I would probably just cut these in to... in to two tracks so that I could process them differently. You know 'the droney guy' and then 'the sparkly guy.' So I'm gonna duplicate this... (clicking of computer mouse) And I would just call this... "Synth... Drone." And the one before it I'd call "Synth... Highstuff." And then what I'll do here is I'll cut the drone out of the "Highstuff" track and cut the "Highstuff" out of the "Drone" track. However, I am still going to consolidate this to zero. (clicking of computer mouse) Cool. ("Drone" track) ("Highstuff" track) The reason I would wanna process those differently I can already tell you now is that this... "sparkly stuff" probably already gonna wanna remove some low-end. Cause if that's meant to be playing along with everything going on, It's going to be hard to hear. So, already filter that. But, however, with this drone I know that we wanna keep some of that low-end. So already there, unless I wanna automate the effects. Already just set that up. ("Highstuff" track) Alright, so basically I'm just hunting around and checking what they gave me and realizing that it's pretty damn good. Bass guitars... (heavy bass guitar riff) Nice. I could probably just... Probably doesn't even need it but... I could probably just add a little bit of grit on that to get it to blend with the guitars. Which is probably not even needed. (heavy bass guitar riff) (heavy bass guitar riff now with gritty pitch tunes) And... the reason I did that is just so I can hear it more clearly. So right now I've only got a backing vocal, but he gave me his vocals all separated. So I'm gonna go ahead and bring those in next (clicking of computer mouse) Pre-Pro vocals. So check it out. Got a megaphone, harmonies, and leads. Please don't crash. Alright, cool. And in this case I'm gonna convert them all. When you convert them, it's going to basically create- I guess that these are in a and we're in so I'm gonna convert them to and copy those in to my audio files folder. Yup, 41 to 48. Done. While that's processing, you guys wanna chat? Wanna talk about stuff? (laughs) There's a question how to deal with musicians who are stubborn about using a metronome to track. So, going back to the rapport building (laughs). Just gonna say- is this 2003 or something? (laughs) It's true. I'm saying that because I remember there was a time period when I had first started recording when it was really hard to get metal drummers to play to a click. Like they were really afraid of it. But, now it's the exception to the rule. Well the thing with the click, is don't... (laughs) don't make the mistake of taking a drummer who can't play to a click and making him play to the click right then and there, the first time ever while recording. That's gonna be a disaster. So, again like I said lead-time, lead-time, lead-time. If you just can't get him to do it, man, then you have to consider your options. If it's not metal, you know, if it's some other style where things can flow in and out of time or something where time is more relative, like jazz then, sure. You know? You have to assess the situation. But if it's, you know, this grit-heavy style of music Where all the editing and all the effects and all the timing of everything needs to be exact and will get really, really messy if it's not well, then you need to then make some tough decisions. You need to decide what you're gonna do. Are you gonna program it? Are you gonna have someone else play it? Or are you just gonna say no to the project? But, you're gonna have to just decide. Or you're just gonna have to let him record without a click and fix, yeah. But, that always sucks. Especially if they're looking for a modern result. If they're looking for a modern result but won't play by modern rules, you're gonna have a hard time. So, yeah, it goes back to rapport and getting them to trust you but if the drummer doesn't know how to play to a click, he's probably not a good drummer to begin with. That's the other thing. Yeah, he probably sucks. (laughs) More than likely, he's a bad drummer. So, more than likely, I don't know. To me, that would be a giant red flag. Can't play to a click? I'm immediately looking for another drummer. So, I don't know. If he's stubborn, find somebody else. The reason I say that is because it takes a while to learn how to play to a click. Mhmm. Who the hell doesn't play to a click? (laughs) Alright. So let me label these harmony vocals. Pre-Pro. (clears throat) (clicking of computer mouse) Now, just so you know, with QuicKeys, or Batch Commander by Slate you can do this really fast. I'm just kinda painstakingly showing you guys what goes into it. (clicking of computer mouse) I highly recommend QuicKeys or Batch Commander, by the way. (clicking of computer mouse) Alright. Let's see what we're working with. Megaphone... Route these outputs. (clicking of computer mouse) (eerie megaphone sounds) Cool. (clicking of computer mouse) Well, he already gave me instructions on how to pan these. Let me see though They might be Pre Pan- Yup. They are. Alright, cool. Let's listen to these harmonies. I'm gonna mute these backing vocals. Some of the harmonies that he gave us... (clicking of computer mouse) (male voice harmony vocals for rock metal) Alright. That's gonna make life way easier. (male harmony vocals for rock metal) Weird. (clicking of computer mouse) (male harmony vocals for rock metal) Cool. So, having that in there is just kind of a life-saver sort of thing. (male harmony vocals for rock metal) Again, you heard those. Wasn't perfect, but close enough to work with. So then I would, just, I would just then start building a few tracking templates. So, at this point that I have all this in here I would make a group. (clicking of computer mouse) A general group, called "Pre-Pro." I do not wanna follow globals. (clicking of computer mouse) I don't wanna be matched on volume. I just want the mute and solos to work so I can get this stuff out of here if I need to. Later on, also, we're gonna talk about how to set up the synths for the drummer and stuff. But, as you can see. And if I need to do anything custom I'll just disable the group. But, now that's ready to go.

Class Description

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp will give you access to one of metal’s most in-demand producers and educators. You’ll also get to watch the talented and seasoned performers of Monuments show you how to record flawless takes and how to prepare to enter the studio.

Recording Metal with Eyal Levi: A Bootcamp is the definitive guide to recording and producing metal. From soup to nuts, start to finish, A to Z, you will learn everything you need to know about recording and producing a metal song.

Eyal Levi will take you inside the studio with Monuments as they record a song from scratch at Clear Lake Recording in Los Angeles. In this bootcamp, you will learn how to:

  • Prepare for a session in preproduction by choosing tempos and organizing the session
  • Record flawless drums from selection and reheading/tuning to mic choice and placement to editing
  • Record rhythm guitars
  • Record clean and lead guitars
  • Record bass guitar
  • Record, edit and tune lead vocals, harmonies, and screams
  • Mix and master from session setup to final bounce


  1. Intro to Bootcamp
  2. Purpose of Pre-Production
  3. Technical Side of Preproduction
  4. Pre-Production: Setting Up the Tempo Map
  5. Pre-Production: Importing Stems
  6. Pre-Production: Click Track
  7. Creating Tracking Templates
  8. Intro and the Tone Pie
  9. Drums - Lay of the Land
  10. Bearing Edges
  11. Wood Types
  12. Depths and Sizes
  13. Hoops
  14. Sticks and Beaters
  15. Drum Heads
  16. Drum Tuning
  17. Drum Mic Placement Intro
  18. Basic Drum Mic Setup
  19. Cymbal Mic Setup
  20. Touch Up Tuning
  21. Microphone Choice and Placement
  22. Drum Tracking Intro
  23. Getting Tones and Final Placement
  24. Primary Tracking
  25. Punching In and Comping Takes
  26. Guitar Setup and Rhythm Tone Tracking
  27. Amplifiers - Lay of the Land
  28. Amplifiers & Cab Shoot Out
  29. Guitar Cab Mic Choice and Placement
  30. Guitar Tracking and Signal Chain
  31. Finalizing Amplifier Tone
  32. Guitar Mic Shootout Round Robin
  33. Intro to Rhythm Tracking
  34. Setting Up Guitars
  35. Working with a Guitarist
  36. Final Guitar Tone and Recap
  37. Guitar Tracking with John
  38. Guitar Tracking with Ollie
  39. Final Tracking
  40. Tracking Quads
  41. Intro to Bass Tone
  42. Bass Tone Setup
  43. Bass Tone Mic Placement
  44. Bass Tracking
  45. Intro to Clean and Lead Tones
  46. Clean Guitar Tones
  47. Lead Tones
  48. Vocal Setup for Tracking
  49. Vocal Mic Selection and Setup
  50. Vocal Mic Shootout
  51. Lead Vocal Tracking
  52. Writing Harmonies
  53. Harmony Vocal Tracking
  54. Vocal Warm Ups
  55. Scream Vocal Tracking
  56. Vocal Tuning and Editing Introduction
  57. Vocal Tuning and Editing
  58. Routing and Bussing
  59. Color Coding, Labeling and Arranging Channels
  60. Setting Up Parallel Compression
  61. Setting Up Drum Triggers
  62. Gain Staging and Trim
  63. Drum Mixing - Subtractive EQ
  64. Drum Mixing - Snare
  65. Drum Mixing - Kick
  66. Drum Mixing - Toms
  67. Drum Mixing - Cymbals and Rooms
  68. Drum Mixing Recap
  69. Mixing Bass Guitar
  70. Mixing Rhythm Guitars
  71. Basic Vocal Mix
  72. Mixing Clean and Lead Guitars
  73. Mixing - Automation
  74. Mastering - Interview with Joel Wanasek



I'm on lesson 19! Already worth every dollar!!! Priceless insight! I have already incorporated some of the ideas (preproduction common sense stuff that I never thought of, but damn). VERY HAPPY with this course! ALWAYS LEARNING and looking forward to the next 50 (or whatever) lessons!!! Excellent course! GREAT PRODUCER/ENGINEER, GREAT DRUM TECH, and GREAT BAND!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!


I'm just part way though and I'm blown away by the quality approach Eyal takes to getting the best out of the sessions. I love how well everything is explained and Eyals calm manner is just awesome it really makes you want to listen to the gems of wisdom he offers.


Wow is all I can say. This bootcamp goes in so much depth from tuning drums, setting up guitars, to recording and mixing. I have learned so much by participating in this bootcamp. It has taught me some new recording techniques and signal routing for my mixes. I just want to thank Eyal, Monuments, and Creative Live for taking the time to do this. It has been amazing and I will keep going back to these videos.