Much of my documentation is self-produced; I do recording, mixing, mastering.
Some of this is by necessity–if I waited for someone else to do it then I wouldn’t be releasing anything. Some of this is financial–if I waited until I could pay someone else then I wouldn’t be releasing anything. Some of this is related to my creative process–the decisions in recording/mixing/mastering will have a meaningful impact on the creative output and I enjoy getting into this level of detail.
This means I spend some of my time working within computer environments for audio mixing. While it’s true that I find the work enjoyable, I’ve learned enough about my creative process that I can speed the work along by starting from something more developed than a blank session in Logic. For the past five or so years I’ve been making and revising templates. I wish I’d started doing this decades earlier. Though to be fair, the analog world has many of the “templates” already encoded in the fixed routing of mixers or recorders.
I have templates for different tasks which primarily focus on I/O and routing and have a couple of the plugins/meters/utilities that I know I use on essentially everything.
I update and tweak them as my processes or hardware change. I keep a notebook for mixing/recording notes and when I think of something I want to improve about the template based on actually using the template I add it to a checklist. Sometime when I’m feeling like doing computer muckery/not feeling creative but want to work/in a tool-sharpening mood I sit down and improve the template based on that checklist. It’s often very subtle adjustments or the result of a change in my creative practice or hardware.
I have different templates for:
beat-centric music making (which not my personal default so I have this one as an alt to my usual practice).
mobile/on location recording
These aren’t super dialed or packed with plugin chains. The templates consist of routing and configuration based on hardware—I do a bunch of in/out the box stuff so having that plumbing set up and consistent helps me work faster. Or configured for mobile recording, which is an RME babyface+Cranborne ADAT instead instead of my Merging Hapi and so different channel counts etc. Every template has a “laptop only” channel to bypass the studio hardware outs—if I’m working away from my studio and don’t have all the hardware i/o I can still use the project and edit takes etc in an airport or hotel room or whatever and then easily flip it back to the hardware when I’m at my studio again.
When I’m just sitting down and not sure what I’m doing/exploring/improvising/etc I tend to use the Recording template unless I’m messing with beats in which case I use the beat making template (which has some samplers and interfaces configured).
These templates save me 20 mins or more of assigning channels and sends and aux etc every time I want to make music. They help me get to making sounds quicker.
The recording/creating templates get used all the way through to printing a stereo mix. Once bounced, that stereo mix gets imported to the mastering template for mastering.