I found that in the recent recording I am producing the double/upright bass track is full of small clicks here and there. Not loud, but audible. Here they are clearly visible on the spectogram:
Just to make some things clear:
- There are some other non-tonal sounds like string squeaks, bowing artifacts, or buzzing against the fingerboard, but those are fine.
- In some settings even spontaneous feet tapping would work for me (that is, I wouldn't want it removed).
- The clicks on the picture have little to do with the actual music.
- They were made by the bassist during recording (for example, the two on the right happen on almost every take of this part of the tune).
My question is: Is this normal for a studio recording and what can I do to avoid it in the future?
This is a problematic situation, because re-recording that part will be a big hassle, and removing these noises in post-processing is not easy due to within-one-note pitch changes that, among others, give the double/upright bass its unique feel. The way I see it, the producer (me) has the ultimate responsibility of dealing with such issues. In particular I don't want to blame anyone, instead I am looking for things I could do better.
Nevertheless, the sole existence of such an issue seems strange, as there should be multiple checks against such problems. Producer could listen to all the takes later, but while its still easy to re-record, or hire an additional person to so if one cannot do it oneself. Sound engineer(s) could catch this while recording, and perhaps go to the bass booth and find the issue. Bass player could know their instrument well and either mitigate issues on their own, use different playing technique, or ask somebody else (sound engineer or producer) to look for a list known possible problems. Studio engineer could know that that particular microphone has to be handled in a specific way. And so on...
So it does seem strange, but still, I could imagine that this is perfectly normal and every record ever made is littered with similar problems, and that's why you record 200-400 takes instead of just 8-30, that's why producing records takes so much time, effort and funding, and this is what producing music is about in reality.
So, is this situation normal? What can I do to avoid it in the future?
(That is, my question is not about how to remove these noises from the recording I already have, but rather what can be done, if anything, so that it does not happen in the first place.)
Edit: Here is an audio cut from one of the mics (there were 2 mics and a pickup): FLAC and MP3. In the mix there is also piano, but it plays one-per-measure chords, so unfortunately it is really transparent and it does not obscure anything. The bass will be really exposed – it plays the main theme of the next part in which it has a solo.