Reggae – Buffalo Soldier – Bob Marley
As this was our second recording, we had a little experience of the recording procedure. What to expect from the musicians, how to plan out the session, what to do differently, organize our workflow better with the musicians. We also had a much better understanding of what mics work best with different instruments. We learnt a lot from the first recording which was Motown on how not to do things.
Such as put the drummer in the same room as the other musicians like we did with Motown. It’s better to isolate and separate the drums because of bleed issues with other instruments can damage the recording and the mixing phase.
Especially with a large diaphragm condenser mic used for the overhead on the drums, not only will it capture the overall drum sound but it will capture everything else in a room as well. This was the reason why we isolated the drums to a separate part of the live room, that’s enclosed.
Instead of micing the whole drum kit, we decided to use the Glyn Johns method on the drums for this project and it really worked well. Along with the kick drum mic, there are only three other mics used, a snare mic, and two overhead microphones. Other mics are optional.
We had to be careful of phase during setting up the mics for the Glyn Johns method. The most important aspect is to keep the overheads equidistant from the snare drum, so not to cause phase issues.
Using this technique, I found that we got an open, natural drum sound.
The only downfall of using this method, I have noticed, is that it’s a lot harder to mix the drums, by this I mean EQ and using compression since you’re not close-micing all of the drums, to get the sound you need.
There was only one guitar recorded for this track, Jasmin on guitar as with the psychedelic recording there were two. Ryan on rhythm and Toby The guitar we experimented di’ing and micing up the amp with an SM57, both going to separate channels in the multicore, essentially being fed into the TLAudio Desk audio channels.
In the first session we got down 4 different takes of the song, with most of the instruments and a guided vocal by Beth, then the next two sessions were for overdubbing the guitar track due to missed parts of the song and Jasmin’s guitar being out of tune slightly.
In the last session we added the trumpets and piano parts. We recorded both Harry’s on trumpet and on saxophone
The vocal, we did guided vocals to begin with, and we had to be careful of Beth’s vocal chords as she was worried about losing her voice, because we did so many takes of the full song with all the band members. In a later session we
Psychedelic – White Rabbit – Jefferson Airplane
This song was our last to record. We spent less time setting up the band as we all were a lot quicker setting up a full band to record. Siv and I set the drums up, made sure all the cables were neat and tidy and weren’t in the way of the drummer, Ben. There was no kick drum in the recording so instead of putting the kick in insert 1 which is the usual thing to do, the snare top occupied that space, snare bottom in insert 2, and then the 2 overhead condenser mics were placed in inserts 3 and 4.
With the psychedelic recording, we only had to mic up the snare drum with 2 SM57’s and the overheads with a coincidental pair, to capture the toms. Because there was no kick drum in the recording we placed another mic SM57 below the snare as well as on top, both had to be precisely 4 inches away from the snare drum so not to cause phase. I thought this was a good idea because not only do you get the snap from the top mic of the snare, you also get the rattle from the bottom mic as well. You can really tell in the original recording we did that this is the case. I also tried to capture the snap and the rattle in my final mix. After listening to the original version of the song, the studio engineer must of used a similar technique.
After a couple of rehearsals the band were ready to record the first recording, it was a good take from the drums point of view, but Ben wanted to redo the toms, so we had to figure out a way to do this. We ended up turning down the snare mics in the control room so we could just overdub the toms.
To compare the two drum recordings, reggae and psychedelic, with two different drum mic setups.
With reggae Tom played the whole kit using the Glyn Johns method which sounded like a full kit miced up, it was clear, you could hear all of the drums and the cymbals sounded crisp.
In the psychedelic recording the drums were played by Ben. The coincidental pair in the psychedelic recording played a huge role in the sound as it captured the snare, toms and cymbals when they were played.
What I would’ve done differently
First off I would organize the tracks recorded into protools as it was a hell of a job to organise them in the mixing session.
I would’ve put the drums first, bass, then guitar and vocals last