The drummer was fairly new to the group. After listening to the recordings, I noticed some inconsistencies that had to be addressed. I was able to kill two birds with one stone. I asked the drummer if he’d like to contribute some drum parts for a song I was working on with Dexter Chandler. He agreed, so I was able to have him redo his drum parts for the Greater Outdoors project as well as for my song, Finally Able 2 See. There were some changes between the two set ups. Dexter decided to go a different path since it was a different type of style for his project.
There were somethings we noticed, including inconsistent tempo, that were too late to address. At this point, it would be far too late to try and redo the entire songs as the studios were all booked, so we worked with what we had. I did a few things differently from the first recording of drums. First of all, I changed locations, in the SSL live room I recorded the drums near room 26E with the drummers back facing the door. After helping out with Nate Porter’s project, I observed his sounds and technique on the kick and snare. He ran the kick through the LA2A Compressor and Snare through the UA 1176LN. Night and day difference! They both instantly became more “powerful” with much more punch. When applying that to my project, I decided to run the kick and snare, each, through a UA 1176ln. I set the attack fairly fast and the release about 12 o’clock. I adjusted the release based on the temp of the song, faster tempo, faster release. I had the ratio set for 4:1 with a gain reduction of about 6dB from the loudest peak. Everything else, including overheads and toms, I recorded dry and directly to Pro Tools. I recorded the compressed signals of the kick and snare directly to Pro Tools. We recorded three passes of each song on different Pro Tools’ playlists for further editing before mixing. Takes came out great and had much more life than the previously recorded drums. As far as the overall sound and quality of the drums, I can say, I have come along way since the first time I recorded drums. At the same time, plenty of room for improvement! Our mics were:
Kick: D6 about 4in from beater
Snare: SM57 about 1.5in from top of the drum head facing slightly towards center
Tom 1-3: Sennheiser MD421 about 1.5in from top of the drum head facing straight down
OH L&R: Oktava M021 Near coincident X/Y stereo pair above drummers head about 2ft above cymbals
Guitar parts for Stupid Sleepy Lady had to be redone as well. It was difficult to find another time where all the band members had free time simultaneously so I had to piece parts together. We attempted to redo the guitar parts at Tri-C in the Toft ATB room. We did a few passes straight through as well as some bits and pieces. There were some parts where Mark goes from a clean guitar tone to a distorted one so we tried to record the parts separate. After a long session, we finally got some great takes. Here’s where I dropped the ball….I didn’t realize the session that I was working with was directly off of my external drive instead of from the temp drive. Needless to say, when I got home, the audio parts we recorded were not there. Only empty regions where the guitar pars should have been! No worries, we make mistakes, fix them, and learn from them! Luckily, the guitarist lives near by so he was able to come to my apartment and rerecord them. This time, there were no kinks and everything came out smooth. Since we didn’t have access to the same equipment at school, we had to use my gear. A BLUE Bluebird large diaphragm condenser and a Digital Reference DRVX-1 handheld dynamic mic were the microphones used to record the guitar through a Fender Princeton 112 single 12in amplifier. I used the dynamic mic to pick up the “meat” of the tone and the condenser to pick up the high end, then, blended the two tones.
For viola, we recorded Stupid Sleepy Lady and Biking With Scissors in the SSL Studio at Tri-C in the live space. It was the same day I recorded the piano and drums so my mic choices were slim. I ended up using an Audio Technica AT 4050, which I found out later while mixing, wasn’t the greatest choice. I did have trouble during mixing to get the viola to cut through. We ran out of time in the SSL to finish recording the viola parts for Demons but we were able to record them at my apartment. I used the BLUE Bluebird about 7 inches from the body of the viola. It was still a large diaphragm condenser but it had more definition in the high mids. The violin cuts through the best for “Demons” in my opinion.
Once all the main instruments were recorded, we added the tambourine parts. With the Bluebird facing down and above the tambourine about 6 inches, we recorded the tambourine for “Demons” and “Stupid Sleepy Lady” in my apartment. Now begins the fun part…..putting together the puzzle with the pieces we’ve created…Time to mix!