Soo..Anyone Want To Share Studio tricks??

Messages
276
Anything you’re willing to share?

Weird mics, techniques, personal old secret weapons (declassified of course), oddities, psychoacoustic stuff, and the sorta studio Coney Island freak show stuff…

A wireless mic (or universal plug in transmitter) or two taped to different blades of a ceiling fan as an overhead for whatever source you want to put under it and mangle. Two adjacent blades or opposites make a big difference too.

Ideally you don’t want to use a fan that has a speed control (dimmer) on a wall knob or switch. They can be noisy. Use the old-timey pull chains on the fan itself. Unless of course, the dimmer noise adds to the festivities….

Adding a deep, slow flange through an auto-panner is awesome too..
 

Billinder33

Member
Messages
2,377
I've been tinkering with cascading clippers combined in some cases with surgical ducking to get mixes blazing loud without adding any 2-buss dynamics. This is giving some really interesting results. Like -6 LUFS with EDM and -8 on rock/metal - no buss compression, limiting, saturation, or even any dynamics applied to a mastering stage... and incredibly the final product doesn't sound crushed to smithereens like adding heavy 2-buss limiting tends to sound. It's so effective that I've been injecting linked gain stages on individual tracks to back off the clipper inputs when I want less of it. I never thought I'd desire less loudness on EDM or metal, but here we are. Absolutely mind blowing how effective this tactic can be. I'm still in experimental stages with this, but thinking about how to build this into my standard mix workflow.

Obviously this is not something you'd use on folk or jazz. It's style specific, so please spare me the whining about 'loudness wars'... Nobody listening to modern metal or or dubstep gives a shiat about dynamics.

Another recent thing I've gotten serious about is metering... Using oscilloscopes to dial on low end waveforms to see how they interact, using frequency meters that can display multiple tracks to make better EQ decisions, meters for phase and pan correlations, meters to check streaming service impacts, A/B meters... You name it. Also more discipline soloing every possible thing before settling on a mix... Sub 200hz, sub 750hz, 750hz-2k, 2k-5k, 5k+, 10k+, mono, mids, sides, left, right, effect deltas where possible/supported to listen to clipper, limiter, or compression distortions, etc. Just generally ramping up my visual and audible feedback where possible.

Finally, I recently upgraded from 2-way (Dynaudio BM5As) plus sub monitoring to 3-way (Dynaudio LYD48s) plus sub monitoring. Huge improvement in midrange detail and just the larger surface area has taken some of the front wall reflections out of what I'm hearing... Shoulda done it long ago. The LYD48s are an absolute steal of a monitor, especially if you can find a good pair used. Thought about the Eve SC3070s but those are unobtainium right now.
 
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Messages
276
My secret….the all time greatest type of acoustic treatments are blanket forts.
Oh yeah! Gotta have tons of the heavy duty moving blankets and sandbags.

For rock stuff I still will build a blanket “tunnel” for the kick. It works more often than you would think. It takes maybe 30 minutes to try so nothing really lost if it doesn’t work.

A Blanket turned length wise and a couple of mic stands creating a slight funnel the length the blanket in front of the kick drum. I usually use 2 blankets for a good seal.

If your drummer doesn’t mind, using gaffer’s tape NOT duct tape which leaves a residue to tape the blanket to the kick drum is ideal.

I demonstrate by taping across my Nicely finished guitar and there’s no trace of glue residue when removed. They usually say okay after that. lol

For mics I usually use an old AKG D12 inside the drum fairly close to the beater. At the other end of the tunnel I use a United Studio Technology UT FET47 but any fairly quick LDC with decent SPL numbers will work.

Sennheiser 421’s, or even 441’s work on the kick interior.
 

tapeup

Butterscotch Supt. Member
Messages
2,026
Mixing at low levels most of the time, apparently Chris Lord Alge does this (and probably many others) and it seems to work. You've got to turn it up sometimes to see how the low end is working, but usually I'm keeping the mix volume pretty quiet.
How low are we talking here, to give me a general sense of trying it? I kind of wonder if I already am though, due to my current recording space and volume limitations. Thanks.
 

makeitstop

Old dude with guitars
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
3,013
While mixing, if I listen at loud volume for 10 minutes, I'll then turn it down and listen at low volume for 20 minutes. A 1:2 ratio always seems to keep your ears from getting fatigued too quickly and lets you work longer.

I learned this one from the guys who mixed Appetite for Destruction.
 

electricity17

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
937
How low are we talking here, to give me a general sense of trying it? I kind of wonder if I already am though, due to my current recording space and volume limitations. Thanks.

I'm not measuring the decibels (probably should), but somewhere close to the level of regular conversation, maybe a touch louder? Every now and then I'll turn it down to very quiet levels just to see what my ear catches first. Also you need to turn it up above conversation level sometimes to see how much energy you have in the low end, and how the bass and kick drum etc. are interacting.

The basic idea is that your ear hears more/better/deeper into the mix the louder you turn up the volume, so the risk is that you fool yourself into thinking that you've got enough separation between things, or the parts are properly balanced, but then it doesn't work when you listen at lower volume. Conversely, you should be able to turn up a mix that works at lower levels and it should be as good or better when you crank it.
 

Bob Womack

Member
Messages
2,895
"The magic third guitar." I learned this one from an interview with Steve Hunter. We are all familiar with recording two copies of a part and panning outboard for stereo interest. Steve stated that, because the brain is a difference engine, that invites comparison between the takes that can be jarring. When the count of versions gets to three, however, the brain perceives the result as a choir and stops spending so much energy comparing. The result feels much smoother. So, don't double parts, record then in triplicate, and pan left, right, center. Bring the center copy down a tad so that it doesn't compete with the vocal. I use this technique all the time for guitars, lead vocals, and BGVs.

Bob
 

slayerbear17

Member
Messages
4,486
No magic tricks from me except having to be a Macgyver and make up some mic stands as I had run out.
20200311-132036.jpg
 
Messages
276
Good stuff guys. Keep ‘em coming…

A good way to add a little love to your snare drum samples is to place a small speaker on an actual snare drum and send the sample really hot to the speaker.

The best speaker to use is the old Auratone cube single speakers that were designed to check your mix for old car stereos.

It’s even easier nowadays with active speakers being popular. No more running a 50’ speaker cable from your Crown D75 in the control room!
 
Messages
276
"The magic third guitar." I learned this one from an interview with Steve Hunter. We are all familiar with recording two copies of a part and panning outboard for stereo interest. Steve stated that, because the brain is a difference engine, that invites comparison between the takes that can be jarring. When the count of versions gets to three, however, the brain perceives the result as a choir and stops spending so much energy comparing. The result feels much smoother. So, don't double parts, record then in triplicate, and pan left, right, center. Bring the center copy down a tad so that it doesn't compete with the vocal. I use this technique all the time for guitars, lead vocals, and BGVs.

Bob
Nice!
 

proxy

Member
Messages
967
Anything you’re willing to share?

Weird mics, techniques, personal old secret weapons (declassified of course), oddities, psychoacoustic stuff, and the sorta studio Coney Island freak show stuff…

A wireless mic (or universal plug in transmitter) or two taped to different blades of a ceiling fan as an overhead for whatever source you want to put under it and mangle. Two adjacent blades or opposites make a big difference too.

Ideally you don’t want to use a fan that has a speed control (dimmer) on a wall knob or switch. They can be noisy. Use the old-timey pull chains on the fan itself. Unless of course, the dimmer noise adds to the festivities….

Adding a deep, slow flange through an auto-panner is awesome too..

In a medium-density mix, if guitars got a post-recording time-based effect, I would pan the effect to the opposite side, which gave a nice spaciousness to the mix. So, if the dry signal was at 3 or 4 o’clock, the delayed/verbed signal would be at 10 or 11 o’clock. Then the other guitar might be the opposite. Of course it depends on the song and the arrangement, but I found it helped both keep things separate and distinct, while also gluing things together.

PS - love the song from your sig…
 




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