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The Click Track, or recording while listening to a metronome in the headphones, has become a fact of life in most recording these days. Not only does playing at an even tempo sound better, but it makes cut and paste editing between different performances in a DAW possible and easy. Here is the best way to set up a Click Track. Many times just providing a metronome in the phones isn't enough. What good is a Click Track if you can't hear it, or worse yet, groove to it? Here are some tricks to make the click not only listenable but cut through the densest mixes and seem like another instrument in the track too.
Pick the right sound, something that's more musical than electronic click is better to groove to. Try either a cowbell, sidestick, or even a conga slap. (music playing) Many drummers like two sounds for the click, something like a high go-go bell for the downbeat and a low go-go bell for the other beats, or vice-versa. Pick the right number of clicks per bar. Some players like quarter notes, while others play a lot better with eighths.
Whatever it is it will usually work better if there's more emphasis on the downbeat or beat 1 than on the other beats. (music playing) Have the drummer wear isolation headphones. Most heavy-hitting drummers need a loud click to be able to hear it, but that can present a problem of leakage from the headphones into the mics, which can ruin a quiet take. That's why it's important for the drummer to use the tightest fitting phones that he can.
(music playing) You will sometimes find a player who doesn't like to play to a click or will play very stiffly when listening to it. If that's the case, don't be afraid to go without one, since there has been plenty of huge hits in the past that didn't utilize a click at all. No matter what anyone claims, it's not an absolutely necessity. That said, in this world of drum machines, sequencers, and DAWs, most musicians today have grown used to playing with the metronome and feel comfortable with it.
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