Yesterday I gave you three reasons to edit your tracks. Today I want to play devil’s advocate and give you a few scenarios for when it doesn’t make sense to edit your tracks.

1. The Artist Doesn’t Approve

Everything you do in the studio should be done with the artist/client in mind. Whether he/she is paying you or not, you’ve been hired to take their songs and turn them into great-sounding recordings.

Sometimes artists don’t want you to mess with their performances. They have strong opinions that they want the final recording to sound exactly like what they performed. This is understandable, and you should respect their wishes.

However, take into account what genre of music they’re performing. If it’s a straight-forward country album, you may want to remind them that most country albums have been edited/pocketed pretty heavily, and that it might be in their best interest to do the same in order to compete.

On the other hand, if you’re recording somebody like Jack White who doesn’t really conform to any genre or style, you’re better off leaving his stuff alone. That rough, seemingly disorganized sound IS what he’s going for.

As with most things, it all boils down to good communication. Do what’s best for the client.

2. The Song Sounds Amazing As Is

Sometimes things just magically gel in the studio, and the tracks sound absolutely fantastic. Even fantastic tracks can sometimes benefit from a little editing, but if you listen through the entire song and don’t hear any spots where things could be tighter, good for you! You can skip editing and go straight for mixing.

It might be a good idea to try editing a small section of the song just to be sure, but if your editing is hurting rather than helping, forget about it.

3. The Song Isn’t Finished

I’ve seen SO many people jump in and start editing recorded parts before they’ve recorded everything. For example, they’ll heavily pocket the drums and bass before the guitars have been recorded. This can be a big waste of time for two reasons:

1. Without all the instruments, you can’t really hear the “groove.” If you can’t hear the groove, then you probably can’t hear exactly where and how to pocket the bass and drums. Wait until the guitars, etc. are recorded, THEN determine if pocketing is necessary.

2. Once everything’s recorded, you may not NEED to pocket anything. This happened to me recently. I recorded acoustic guitar and drums, and it wasn’t super tight, but I went ahead and recorded all the other parts, keyboards, bass, lots of guitars. Once the mix was really full, those subtle timing issues between the acoustic guitar and drums were masked by all the other instruments. I didn’t need to do much editing at all.

Your thoughts?

Now you’ve heard both sides of the story. What are your thoughts? Leave a comment. (Remember I need 10 comments before the next post.)

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