Written by Brian Lau, Founder and COO of Trubify
Over the years, I have worked with a lot of bands in different recording studios. When working with different artists and producers in different studios, you pick up a lot of tips and tricks.
One of the things that I have come across a lot is whether or not to record to a click track.
On one side, people are concerned with tracking in a multitrack session. Specifically, they’re concerned about not being able to come back later and get consistent performances for musicians on punch in and subsequent tracks if the song isn’t tracked to a click.
On the other side, many people think that quantization and playing to a click kills the vibe and groove of a song.
In any case, one thing that really ruins it for me is when you hear the click track bleed through an artist’s headphone while they are tracking. This is especially evident when you are acting as the producer, engineer, and musician all at the same time. Coupled with the fact that I don’t have any gobos or baffles, I end up getting a lot of bleed from the click track in my headphones being picked up by the microphones.
This track bleed is usually bad on tracks like acoustic guitar where you are putting a sensitive mic on an extremely dynamic instrument. When I am playing loudly, the guitar covers up the click, but in quieter passages and as the guitar trails off, the click always bleeds through.
I have found a work around for this by using an upward compressor.
On your click track, set up a compressor after the click plugin (or just on the track if you’re using a printed audio click). Set the sidechain input to an unused bus. Send your guitar signal to that bus. Set the compressor to an Upward Compressor preset. This makes the compressor work “backwards”. When it hears a loud signal, it makes the signal louder rather than softer. And when the guitar dies out, the click attenuates – making it much less likely to pick up on the guitar’s mic.
The settings I liked on the Waves C1 are:
- Makeup: 0
- Thresh: -41
- Ratio: 0.70:1 (crucial – the ratio has to be less than 1:1)
- Attack: 2
- Release: 54
- PDR: 0