Musicians Collaboration Studio

Tips for submitting demos and syncing complex music.


Offline AzureCrystal

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Reposting my original post in "Indie Music Collab Lab" for my MCS friends;

To make a long story short, I've been doing online music collaborations since 2001.  I've been involved in mostly Progressive Rock and Jazz Fusion collab projects, both genres which favor very long pieces, with multiple time signatures and changing tempos, making these genres extremely hard to sync all the musician's stems (your individual instrument or vocal tracks), many times with all of us using different sequencer/DAWs!

So here are some tips on submitting a bed/demo (since I am usually the one composing the initial rough take of a song) I have found useful over the years to help sync up the individual tracks, and most of all, to give everyone a flexible bed they can use and can mute or solo out whatever instrument they need;

1-Add a leading CLICK TRACK (an audible 1-2, 1-2-3-4 audio click), and make sure each musician includes that click track at the beginning of his/her individual track, this makes it much easier for the person assigned to mix, to quickly move around the clip and place it properly into the DAW.

2-Leverage "General MIDI", it will be your best friend for complex music, ideally, I compose using a "General MIDI" band, in Cubase you use Halion, but virtually ALL sequencers have a GM midi VST, or you can even use the default midi synth in Windows. more about GM midi;

- Never use your fancy vsts for sounds when you "start" to build a gm midi demo bed (of course, later on when you are ready to submit your final stems, you can use any VST synth) for the band; Just use the GM MIDI soundset, why? Because the idea is to export a midi file in GM MIDI format, and the other musicians can import the midi file and assign gm midi sounds, most sequencers allow for this, and after they import and assign sounds, they can mute or solo any track and play along, but in the case of a midi file, it will have tempo changes and time signature changes embedded inside the file, which means when you record your audio track, it will be PERFECTLY synced and the mixer will have no problems with timing or audio tracks that do not line up!

So that's it for now, my little nugget of collab wisdom which should really help you with your next complex, multiple time signature/tempo, long-form prog-rock epic! HAPPY TRACKING! 🖖😊


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