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Little Victories

December 15 2005 11:12 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

I'm not sure this is worth blogging about, but I was so psyched, I figured why not.

When I got my new computer this spring, one of the first things I thought about was taking my existing four-track recordings and copying them to disc where I could then play with the mixes in Cubase. The motherboard I bought came with a (decent) sound card, but I went ahead and picked up a better one for recording sake. I wondered if there might be way to use the two line-in's to copy all four tracks at once, but the methods I tried didn't work.

My last ditch effort was to copy two tracks at a time, playing the tape through the four-track deck twice. Only, it turned out that the tape player had a slight speed variance that meant that the two pairs of tracks didn't match up when I put them together on my computer. So I gave up, and figured I'd re-record everything at some point.

Yesterday, I had a eureka moment. As a goof, I tried it, and it worked. I'm still recording two tracks at a time, it just happens that I'm using two recording programs simultaneously. The only flaw is that I'm having to match them up after they're recorded, but my initial efforts turned out nicely.

I'd thought about entirely ditching the four-track recordings of the stuff that I've recorded in the last couple of years, only because of the tape hiss and the occasional tape warble that I don't have to deal with now that I'm recording digitally. But that would have meant ditching a couple of takes that I really liked. Even still, those "older" songs hit lower priority, only because I'd kinda lost my enthusiasm for them.

What was weird was hearing some of them again on my computer and actually getting to toy with the mixes. There are eight songs that I recorded onto four-track over the last two years, one of them being the Christmas song from 2003 (which is the only one that was mixed with vocals added). The Christmas song was actually number six. The last was a cover of Sunny Day Real Estate's "In Circles" that I loved, but didn't have the nerve to mix and add vocals (knowing what a pain it was going to be on my old computer).

So, now, here I am with a bunch of recordings available to me again. In fact, I did something blisteringly stupid in my curiosity, which was to pull the four-track recording of "Turn Away / Fade" to see how it would sound with a more careful mix than the one I did in 2001 (which is the one on Once Every Never). The new mix sounds way better (to me). Why was it blisteringly stupid? Because it makes me actually consider re-recording the vocals (like several people suggested I do back when I released the disc). One more dumb distraction from completing stuff.

Now, I'm trying to decide what to finish first. I think I may quickly throw out the vocals for that SDRE cover, only because I still love how the music turned out.

Of course, this means I now have something like twenty semi-completed songs on my computer. Yeesh.






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