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Microphone Month 3

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Me Making a Tune

The Bionic Board

Howzit goin. Well, I had some time today to start the last tune of my record.
So if you would like to see how I work and would like to give me some pointers, suggestions or flames then that would be fun. I hope to see and or hear how you guys work too.
Here's how I start. It's on my 74 yamaha upright. It all begins here. Usually it takes me about a month to figure out some chord progressions and melodies and then I try and play them.
This time I set up 2 senneheiser 441's and clipped them on the side. My wife hates tripping over the mic stands so this is a new departure for me (the drum clips) but seems to be alright sounding in the head phones. I need to put a piece of rubber on the damper pedal from the bottom of a piece of rack gear to lower the noise of the thing (my damper pedal technique is pretty poor).

I also used to use my tube pre (digitech vtp 1) and it's converter and go into the 20 bit adat, but it's such a pain hauling all that stuff around so I just grabbed the muckie and did the old trick with the Elco Cable inserted into the pre's bypassing the eq (first click). Sounds alright. I usually bury the piano in the mix pretty good when I lay the tracks anyways (cause I pretty much suck eggs on piano) but I get by.
Unfortunately I'm really into the pre's on the mackie to get the sennheisers up but noisefloor is still pretty low. I'm using a balanced cable on the click (because I can) noise is pretty low on this pup too.

Unfortunately I can't record in my living room until the wee hours of the morning cause of all the traffic noise, but I will do my best to get a good couple of tracks. I chose the 441's for no particular reason other than my My Shure BG4.0's are kinda grainy (omni directional also) and the Neumann TLM 193's are just so big and can pick up a mouse fart. So I think I'll be alright. Any pointers offered at this time would be cool.
Oh yeah, yes, that's a 20 bit adat. I am recording onto this then doing a digital dump into my HD24. I don't know where the other 4 bits go, but I don't really care- it works.
September 1, 2006 @07:43pm
The Bionic Board

It looks like all me here, not a bad journal exercise.
I cut a fairly decent track this morning and went back into the studio to dump on the the HD24.
I suspected I needed to get further out of the mackie pre's and after some critical listening I went back to the piano rig and made some adjustments.
I also changed a rhythm in one part that wasn't grooving like I need it to and added 1/8 th note subdivisions (just a tad) to the 1/4 note click.
Still a good sound overall. I'll practice some more today and try to cut a keeper tomorrow.
September 2, 2006 @01:15pm
The Bionic Board

Good morning Sunday morning.
Cut a decent track at about 5:30 am... I think it's groovin' enough to start layering.
Here is a just THRILLING pic of the XT dumping into the XR

Not a bad sound... I sure wish I had another stereo compressor/maybe that focusrite red? There is a nice one Ebay right now... hmmmmm. I just hate buying anything off ebay *personally*
Oh and now I get to work with this Noble & Cooley Horizon kit that my friend dropped off:

Designed by Bob Gatzen himself, these drums are very thin maple with a veneer of high quality mahogany on the inside of the shells. Great sound. Maybe some of you have heard of these drums? Well, it is an amazing piece of canvas to start with. I will begin miking it up and tuning it this afternoon.
September 3, 2006 @02:44pm

Nice drums!!!
September 4, 2006 @01:17am
The Bionic Board

Thanks, I wish they were mine. I have to pick out a snare one of these days as well... one step at a time.
I started tuning them up today using a drum dial then tweaking them by ear.
The bottom heads are fresh, so are the kick skins (evans eq3 system with pillow). Batter heads are prolly alright. They are coming together.
I've thought about dialing the 12" into a G or F and maybe dialing in a few other notes. But I just might take the route of letting them be themselves.
I think I might split the toms up with the 441's but I've thought about borrowing my friends set of presonus octi pres (spelling?) and throwing up a few more mics than usual. The song doesn't call for many if any fills so prolly stick with the minimalist technique (the one I know and love):)
September 4, 2006 @02:39am

Yeah, just mic em up. At this point it's all about the drummer anyway....
Evens heads are nice :D
September 4, 2006 @06:17am
The Bionic Board

Here are some more pics if you guys are interested.
This is an overhead shot of the kit. Gosh, they sound great. I've thought about buying some fresh G2's for them, but it ain't my kit so that answers that question. I'm going to start out with the Sonor siggy snare cause it is just such a well mannered drum. No buzz to speak of and good sensitivity still. Doesn't sound too bad either The guy who owns these has a matching N&C horizon snare drum as well as a steambent one.

I'm going with the 441's on the 10 and 12 and my friend is letting me borrow his 421's for the 14 and 16.
Here's a shot of how I'm going to position the overheads... I usually move them around some to get the best balance/sound. This is just the initial placement. I might go back to a "space" technique as opposed to "x-y" type placement.

Then I start plugging everything into my snake. I run headphones thru this also. Unfortunately one of the returns is dead, but the three others work.

I'll be getting the rest of my mics wed from my bro. See you then.
September 4, 2006 @04:25pm

Nice! Love the wood too, and the ceiling shape is proper. I hate flat ceilings :)
September 4, 2006 @09:21pm
The Bionic Board

Nice! Love the wood too, and the ceiling shape is proper. I hate flat ceilings :)

Thanks again. Yeah, the wood had been laying around my dad's farm for years (every storm we would cut up the fallen trees and get them milled up at the an amish guy's down the street) so he had a ton of lumber with nothing to do with it. He's just a wood kinda guy.
so when I decided to turn this (what you see) pole barn/garage into a studio we had plenty of maple, cherry and chestnut laying around believe it or not.
The shape is what it is. It's sound proofed along with plenty of bass traps/4" pyramids and barrel diffusors. Floor is floated too. I did a helmholz type bass trapping system as well. The room could use a good tweak from my guy in NYC. Prolly for my next project.
It's not perfect but doesn't suck either. Acoustic guitar players seem to really like it.
September 5, 2006 @01:30am
The Bionic Board

We did a session a couple of nights ago- bass tracks.
I put an RE20 on my ampeg:

Then I just plugged it into my snake then into a focusrite 428 channel:

I filtered out a little of the low end and I also engaged the soft limit.
His bass is not a high quality instrument but we managed to find a quiet pickup in the thing. I also used the low impedance setting on the 428 impedance selector- it has the lowest noise floor. I added some low mid tone with midas eq on playback.
We only had to do a few punches with the Alesis HD24. Such a breeze and oh so fast to set up with this machine:

After I set up the preroll point I just tap in with my foot (like my shoes?) :

Here's my bro Jim. Killer akron boy, old school trumpet and bassman- very musical:

Had an issue with the noble and cooleys- they aren't going to work for me and I'll leave it at that. Will set up the hybrid sonor kit and go from there next entry.
September 8, 2006 @01:48pm
The Bionic Board

So after I took the Delite toms out of the cases and set them up I was pretty bummed. I played a rock gig on single ply heads which were at least a half of year old... and after I set them up this weekend I realized quickly that they were spent. I went to sam ash and I picked up some Evans G2 clears for a change.
After the head change it took some time finding and fixing some buzzes in the hardware and setting all the mics back up.
They sound pretty good and the 10 sounds phenomenal. I'm still getting used to tuning them with the new heads. It seems they (and inparticular me) like a 1, 3, 5/Major relationship between the shell, top head and bottom... although sometimes the relationship is inverted in that the reso might be lower than the batter or vice versa. They are much deeper with a softer feel than the noble and cooley shells. Can't say much for the sound- different. I should be able to get them to at least sound as good in some sense.
Here's my bro soundchecking them last night:

Oh, the kick is birch, the toms maple and the snare is beech. I just love that snare drum- he commented and said "there's no buzz with this thing"... he he he.

He's got some big guns for arms doesn't he?
I did not take a pic but I have a large diaphragm condenser in front of the kick reso also (aquarian sk1 and regulator combo- still running the D6/in the kick angled towards the shell)- sounds good man!
I'm getting alot of bleed as well (always have). I have been thinking about chopping out all the bleeded signal from the tracks (laborious process) digitally and doing some mixes with bleed and without (highly edited tracks). With the bleed my mixes sound very retro if not dated. Some people like this. I would like to perhaps see if I chop out all the bleed perhaps I might get some added definition in the mixes and thus a more modern sound. What do you think?
September 11, 2006 @02:59pm
The Bionic Board

Update I guess if any one cares:
I got the universal audio 2-1176 yesterday and about kissed the fed ex man.
So I inserted one side into an intense lead vocal track which the Joe Meek SC-2 just could not seem to contain. After about an hour of getting used to this box I have to say I'm going to keep it :D I actually like the "all" setting with the in and out somewhere around the middle with a faster attack and slower release.
The piano I plugged in a 20 to 1 setting and I am happy. I was surprised how much noise the 1176 can generate with the outputs cranked (my inexperience with the unit showing) but I managed to get a nice gain structure happening with the piece and the midas pres and I think I'm on my way to finishing a mix!
September 12, 2006 @02:18pm
The Bionic Board

September 12, 2006 @06:32pm
The Bionic Board

Are you guys with dial up hating me yet? ;D
Here are some more pics. I'm not sure if they are going to be in any particular order so you will have to use your imagination at times:
Here's my "mastering" computer... whatever.
I just had it upgraded to 2.5 Ghz with a gig of ram. It's running good for the most part. I wanted 3.5 but my computer guy said for the money I should be happy with this.

The yammy burner is nice.
Here's my monitor and yammy powered monitor speakers. I've had both a long time but they still do the trick:

Here's a spdif (sony phillips digital interface format) cable... this is how
I manage the digital transfers to the computer. For those who have never seen one :) It looks like an RCA end:

I mix on this little midas venus series. I take digital photos of it in case I want to go back to a mix and tweak it:

Ummm. Ok here is my dynamic section (compressor/limiters) which I insert into channels which need to be squished:

I mix onto this, the alesis masterlink- handy little box, everyone whom likes to record should have one :):

And then it goes from there to my computer if need be where I add addtional processing. I run wavelab 3.0... it really does the trick. My finger is pointing to the compressor and the point or "knee" where the threshold begins. You can barely see it since I'm hardly using any! But if you really crank on the compression and threshold (db level where you want compression to start working) you will see a very large bend in the graphic display- and of course you will hear it *just a little refresher for those that don't really know about compression- basic 101 :) *

Ok thanks for letting me post some pics. There are some other gadgets I use, but not a whole lot more. That's pretty much it except for my front end a couple of old digital reverbs and delays. One is from the 80's he he he.
Will post a clip of a recent mix but with a 5 mic/1 overhead deal on the drums.
Getting a fresh male singer to work with me has been tough, but I think I've found one. Can't wait to record some young pipes in the studio. Those are the best. :)
September 19, 2006 @01:39pm
The Bionic Board

Hello, is anybody out there?
Here's a brief clip of "Taira" singing at the end of a big drummin' finish on one of my tunes. It is what it is, as is all my stuff but it's fun. I have a great tune with her really singing on it (but alas I need to have it copywritten before I post it 'cause God knows it's going to be HUGE ;) ok enjoy I hope.
September 19, 2006 @02:05pm