Click track bleed in recordings is an absolute pain. We recommend preventing click bleed in the tracking stage as it can be difficult to remove it in the mix without using plug-ins such as iZotope RX. We have all, at some point, recorded the perfect vocal, acoustic guitar or drum track only to discover an audible click has split into the microphone from the performer's headphones. In this article, we share a handful of tips that will help you prevent recording click tracks by accident.
Change The Click Sound
When Avid updated the Pro Tools Click plug-in we were finally given the ability to change the sound of the click. There are quite a few sounds to choose from including shakers. I've found the shaker click sound to be the most subtle sounding which in turn doesn't bleed from the performer's headphones through to the microphone. An added benefit to the shaker click is that it feels more natural to perform to.
Cut The High End
If you like to use a "mechanical" sounding click but get problems with bleed then try using a low pass/high cut filter plug-in after the Click II insert. Cut the top end away so that the click has more of a thud sound instead of a piercing "tick"
Automate Click Level
If you are about to record the first instrument in your Pro Tools Session, say an acoustic guitar with microphones, record a guide guitar to a click track. Set memory locations and identify areas where click bleed could happen. Often click bleed becomes a problem at the end of a song in the last strum of an acoustic guitar chord. It's easy to avoid this by automating the volume of the click track down so that the click doesn't playback through the headphones. This trick works well if there are quiet sections of the song. Dip the volume of the click track in softer sections of a performance to avoid click bleed.
Headphones Over One Ear - Pan The Click
Some performers prefer recording with one the headphone cans over one ear. Problem with this method is that the click can easily come down the microphone. A simple trick to avoid the click being recorded is to pan the click... and other tracks to stop those bleeding as well, to the ear they are using with the headphones.
Any Other Click Bleed Prevention Tips?
Do share your tips for avoiding click bleed in the comments below...
Watch Out For A Tutorial On RX6 De-bleed From iZotope
Prevention is always better than cure but If you get to a situation where you do end up with click bleed on a track then the new de-bleed module introduced by iZotope in RX6 Standard and RX6 Advanced can deal with it. Keep a look out for an upcoming tutorial with Mike Thornton coming in a few weeks.