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Tech Tip Of The Day: Click Bleed

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By PSW Staff August 31, 2010

Provided by Sweetwater.

Q: So, first of all, a big thank you to PSW for all the monitoring articles lately.

They’ve really helped me deal with the monitoring needs of some very demanding musicians.

However, I do have a problem I’m hoping you can help me with.

Despite my best efforts, the vocalist still needs their click track turned up ridiculously loud, which is constantly causing bleed.

I’ve tried riding the track, to the point where I’m not mixing the song but rather their click track! Is there anything I can do?

A: There most certainly is hope, and I’m glad we’ve been able to help you so much thus far!

To almost instantly reduce the amount of bleed you’re experiencing from that obnoxiously loud click track, there’s only one step.

Change the click sound!


Well there’s more than one way to accomplish this, however, depending on the plugin you’re using to generate the click, it may be as simple as choosing a new sample. In lieu of the traditional (and harsh metallic) metronome sound, try something like snare or woodblock.

Make sure to give the musician a bit of input on the final sound, but any of these options should be equally workable for them, and would cause near the bleed in the microphone.

If your plug-in is more basic (mine is), you still have a way to solve the issue. Simply run the click through an EQ and pull out the high frequencies. The duller, EQ’d click won’t penetrate the phones as well and, again, won’t be as audible in any nearby open microphones.

As always, we welcome input from the PSW community and would love to know how you handle click track bleed. Feel free to let us know in the comments below.

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Paul Schaefer says

Very nice tip. One additional thing I do is change the click sound to the MPC sound. It’s an option in Pro Tools. Its a very sharp quick sounding click. After the EQ adjustments, and riding the click fader level, using the MPC click has saved me many times.


Joe says

I’ve always found more subvidvisions help.  A quiet shaker playing 8th or 16th notes is infinitely easier to sing or play along with at slower tempos than a huge honking quarter note clank.  When a drummer needs to give subtle tempo support it’s usually more effective to play 8ths on the hihat than quarters; same applies to click.  More effective rhythm support means it can be much quieter.

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