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Microphone Month 4

Making the Most Out of Mishaps

At a recent recording session, the upright bass player was also using an amplifier to make his instrument louder. We had a condenser mic on the bass itself and a dynamic mic on the amp.

Unfortunately, the bass player moved his bass away from the instrument mic, which ended up basically capturing bleed from the entire band, who were all playing at once in the same room.

Our first inclination was to simply mute the track. But why not put it to use? As it worked out, we double-purposed it: in the first instance, we ran it through a heavy lowpass filter, turning it into a “subwoofer” track that we could blend in for low-frequency reinforcement of the bass and kick drum.

We also duplicated the track and ran the copy through a highpass filter, set to just allow the very top-end frequencies to get through. When blended in, we got extra sparkle and shine, particularly on the cymbals. (The bass was positioned near the drum kit.)

The moral of the story: when life (or sessions) hand you lemons, take another look at what you’ve been given — you may be able to make tasty lemonade!

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