Either you’ve dealt with it or you haven’t.
That dreaded “tick…tick…tick…”
Rewind a bit.
When recording music, it’s pretty typical to use a click track, or metronome track, to establish the tempo for the song.
For lazy folks like me (who don’t take the time to find a cool-sounding “click” sound), the click track sounds like a very loud and obnoxious computerized “ticking” sound.
I’m used to it. Doesn’t bother me anymore.
But…it DOES bother me when that cute little ticking sound decides to bleed out of the headphones and into the microphone.
It’s especially annoying when I’m recording acoustic guitar. I get to the final chord of the song, and I let it ring out. Everything is sounding glorious.
But when I listen back to the recording, I can hear the “tick…tick…” of the click track…IN my guitar recording.
And to make matters worse, you really can’t remove it from the recording.
There are, however, a couple solutions:
1. Re-record the final chord of the song with the click turned off. Simple enough, right? Just let that chord ring out, then edit it to the proper place at the end of the song. It takes a little extra time, but it works.
2. Turn the click down in the headphones. This CAN work, but if it’s so low that it affects the musician’s timing, then that’s no bueno.
These are the solutions I’ve been resorting to for years…until recently.
Because I’ve been playing out live more, I have a nice set of earbuds, or in-ear monitors, that I use.
Historically, I’ve never used them in the studio. But recently I tried them out just to see if it would make any noticeable difference.
And it did.
Boy did it.
Rather than having to go through one of the options above, I literally don’t have to do ANYTHING.
I play the part, let the final chord ring out, and move on to the next thing.
As you can imagine, if you’re recording two acoustic parts on 12 songs, that’s 24 times you’ve got to record that extra ending, then edit it back in the right place to get rid of click bleed.
With my in-ears, I save a bunch of time.
If click bleed is a big issue in your studio, think about getting a set of earbuds that go in your ears. The chances of bleed are much lower, and you might discover (like me) that it’s kinda fun to record without the big headphones.
This may seem like a small little tip, but it’s one of a thousand different things you can do to help you (you guessed it) get it right at the source.
The more time you spend making the source sound perfect, the less time you have to spend “fixing” them with tools like EQ.
That doesn’t mean you won’t still need to use EQ during mixing, but when the tracks sound awesome, EQ becomes a lot more fun.
If you’re tracks are sounding great, but your EQ-ing skills could use some attention, check out: