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Bounce With Me Now

Technology changes fast on the digital front. Whatever plugins, OS or hardware you’re using now are without question going to be different in 6 months.

Can you imagine in 10 years? This is something that must be taken into consideration when making a record. You must always keep the future in the back of your mind. You may wish to remix a track someday.

Future Starts Slow

Often, we’re just chipping away at a tune and not thinking too far downstream past the release of the record. We often don’t consider archiving.

Here is a reality check. You may be using a plugin to get a very specific sound, but five years later when you try to open up an outdated session file, you might notice the new OS or updated DAW doesn’t support the old plugin.

Time Stand Still

There is no time machine that I know of. The possibility of going back to the hardware that was supported by the old OS and DAW is…uh… pretty unlikely! It basically means you’re screwed. You won’t be getting those sounds back.

Before you shed too many tears for future you, there is preventative medicine. No, it’s not cowbell (don’t even go there).

I make it a point to bounce down all sounds and virtual instruments. This way I’m dealing with audio files that have the effects printed directly on them. That way, it’s easy when I want to do a remix on my floating Manhattan Space Pad in 2040.

Little Know It All

It’s hard to recreate a special sound.

Occasionally, stars align in a unique way and magic happens with the settings on a plugin. You could write it down, but it’s never the same. Did I say bounce?!?!

Some of you smarty pants may be shaking your heads and thinking how clever you are because you saved the settings as a preset. Even if you’re lucky and can open the session and plugins ten years from now, it doesn’t mean you’ll be so fortunate with your settings folders. One of many things that can move to greener pastures of 1’s and 0’s.

Another One Bites The Dust

Things always get better, don’t they? Hmm… most of the time. But, on occasion things get jacked!! Don’t assume the plugin will sound exactly the same in years to come. Developer changes can mean your mind-altering sound bit the dust. See my clever tech humor there? If it’s vibing… bounce it.

The beauty in all of this is, you’re simply just making a type of backup. A fail safety from the constant working elves in software land.

There are plenty of producers who work with virtual instruments and samples that never make an audio copy. The only time a track is in audio form is in a final bounce. Not a problem in the short run, but don’t forget future you.

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Ode To The Bouncer

It used to be a pain to create bounces for files.

In today’s world, it’s so easy. Logic has a bounce in place option. In mere seconds you can set up an offline “bounce in place”. C’mon, they’re just making you look bad if you don’t do it.

The Legend Of Zelda

There have been times where I’ve opened up an old session and I get the alert that samples are missing. It becomes really hard to track them down. Were they accidentally a part of another session? Did I delete a folder? Did I move a folder to another drive that I’m storing at a relatives house to make room for our vintage Nintendo NES? (yes I did). This leads to a lot of questions. Questions that could cause a lot of anxiety.

A simple bounce to audio ensures that in the event I pull a no-brainer (which is bound to happen sometime, just ask my wife), I still have my work.

Rookie Of The Year

When we’re noobs to sampling, we’re full of creativity. Coming up with cool sample sets while exploring. Often, we don’t find out until later where files are stored from the sampler. I suggest that anytime you get a new plugin, take a few seconds and familiarize yourself with the file structure of the host program.

This is not the glamorous side of a project. We all just want to get to the music. I definitely fall into the instant gratification category. If you think bouncing files or reading manuals are boring, compare that to how you would feel if you open up a session and your hard work is lost. Boredom is better than panic.

Seeds And Stems Again

Stem bounces of drums, horns, guitars, strings, etc… is a great idea as well. That way when platforms or technology changes, you have the most fundamental part of your song: the raw files.

You should ask your mixing engineer to bounce stems at the end of the project. Not only is it good for the vault, but also in case you need stems for a film soundtrack.

In 2040 when you open up your sessions and breath easily, take a hover taxi over to my space pad and we’ll share some cosmic bubbly.

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Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall

Mark Marshall is a producer, songwriter, session musician and instructor based in NYC. More at guitaristmarkmarshall.com

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