Recording - February 2013 - 16
Matt Brownlie on miking and overdubbing
What sort of challenges do you encounter when doing overdubs? Matt Brownlie: The room sound is the biggest challenge, since we are overdubbing in an environment that is so different from the studios where the main tracking was done, such as Glenwood Place or Martin Sound. So, for example, when recording a tuba, if you get too close you get a nasal sound, but if you are too far, you get too much of the room. I also overdubbed xylophone, marimba, trumpet, alto, soprano, tenor, contrabass saxophone, flute, as well as some guitar. Since Brent is playing bass and conducting at the same time during the main tracking sessions, he might not catch everything then, and we try to blend in the fix so it sounds natural. How do you deal with room mic bleed when doing fixes? It gets to the point where we can’t use the room mics anymore in the mix, because there might be as much as a 100-millisecond difference between instruments. However, we try not to have the room sound popping in and out in the mix, so we might end up leaving a small mistake if that is the best sounding option. Please share all the details about the mics and pres you used. For vibes, I used a stereo pair of beyerdynamic MC 930s. I also used one of those on the flute overdub for “San Francisco PM,” where the mic was placed over the lip plate by about a half a foot. They are a little boomy, sort of like Neumann KM 84s, really sensitive, nice top end. They were great on flute, but I kind of wish I had used a couple of SM57s or MD421s on the vibes,
Brent Fischer with mastering engineer Stephanie Villa
There are many different ways in which players interpret the written music, and in a similar way, engineers will have different approaches to mic placement and how the gear is used. This really affects the sound of what we are getting. Techniques and philosophies go through cycles; what was popular once, is popular now, but maybe not 20 years ago, like the plug-ins that recreate Moog or ARP synths. So I ask my engineers to give me something that will stand the test of time, aesthetically, 30 or 40 years from now. I don’t want to have a dated sound, because the music is not here to fulfill a specific function. Even when writing an arrangement for a pop song, which is trying to be a hit today, I try to add a timeless element. Orchestral sounds have been around for far longer that any synth or electric guitar sound, and they will be here long after. What can you share about mic placement and types of mics used?
Mixing engineer Rafa Sardina with Brent Fischer
PHOTO BY BRENT FISCHER
PHOTO BY STEPHEN MARSH
I leave that completely up to the engineers. I have been in recordings where each section of the big band was against a different wall, with the band completely spread out in the room, if that’s how the engineer wanted it for that studio. I’ve also had the players staggered, where saxes are on one side and trombones and trumpets behind them, in the traditional big band setup, but with the rhythm section in iso booths. How do you go about choosing the right studio? There are not that many studios that are set up to record large instrumentations, and the ones that are tend to be first rate, so they aren’t always available, so I have to be pragmatic. For mixing, are you an “in the box” or an “out of the box” kind of producer? I prefer in the box because you can recall the session so easily in Pro Tools, for example. What about choosing the right mastering engineer? There’s a huge dynamic range in the music I am writing, even for arrangements for pop music; this is what I talk to mastering engineers about. I really want to preserve that wide range.
RECORDING February 2013
because I’m always trying to kill the attack on that instrument. For brass I have a Golden Age R2 MKII; it’s a $100 ribbon mic, which has been pretty good for mellowing out trumpets. The mic was placed in front of the bell by a couple of feet. I’d like to have a Royer R-121; I’ll get there eventually! I also borrowed a large-diaphragm condenser mic made by RØDE. This was used on saxophones (tenor, alto, or soprano). A Shure SM7B was also used on sax overdubs. I would often use the R2 and SM7B simultaneously and then mix the two signals later. For percussion we used percussion legends Luis Conte and Alex Acuña’s gear, since we recorded at their home studios. Luis had a stereo Royer ribbon mic, the SF-24, and he also had a couple of Neve preamps and an Apogee MiniMe. Alex Acuña had a lot of Universal Audio products like LA610s, and he has an endorsement with Shure mics, so we used those. We recorded timbales, congas, bells, effects, and bongos. The mics were positioned as a spaced pair above the congas or timbales. Some eq was used to brighten cymbals or warm up the brass instruments. Bass overdubs were recorded by plugging directly into one of the API 512c preamps. In the end, it’s like “guerrilla recording”. My job is to make Brent’s ideas come across as much as possible.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - February 2013
Recording - February 2013
The Production Of Clare Fischer’s CD ¡Ritmo!
Big Money Drums.
Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 14: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 1.
Sonodyne SM200Ak Studio Monitors.
AKG D12 VR Reference Kick Drum Microphone.
Radial Engineering Firefly Tube DI.
Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder.
iOS Music Tools: Take Control!
Emotiva Pro airmotiv 4 and airmotiv 6 Powered Studio Monitors.
DPA Microphones Reference Standard Mics.
Sony Creative Software Sound Forge Pro Mac.
Lewitt DTP 640 REX Dual-Element Kick Drum Mic.
Miking An Orchestra—Rock Band And Symphony.
Stereo From A Mono Mic.
Recording - February 2013 - Recording - February 2013
Recording - February 2013 - Cover2
Recording - February 2013 - 1
Recording - February 2013 - 2
Recording - February 2013 - 3
Recording - February 2013 - Fade In.
Recording - February 2013 - 5
Recording - February 2013 - Contents
Recording - February 2013 - 7
Recording - February 2013 - Talkback.
Recording - February 2013 - 9
Recording - February 2013 - Fast Forward.
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Recording - February 2013 - The Production Of Clare Fischer’s CD ¡Ritmo!
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Recording - February 2013 - Big Money Drums.
Recording - February 2013 - 21
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Recording - February 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 14: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 1.
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Recording - February 2013 - Sonodyne SM200Ak Studio Monitors.
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Recording - February 2013 - AKG D12 VR Reference Kick Drum Microphone.
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Recording - February 2013 - Shure KSM9HS.
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Recording - February 2013 - Radial Engineering Firefly Tube DI.
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Recording - February 2013 - Audio-Technica AT4047MP.
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Recording - February 2013 - Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder.
Recording - February 2013 - 43
Recording - February 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Take Control!
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Recording - February 2013 - 47
Recording - February 2013 - Emotiva Pro airmotiv 4 and airmotiv 6 Powered Studio Monitors.
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Recording - February 2013 - DPA Microphones Reference Standard Mics.
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Recording - February 2013 - Sony Creative Software Sound Forge Pro Mac.
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Recording - February 2013 - Lewitt DTP 640 REX Dual-Element Kick Drum Mic.
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Recording - February 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
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Recording - February 2013 - Miking An Orchestra—Rock Band And Symphony.
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Recording - February 2013 - Stereo From A Mono Mic.
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Recording - February 2013 - Advertiser Index.
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Recording - February 2013 - Fade Out.
Recording - February 2013 - Cover3
Recording - February 2013 - Cover4