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View Full Version : Clip Gain is your friend


scrnplyr
07-08-2013, 09:42 AM
I am constantly trying ways to reduce the time I spend tweaking mixes - esp when I know deep down, I've reached the point of diminishing returns. I can usually get the basic parameters of a mix set up and decent sounding within a 2-5 hour session - but the final mix has been known to take up to 3 months - this usually means about 15 hours per week tweaking. As much as I love automation, this has been a MAJOR waste of time trying to perfect and re-perfect very minor volume level tweaks - but since I have the technology sitting there in front of me, it would be a crime not to take advantage of it right? Ugh. And so it goes, the more options I have the longer it takes to finish a song.

So now I do almost zero volume automation opting to use clip gain instead. My only problem with clip gain is when you create a "clip" to adjust a small section you have the front of the clip - a cut - and the back of the clip - also a cut. If you try to manipulate clips that have been "cut" the mouse automatically assumes you want to "trim" the clip. This is 1 downside of clip gain, but the benefits for me far outweigh that small glitch.

What are your tips to save time on recording and mixing or "tricks" you use to record or mix more efficiently?

Meads
07-08-2013, 10:00 AM
Clip gain is not always a good substitute for volume automation, since it is pre-insert. I only use clip gain to even out levels before I start mixing, and after that only on occasion. Like, when I need the compressor to work harder, instead of lowering its threshold I push up clip gain.

scrnplyr
07-08-2013, 10:42 AM
Clip gain is not always a good substitute for volume automation, since it is pre-insert. I only use clip gain to even out levels before I start mixing, and after that only on occasion. Like, when I need the compressor to work harder, instead of lowering its threshold I push up clip gain.

Good point. Generally once I start inserting PIs I don't use clip gain as much. I'm sure some people are good at limiting the amount of time they spend on automation, but I'm not one of them - it's an addiction for me.

Another problem w automation has been when I want to adjust a track volume at the fader for just a second to see how something would sound and it won't adjust because automation has it locked into a level. By the time I stop and turn off automation to make the adjustment the mojo of the moment is lost.

YYR123
07-08-2013, 01:05 PM
Another problem w automation has been when I want to adjust a track volume at the fader for just a second to see how something would sound and it won't adjust because automation has it locked into a level. By the time I stop and turn off automation to make the adjustment the mojo of the moment is lost.

Which is where a good control surface comes in - anybody know of one ?

scrnplyr
07-08-2013, 03:09 PM
I've thought about going with the control surface having been born on a mixing console and being able to chew gum and twirl a knob at the same time - it only made sense. Maybe some day, but for now, since I resisted digital for so damn long, as a form of self flagellation - I'm staying inside the box and no where else. Kind of like that twilight zone where the guy has to stay in the glass box for a year to prove he can control his talking and then you find out he had to cut his own vocal chords to win the bet...

but seriously, what better way to learn everything DAWs and PTs can do than to force yourself to use them for every possible task within reason?

led5150
07-08-2013, 04:26 PM
[QUOTE=scrnplyr;2060331

Another problem w automation has been when I want to adjust a track volume at the fader for just a second to see how something would sound and it won't adjust because automation has it locked into a level. By the time I stop and turn off automation to make the adjustment the mojo of the moment is lost.[/QUOTE]

Here is a great trick I use to avoid "locking" faders into a level. I only use the "volume trim" automation and never volume automation. That way, your fader is always at the ready to be adjusted, but you can still do up to +12 dB of gain and down to -inf.

Yes, it does only give you +12 dB, but how often do you need more than that? especially on a vocal. And if you do need more you can use clip gain to help as well.

Just a thought. It's always nice to be able to move those faders whenever you want.

DC-Choppah
07-08-2013, 07:06 PM
Automation without confusion (or loss of mojo). At least, this is how I have made peace with it.

Always have all the tracks in 'read' mode. (Alt-click to set them all to read). I start out a new session this way.

You can can make a change to a setting and if there is no automation it will stay there. If there is automation then you know because the knob or slider will move back when you release it.

If you like the move you made and want to burn it in. Set all the tracks to Write mode (Alt-click). Replay and do all the moves you need. Loop the play selection to do multiple moves.

If you want to retry, hit Ctrl-Z and all moves you made since you hit play are gone. Redo until you like it.

To 'burn it in' set all tracks back to read.


This has sped me up quite a bit and I don't have to think about how automation works.

scrnplyr
07-09-2013, 08:03 AM
Those are both great tips for making automation more palatable.

Here is a great trick I use to avoid "locking" faders into a level. I only use the "volume trim" automation and never volume automation. That way, your fader is always at the ready to be adjusted, but you can still do up to +12 dB of gain and down to -inf.

Yes, it does only give you +12 dB, but how often do you need more than that? especially on a vocal. And if you do need more you can use clip gain to help as well.

Just a thought. It's always nice to be able to move those faders whenever you want.

Ok, cool I'm gonna try this today - great work around...but if I get hooked on automation again (like I was hooked on fonix) then I'll be mixing these 4 damn songs for another 3 years!

morristyson
07-09-2013, 01:27 PM
Brilliant!

alexeymohr
07-10-2013, 10:59 AM
A quick response to one of the OP's concerns regarding the hard right-angles on the boundaries of a clip where clip gain has been used:

Just toss on some cross fades! The clip gain transition may be a right-angle, but now you're ramping smoothly between the clips with 0dB of clip gain adjustment and the clip with any + or - dB clip gain adjustments. Works like a dream!

And automation is definitely your friend :-) Although I too wish that there was a good AND affordable control surface out there! My home setup doesn't need a $30,000 D-Command, and even the Artist series is still really expensive.

tj_davies
07-11-2013, 02:50 AM
Another problem w automation has been when I want to adjust a track volume at the fader for just a second to see how something would sound and it won't adjust because automation has it locked into a level. By the time I stop and turn off automation to make the adjustment the mojo of the moment is lost.

Ctrl + Cmd Click the Track view selector when viewing "volume" bypasses the automation.

Maybe that helps,
Timothy