I’m deep into work on this new album and I’ve decided to take a very different recording approach. In the past I’ve always had each song in a different file in my digital audio workstation (DAW) but this time I’ve pulled them all together in one giant long one. This seems to have a number of advantages:
- Easy to rehearse: Just start from the beginning and run thru all the parts. I’ve taken to doing this once in the morning for the keys and once in the afternoon for the vocals. It’s a lot faster than having to stop and open each file individually.
- Unified Sound: Once you’ve found the perfect string patch for one tune or the perfect snare for another, odds are they’ll work on the rest. And since they’re already cued up, I tend to use them as opposed to fishing all over for a new ones.
- Big Overview: And finally, it allows me to look at the album as a whole, play with the song order, smooth out segues, and balance sections to really make it a more coherent listening experience for the listener. Quasi mastering while you mix, if you will.
Of course there’re downsides as well: Processor load needs to be managed carefully and there’s a danger in homogenizing the songs too much and making them all sound the same. Still, it seems to be working well for me so far.
How about you all? Are other musicians taking this approach? Is this normally how it’s done on tape-based recordings?