In the age of the DAW, it’s hard to resist throwing every idea at the wall and trying to make sense of it later. But that can be real a bummer. Limitations foster creativity. Limiting your track count is a great way to focus and keep things exciting. It also forces you to work harder on the individual parts and the overall arrangement. Here’s seven ways to do it.
Think before you act! Do you need that banjo part? Can you live without the tamborine in the chorus? Just pretend you’re working on a 4 track.
2. Minimal mic’ing techniques
Try using one microphone per instrument. Or two, for a stereo signal. Don’t stick three mics on a guitar amp. One is enough.
If you decide to use 8 mic’s on a drum kit, do a sub mix and print it to a stereo track before you move on to the next overdub. You can keep the original tracks in a backup session file, but moving forward, you’re working with a single track for drums or backing vocals or whatever.
4. Print effects
If you want reverb on the vocal, choose the sound and just print it! You don’t have to do it while tracking, but you can do it right after.
5. Don’t double
Don’t double that guitar part. Don’t double that vocal. Just don’t do it. Put that saved time into improving the arrangement.
6. Shared effects returns
If you have a bunch of tracks that you think should sound like they’re in a cave, use the same aux send to the same plate reverb effects return. This is a classy, old-school move.
7. Don’t comp vocals
Fix vocal takes as you go along, or just sing the song all the way through. Comping is for wimps.
Quit screwing around. Make some music.