Follow my band throughout each stage of the recording process for our new EP.

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by reaction105, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. reaction105

    reaction105 Member

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    As described in this thread I earlier posted on TGP, my band (just a small local band in Perth, Australia) is going to start recording our second EP soon, and I'd like to sort of document the process, from preproduction through to the launch gig. I am inexperienced but I want to learn, and I really want it to sound good. We're doing it ourselves, so your feedback would be greatly appreciated/needed.

    Thats also the aim of this thread; to create a bunch of advice and sound samples/reference material etc, for anyone interested in general.

    To begin with, a little information about the band and the EP: We are a four piece rock band: two guitars, drums, bass and vocals. We are currently planning the new EP to be four tracks. In this thread I want to cover the recording of two of those songs. Which are (in low quality youtube goodness):

    "Satellite"



    and "Steal Your Mind"



    Not the greatest quality, but you should be able to get the idea.

    Feedback on anything at all would be so very appreciated. Arrangement or playing, anything. Tell me what sucks and how you would fix it.

    We are going to start with the drum tracks. I'm (the guitarist) going to go in and record scratch tracks of guitar for the songs to a click, and then we'll record the drums to that. What do you think about that method? So the next instalment in this thread should have recording gear and setup information, as well as audio of the raw drum tracks. And will hopefully be less wordy.

    Cheers!
     
  2. reaction105

    reaction105 Member

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    Quiet in here... :)

    We are recording on a PC with a Pro Tools HD3 setup, and using a Focusrite Control24 workstation.

    Because we are recording to a click, we needed to find the right tempo for the songs. To do this, we checked tempos from some live recordings of the songs. What seemed to give us the best result is seeing how the vocals feel. If they feel right, the tempo is probably right.

    Once we had the tempo, we recorded basic scratch tracks of guitar and vocals for each song. After they were down, we started trying to get some good sounds for the drums (Ddrum custom kit, ash. No muffling on any of the drums):

    Bold here indicates close micing:

    Kick - 24 x 20 (AKG D112)
    Snare - 14 x 5 Ludwig Black Beauty (SM57)
    Rack Tom - 13 x 7 (Samson C02)
    Floor Tom - 16 x 14 (Samson Q Kick)
    Hi Hats - Sabian 14in. HHX Evolution
    Ride - Sabian 21 in. AA Raw Bell Dry Ride
    Crash - Sabian 18in. HHX X-treme
    Crash - Sabian 19in. HHX X-plosion
    Crash - Sabian 18in. HHX Stage Crash
    Crash - Sabian 18in. HHX China


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    The overheads used were Oktava MK-012, placed over the middle of the kit. The close mics were generally level with the rim of the drum, 2-3 inches above and pointing towards the center of the drum. This link has some good information and sound clips:

    http://www.kimcheerecords.com/articles/drums/



    Some feedback here would be awesome!

    The levels on the drums were set to peak around -10dBfs. After a bit of fiddling with mic placements and drum pitch, we got something that sounded half decent. Here is an untouched clip (straight off the microphones, only panned, converted to .mp3 and amplified):

    raw_drums_sample.mp3 (2.9mb - right click, save as)

    Have a listen and tell me what you think could be improved. I tend to think that the snare could be tuned a little higher, and the kit could be a bit brighter in general. The toms are also quite strong, but they are a bit of a theme for this particular song. Some feedback (particularly in regard to the low end) from someone with more experience ears would be invaluable and very appreciated :beer

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  3. Powerpopfan

    Powerpopfan Member

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    Hey there. I will check in to follow your progress. My band is in the middle of a mostly DIY recording project, as well. We did the drums at a local studio and are recording everything else at home. Since I trust the ears of our friend at the studio, we plan to return this summer for a proper mix.
     
  4. FatTeleTom

    FatTeleTom Member

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    A quick note: I'm following the thread, and particularly interested as (1) I've been working on mixing a bunch of multi-tracked live cuts, and (2) my band is about to head back into a studio to record. So, recording/mixing/prepping for recording are much on my mind lately.

    Will try to listen to the drums sample and offer my (non-professional) feedback in a few days. Meanwhile, keep the info coming!
     
  5. MBT74

    MBT74 Member

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    Good luck mate. I'll be watching this thread. Got to support Aussie bands. :aok
     
  6. reaction105

    reaction105 Member

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    I'm glad to hear this'll be useful for some people :) I'll keep this updated. If anyone has any questions or wants more info on something, ask away.

    Thanks man! Are you in Australia?

    Cheers and good luck with your projects. Let us know how they go.

    Hey, keep us updated on how it goes. If you can, post some drum samples in this thread. I think it'd be interesting to see how studio drums compare to our home effort.

    Anyone, feel free to post clips in here.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2010
  7. MBT74

    MBT74 Member

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    Yeah, I'm in Brisbane.
     
  8. Geno_xl

    Geno_xl Member

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    I just wanted to add that I think this is very cool. I'll be checking in on your progress as you go along. Good luck!
     
  9. cram

    cram Member

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    subscribed as well.
    Thanks for documenting.
     
  10. BootsElectric

    BootsElectric Member

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    im very interested in seeing how you record the delay solo! ie are you going to try replicate exactly how you played it in the video clip?
     
  11. reaction105

    reaction105 Member

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    Thanks for the support everyone. Just a quick update, still doing drums. We've just been tweaking mic placements and tuning etc. At some point you have to call it though, because without deadlines and goals you can get bogged down with too many options. We'll be done soon with that, and the next update will be about guitars.


    I don't think it will be exactly how it is in the video. I play it like that because I only have so many hands, but in the recording I want it to be a little more subtle. When the delay starts oscillating, I want it to start tearing at the guitar solo, note by note, before it eventually gives way to full on spaceship noises. I have a couple ideas on how to do that.
     
  12. Powerpopfan

    Powerpopfan Member

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    I will try to post some drums, but it may be a while. Yours sound just fine to my ears. Snare didn't bother me at all, but that might depend on how it sits with everything else. I have used samples and loops for years on my demos, so drums are really the weak spot for me both in terms of investment and the home-recording learning curve. Thats why we opted for the studio for that part. It wasnt really a high-end effort with a giant-treated room, but they had great pre's and mics available. looking forward to hearing more of your stuff as it becomes available...
     
  13. BootsElectric

    BootsElectric Member

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  14. reaction105

    reaction105 Member

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    Alright alright. It's been a long time, and I wonder if anyone is still subscribing to this thread. Sorry for taking so long to continue this, but various real life things (gigs, travel, other recordings etc) got in the way. I didn't forget it though, and now that I have more clips we can get on with it.

    Set-Up
    ----------------
    We recorded guitars through two amps: a Peavey Classic 50 and a Peavey JSX (which should have been a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, but that is being repaired). The guitars used were an '87 USA Fender 62 reissue Strat and an Epiphone Elitist 335. The signal went out of the guitar and into a Loopmaster Y splitter. Basically, one guitar in>two leads out. The left side went into the Classic 50 (set to overdrive), and the right side went to either a Fulltone OCDv4 or a Xotic BB Preamp, then into the JSX (set clean). In general, the Classic 50 was set to be darker and more distorted, and the JSX was brighter and cleaner. The microphones used were sm57s, and they were generally aimed directly at the speaker, about an inch outside of the dustcap and about an inch away from the grill cloth. In the mix and clips, Classic 50 - hard left, JSX - hard right.

    Bass was recorded mostly through an Avalon U5 DI, except for one section of fuzz-octave bass where we mic'd up an Ashdown ABM 500 EVO III Head and 1x15 cab. The bass was an Fender American Deluxe Jazz, and an MI Audio Pollyanna was used for the fuzz section. We used a kick drum mic, an AKG D112, and kind of just threw it at the cab and whatever stuck is what worked.

    The amps, up on chairs:

    [​IMG]


    Classic 50:

    [​IMG]


    JSX:

    [​IMG]


    Also, the tape you see there over the grill is not to patch up tears, its meant to stop the amp from "beaming" the treble frequencies straight out; the idea being that if your ears are right in line with the speaker they wont get killed by the high end so much. There's some product you can buy that does this, but tape was good enough for SRV. This is not the amp I use on stage, so I dont really know how big a difference it makes, but I think it has some effect.


    Clips

    ----------------
    Here is an example of the verse and chorus. It is broken down into small .mp3 clips of the rhythm guitars, the bass, the drums, and also the whole mix (which is currently just at the levels and panning stage).

    Right click, save as:
    DEMO_steal_BASS.mp3
    DEMO_steal_DRUMS.mp3
    DEMO_steal_RHYTHM.mp3
    DEMO_steal_RHYTHM_2.mp3
    DEMO_steal_MIX.mp3

    Fairly straightfoward. You can compare the left and right channels of the guitar clips to listen to the different amps/pedals; Classic 50 in the left channel, JSX + pedal in the right.

    DEMO_steal_RHYTHM.mp3 is the strat, played in the neck position. The pedal used was the OCD.
    DEMO_steal_RHYTHM_2.mp3 is the 335, played in the bridge position. The pedal used was the BB Preamp. It also has a bunch of silence in the middle because it only plays during the chorus.

    You should be able to line all the clips up easily in an audio editor if you were so inclined.

    Also, here are some clips of the fuzz bass section and the solo section. In these, there is the solo'd instrument, the backing, and finally the full mix (solo'd instrument and backing combined).

    Fuzz bass (right click, save as):
    BASSfuzz_steal_BASS.mp3
    BASSfuzz_steal_RHYTHM.mp3
    BASSfuzz_steal_MIX.mp3

    Again, a Fender Jazz bass played through an MI Audio Pollyanna. Its an octave pedal that gets fuzzy and a little glitchy. Some fuzzy octave up blended with the dry signal.

    Solo section (right click, save as):
    SOLO_steal_LEAD.mp3
    SOLO_steal_RHYTHM.mp3
    SOLO_steal_MIX.mp3

    SOLO_steal_LEAD.mp3 is the strat again, played in the neck position. This time both amps recieved the same pedals, which were the OCD, a Keeley TS9 Tubescreamer, the Pollyanna, and a Danelectro Cool Cat Vibe. I cant remember the exact settings, but it was loud.

    Lastly, here is one little clip from the other song we're doing. It is some nice loud fuzz tone from an MJM London Fuzz. The amp and mic set up is the same (guitar>fuzz>amps, but JSX R, Classic 50 L) and the guitar used was the 335. Neck pickup, fuzz set to 11, earmuffs on.

    satellite_LONDON_FUZZ.mp3 (right click, save as)

    I think that's it for now. Thanks to anyone still reading, and I hope all this might be helpful in some way. If not, I hope you enjoy the sounds anyway. I'll be back when I have more, but in the meantime any feedback or questions/comments about anything are most welcome.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2010
  15. BootsElectric

    BootsElectric Member

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    abount time 105!

    also cool tone!
     

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