Internship (Day 1)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by robertoroman

I applied for an internship in New York City and got the position. Unfortunately, it’s unpaid but the opportunities are priceless.

Day one consisted of cleaning, familiarizing myself with the facility and the intern handbook. This is very much “the bottom”! I keep getting informed that everyone starts here. If you can make it through the trenches, the rest will be cake.

With the type of clientele the studio receives, it is only fitting that they want it to look and feel like a 5 star hotel. Each studio must be equipped with two notepads, two black pens, two blue pens, highlighters, markers, sharpies, tissue, hand sanitizer, water, as well as, be spotless! There are four studios in this facility.

The day consists of two shifts, day and night (9a-7:30p and 7:30p-9a). After cleaning for ten hours, I was sent on a run. I had to pick up some snacks for an engineer/producer. After the run, I came to find out he was affiliated with g-unit and cinematic music group. Hopefully, I can position myself to be at the right place at the right time. Hard work will pay off!

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Thank You

Posted in Uncategorized on May 7, 2012 by robertoroman

First of all, I would like to thank all the instructors of the RAT program for giving me the knowledge and resources to help me develop my craft. As well as to the members of the Greater Outdoors, my father Robert Roman, Harold Melendez, Rick Stylesz, Charlie Space and Carli Graham for making musical contributions to my project. I would also like to thank Anthony Means, Anthony Gooden, Dexter Chandler, Hugh Stockler, and Aaron Bryant for assisting me in the studios. Thank You, and this indeed was, the best project ever!

Mixing The Greater Outdoors

Posted in Mixing on May 1, 2012 by robertoroman

Biking With Scissors:

This song was the most busy. I tried to sit the guitar back as rhythm along with the bass and the drums. I filtered out the guitar to about 250-400Hz. This allowed me to set the bass for the low end (80-150Hz). I also boosted the bass at around 2kHz to get the attack of the bass. The piano was the most difficult. I filtered out the low end to about 2-3Hz. I also boosted at about 4kHz to let the piano cut through the mix. For vocals I filtered Mark’s out at about 120Hz and 200Hz for the background vocals. On the main vocals I used reverb with a predelay at about 100ms with a short decay time. For the background vocals, I added a more reverberant setting to set the vocals farther back than the main vocals. For the viola, I cut out the low end to about 250Hz. Then I also cut at around 1kHz to 2kHz to allow the guitar and vocals to cut through the viola.

Stupid Sleepy Lady:

This song starts off slow. I wanted to set the mood kind of like a lullaby at first by automating the reverb at the beginning of the song to be more wet on the viola, drums and guitar. Since the guitar throws in some lead parts along the way, I cut the guitar to about 350Hz and boosted in the 2-3kHz to allow it to cut through more. I also added some automation to the reverb at the end of some of Mark’s phrases to add a little interest. The song depicts a group or band playing loud despite a neighbor’s request for quiet. Therefore, I tried to make the overall song as loud as possible through maximizing with the L2 plugin.

Demons:

Demons has more of a straight rock feel. I used the bass and the guitar to carry the rhythm. There was no piano in this song so I didn’t filter out the guitar as much as previously. There was also the addition of tambourine so I filtered that out to about 2kHz. I also automated volume of the vocals to emphasized some of the harmony parts. For all the drum parts, I isolated the individual drums and EQ’d them to sound good as a whole. I also sent the overhead mics to an aux track, added a compressor to about 4dB of gain reduction at a 6:1 ratio. I then mixed this signal to the individually mic’d drums as well as to an uncompressed signal of overheads. I learned this technique from the mixing engineers handbook and has given me the best sounding drum mix I have done so far.

Robert & Harold’s Latin Experiment

Posted in Mixing on April 30, 2012 by robertoroman

For the final presentation, I chose to use the “freestyle” I recorded with my father and Harold as one of my final songs.

I was unable to schedule a mixing day in the SSL, so I had to do my mixing “In the Box”. After EQing the rhythm guitar to taste, I decided to use the “stereo Imager” plugin in Pro-Tools to empty some space for the lead up the center. The guitars were the backbone of the song, where as the percussion parts were used to accent the guitars and keep the beat going. I also cut some of the mid’s (900Hz-2kHz) to allow the lead to cut through the rhythm guitar. For the timbales, I felt I had to shrink the dynamic range to “tame” the rolls which went from real quiet on the rim shots to extremely loud at certain points. I added a compressor to the timbales and EQ’d the low end out up to about 300Hz. I used the pan to space out the additional shaker and cowbell parts. I also added a hall reverb on the lead guitar, automating the reverb louder during the intro and outro. After making minor arranging adjustments, I took the two track and added an L2 maximizer, to increase the overall output of the song as well as some multiband compression to make the overall two track gel!

Drums, Guitars, Violas and Tambourines! (Greater Outdoors)

Posted in Tracking on April 29, 2012 by robertoroman

DRUMS:

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

GUITARS:

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.

VIOLA:

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.

TAMBOURINE:

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!

Vocals and Overdubs (Greater Outdoors)

Posted in Tracking on April 28, 2012 by robertoroman

April 16th, I recorded vocals and piano overdubs. Megan Elk, and Karah Vance provided vocals with Mark Balderelli providing the main vocals. The singers felt more comfortable recording simultaneously so we made that happen. I isolated Karah and Megan in the iso booths and Mark in the live room surrounded by gobos to tame the room sound. I used an AT4050 for Karah and Mark while using an AKG c414 on Megan who has a higher range than the other two vocalists. I ran the background vocals through the UA1176 Compressor and Mark’s through the LA2A compressor to tame peaks and smooth the vocal takes directly to Pro Tools. After doing a few takes of all the singers together, I had them do a few passes as well individually. I ended with 5 good passes of each vocalists for each song giving me more to work with during mixing to comp and create the best vocal takes.

While listening to the recorded tracks, I decided I didn’t like the sound of the piano mics. After all the vocal takes were complete, I set up the piano to rerecord the parts. The stereo image of the mics were nice so I kept the same set up of a near coincident X/Y pair at the center of the piano. This time I used a pair of Shure SM81s. These sounded a bit brighter and instantly cut through the mix better than the AT4041s I previously used.

She Did It All (ft. Carli Graham & Charlie Space)

Posted in Mixing, Tracking on April 23, 2012 by robertoroman

“She Did it All” is a track written by my good friend Rick Stylesz and myself. His brother Charlie Space contributed the vocals for the hook and I rapped the verses. I sequenced the Bass, synths and claps via Reason. Originally the song had some programmed drum parts, however, we replaced them with some live drums courtesy of Carli Graham. We recorded the drums in the SSL studio.

Kick – Shure Beta 52

Snare – Shure SM57

Tom 1, Floor TomĀ  2, Floor Tom 3 – Sennheiser MD421

Overheads – Spaced pair AKG C414

I recorded the drums directly to Pro Tools, with her playing to a click track. I had her do four passes of the song and used the best take. For vocals, I recorded them in my apartment using a BLUE Bluebird condenser mic routed through a Presonus Studio Tube Preamp, into a Presonus Studio Channel interface using Ableton Live DAW. I mixed the vocals using the RChannel Waves Plugin for compression and EQ. I mixed the drums “in the box” with Pro Tools utilizing the stock EQ’s and Compressors. After I was satisfied with the mix of the drums, I imported the tracks of the drums to the Ableton session and further mixed them with the rest of the tracks. Using the two track of the drums, I was able to time align the drums by cutting and time stretching the parts that were slightly off time. Once everything was sounding smooth with the drums, I further mixed the drums to the rest of the MIDI parts. I also added some delays using the stock delay plugin in Ableton and reverbs using the Waves RVerb. Here is how the final mix came out!

 

 

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