Recording - February 2013 - 8
Note to faithful writers: When sending your letters by email, please remember to include your name and where you hail from.
Managing the low end
Hello Eric Ferguson: My name is Michael and I create music from my home studio. I just got started maybe a year ago and not really great with eq-ing. I came across your low end article at recordingmag.com (www.recordingmag.com/ resources/resourceDetail/123.html). I would like to ask a question if that’s okay; it’s pertaining to a tip from your article. You write: “Tip Five: Thin the bass to make room for the kick. That’s right, I just suggested cutting bass from the bass, a move that might seem counter-intuitive when on a mission for deep low end. The truth is that a thick bass will often muddy a mix and cover the kick with unnecessary super-low frequencies. Try putting a lowcut filter on the bass, and gently sculpt away frequencies below 100 Hz. This can help define the bass, while simultaneously saving the bottom frequency range for the kick.” Say I have a synth bassline note C2 which peaks at 65 Hz. My question is, should I put an eq on it and cut all the frequencies below 100 Hz even though my bass line is peaking at 65 Hz? Do you always low cut the bass at 100 Hz or does it depend on where the kick is peaking?
Michael via email
per octave filter that’s set to be 3 dB down at 85 Hz will only be about 6 dB down at 65 Hz. You will definitely still be able to hear the note, but it will be thinner. Besides, most kicks are tuned in this range and thinning the bass helps the kick cut through. The other thing to realize is that the overtones of the bass note, which are much higher in frequency, will not be attenuated. The instrument will still be heard, it just won’t be causing an earthquake! Give it a shot, and just use your ears. A little compression and a slight rolloff in bass can really tighten up a mix.—EF
Going old school
Hello Mr. Dorsey: I hope you can spare a couple of minutes to steer a greenhorn right! I wish to record acoustic performances (string, voice; up to five musicians) using only two mics, no mixer or other signal manipulation, straight to analog master tape, which will then be used direct to cutting lathe. I’m aware this approach will impose a steep learning curve, and that I will need to experiment and research. After some initial research, an issue that is troubling me is phasing effects, and the difficulties this might cause at the cutting stage. Is it even possible to record in the way I have described while avoiding phase problems? If my plan is viable, where do you recommend I invest my time, i.e. in which direction should I be researching and experimenting? By the way, given that I will need a good recorder, I won’t have much left to spend on mics, so I’m anxious to avoid mistakes or overspending in that department. I read your article ‘Minimalist Miking Sessions’ (www.recordingmag.com/ resources/resourceDetail/195.html) and the approach you describe there seems close to what I’m trying to do. The benefit of your experience will be greatly appreciated. Sincerely,
Craig Salter Melbourne, Australia
Eric Ferguson replies:
Hi, Michael, and thanks for writing. I wrote that article a good six years ago. It’s cool that you found it in our Resource Library and are finding it worthwhile. You’re asking a good question regarding my suggestion to cut the bass below 100 Hz. Let me elaborate, as it is a very effective method. I typically put a highpass (lowcut) filter on most basses, as there is usually more low end than necessary recorded and muddiness is often an issue. I typically find that gentle slope (6 dB per octave) filters work the best, as they slowly roll off the lows without removing everything below the cutoff frequency. If you are using a DAW with a plug-in eq that allows you to vary the filter slope, you might be able to see visually what I am talking about. Using this method, lower frequencies are progressively more attenuated. As for the actual frequency I set the filter to, it varies depending on the bass and the mix. You’ll have to listen. I find it typically lands in the 85 Hz range. Sometimes the highpass filter ends up much lower as well, below 40–50 Hz. An important thing to realize is that filter cutoff frequencies actually represent the point of 3 dB of attenuation. This means that if you set a 6 dB/octave filter to 85 Hz, its actual rolloff begins somewhere near 120 Hz, but you barely hear a reduction that high up. As for your question regarding how such a filter might affect a note whose fundamental is lower than the filter cutoff frequency: this has never been an issue for me. A 6 dB
Scott Dorsey replies:
Craig: Don’t worry about phasing effects if you are using ORTF or XY miking setups. You will get some outof-phase bass, but it won’t be a serious problem if you keep low-frequency sources centered in the soundfield. That means setting the band up with the bass and drum kit near the middle of the band. Much more importantly, spend all your money on mics and get a cheap recorder. Or rent a kit from a film sound rental place. A dollar spent on transducers (mics and speakers) is worth ten dollars spent anywhere else in the audio chain! The hard part with this sort of work is finding a good room to record in, more than anything else. If your room sounds good, getting a good recording is easier; if your room has issues, your recording will too. Have fun.—SD
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RECORDING February 2013
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 - 13
Recording - February 2013 - The Production Of Clare Fischer’s CD ¡Ritmo!
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Recording - February 2013 - Big Money Drums.
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Recording - February 2013 - 25
Recording - February 2013 - Recording Fundamentals. Chapter 14: Sweet Spot Conundrums—Part 1.
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Recording - February 2013 - Sonodyne SM200Ak Studio Monitors.
Recording - February 2013 - 31
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.
Recording - February 2013 - 41
Recording - February 2013 - Zoom Q2HD Handy Video Recorder.
Recording - February 2013 - 43
Recording - February 2013 - iOS Music Tools: Take Control!
Recording - February 2013 - 45
Recording - February 2013 - 46
Recording - February 2013 - 47
Recording - February 2013 - Emotiva Pro airmotiv 4 and airmotiv 6 Powered Studio Monitors.
Recording - February 2013 - 49
Recording - February 2013 - DPA Microphones Reference Standard Mics.
Recording - February 2013 - 51
Recording - February 2013 - Sony Creative Software Sound Forge Pro Mac.
Recording - February 2013 - 53
Recording - February 2013 - Lewitt DTP 640 REX Dual-Element Kick Drum Mic.
Recording - February 2013 - 55
Recording - February 2013 - Readers’ Tapes.
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Recording - February 2013 - 60
Recording - February 2013 - 61
Recording - February 2013 - Miking An Orchestra—Rock Band And Symphony.
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Recording - February 2013 - 69
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
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