Repairing Recording Problems


Repairing Recording Problems

As discussed earlier, many musicians record an entire song in one take, then go back and record punch-ins to fix mistakes in the performance, or they record multiple long takes and edit the best parts of each take together. Others record songs in multiple short takes, which are then arranged in the Timeline to form the complete song.

When people listen to your finished song, they'll have no idea if you recorded it all in one take or in small sections. So your job is to do whatever is necessary to get the song recordedperiod. There are several common recording issues when working with Real Instruments, including tuning, timing, and mistakes. Let's start with tuning.

Working with the Instrument Tuner

If you play a guitar, you probably need to tune it often. Most professional musicians keep an electronic tuner with them so they can tune their guitars with precision. GarageBand includes an instrument tuner you can use before you record. For this exercise, you'll need to hook up an instrument such as a guitar to the computer. You can use the same instrument you used to record in the previous exercise. If you don't have an instrument handy, just read through the steps so you'll know how to use the tuner the next time you want to record an instrument. I'll be using an acoustic guitar and microphone pickup.

1.

Open 6-2 Tuning from the Lesson_06 folder.

2.

In the time display, click the Instrument Tuner button, which looks like a tuning fork.

The time display changes from the normal setting into the instrument tuner.

3.

Play a C note on your guitar (or other instrument). If you're a vocalist, try singing a C.

When you play a note on your instrument, the name of the note appears at the left end of the instrument tuner, and a colored light appears under the scale that takes up most of the display. If your note is perfectly in tune, a green light appears under the 0 mark. If it's not, a red light appears to the left of 0 if the pitch is flat, to the right of 0 if sharp.

4.

Tune your instrument until you get a green light in the center of the time display, indicating that your instrument is perfectly tuned for that note.

5.

Try tuning your instrument for several other notes.

6.

When you are finished, click the Musical Time button (a note icon) below the Instrument Tuner button to return the time display to its normal setting.

Note

The instrument tuner is designed to work with one note at a time. It will not work with chords or combined notes. And sorry folks, but you can't hook up a bunch of instruments at once and try to tune them all at the same time.

Enhancing Tuning and Timing in the Editor

The editor includes two advanced features to enhance the tuning or timing of your recorded Real Instrument regions. Both are turned off by default until they are needed.

The Enhance Tuning slider affects all regions in the selected track for both your own recordings and loops. Enhance Tuning works accurately only on single notes within a track, so be sure the selected track doesn't include chords.

When you use the Enhance Tuning feature, it enhances the tuning of notes by moving them to the closest note in the project's key. If you want to move them to the closest note that is not in the project's key, deselect the "Limit to Key" option. The default setting is to use the project's key.

You can also enhance the timing of a Real Instrument track. This is useful if the pitch and performance are good, but the notes aren't perfectly in time with the project.

The Enhance Timing slider enhances all Real Instrument regions, your own recordings, or loops. You can enhance the timing of a single note, chord, and even percussion. This feature works best with regions that contain patterns of notes rather than pads of long sustained notes.

This feature is similar to the Fix Timing feature for Software Instrument regions, except the Fix Timing feature fixes the timing of every selected note event in a region, whereas the Enhance Timing feature for Real Instruments adjusts the timing of peaks within the waveform and is less exact.

Tip

The Enhance Tuning and Enhance Timing features may not work equally well with all types of musical recordings. Experiment with the different values and listen carefully to the results to find the best timing enhancement for each individual track. To enhance a track, select the entire track in the editor.


Recording Over a Mistake

This project includes the different stages of repairing a recording mistake by recording over the mistake. The top region contains the original Dry Horn Section recording used in the song "Alaska Sunrise" and includes a major mistake in the middle. Fortunately, this process is easy. You can use a cycle region to narrow down the section you wish to rerecord. This is known in recording circles as punching in.

Recall that when you recorded with a cycle region using a Software Instrument, you were able to record multiple passes and keep adding to the part within the cycle region.

Recording Real Instruments with cycle regions is different because GarageBand records only the first pass. After the first pass, you can only monitor the newly recorded section. This is a good thing. If you don't like the recording, you can undo and try again. But if you got lucky and recorded the perfect take, you won't accidentally record over it because you took too long to hit the spacebar to stop the recording.

Let's take a look at a Real Instrument region with mistakes that I had to punch in and record again.

1.

Open the project 6-3 Punch-Ins and save it to the My GarageBand Projects folder.

2.

Select the Dry Horn Section track and make sure the track is soloed. (Solo button is on.)

3.

Play the soloed track and listen for the most obvious mistake near the middle of the region.

Once you have located a mistake, you can set up a cycle region over the mistake to designate which part of the region you want to rerecord. When you begin recording in the new cycle region, a new region is created that matches the length of the cycle region.

4.

Press C, or click the Cycle button, to see the cycle region that I used to punch in and rerecord over the original mistake.

5.

Play the cycle region to hear the section isolated by the cycle region.

Normally, you can rerecord directly in your original recorded region. Since I was creating this project as a demonstration of punch-ins, I copied my original recording to two other tracks so you could see the different takes and compare the recordings.

The next step is to select the track you want to record.

6.

Unsolo the upper track and click the Solo button on the Punch-In 1 track.

Before you record a part of a region, turn on the metronome, and choose Control > Count In so you can hear the measure prior to the region you are about to record. Both selections will be checkmarked in the Control menu if they are on.

7.

Play the cycle region on the Punch-In 1 track to hear the rerecorded section.

8.

Press C to turn off the cycle region, then play the track from the beginning to hear the entire repaired track.

When you rerecord part of a region, the new recording will be named after the track instead of the original region.

9.

Unsolo the Punch-In 1 track and solo the Punch-In 2 track. Play the last part of the track to hear the recording I added at the end.

Tip

If you're adding a recording to the end of a region, you don't have to use the cycle region. Instead you can just start recording from the play-head position. If you think you may need to try several recording attempts, use the cycle region so you can easily cover up one recording with another until it is fixed.

10.

Hide the cycle region and unsolo the Punch-In 2 track.

Rerecording part of a region is a great method for masking mistakes in an otherwise terrific performance.

Joining Noncontiguous Real Instrument Regions

Now that you know how to punch in and fix a Real Instrument region, let's look at an advanced technique for joining Real Instrument regions that were recorded in different takes or at different times, also referred to as noncontiguous regions.

Why would you want to join noncontiguous Real Instrument regions? Sometimes you edit a recording, or arrange a series of different takes together in a track, and you want to keep the edited track as one region to make it easier to move to another project and archive. Also, if you plan to duplicate a region on another track, it's much easier to do so if you have to move only one longer region instead of many shorter edited regions.

When you join recorded regions to create a new file, the original recordings and the new merged file will be stored together in the project's Media folder.

Let's use this technique to select and join all four regions in the Punch-In 2 track.

1.

Click the Punch-In 2 track header to select all the regions in that track.

2.

Choose Edit > Join, or press Cmd-J, to join all of the regions into one merged file.

A mixdown progress window appears. If the regions you want to join come from different recording sessions, you may see a dialog warning you that a new file will be created. If you see this dialog, click the Create button.

The new region appears in the Timeline track, replacing the original regions.

All of the separate regions in the track have been merged into one new region.

The new merged file will be added to the project file once you save the project.

3.

Press Cmd-S to save the new version of the project.

This technique can be very useful for archiving an edited Real Instrument recording or for doubling a track that consists of numerous shorter edited regions.

Project Tasks

Now that you've seen how I recorded a punch-in to fix the song, it's your turn to try recording and punching in. Use the same instrument you recorded with earlier in this lesson. Record a region with a mistake, then create a cycle region to punch in and fix the mistake. This exercise will truly be an example of learning from your mistakes. Be sure to save your project before moving on to the next exercise.

Note

Always select the track you want to record and make sure that the Record Enable button is turned on for that track.


Punch-ins get easier the more you practice with them.