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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:
- Lead Vocals - AKG C414. With a de-esser, an EQ with a high-pass and a peak around 1000k, Waves RVox for compression, delay with my trademark settings, and I'm experimenting with a touch of BBE Sonic Maximizer to bring out the clarity. It's also got a send to a tiny amount of reverb.
- Acoustic Guitar - AKG-C414s. In stereo with a high-pass EQ to get rid of the boominess, then Waves S1-Imager to control the stereo spread. I send a little bit to the reverb bus. This isn't in the "Guitars" folder for reasons that would make no sense to explain. :)
- Track Folder: Guitars
- Electric Guitar (two tracks, left and right) - Into a 414, panned 43%, with a high-pass @ 82hz and a tiny bit of send to the reverb bus.
- Bass - Direct in, through Amplitube on almost-default settings and then into a compressor with a ratio of 4:1 and an attack of 30ms for punchiness.
- Track Folder: Drums
- Tom - I'm only doing one tom for now, through an SM-57 and panned 30% right with a 120hz high-pass filter. I gate it by hand.
- Bass Drum - A D112 through a high-pass filter @ 35 hertz, 5db boost @ 70hz.
- Snare Drum, Under - This one's new. I have an SM-57 mounted under the snare drum. This has a high-pass filter @ 175hz.
- Snare Drum, Top - MD421 with a high-pass filter @ 175hz.
- Overheads - No EQ, just an S1-Imager to control the stereo spread. I'm using the Recorderman technique this time.
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*
The Sonic Maximizer is a huge help. We (Radiofix) use two different ones for bass and guitars.
The SM-57 is a sick mic for snares. Nice!
For drums, sometimes some sound proofing around the drums (by itself) helps with upward echoes and whatnot.
Yeah, pretty much everything I've recorded after "Here Today" has a Sonic Maximizer set to 1 or 2, over the whole mix. I love it, but I worry that it's giving a subconscious brittleness and harshness to the sound. I've gotten in the habit of recording darker sounds to compensate, so I'm going to try to brighten the mix up a bit instead of using SM. Hopefully using it only on the vocals will give them some extra clarity when crunchy guitars come slamming in the mix.
· 9 years, 3 months ago
Just kidding. That wasn't that boring.
At least the room isn't 10x10 or something...haha.
· 9 years, 3 months ago
Hey Josh, I have no trouble getting usable levels from those Apex205s. On drum OHs and electric guitar especially, I can easily get them to clip the pre's on my firepod with the input well shy of +10. But even on acoustic guitar, there's generally no issue so long as the room is quiet.
Also: Have you ever tried the Pacific Soundcraft DX stereo mixer for stereo width control? I find it gives me much finer control than the S1.
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