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Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear

Lesson 2 of 13

FreePreview: Intro to Using Outboard Gear

Kris Crummett

Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear

Kris Crummett

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Lesson Info

2. FreePreview: Intro to Using Outboard Gear
Kris talks about when to use outboard gear while recording and when it is a-okay to use plug-ins.

Lesson Info

FreePreview: Intro to Using Outboard Gear

I'm going to be talking about outboard gear and kind of a little bit about tracking and a lot about mixing in general without more gear how to incorporate it in a digital world, not necessarily using outward gear with like a big console or something really just incorporating it with something that everyone's using these days, which is your d a w and I'll be using pro tools today to discuss this, but basically what we have here is the majority of my studio in racks packed up brought up here so I could show you so I could break down a mix. One of the main things I'm gonna do is break down a different issues song today from their self titled album and show you what I used on it and how I used it and then also I'm just going to go through all these pieces and talk about different ways to use them and how they excel and give you a chance to hear this stuff. The other thing that I think is gonna happen today even if you're not interested in outboard gear and you're not really looking for get...

ting out of the box, you're going to see a lot of techniques and a lot of things that I use that you can apply in the box so it's going to be the best of both worlds but really the focus is the the analog outboard gear so the first thing I want to talk about is I guess when people say outboard gear what they're referring to is hardware analog units or even digital units that air physical units as opposed to plug ins and stuff like that so it I use that term outboard pretty freely but not everyone may know what what it actually refers to so all of this stuff is is outboard gear and um the way you get to it from the computer is ah analog to digital conversion what what this does is it takes digital signal and it converts it in analog and does what it says and then takes the analog signal the real life signal and basically turns it in the ones and zeros and gets it inside your computer so this is the hub of everything pretty much um a lot of people might know this is the interface interface generally refers to an eighty converter and mike pre you know and like a headphone and all in one but the way my system works is that all that stuff is separate but but the basic techniques for getting in and out of the box and show you today are totally the same so when you hear me refer to the a d d converter or the converter it's totally just like your interface so I just want to make sure that's clear um I don't want to touch a little bit on what we did yesterday. Kind of a recap. Tracking with outboard gear. Um, in a general sense, any microphone you hook up needs to be hooked into a mike pre these the mike priest I use in general. Um, I have quite a few because I track a lot of live drums. Um, so you need a mike for the kick and snare toms overheads rooms. Anything else and that that's all coming through these ap, I might freeze and a classic fbi and chandler and the p a you um and sometimes I'll go into a compressor and e q, but more often than not with drums, I will just stay with the mic pre and affected later and today I'm going to show you the difference between running things in and like through the outboard gear and running things that you've already recorded back out of the computer through the outboard here, into the computer again on dh. You could do that real time while mixing or you can record things out and print them back in and there's advantages the both it's nice to be able to take the session, take the taken taken instrument like a bass guitar, recorded out, run it through something running through like a distress sir to get some nice compression and run it back into the box. And just recorded in and leave it when I first started uh I basically had like ten years ago I really just had one distress sir and a couple of mike priest so what I would do in order to get that sound that that really hardware compressor sound that I wanted that I'm going to show you guys in a little bit is I would take the track recorded out recorded back in then I go to like the snare track recorded through the distress sir recorded back in it seems a little daunting but it's totally worth it and you kind of pick and choose what instruments really shine with analog outboard gear and I'm going to show you that today too, because even I don't run every single thing through other than the mic free I don't run every single track through analog outboard gear there's some stuff that I'm a okay, which is using plug ins I feel like I pick and choose my battles correctly and really, really choose the right things to use the outboard gear with so the first thing I want to do here's I'm gonna make a new session and I'm going to show you guys the basics of running things in and out again amusing pro tools ten I'll just call this test session for creative alive making you track shift command and this will be the track that we're going to record too I'll call it print and then I'm going to import some audio shift command I I'm just gonna pick something random here let's take a snare drum and actually I'm gonna copy this instead of ad when you're using pro tools and you're grabbing audio files something good to know is that if you add and then you delete it from the session, you're gonna delete that original file, but if you could copy it copies that original file into the new session and that way you don't risk messing it up and losing something you could never get back without a clean room and thousands of dollars or something. I'm not that's even possible, so importing this snare track and I'm going to show you show you why my outputs aren't working let's find out everyone so well when you're using pro tools and other day that we use it will use the io set up from the previous session and throw things off so if things aren't working, first thing you want to do is open up your iowa and make sure everything looks normal because that's that's what I just did and it just pick something up from one of the sessions I used yesterday, so now I'm back on track and one of the main things you'll find and if you've ever tried to run anything out of your computer and back in, you'll realize that there's a delay even if your system has the lake compensation, that doesn't necessarily compensate for third party, eighty converters and certain interfaces. So what I'm going to show you right now is how do you, um, compensate for that delay and test for the delay based on any eighty converter? And I'll tell you up front, uh, every sample rate is going to change the amount of delay, and every converter has a little bit different delay, but if you have one converter and are always working at one sample rate, you can pretty much guarantee a cz long as you have delayed compensation turned on on your d a w that whatever number you come up with it's going to be the same samples that you need to adjust the tracking, and I'm that might not make sense now, but I'm gonna explain it right now, so it makes a little more sense right now I'm at forty eight k, I'm running through the prison, a two d converters in and out, and I have this track snare track let's we hear what it sounds like still snare sample. You can hear that now, let's say, I just want to take that out and completely crush it with the distress sir let's do that, what I'm going to do the first thing I want to show you how you would print it if you just want to print it and say that. So if you're like me when I started and you just have one compressor couple compressors and you want to use it on everything, this is how you would do it so already made it an extra tracked a print will call this snare crush print, actually, because I want to crush it and I'm gonna make my output, which right now is going to my monitors? I'm going to make it go to let me choose one go out, put three here on the track that already has audio, and we're gonna go out put three on the track coming in so on my patch big, which is a really important thing that I will touch on in a minute. I meant to touch on this first, but let me show you this on I'll talk about how the patch works on my patch bay, though I have everything here plugged in the back of all this equipment is plugged into the back of what's called patch bay, and that way I can just plug in on the front without having to get behind stuff and without having to mess around with cables back there it's all right here, so I have all my control here so what I'm gonna do I'm gonna take a patch and I have some stuff patched up from yesterday, but I want to go out of the first prison out of a third person track excuse me into the distress, sir on the patch bay, which is this right here, the first one that I'm going to go out of the distress er patch back into the prison, which is the energy converter. So now on my third input and output, I should have the distress or running, and I have this ah input mode, so we can just hear what it's doing gonna crush this for now this seeking kind of get the idea still too loud and this was the signal coming through dry just completely obliterated and I could actually crush it more if I really wanted to, but I'm not going to let me record a couple of these in and I'll show you here when you zoom in, I'll make these tracks extra big, you're going to get a little bit offset. That offset looks weird, so this one came in a little bit ahead. But no matter what, you're gonna end up with some sort of something that you're going to need to compensate for, and the reason that this tracks ahead is because the prisons actually have a shorter delay. Then the stock did the design converters and pro tools already has a built in delay compensation for their converters so if your converters or your interface have a longer natural delay in the conversion than the digit design stock converters, you're going to end up behind if they have, if they have a shorter delay, you're going to end up a little bit ahead, so that's, just something I watch out for, but either way you can compensate for it. So as you can hear, see here you kind of see the wave forms and where they start, but I don't really feel like that's a good way to really measure the distance and I'm going to show you how to measure the distance because if you kept it like that and he wanted to use both tracks or your chinese attract that face, go here, you're going to get weird phasing issues because it's, not in time as you can clearly see that the new track I made down here isn't in time at all. I have to see him in a little more it's in time with itself, but it's not in time with the old track, so we want to fix that because we don't want phase issues, which means two tracks are hitting at the exact same time see you're getting a weird sound sometimes they can even be reversed and completely phase out, so what I like to do instead of just taking a normal drum sound or something like that is I take a really of noxious click or clip, and I like to go right in the middle of a peak in away form, so you know, you're just going to get, like, a snap. It may be the first time in my life that I've snapped and actually made it sound too walks on my side today, so as you could see before, it was kind of sketchy as to where the start of the wave form wass and we really want to be extremely clear, so now I've made that clip of cut it out, put it in a different spot just so it's really clear where it is, it's a real short click I'll play it for you terrible, so I'll do that one more time and record now I have a really clear, clear start, and I know that this tall peak is right where my original files started, so I like to use samples to manager so on pro tools, you have the samples bar right here, and you click on samples after you selected actually should go back one step, so in order to measure, click on the start of whatever whichever one you want oh, click on first and then go to the second one they're the beginning of the second one because this is the original track this is the new track and you can see right here my delay is eighteen samples so what I need to do to fix that is there's a few different ways but what I like to do actually is I just go to the comments here just so I can remember my delay in his eighteenth samples or you can write nudge forward eighteen samples in this way you get everything back and phase so I'm gonna ignore that and go back to my actual snare tracks go to my nudge here and selected and click eighteen and you always sometimes this isn't in samples so double check that urine samples mother right here and now that I've measured that and dialed it in just hit the plus on the ten key and you're lined up now that's how I do things when um I just want to record in and out I want to actually print a track and I'll play I'll play this for you here to why this is important put the output back sets through the monitors of the original track play this play this which is the new track then I'll play him together sounds like the perfect combination of both if I hadn't done the delay compensation this is what this is back before I compensated manually you can hear that clear clear but when you play him together thie kind of sound muffled and can I have like a sound to it and that's that's them being at a face only playing out of face in face clear with things that are constant like symbols? But it is terrible in face sounds really nice, so any time you're printing out and back in, you want to watch out for that now you you don't necessarily need to worry about that if you're tracking straight into the computer from a live source that this is completely different than that. So that's how I compensate for delayed in that manner now in certain certain instruments that I like to run live, I actually want to just her that I like to print through analog here, I like to run in live during during the whole mix because there's little subtle things that I'm probably going to change, you know? As I turn up the bass, I really want to kick to actually have more punch as I'm turning up the vocals, I realized the snares little t smash, so I want to back that off so there's certain things that I print and there's certain things that I like to run live, so let me show you how to run and all equipment live with pro tools, and we've already measured for the delay I'm gonna double the original track seeking hearem side by side and I'm gonna make the view a little larger too so you can read with these tracks I normally is narrow mixed view because I have a lot of tracks going and I've just gotten used to it but it does truncate the titles of the track so sometimes it's harder to understand so there's going to be stare print hardware insert on hardware insert is actually it's basically the same as a plug in and you go to your inserts like you would with any plug in and instead of choosing you probably just have native plug ins or just plug ins on yours because it's the tedium system I have ideas b and native it's basically the same thing they're just run differently but below that you have I o so I'm actually going to run this as if it were a plug in simply selecting hardware answer which is also called I o and pro tools um I can I can just run that live and I can play this and it's going through on the same track just like a plug in wood but we still have that delay so let me play the hardware insert one at the same time as the original track obnoxious delay happening so we need to fix that and the best way to fix that I've found it's just use a delay plug and pro tools you have a plug and called time a gesture and time and gestures what I always use and we've already measured this so I'm going to enter eighteen samples into time a gesture way have a perfectly in face there it's pretty simple and you can do this on multiple tracks according to how much I owe you have but that's how you do it and make it work and that's especially important with live drums or if you have guitars and you want one mike to goto outboard gear or you want a separate bus to go to the outboard gear or your parallel busing because if you're doing that stuff and you're not compensating for delay then you're just going to get these weird sounds and sometimes certain instruments you might not even notice it but you'll be confused why is it getting quieter why's it sound thin always check your delay and there's certain plug ins on certainty a w's that I've worked with that have that require so many samples that offset so far that they'll actually mess with your hardware delay too so if you are feeling like you're mixing and you put on a plug in and all of a sudden your hardware tracks start to sound weird or you feel like something's changed just do that trick I did where with the with the click and running it out and back in and just double check your delay because if you're using like certain multi band plug ins will really tio causer samples to get offset really far like sometimes further than the delay compensation so double check that if you're using one of those plug ins redo your delay and then reset your delay in time a jester and just be aware of that because and it should affect all of your tracks equally so if I did this and then I brought up a kick drum and put it on insert for I could use I could just I could just drag time adjuster over holding option which doubles the track in pro tools and it would be exactly the same it's not like different tracks they're going to have different delay but I always double checking any obsession because old paranoid sometimes and I have had experiences where I've gotten into the mix and thought my delay it was one thing and realized it was different and then not only was my mixed wrong in the first place but now it's not even what I thought it was you know things get confusing that way so something else I want to touch on that I'm going to be using a lot today because it's really the backbone of all my analog equipment is the patch bay and the patch bay basically refers to a connection between two cables if you look at a cable it's you kind of imagine it like this the back of the patch bay that you can't see is a cable coming from the back of any of this equipment? So, like the output of the fatso or the distress sir goes to a patch on here labeled out so it's basically, all the patch is just a connector is like a barrel connector in a box, so just connecting this one to this one and what that allows me to do is look here and just go, ok, I want this mike pre to go to this compressor and to go to this input, and then if I changed my mind immediately, aiken still just sit in my chair, change it over, and I can do it well, being in front of the monitors and listening and that's really important because, like, like I was talking about yesterday, if you saw my class, I feel it's really important to be to not waste time in the studio, because what you're trying to do is create art no matter what you're doing in the studio and just wasting time and fumbling around. Um, kind of goes against that it's it's counter productive, so patch bay is really important for efficiency. It's terrible, the studios really nice and let but a lot of studios don't have a lot of light trying to get back behind all your gear and move patches and plug things and trace cables. Takes forever and if you have what I used to have long here and you go longer if you have a long hair and your behind uh under a desk or behind a bunch of gear and you're trying to look it's like you want to just frickin kill somebody because you're going like this and then you hear drops in front of your face and you're like oh wait that's number seven and then you hear drops in front of your face again and you're just like and it's it's so frustrating so avoid hair problems get a patch bay and as I plug in each thing I'm going toe I'm going to show you where it is on the on my personal patch bay and also something to remember with patch base in general something that makes it a little less you can look at this and just go oh my gosh that looks like a frickin fifties telephone operator I have no clue what any of that stuff does but one thing to remember is it is just this is your gear and each line is always it always goes output and then input and the output and an input and you're out sir always above your ends so if you kind of know that that's the basic roadmap you know that's northeast southwest that's that's one thing that I always keep in mind so it doesn't seem like such a overbearing crazy nonsense thing because because it does just look like a bunch of holes if you don't know what it is, but so it's always, if you go into a new studio it's always going to be outs over ends and it's, it should always be labeled properly and so it's really pretty easy and a lot easier than getting behind the gear and trying to change things and some patch base are are you smaller cables? And they're coming out with digital patch base and stuff now to what you're pretty cool, but they're all basically the same doing the same thing. So now let's, get a real session of I've prepared another issue session here we'll be working with the song mad at myself today and like I said before, I'll be going through it and breaking down the different stuff I've done and showing you different ways to use the outboard gear with it, and I'm going to use the analog stuff and I mean he's, a digital stuff as well. There's there's digital outboard gear affects processors that air really cool and basically they're their own dedicated computer to create effects and there's some really interesting ones out there, summer high tech and very more expensive and really thought out and some are just cheap we built effects that sound cool because they're weird it's kind of like guitars question preference what do you usually use for I would say like as far as mike priest from a lot of vehicles in the mike a priest for life more like screaming and stuff like that? Sure yeah what he promises so for melodic vocals a lot a lot of time either use the p a you or I will use the the it's called cappie it's classic audio products of illinois they have a pre called the bp twenty eight and it's got two off ramps and two transformers in it and it's really thick sounding and saturates really nicely um I'll use that for both singing and screaming sometimes that the screaming needs a little more edgier mid range I have something a j p I praise all use and then if I want the screams to be kind of over driven all use my chandler tg two because it has an output control and it saturates really nicely and it's actually this mike priest based on the mic pre used on dark side of the moon from abbey road but you know you can you can use one and the same it's just kind of about what you're trying to get out of the vocal and it depends on the micro using two in which pairs best with it I can go down, go down the line actually with what mike prison would use for other stuff the fbi's rule on drones I always use these on kick and snare. Um, I'll use the cap is sometimes on snare or sometimes on overheads, chandler all either use on overheads of rooms because it's real thick, I like it on rooms because I can actually drive it and get some cool saturation on the drum room likes, um, love the pier you on, tom's it's really cool on outside kick and great on effect mikes and it's pretty cool on overheads to actually if I want to really clean clear overhead sound, this is fantastic in effect, a lot of times that you small condenser mikes on overheads and I want something a little more thick, but if I'm using large condensers all use the piano because it's it really cleared it. It works well with my large condenser mikes for bass guitar. The vintage ap the's air racked up a p three twelve priests from vintage ap consul, and they sound fantastic on base because they have a really nice growly mid range. Um and I'll seize among guitars a lot you these or the cappy? If I'm using a condenser on guitars, I'll use the p a you because it's a lot clear for that works really well with, like four fourteen's a kg for fourteen's or most large condensers that pairs really well

Class Description

Pairing outboard gear with your digital set-up is a sure-fire way to get a professional-grade audio recording. In Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear, Kris Crummet will show you how adding some basic analog gear to your recording toolbox will lend pro-level character and depth to your mixes.

Outboard gear adds analog warmth and punchiness to a mix that simply can’t be replicated by software. If you’re an at-home producer who wants to add a little more sonic flavor than you can get in the box, you’ll need to incorporate outboard gear into your recording process. In Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear, you’ll learn analog gear basics from the guy who has produced some of this generation’s most dynamic rock/post-hardcore bands including; Sleeping With Sirens, Dance Gavin Dance, Alesana, Issues and more.

If you want to learn how to warm up your tracks with outboard gear, watch Tracking & Mixing with Outboard Gear and get an inside look at Kris Crummet’s approach to audio production.

Class Materials

bonus material with enrollment

Kris Crummet - Tracking and Mixing Gear Guide.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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OK I bought this course to watch at my leisure. Lots of Respect for Kris - if you go to his personal website, his experience and track record (no pun!) is impressive. Clearly he knows his stuff and has developed a very efficient way of working. I am a singer songwriter in the UK with many years of experience playing live. I have my own project studio (Pro Tools 11, lots of vintage hardware, UAD, Avalon, Tube Tech etc) and all the software plug ins, virtual instruments. Also a comprehensive guitar collection, acoustics, electrics, keyboards, DW drums etc. My problem is this. here again is a well organised Creative Live presentation with a competent presenter, but the content is inappropriate for the majority of viewers. Like many people watching this stuff, I find the material used to demonstrate the techniques is awful. Grahame Cochrane is the same - over produced American soft rock which has absolutely no musical or creative merit. This 'music' isn't going to stand the test of time and will be gone within a year. I understand that the material isn't Kris's personal stuff, but he says he likes it and I'm sure he does. But what your listeners want to hear is how to produce recordings which have space and clarity. Listen to Jackson Browne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder, Dylan, Van Morrison - these artist's recordings are the ones to emulate! So please, can we kick out the over compressed X Factor style stuff and get back to basics? Show us how to get quality sounds and how to create space in a mix. Its the natural sounding music which will be with us in 50 year's time - just like the Motown stuff is now. No doubt there is a whole generation out there who think this sort of material has credibility, but I have to tell you it has almost no musical or creative merit, and I for one don't need to know how its produced.


This was the single most helpful source of information for improving my mixing that I have ever come across. I loved it and i know everybody else here will too. Buy it so this man can come back again

a Creativelive Student

Awesome course, super relevant as Issues is my favourite band and as a producer/engineer I aspire to their tone, the drum mixing was especially great, just a shame that there was no mention of electric guitar mixing