I had an interesting experience last night I wanted to share.
I decided it was time to update my demo reel, so I loaded some tracks into my iPod, set up my recording rig and set to. I recorded a percussion track, a kind of poppy-sounding track, some funk, and some slow opera-rock (last one I need to redo).
When I did the percussion track, I was using pads that were at all corners of the instrument because that's where my setup was. Here's the problem: this was at midnight, I was really tired, and I kept missing the pads!
At first I was berating myself, but then I started thinking about how I would handle it if someone were paying me to record this track as a Session Guy. I thought, "okay, I'm recording this to display. Am I ever going to play it live? Maybe, maybe not, but right now the clock is running and this guy wants the track done". So I started moving some pads around. Instead of having the djembe in the lower corner (F3 and L4/5), the snare drum up on L1 and my cymbals and gong on the lower tail in the R pads, I moved everything to the Fs and Ts and consolidated it to where all the instruments I needed were within a handspan. I also had a bit of a musical epiphany while I was there but that's beyond the scope of this post.
When it came time for the pop track I had a similar problem. I had to do a run down the toms on my C pads and then jump to my cross-stick on L4; kept missing it. So instead I moved it over to R1 where it was the next pad in line and I nailed it.
I moved everything back after I finished recording because those are my live setups and I'm used to them. At first I almost felt like I was cheating, but then I realized that I can't cheat on my own recordings and that were this a situation I was getting paid for, those fixes might have saved my gig.
I don't mess around much with setups but I'm glad I did this time; I think the ability to adapt your settings is a skill that requires just as much practice as playing the instrument and last night was a good lesson for it.
Hope everyone enjoyed reading. Be well.