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Skill Level Intermediate
- [Instructor] Contrary to what a beginning recorders might think, tracking great sounding handclaps takes a bit of work and planning. I remember the first time I tried to record my own handclaps in a friend's ramshackled basement studio. I invited one other guy to come down and clap along with me, and we laid down one single track of clapping. Of course, we only had eight tracks to record on back then. Playback revealed a dull, lifeless thud of a slap. It was then that I realized I'd need a large group of people in a lively sounding room to get better clapping sounds. Nowadays I'll get everyone I can, including myself into the studio's live room, roll up the carpets to make it sounds liver, and sometimes run up to eight or 10 passes of clapping in order to get good results. But what do you do when you're given one lonely little handclap to mix with. Something like this. (upbeat music) Sounds a little anemic, so the first thing I'll do is create some extra tracks, bear with me. And then I'll copy parts of the song. For this example, I'm just going to work on the beginning of the song, but I'm going to copy parts of the claps, and put them parallel. Pick them from different areas. Normally I'd be filling in the whole song, but to save time, you'll get the idea. Now I'll line these up. I'm not too worried about a little bit of flamming or what have you. Just kind of loosely, visually, zoom in some more. And let's hear how that sounds. (upbeat music) Pretty loose. (laughs) Let's tighten that up a little bit more. You can see some of these are pretty wonky. Let's go to another section and see if we can, alright. And let's play that. (upbeat music) So normally I would continue doing that with different pieces all through the song. In fact, maybe chop up the main claps into four exact quarters and then you kind of loop that section of claps is what would happen. Now the next thing I would say is like this is good. (upbeat music) But there's some other tricks that can really help. One of them is to brighten up the claps a little bit. One of my favorite plugins for that is called Tonelux Tilt, and it's down here. And what this does is simply adds brightness or makes it darker. I'll solo this track, we can hear it. (hand claps) Hear it be dark. So that takes some of the lows out, and adds some highs. So let's copy that onto all of the claps here, and let's hear how that feels. (upbeat music) Got a little bit of an over there. That makes it a lot more brighter, it sticks out in the mix, and there's one more thing that I'll almost always do as well, and that is to add some compression. And let's drop in the 1176 plugin here, and let's set that. Let's listen to this one and set it. (hand claps) You can hear the room sound increase there as well. Now let's place that across all the tracks. I turned the output volume down a little bit too, so we wouldn't get so much of a over problems there up in the master mix down there. See that. (laughs) Alright, let's hear that. (upbeat music) So you can hear how that boosts everything up. It sounds better, and it has a little more room tone, because of the compression. If the room that the claps are recorded in originally were somewhat lively, then as you heard that compression brings it out, but if it wasn't, one of the tricks I like to do is just add a little bit of reverb, and I'll just set that up real quick. I have a send going here, and we'll send that out, and we're coming in on this reverb channel here, and let's just solo the claps for this experiment. And we'll turn on various reverbs. (hand claps) That one right there is the little plate in sound toys, or we could try this AKG spring VX 20 reverb. Oops. (laughs) (hand claps) And these kind of tricks will sound great. Well just a sec we'll go back into the mix. How about this lexicon, this is sort of fun. You can hear this one. (hand claps) Let's hear that in the mix. (upbeat music) So you see how that reverb tone can kind of liven it up as well. So there you go. I mean one measly little hand clap, and all of a sudden now we've got four people clapping. You'll certainly make your mixes more exciting with this little trick.