Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recording Software Templates

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Hello home recording enthusiasts!

This blog centers itself on a time saving method that I read about a while ago. I started using the information that was suggested in that article, and I have never looked back since. Now, when I set up to start recording a song, I simply open up one of my templates and then I go for it.
What is a template? I am glad that you asked that.

A template is a blank "page" that you set up and save, so that in the future you can open it and start recording right away. This quick method of setting up for a session can save you time and many headaches now as well as later on down the road.
You can set up templates for your home recording setup and for recording yourself or a band, as you play out live. Lets take a look at some types of template ideas that will better explain just what these templates are.

Forget which software application you are currently using, as you can use templates with almost any and all of them. When you are done building a song template, you will need to save it as (lets say) "HomeRecordingTemplate" or maybe "LiveRecordingTemplate". As you later open the template, and record information (music) into the blank tracks, then you can then save it as "TheSongsName", and then close it (after you save it). Don't freak out, as you will still have the saved, blank template ready for you to open up again and start recording another song all over again.

Lets see what type of template I might set up and save, and what it might contain.
I have a Pro Tools setup, even though it does not matter that it is Pro Tools. I like to use Reason as my drums and bass, on separate tracks in Pro Tools. I like to have one track for the floor tom (kick), one for the snare, one for the hi-hat, and so on. So what I would do first (in order to build a template) is to open a new song in pro tools, and then save it as "HomeRecTemplate" or a title that you can recognize as a template.

Then, I would create maybe six or seven tracks and I would label the tracks with names like "kick", "snare", "Bass", and whatever the type of song that the template might reflect and might need.

Keep in mind that this template that you are creating should contain only the instruments, or tracks, for the instruments that you plan on most often including in the type of template that you are creating.

For example, if you have a piano track in most of your songs, then create a piano track in your template. If you never use a piano, then do not put one in your template. This sounds like a no brainer, but I often put way too much into them, myself! Less is way more. We should add to templates, not take away.

OK. Now that I have a new (blank song) template in the works, lets add some more to it. We have added six or seven tracks already, so lets work on those. The "kick" track needs some more detail. As I said, I like to use Reason for my drum tracks. So, in that track I will go ahead and insert a Reason instrument, and even go ahead and set it up in reason too. This means that I assign the kick drum in reason to come through the kick track in Pro Tools(via Reasons patch bay)as I sound it on my keyboard. Lastly, for this track, I title it "Kick".

After I have the kick track set up in Pro Tools I save the song as "theTemplate Name" both in Pro Tools and in Reason. Then I go back and add the snare track(s). I like to save the templates as I go in case the power blinks or I forget to do it later. Then, it's onto the next track, and so on until you are happy with the contents of this new song template.

You have created and saved your first song template. Now, the next time you sit down to record a lick or some idea that you just have to get down before you forget it, you can simply open up this new template and start recording into it! This is very fast and also very easy! You will have no trouble falling in love with your new templates.

Once you start recording music into the template, dont forget to save it as the title of the new song that you are recording. When you do this, it will not erase the template, but instead, the software will save the new song title along with the template too! You will now have the template (still blank and ready to go again) and the new song that you are working on, saved.

Think just how handy this will be for you to take to the next show! No matter if you use the mixer outputs, or you use a series of microphones to record your favorite live music, you can set up, save, and use a template for it.

You can show up at the show, open up the template on your lap top, and be ready to record! You will have no need to set up tracks, sub mixes, or any effects patches, because you have it all saved and titled in a template! If a new member shows up and wants to jam along with you, simply add a track to the active template. That's it!

After you are done recording, save it as a different title. That way you still will have the template for the next song, or the next show, and all of the music that you just recorded.
So set up some templates. Make your life as easy as you can! This makes you look professional and allows you to perform too! You will have no reason to be hunched over your lap top as the band waits for you.

Keep playing!