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DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#1
Hey everyone,

I'll briefly outline what this thread is for, to save the time of people who aren't sure if they want to read on after my introduction

I'm going to be recording and producing my band's first self-produced album this February onwards, and thought it would be a good opportunity to create a guide here for anyone considering going the 'DIY approach' to releasing a full-length CD with professional results. This also applies to anyone planning on working with artists/bands, that wants to take a controlled feel into the studio, particularly if they're a new client the producer doesn't know personally.

In short, I'm going to touch upon everything I feel is important... and as 'Self-Production' is part of the title, it won't just be recording advice, but encompassing all that a Producer's role would be in the professional environment - that is, making sure everything falls into place, in every aspect imaginable!


And now for the boring bit...


As mentioned, I will be using my band as a case study because this is convenient and I can easily relate everything to a real-life example that I know the ins and outs of.

We are a 5-piece heavy metal band from the Midlands, United Kingdom, with a likeness to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest thrown together with Metallica and more modern metal bands. In short: it's classic metal with a modern twist. If you want to know any more about the band, either PM me or google 'Disarm Goliath'.

As for myself, I'm a 21-yr old guitarist and in my second year of a BSc Sound Engineering & Production degree at Birmingham City University. Some of you might recognise me from here as the regular without a display pic, or that annoying, often sarcastic, guy moaning when people say wrong things or post in the wrong place


To save any confusion from here on - when I say things like 'the band' and 'we', use common sense and realise I am part of the band too, and I will probably confuse myself by speaking in both the first and third person quite often Other than that - the recording is being done at my university's studios, as I am able to use them and all the gear for free... lots of it!


Obviously I plan to make this guide very in-depth, and as it is a pretty big undertaking I am afraid you'll have to wait for updates every few days rather than this being completed in one go. On the plus side, for anyone who wants to follow this, it means you can read everything in more manageable chunks of information and everything will be in chronological order.


Right then... introduction complete for now.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jan 31, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#2
Part One: Pre-Production

Ok, so arguably the biggest job for a Producer (and one people often overlook when they see the word 'producer') is to organise the project and get the ball rolling. I may be stating the obvious to most of you, but the biggest way to improve your workflow (both as an audio engineer, and as an artist) is to plan in advance!

I'm going to say that in bold, again, so the point is embedded in your brain: Plan in advance!

Glad we cleared that one up...

The biggest waste of time in the studio is decisions, and the arguments resulting from decisions. Debate and make a decision on EVERYTHING you can possibly think of for the project, because as trivial as things appear - they can cost you 5 minutes of studio time if they're left to pop up by themselves. And several of these trivial things can cost you half an hour of time... 'time is money' and all that. On a major project, money might be no object, but soon you will see why bands can be working with a producer for 3 months straight, and still wait half a year later to release the CD!

It can be hard to constantly bring up things that don't seem important one after another, luckily I can bombard the band a few things per rehearsal leading up to the tracking, but if you are a producer working with a band you will just have to do what you can by email/text message/you get the picture. Bands can be arseholes... scratch that, bands are arseholes. We usually have a pre-conceived idea that we are godlike entities, able to walk into the studio and play everything note-perfect in one take, then the 'sound guy' plays with his knobs for a few hours/days and then the sound of God climaxing blasts through the speakers... as an engineer, you know that is not the case. You'll just have to learn how to deal with it, if you intend to make a regular habit of this business.


A few of the small things I've been laughed at for bringing up in rehearsal, but know will save time when time matters:

"Do you want your guitars panned left or right? I mean, are we giving the listener the same stereo layout as if we played live with them in the crowd, or them behind us?"

"Listen to the drum production on this... is that the kind of thing we're going for? But I'd probably make the toms less boomy, of course... or do you prefer a more Maiden-y sound?"

"Yeah, live the guitars sound totally different to what I want in the studio... mainly 'cos ___'s amp sucks But yeah, are we cool for them to be quite loud in the mix?"

"I got you a Falam Slam pad for your kick, mate, do you have a blanket in your kick drum at the moment or do I need to bring one to tracking?"

The list goes on...


Anyway, I'll try not to digress further. You need to be on the ball well in advance of tracking and if you're producing for a band you don't know, I advise you to ask to sit in on a few of their rehearsals so you can hear the songs to be recorded and maybe with a dictaphone/field recorder/mobile phone get a rough recording of the songs so you know the arrangements fairly well and can start making decisions about click tracks and how you're going to mic up the drums/guitars/bass and track the vocals.

I'll now get to my choices that I have made, and am currently still making as it is still 3 weeks before drum tracking begins (Feb 21st, for anyone who might want to follow this).


I have decided to record with the DAW Logic Pro, as it means I can edit and mix at home to allow me more time for mixing and more flexible hours. I have the option of recording in several other DAWs, including Pro Tools HD 8, but chose against them as this would mean trying to book out enough time at the uni studios to allow me to mix to a point I'm happy to release. Additionally, band members can join me for mix sessions at my flat for their added input, without the need for building passes and travelling quite so far!

Being a member of the band, and writing some of the songs, it means I have worked on them for long enough that I have created demo projects of them already in Logic. The reason I mention this, is that when we come to drum tracking, I will be able to mute the programmed drums and allow the drummer to play along to a click track with the other instruments, with all the correct tempo and signature changes in place already... and it means I don't need to set up several headphone mixes and have members of the band play live during drum tracking... this also means no issue with instrument bleed to the drum mics. If you have the opportunity, I suggest you set up click tracks, if you're using them, in advance to a final arrangement of each song you have from a rough rehearsal recording, as this means you don't have to spend studio time working out tempos and time changes in the song!

I also decided early on that, being a metal album, I wanted as dry a room sound as I could get for the drums and all the pieces of the kit would be spot-miked, save the cymbals which would be stereo overheads and a spot mic on the hi-hat to control the balance of the HH with the rest of the kit a bit more (it also meant other cymbals can be raised higher above the kit to reduce bleed to the spot mics a little). Try and make decisions on the sound you are going for as soon as you've first spoken to the band and asked about what they want from the project. BUT if they don't know their sound quite yet, it is your job as a producer to find their sound and give them their sonic identity. If you do their songs justice for their genre, you can make bad musicianship sound passable, and good musicianship sound great... it's a sad factor of modern music production, but you're (hopefully, as I won't be this time!) getting paid to utilise this to full effect and make the band sound like gods.


Looking back, I have probably spent a whole week of time over the last few months, trying to get everything planned to perfection - after all it concerns me as more than a producer, because I'm in the band and want the record to be as big a success as possible, and to take us to new places. We've worked with a few producers in the past and never been happy with the results. Studio time costs money... before the recession, a lot of money, and we spent considerable amounts on 'demo-quality' recordings, that I now believe I can do better than, for free. Check my profile song for an example... the actual recording of the drums and vocals was pretty good, but the guy did not mix the tracks too well. Effectively, he gave us a rough balance with a few plug-ins thrown on, and while it might sound as good, or better, than some of the stuff on here in the 'Original Recordings' section quality-wise, I definitely don't think it stands up to the competition commercially and there are a lot of flaws I have identified with it.


I'll quickly post some mic lists and minor notes I made in the past, before drawing to a close for tonight:

Drums
Kick Drum: Audix D6, AKG D112, Beyerdynamic M99 (trial each, placed half in outer skin)
Snare: Audix I-5, Shure SM57 (trial both)
Toms: Sennheiser MD421 x3, AKG D112 (2x 421s on rack toms, trial other and D112 on floor)
Overheads: AKG C414 x2, Rode NT55 x2, AKG C451 x2 (trial all pairs)
Hi-Hat: Shure SM57, Rode NT-5A (trial both)

To be recorded in Semi-Anechoic chamber (so dead you can barely locate sound sources!).


Guitars
Me: AKG C414, Audix I-5 & clean DI (all three tracked, clean DI can be re-amped/through amp sims, and blended with others)

Ant: Shure SM57, Sennheiser e906, clean DI (as above).


Bass
Bass: AKG D112 & clean DI (as above)


Vocals
Vox: Neumann U87, Mojave MA-200 (U67-alike), Peluse 'U47 clone', Shure SM7B, AKG C414 (trial all!)

Tracked into Focusrite ISA One preamp rack, probs use 1176/Distressor outboard when mixing).


There you have it, some of the choices were limited by availablility in the studio, some may be hired (also considering hiring a U67, my ideal mic to trial), and I have several mics booked out per 'role' at times, as trialling different mics is a quick way to get a good sound instead of getting a 'so-so' take and trying to fix it in the mix.


Edit: Continuation


Well, from where I left off I noticed I missed a few things I originally wanted to mention, and also a few things I'll say now to avoid anyone worrying that this thread will just be me rambling in walls of text!

First up: Once anything exciting actually happens, i.e once tracking begins, I'll be updating the thread with samples of recordings, mixes, editing, and plenty of photos of the mic setups and layout of everything as I feel this will help people who may have read about different ideas but imagined them differently without pictures to explain. It also means I can show the different things I will be doing, in a way easier than explaining every last detail.


Secondly: I meant to add, that the role of a producer can be many things and while strictly speaking you aren't likely to be involved in artwork, track listing, mastering etc. to a high degree, in some cases you have to at least think about these things and get them scheduled because musicians are a nightmare to motivate unless it involves alcohol, the opposite sex, or both (and if you're lucky, needn't include drugs that make them do scary things like talk to a compressor rack, or start using your prized vintage mic as a baseball bat!).


Finally: It came to me that giving an example of the demos I have made for these recordings might be a good idea, to show the kind of things they can be useful for. So without further hesitation, this is a brief outline of the demo I made for one of the tracks I wrote, called 'Betrayer'.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Feb 21, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#3
Part Two: Drum Tracking

Well, if you've read so far and stayed interested - thank you, and well done! At last we've reached the point when I can get to the more interesting stuff (in my opinion) and the thread can be updated quicker as pre-production has officially ended, and production has begun.

Obviously after choosing the best location (in the case of this, a metal album, choosing a room with next-to-no reverberation) and shortlisting equipment to be used (final mic shortlist is shown in second post), the next step was to get the drums into the studio and get cracking... or not. See, the next major thing I believe that is often overlooked is the setup of the instruments (drums in particular) before the record button is even 'armed'. Ideally, I would recommend bringing the drums into the recording environment 24hrs or so before any recording is due to take place, so the drums can acclimatise to their new home for the next however-long-tracking-will-last-for. In my case, we were limited to bringing the gear in today and starting setup immediately, but crucially we made no plans to track anything until tomorrow morning.

'Where to start?' you might ask. Well, from my point of view selecting the position of the kit in the room was only defined by comfort space, and most economical use of the area so mic cables aren't dangerously tangled on chair legs/light stands/heaters etc.In a more traditional recording, walking around the room with one of the drums (I prefer snare) and hitting it consistently can give you a good idea of where the room really shines to you - but as the room was designed to be almost acoustically dead, there's little difference hitting the snare by the door or against the far wall. Experiment when doing your own productions though... you might be surprised at the difference moving the kit just a few feet can make, especially to room mics and overheads!


*Rolling thunder and howling wind*
And so the dark art of drum tuning came into play...



Ok, it's not really a dark art but tuning a drum kit is certainly not for the faint hearted - and as I soon discovered, those wearing their favourite pair of jeans... drums that haven't been tuned in a while apparently enjoy leaking newly-bored sawdust all over your lap! Joking aside, I soon discovered why the guide to drum tracking that I developed most of my techniques and theories from (Highly-recommended guide) suggested picking up a Tama Tension Watch/DrumDial. As someone who is fairly inexperienced at tuning drums properly, it was an eye-opener that drums that sounded relatively in-tune were at such differing tensions across the lugs. While I don't recommend you first use new equipment in tracking, I have to say that using the drum dial was a smooth and fast learning curve, and I already feel confident I could tune a drumkit well, given a few hours from start to finish - with practise I imagine the time taken would fall dramatically, but I was being ultra-precise and making sure I did everything correctly... call it early-recording-nerves!

Anyway, I started with the snare which had some gaffa-taped foam pads on the batter head from a previous recording (done with a producer I won't name, though the actual tracking he did well enough) but I was keen to take this off to best-tune the snare and then treat any issues. It was soon apparent that the snare now had a prominent and annoying 'boing' resonance to it... the drummer is the first to admit it was only a cheap snare, but we can't really just replace the snare so quick at the drop of a stick, so to speak. After sorting the tuning out (which I'm sure I don't need to go into too much depth about), I went about treating the resonance.

There are two places, to my admittedly small knowledge, on a drum that resonance/ringing can come from (ignoring rattles like loose lugs/screws, and room reflection): sympathetic tuning of the heads; and sympathetic tuning to the body. Now, I was careful to make sure the batter and resonator heads were tuned to alternate tensions, in the case of the snare I had the batter head higher than the resonator, so I was fairly certain the ringing was caused by the body allowing one (or both) the heads to keep on ringing longer. Enter Moongel (by the ROTM company)! To illustrate just how resonant the snare batter head was, I took a pic of the positioning of said Moongel...




At this point the snare was sounding heaps better, and all that was left to do was adjust the tension of the snares (the 'rattles' on the bottom) to best suit the sound. We were after a tight, punchy sound so I tightened the snares from their previous point, which reduced the time they took to stop rattling considerably, and gave a tone I was very happy with. I won't go into detail about the toms, as it's mentioned in that guide anyway, but I chose to tune the toms with the batter heads lower in tension than the resonators, as this creates a sharper attack which I felt would add better definition. The kick I didn't touch as it already sounded immense, however I removed the stock 'pads' that were on the batter skin and placed a Falam Double Slam Pad for the double-kick beaters (of which the plastic beater heads were put in place) to give attack and some of the 'click' associated with a metal kick drum in a more natural way than simply using samples alone.

Next it was time to begin applying mics to the kit... and this is where we encounter another problem you might face when handling a large-scale project - equipment cannot be guaranteed available 100% of the time, whether that be because it breaks, is lost, or simply in use elsewhere. Case in point, despite my greatest wishes to at least trial an Audix D6 on the kick, I was unable to get hold of one in time for the recording, but you make the best of what you have as an engineer... one mic is not the be all and end all, afterall! As for another point... when you are unable to acquire a mic from a friend and don't own one, there are many companies offering microphone hire at great value rates (considering the price of buying one new) for a few days' use. I had to hire out a Sennheiser MD421 to make it a clean sweep of 3 on the toms, and it set me back just under £40 inc. VAT, with around £8 (I'm estimating based on what they said) to send it back to them after 3 days use and 1 day for it to be returned. To show my gratitude for their ability to get the mic to me at such short notice (I finalised the order on Thursday and had the mic on Saturday after missing the postman on Friday!) here is a link to that lovely company - Richmond Film Services.

Anyway, back on track: I set up the D112 first, half-in, half-out the soundhole of the kick, and brought up the fader on the desk to record a quick snippet of the drummer playing a few kick patterns, and thought the sound was getting there but 10mins later after still not quite getting what I was after, I decided to ditch the D112 and trial a Beyerdynamic M99 instead. What a difference this made! With the mid-cut/high-shelf-boost engaged I was able to get a lot closer to the staple metal kick drum sound, without even touching any EQ or compression! Obviously it was still a relatively old-school kick sound, and depending on what (if anything) we do to the positioning of the mic tomorrow we may employ sample reinforcement in the mix to bring it into more modern metal territory (best to make these decisions now rather than settling for samples as a last resort with little planning into what kind of sound desired for the untreated mic source), but nonetheless the sound of the kick would definitely fit into a standard rock or pop mix with ease.


Beyer M99 half-in kick soundhole



Next I put up an SM57 on the snare, angled around 30-40 degrees across the face of the snare towards the centre, with the 57's null point as directed at the hi-hat as I could get without the stand and cable obstructing the hi-hat's motion. This is to try and reduce hi-hat spill into the snare, which is obviously something everyone faces, but in the case of the genre in question it is desirable to have as little hi-hat in the snare spot mic as possible - this is where gating is a valuable tool, however I'll touch more upon that when proper tracking begins.

The toms are the next logical step and there are no secrets to hide here. Like many engineers before me, I am yet to find a mic I like on toms more than the Sennheiser MD421. This mic is probably one of the most popular studio mics around (by that, I'm excluding SM58's as they're no doubt the most wide-spread mic in audio engineering as a whole), and despite being old now is still yet to be bettered in my opinion... the openness it can offer is staggering, for a dynamic. Enough of the mic love though, all I've done with the toms is angled the 421's over the rim towards the centre again, about an inch above the rim with the mic just peeking over the rim by a few cm.


Sennheiser MD421's on the rack toms




Three MD421's on toms, and '57 on the snare
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Mar 3, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#4
Last to be set up was the overheads, or so I planned (I'll get to that in a minute), and overhead placement was, I admit, something I'd been dreading. For a start, the overheads get compressed quite heavily in metal, so if the balance isn't right then all sorts of things can crop up to bug the shizzle out of you for hours... days... maybe longer; secondly though, on a typical drum kit the snare is not placed centrally - but we are used to having the snare in the centre of our stereo image, especially in metal, and overheads are supposed to try and create your stereo image (at least as far as cymbals go). Before I continue, here's a pic of the full layout of our drummer's kit - all cymbals included, of which he has many!




Now you might think it's not a big deal, but short of hovering the snare over his kick pedals, I would not be able to reposition the drummer's kit as he already has the positioning fine-tuned for live use down to the millimetre (as you've probably seen in the tom mics pic!). My solution was to set up the overheads slightly staggered over the kit, in the hope that with the correct angle on the capsules, I could capture the majority of the stereo image without missing too much of the "drummer's left" crash cymbals. After a little playing about I got things right to a level I was happy with, and the positioning shall be shown below, but first...

When running through the first track for the drummer to warm up (with recording on, of course - I advise you to have record on standby at all times, and to engage it when the drummer says he wants a 'practise', because you never know when he might do an incredible take... the take of the session!) I made the decision that our snare, which sounded great in the control room after tuning, was not being picked up by the mic quite how I wanted. Because of the annoying proximity of the hi-hat stand, overheads and cymbal stands, I was really limited for movement of the '57, and it sounded quite strong when solo'd but didn't cut the mustard when OH's were brought up. So I made a quick decision to throw another mic in, angled up at the snares from below the drum. The mic in question is an AKG C451 small-diaphragm condenser, with which I engaged the HPF at 150Hz to reduce kick drum bleed, and had about 1.5" away from the resonant 'rattle' head of the snare, sticking just beyond the rim and facing the snares. This, and the OH layout, can be seen in this final pic:




Continued June, 30th


At the end of the tracking on day three I decided to take samples of the kit, both for a more natural sounding sample augmentation if needed, and to bolster my sample library with some of my own samples. I will make the samples available if anyone wants them, and am happy to give raw and processed versions of each. In case you're wondering, this project was a large undertaking for me and as such there was a bit of learning while going along involved - and now I must stress that if you are recording anything particularly heavy or extreme, do not copy my overhead positioning! I have to admit here, that despite the sound seeming fine in the studio, now that I've got further into the project I realise I had the overheads much too high for the sound I was after and as a result there is a bit of an imbalance in the volume of different cymbals, which means I will be augmenting some hits with samples. It mainly affects some of the crashes in the choruses, and like many drummers our sticksman hits the hi-hat a bit harder than he probably should in relation to everything else (I can't complain - I couldn't control it at all playing some of the things he does!) so that only made the situation more noticeable on closer inspection.

The overhead sound is certainly workable however, and perhaps some compression will help too, but until everything is tracked I don't want to pre-mix too much only to alter it again when everything else is recorded. So again: do not use the overhead spacing I have, unless you want quite a relaxed sound (would suit jazz styles and more laidback stuff great though, and picked up plenty of the kit).


Right, humble pie eaten...


...time for some samples!

Kick

Snare Top

Snare Bottom

Snare Top & Bottom Together

High Tom

Mid Tom

Floor Tom

Don't worry, there's more and they'll be available for download if requested, but for now I don't quite have the time to do the cymbals as they're all in stereo and would need to be bounced in a separate Logic project, or I'd have to keep deleting and undoing the delete of everything else, which I can't be bothered to do
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#5
Part Three: Tracking Killer Guitars...
Of Death!!


Erm... yeah, sorry about the title. It's just that, being (primarily) a guitarist, recording the guitar parts is the most exciting part of the album for me - at least from my position as a member of the band's point of view anyway, but I also find it is at this point that I start to get a feel for how the project is going tonally. If you're wondering now about whether guitars should come before bass and vice versa - that's entirely up to you. I find it best to let the artist/band decide, and in our case the bassist prefers to record to nicely-tracked guitars so we decided on getting the guitars done before the bass was involved.

With regards to tracking guitars I'd like to mention several things now because some of you may well be able to skip past this part unless you are genuinely interested in my own personal methods; that is to say that my way of recording guitars is probably the same as many, many other people's. Like many others before me, I took a bit from ___ guide and a bit from ____ and then incorporated what _____ said in his book, etc. (an example, not me intentionally hiding people's names). This section will also be pretty useless from a mic-position/choice perspective for anyone not recording metal/the heavier side of rock. You may learn a few 'bodge job' tricks though!

If you've decided to read, then as I've mentioned in other threads, I do highly rate The Slipperman Guide as the general basis for how I started getting (in my opinion) my first decent tones from miking guitar amps. If you read all, most, or even some of that guide and haven't gone insane then I think you will have at least learnt a few valuable snippets, so I felt the need to give it some space and promotion here. Other than that, I also had an epiphany moment using a method called 'chasing the flame', introduced by Mike Stravrou in his immensely-popular book Mixing With Your Mind, and so not to belittle his work I will only explain it as 'finding the place in the air where the sound swells at all frequencies and provides the best balance for the tip of the mic'.

After making those brief acknowledgements I feel a bit better about sharing what I consider to be very little of my own work, and more other people's knowledge and work that I have absorbed like a sponge and combined based on my own observations of what they describe (though I guess that is what audio engineering is all about, and how we progress). Enough musing though, time for the nitty gritty...


It turns out that since I tracked the drums way back in Feb, I had a sort of mid-early-life crisis (I'm only 22, yikes) and it took a few months for me to sort myself and get around to tracking the guitars. In that time, the studio got very busy at uni, and by not turning up for a mix session thanks to my stupid forgetgulness, I had restricted time allowed. This lead to a decision to effectively give myself a challenge - studio time elsewhere is expensive, when you want to do a good job of tracking and get a great end result, so was there any way of tracking for free/cheap without having to try and do multiple sessions at uni?

The answer will probably have you cringe, but after listening back to the results I am almost proud of what we achieved by recording all the guitar parts (apart from a few potential DI overdubs if required when I get to the mixing stage) in the other guitarist's garage!. That's right - I went against everything I stand for with regards to room choice and acoustics, and as we are a band who work/study by day and the little we make from the band goes back into the band, we do have to make the occasional cut back (it turns out money saved on studio time/a producer gets you a lot further with regards to artwork and publishing!). Standby for what could be a solution to those of you playing at home and worried about making noise/don't want your room to affect the quality of your recordings.


Taster Pic :P


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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
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#7
Part Five: Mix Preparation


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#9
Part Seven: Tweaking The Mix & Evaluation


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DisarmGoliath
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#10
Part Eight: Miscellaneous Details/'The Finer Points'


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DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
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#12
Part Ten: The Release


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axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
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#14
With that gear, and your planning/preparedness, there's no reason why this shouldn't turn out really well.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
suppositron
Registered User
Join date: Oct 2010
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#15
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Part One: Pre-Production


The biggest waste of time in the studio is decisions, and the arguments resulting from decisions. Debate and make a decision on EVERYTHING you can possibly think of for the project, because as trivial as things appear - they can cost you 5 minutes of studio time if they're left to pop up by themselves. And several of these trivial things can cost you half an hour of time... 'time is money' and all that. On a major project, money might be no object, but soon you will see why bands can be working with a producer for 3 months straight, and still wait half a year later to release the CD!



That's a very good point. If you're making an indie record or just going with a house producer somewhere- you probably skip some much needed pre-production. This is where usually the producer sits in on some jam sessions and makes comments on parts that need to be worked out- before you even enter the studio.
DisarmGoliath
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#16
Quote by crushingmetal
wow this is really interesting can't wait for the next posts!

Glad you're looking forward to it, obviously there's not too much more I can add right now, other than completing the demo guide I linked to, but that's nearly done and then I'll begin writing what I can of the drum tracking in advance!

Quote by axemanchris
With that gear, and your planning/preparedness, there's no reason why this shouldn't turn out really well.

CT

That's what I'm hoping for at the least, hehe. I'm pleased you haven't found any major faults so far, and hopefully the guide will be of use to some people here anyway, and an interesting read for more experienced posters like yourself!

Quote by suppositron
That's a very good point. If you're making an indie record or just going with a house producer somewhere- you probably skip some much needed pre-production. This is where usually the producer sits in on some jam sessions and makes comments on parts that need to be worked out- before you even enter the studio.

Yeah, I think we've all been there when you've thought of stuff while recording and wish you'd planned for it sooner. Ultimately, I think a good producer has to be someone willing to give more to the project than sitting behind a desk pushing faders and asking an intern to move mics around.
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DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#18
No problem, I just hope that I can keep up with the thread as quickly as I intend to and post a bit after each day of tracking. Then I can really give a lot of detail on the subject. My only worry is that the remaining 'reserved' posts won't be enough, so I may end up posting after this for other bits... or, as long as it doesn't annoy the mods, create one or two other threads for specific things that I can link to

On BCU: which campus? Perry Barr I'm guessing, if you're a student nurse, right? Think you're the first person I've seen on here from uni, though there's a few from Birmingham itself around! What year/level are you in?
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DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#21
Quote by Dark Raven X
I'm at City South campus, in the Mary Seacole Library. First year, it's pretty awesome so far.

16 hour days are not a whole lot of fun though. XD

Ah ok, think I know where that is hehe. 16 hours?! I have that much a week! Glad you're enjoying it though.


Quote by drawnacrol
Awesome thread, keep it up

Cheers, not long 'til it will be updated a lot more. For now though, just finishing and tidying up the demo thread I linked to!
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Slapp62
Semi-Noob
Join date: Jun 2009
1,881 IQ
#22
this should be added to the R&R sticky when its done
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemicalFire
You're plugging an interface into an interface...


Interfaception


Pls tell me what is Interfaception. and how to solve.


Bridge_H
Registered User
Join date: Jul 2010
1,160 IQ
#23
When you finish, this should be like, a regular article on UG or something. Can't wait to read the finished product.
Matthew 6:33

Uniting the World, One Bridge at a Time.
z4twenny
UG's resident Psychopath
Join date: Nov 2005
936 IQ
#25
im seriously waiting for the next post on this. awesome thread!
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#26
Didn't realise there were these posts at the end of thread, hehe. Thanks for the praise guys, as much as I'd love to I think I wouldn't have the time for a regular column (and I'm sure too many people would flame it!) but I appreciate the requests

Not long now until the project kicks off, I'll keep everyone posted but I aim to add the final bits I can prior to getting into the studio in the next few days!

Edit: Oh, and I meant to add the whole reason I bumped this; The guide to making a demo, mentioned in post 2, is now complete so it no longer links to a disjointed mess
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Vendetta V
The Creep
Join date: Feb 2007
9,504 IQ
#29
sounds coool really!

I'm The Creep!



I'm a mixing engineer, hit me up


Please support my music and purchase my
My

My


And Call Me V
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#30
Weeeelll, looky here - several months along and I've finally got my butt back into gear and actually done something relating to this. I must apologise if anyone was enjoying the guide and looking forward to more - life is strange and I've had to sort my life out a bit (and grow up, *sniff*) but things are moving along again and should hopefully be able to add tons to this in a short while, not to mention get some audio up as well!

And in the meantime while I collect my thoughts and try and write something in a decent order on the first page, rhythm guitars are all done now so I can go through that, lead guitar is tentatively 'booked' for tracking this Thursday, but I'll get into that later too. Bass will likely be done weekend after, and vocals sometime in July.

Thanks to anyone who takes the time to open this in their control panel, months after it effectively died, and still wishes to read more!

Steve
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Sympho
Registered User
Join date: Dec 2010
523 IQ
#31
Man this is very insightful, I ll be reading this when I get off the train.

Thanks a lot for the thread !
The symphonizer
lockwolf
Recording's AdBot/Dick
Join date: Jun 2007
1,422 IQ
#32
My name is Lockwolf and I give this my seal of approval

(Invalid img)
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
axemanchris
Awwww.... NOW what?!
Join date: Aug 2006
2,471 IQ
#34
You said you were really happy with the snare sound until you brought up the overheads. Did you try aligning the overheads a little better - perhaps manually - by a few milliseconds?

Sometimes this can make a huge difference without having to screw about.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
DisarmGoliath
Disarms Goliaths
Join date: Dec 2008
1,391 IQ
#35
Quote by axemanchris
You said you were really happy with the snare sound until you brought up the overheads. Did you try aligning the overheads a little better - perhaps manually - by a few milliseconds?

Sometimes this can make a huge difference without having to screw about.

CT

I know what you're suggesting Chris, but it wasn't so much a smear of transients but more a lack of snappiness and punch to just the snare, whereas everything else remained fine. To bring the snare's presence in the mix up a little, adding a condenser to the bottom of the snare gave me a nice tone control to the top mic.

When I post some audio samples up (soon, I promise, but want to update with pictures too and camera is in my gig bag elsewhere until thursday, because I've got a terrible memory for where I put things down) it should show what I mean, but effectively I just wanted to keep the power and fundamental of the snare providedby the top mic whilst having the bottom mic to add in some of the snares themself for a 'sharper' (is that the right word?) sound. Good point though, and yes I have messed with the alignment of the tracks in relation to the OH post-tracking, though the first change I did was actually to perfectly align the snare top and bottom, then invert the polarity of the bottom).


Edit: P.S Lockwolf, that pic reminds me of the bucket walrus And I hope to upload some samples of the kit for you all later today; if anyone's up, do people want me to host them on dropbox or something, so people can download the samples if they wish?
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jun 28, 2011,
DisarmGoliath
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#36
Uploaded a few samples to end of Drum Tracking post, more will be up when I get a moment.

Edit: Toms added too, now.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2011,
fendercopyuser
Banned
Join date: Oct 2006
200 IQ
#37
one question about the snare... I'm micing it with one mic, trying to catch as little hi-hat as possible, yet it sounds like I have a snare and a freakin' overhead channel all in one?! (snare completely uncompressed)

How much bleed is healthy and does EQ help? I tried cutting some/ a lot of midrange at 1kHz, but it doesn't seem to help, or maybe it's the wrong center frequency, I don't know...
DisarmGoliath
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#38
Quote by fendercopyuser
one question about the snare... I'm micing it with one mic, trying to catch as little hi-hat as possible, yet it sounds like I have a snare and a freakin' overhead channel all in one?! (snare completely uncompressed)

How much bleed is healthy and does EQ help? I tried cutting some/ a lot of midrange at 1kHz, but it doesn't seem to help, or maybe it's the wrong center frequency, I don't know...

How high have you got the hi-hat in relation to the snare? Get as much height distance between them as you can, within the limits of the drummer being comfortable, allowing you to reduce the sound picked up by snare mic.

Also, use a cardioid pattern mic and point the mic so the null point (in the case of cardioid patterns, the rear of the mic) is pointing back towards the hi-hat while the front is at the snare drum.

Other than that, you can try gating the snare, and/or usinga de-esser triggered by the 10k+ frequencies of the hi-hat which aren't too important to the snare sound.

Edit: But you'll always get some bleed in there. I'm at work right now but later tonight I'll try and post a sample of untouched snare tracks from a song, to show the sort of bleed you will be able to cope with. As long as you have a nice strong snare hit, a little bleed fills out the sound of the kit and gives it a bit of density and space. The only tracks I actually cut all the unnecessary audio from are the toms, as they're rarely struck so don't need to be adding to the bleed.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2011,
FireHawk
All Hail Ze Llama!
Join date: Jan 2006
728 IQ
#39
Took a quick listen to the drum samples (on my laptop so i don't have best quality listening right now)...never realized how much a difference that bottom mic on the snare can make (i don't get to record live drums often, at least you until i get my new interface after i graduate in may).
TasianSensation
Registered User
Join date: Jan 2006
1,273 IQ
#40
I've got some advice for future cymbal miking technique...
Use a nice small cap condenser (I find that 4041s or 4051s sound pretty good) on one or two cymbals, pointing away from the rest of the kit. Angle them so that they're picking up the far edge of the cymbal.
Since using this won't really get you you're stereo image, you'll need to get that from a different mic set-up. Set up a stereo mic technique on the front of the drum kit. My personal favorite is the Decca Tree. Go about 5 feet in front of the kit and place two mics 2 1/2 feet left and right of that spot. Also put one in the center 2 1/2 feet forward of the 5 foot mark. This gets a really nice sound. I think it makes more sense than OH stereo imaging too, mainly because when people listening to drums, they're usually in front of the kit, not directly above it. It'll just sound more natural.

This looks like it's coming along nicely! Can't wait for the rest!
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