Spring Cleaning

Posted on Tue, Aug 21, 2007:

It's spring cleaning time in my studio. Well, it used to be spring cleaning, but since my albums came out late this year, I guess it's summer cleaning. Either way, it's that wonderful time of year when I finish an album and since I have a clean slate, I can completely rip apart and upgrade my studio without worrying about the continuity of sound from one track to the next.

I haven't entirely decided what I'm doing this time, but I did put in an order for a pair of Apex 205 ribbon mics. Every good mic I have is fairly bright, so I'm hoping these will give a sort of retro darkness to electric guitar tracks and drum overheads. I'm hoping they also give me a nice Nick Drake / Elliott Smith tone to the acoustics, but I'm guessing the levels won't be high enough to use. Full report to come when they arrive. :)

I've also added some Auralex Wedgies to the room. My studio is a small room, 13x12 I think, with the ceilings under 8 feet. I tend to record and mix and low volumes to offset this, but drums are a frequent problem, so I'm especially hoping these will help to tame the flutter echoes above the drums.

I'm also planning to replace my old Yamaha keyboard (that I only use for MIDI anyway) with a dedicated MIDI keyboard. I'm looking for something with fewer keys (since desk space is at a premium), some knobs and/or sliders to control parameters, and maybe some drum pads. Has anyone tried a Korg Kontrol49?

Finally, I wiped my studio PC and reinstalled the OS from scratch. I started a brand new Sonar template. Whenever I sit down to record a new song, the first thing I do is load up the template, which gives me a common starting place with my most basic tracks and effects. Here's what I'm using this time around:

The drums are all routed to a drum bus, which has a compressor with a ratio of 3:1 and an attack time of 30ms. This bus, along with the guitars and any other instruments I add, are routed to a Non-Vocal bus, which uses a multiband compressor to tie them together and gives the vocals a flat landscape to float on. Vocals and Non-Vocals meet in the master bus, which has an L3 limiter (and no Sonic Maximizer this time).

For the reverb bus, I'm playing with Waves TrueVerb's "Drum Room" preset. I still don't like it, but it might work. We'll see.

That's all I can think of, but I'm sure there's something else. Sorry to bore all of you who aren't into audio production. *grins*


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