Re: [Harp-L] Be a studio musician when you're not there

 Some good information on the ftp & collaborative recording.  

I've done quite a bit of this for local artists and projects, but when called on as a producer, I often have to deal with this over longer distances.  On a recent Disney Children's Video and CD project, the lead vocalist was on tour when we had to cut and record the demo arrangements (with lead vocals) and get approval.  

The vocalist had a good USB mic and would sneak off to changing rooms, bathrooms, quiet hotel rooms at night, the back of the bus, or wherever she could find, and record directly into the Pro tools session I had set up with a rough mix and basic stems.  She would then .zip the new session back up with the new vocals and post to my ftp for downloading, other overdubs, and mixing.   In this case, working with the same DAW as your collaborator was important and made the workflow and transfer process a lot smoother.  

Richard's point about knowing the bit rate and sample format of the session (24bit/ 48Khz is my session default) is pretty important.  If there is a session tempo too, that info should be communicated,  especially for sync issues. If you are working in separate DAW's (Pro Tools to: Digital Performer, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Garage Band, etc.) you can trade mix or instrumental stems of the primary mix or other parts for the artist to work with, and rebuild the session in their/ your own workstation.  I always print a click track in the session and keep that included in all the stems.  The collaborator should do the same when they bounce the overdubed parts  (harmonica of course :) back to their own mono or stereo stem.  I have seen slight drift between the clock rates of different audio programs so its not out of the question to have to shift things around a wee bit using the click tracks for reference.  

I had one challenge of working with an arranger who had an older version of Logic Pro.  I could open his sessions, but he could not open mine once I made any changes or updates.  Even more fun, the engineer who recorded all the horn parts, only worked in Pro Tools so the sessions had to be converted back and forth several times.  Another songwriter I know, works up his basic tracks in Garage band, then posts the GB session to ftp, which I can then open in Logic Pro for mixing or other overdubs with alternate mics, and my own set of plug ins.  
It does open a lot of possibilities for artists and session players.  I have not tried real time, distance, remote recording, but it is pretty easy to be "patched" in to recording sessions via phone, or Skype which allows you to be virtually there in the control room as the recording is taking place and able to make suggestions and performance requests.  Obviously it works the other way too if you are the one doing the recording.  

At the risk of this thread going too "meta", the project mentioned above did feature quite a few harmonica tracks and even some great tracks by Winslow Yerxa on the Accordion.  :)

Burke T.

Open Door Productions 

Message: 3
Date: Mon, 8 Apr 2013 14:48:23 -0600 (GMT-06:00)
From: Richard Hunter <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Be a studio musician when you're not there -
	Virtual	Studio Musician
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

Robert Hale wrote:
<I've read a little about real time collaborative recording. I'm thinking
<more of recording tracks at home when distance is impractical or
<cost-prohibitive. And I think I have the hardware and specs in order.

Exchanging tracks and rough mix recordings via email, Yousendit, etc. is easy, 
so easy that it's barely worth discussing the mechanics.  If you have a decent 
mic, a 24-bit audio interface, and a computer running any of the major DAWs, 
you've got everything you need to record good tracks at home.  (I exaggerate 
slightly, but not much. It helps to have knowledge too.)  The client sends you a 
rough mix mp3 and a few comments on what she wants to hear.  You record a few 
passes and send rough mix mp3s back.  Everybody agrees that it sounds good 
(maybe after another round or two), you get paid, and you send the soloed harp 
track.  You have to remember to ask up front what audio format they want you to 
use--my preferred is 24 bit 44 kHz, and I've only been asked for something else 
(as it happens, 24 bit 48 kHz) once. 

Real time collaborative recording is another story. I have a hard time imagining 
how the latency issue is handled.  I shudder to think how fat the pipe must be 
to get latency between the musicians down to, say, 10 milliseconds, which is 
pretty close to the limit for real time performance.  (At 20 milliseconds, the 
lag between the source and the line signal becomes very annoyingly audible.)

The hardest part of recording in a home studio is getting the clients.  The 
mechanics are easy.  FYI, if you use a handheld mic, you don't need to worry 
about acoustically treating the room.  I use an Audix Fireball V handheld for 
this very reason when I record "acoustic" harmonica sounds. It sounds great 
hand-held, and the alternative is to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to 
treat the room so I can record in front of the mic, where room sounds will be 
all too evident.

Regards, Richard Hunter

author, "Jazz Harp" 
latest mp3s and harmonica blog at
Vids at
more mp3s at
Twitter: lightninrick

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.