Posts in recording
Unusual session... For me, anyway.

I had an interesting session recently for The Small Brain Curds, a four pice band featuring Motown and soul tunes.
They wanted to record a cappella arrangements of a few of their favorites. I thought the best way to approach this with a band that’s most used to playing in a room together is to record it the same way. All live, all at once. When thinking about the best mic technique for this I asked for advice from the great Slau, and of course, he came through with an idea I had never heard of and surely wouldn’t have thought of on my own.

I placed my pair of Cascade Fat Head II ribbons with the stereo bar as if setting up for blumlein in the center of the room. The figure eight patterns of each mic facing (almost) the corners of the room. 

(I say almost because we avoid facing the walls to reject reflections but directly pointing them at the corners could have its own problems. So just off from the corners is best) 

The performers stand facing each other like an X around the microphone array. Each mic hears two voices, one on each side, and the other two voices are in that mic’s rejection nodes. With careful listening the voices can be balanced by moving closer or farther away from the mics. This allows the performers to hear and see each other easily which is crucial to this sort of recording. Each singer was about 20 to 26 inches from the mic depending on how loud they were which turned out to be far enough to avoid any need for a pop screen and problems with the ribbon’s powerful proximity effect.This technique picks up quite a bit of room sound so I was glad I put so much into good acoustic treatment but I also hung up my blankets and gobos behind the singers to cut out even more. 

 Small Brain Curds recording at Railroad Avenue

You can see in the picture I placed my Rode NT2 in omni mode in the center of the pattern also. I recorded this to a third track with the idea that I might want to mix in some high end but the Fat Head II’s gave me everything I wanted so the track was muted in the mix.
The simple two tracks made the mix feel more like mastering. Some gentle multiband compression helped to even out the high and low octave voices.

Thanks to Slau for the great technique. Another tool to remember.

A final mix from the session…

Forging Reverie Vocal Shootout!

i’ve uploaded samples of 10 different vocal microphone setups, we want you to listen to them and vote for the one you think sounds the best!

here they are, get to it!

Forging Reverie vox test . zip

just download the zip and play the high res files.  swap back and fourth until you find the one you think sounds the best and post your pick in the comments.  thanks!

more guitar, keyboard, and we might need your help...

tracked my keyboards and almost done with guitars.

keys are recorded midi into Reason 4 with stock libraries and the Abbey Roads Keyboard refill.  the challen piano and the hamond organ in that pack is unbelievable…  re-wire that back into pro tools.  maybe i’ll re-amp some of this through some pre’s or other outboard gear if it needs something to glue it to the mix, we’ll see.

for my guitars i messed around with so many odd ball placements i nearly pulled my hair out.  eventually came back to a very similar setup to what we did for Derek’s.  Cascade FatHead II edge of the dust cover and this time a 57 half way from the edge of the cone to the dust cover.  both on axis, both into my golden age Pre73’s.  i wish i had some inline HPF for the ribbon mike, it’s picking up some sub information that i need to filter out…but the pre73 doesn’t have a filter and it has this detail in the mid range that my other pre’s just didn’t.  



(there’s more)

check back tomorrow night for a special thing we need your input on. YES YOU!  more to come in the near-to-now…


Forging Reverie Drum Session



drums are done tracking, kids!  here’s a video Derek shot explaining the setup and sneaking a peek.

check it!


i didn’t go into much detail here but if anybody is interested i surely will, just ask.  be sure to like my vids and subscribe to my channel for more updates (at whatever lazy pace is accomplish-able)

(now back to work for me)

...not much man, what about you?

The past few weeks I’ve had a few things going on. For starters I’ve finished the conversion of my new house into a dual purpose living space/recording studio! Got the new studio set up with Pro Tools 9 and a few other bits of tasty new gear. 
Next I broke the room in with by remixing the year and a half old recording of “One Idea” by Forging Reverie. (results can be found on the demo reel)
That song was originally released on a compilation cd to benefit the Dover Children’s Home and used in the soundtrack for an indie film called “Sunblocked” from Astro Piano films. Well, one thing lead to another and I’m currently waist deep in remixing the audio for future screenings of “Sunblocked”. 
Oh yea, and as if that isn’t enough we just officially started tracking drums for the upcoming Forging Reverie album! I plan on making lots of updates and videos on the production process as we go so, I’ll go into much more detail on this soon. Until then I leave you with this teaser pick…




goldielocks is not welcome in the recording industry

Recording Studio Image by TomBorowski via Flickr

i got straight A's in audio school, and while i secretly feel that the experience i've had since then is actually the part that made me good at what i do, i should still be able to stand next to my framed degree and earn money, right?  what's that? you're buddy just got a cracked copy of cuebase and a couple of microphones?  so unless i have a 64 channel console and a secretary i'm the same as a beginner?

i read dozens of articles about audio and the recording industry weekly, but this week one stuck out.  Charles Szczepanek wrote for Setting Studio Rates 101

[read that and come back to me]

this is a topic i've had on my brain for a while and Charles' thoughts echoed pretty exactly what i'd been thinking about it.  i pay attention to new local music and much of it is very, very good.  sadly most of the recordings i hear from locals aren't well produced at all and the music suffers.  these might be great songs, but they face an uphill battle for the admiration of the listener.  now and then i come across a recording that sounds better than i think i could do.  every example was recorded by somebody great, charging premium studio prices.

Recording Studio at Berklee Colleg of Music Image via Wikipedia

in the past i've looked around at studios and how other recordists are pricing themselves.  "my recordings sound good, but i don't have quite the expensive gear so i should charge a little bit less"

after reading this article i feel like maybe i should raise it up to $40 p/hour.  is this what it takes to set me apart from your buddy with cubase on his macbook?  is there no place for mid level producers?  i know i'm not a big shot but i surely am not competing with beginners.

LiquidMolly's home recording studio. Image via Wikipedia

so what's my value?...  i think artists should choose me to produce their recording if they like my style.  if they want a clean, hollywood-polish sound they're better off going to an expensive studio that turns out mixes like that.  if they don't care about (or don't notice) the difference between my work and a garage band demo, they shouldn't spend a penny.  but if they like warm, organic, maybe a little raw but definitely natural records, maybe i'm just right.