Recording - August 2016 - 27

selected a matched pair of Earthworks
TC30k condenser microphones as overheads, set in a spaced pair about 4 feet
from the drums. These mics tend to pick
up a lot of the space around the source,
due in part to their omnidirectional pickup patterns. They have a very clean, flat
response with an un-hyped character.
Since the room's reflections were
going to be a major part of the overall
sound, a significant challenge was how
to minimize the amount of David's guitar
and scratch vocals bleeding into these
microphones, while still facilitating the
communication between the two musicians. I had David set up stage left,
directly in line with the direction the
drums were pointing, but "off-axis" to
them, so that David could make constant
visual contact with Ric, but would not be
singing directly at him (or into the mics).
I then rounded out the drum mic setup
with my usual "go-to"s: AKG D112 just
outside the kick drum, pointed through the
hole at the beater. Shure Beta 57 dynamic
on the snare, pointed at the center from
10 o'clock position, 1 inch up and inward
from the rim. Electro/Voice RE20 large
diaphragm dynamic pointed down at the
floor tom from 4 inches away...
I was about to place another Beta 57 on
the rack tom when I noticed that one of the
overhead mics had no signal! I changed the

cable, still nothing. Checked the mic for
damage and saw none. Meanwhile, the
clock is ticking away, the headphone mixes
sound good, and the guys are starting to
get a vibe going... I walked over to the
drums and quickly grabbed the one overhead mic that was working and placed it at
the center of the kit. "We're going mono." I
said matter-of-factly, as I hit 'Record'.
"All set, then?" asked David.
Within the very marrow of my bones,
everything inside of me was screaming,
"No! We're definitely not 'all set'! The
drum mics aren't right, I haven't checked
the vocal and guitar levels, the doors
are still open and there's an old woman
placing flower bouquets everywhere!"
I gave him a 'thumbs up' and off we
went, on a wing and a prayer. Yes, I
lied in church.
Thankfully, the rest of the session went
much more smoothly and we ended up
tracking seven songs that day. We planned
our next session, packed our things, and
returned home to rest and regroup.
In the aftermath
Once I'd spent sufficient time away
from these tracks, I loaded them into my
studio's desktop computer and gave them
a thorough listen. All of my choices
appeared to be the right ones, particularly
with regard to the balance of the drums

and the church's natural reflections. Even
more importantly, the performances were
definitely more inspired and engaging.
It's just that I didn't like the sound of
these tracks at all. It wasn't the EQ or
the compression. Not even the monophonic compromise, which turned out to
be a bad channel on the mixer. Simply
that the size of the very large room
made it seem like we'd cranked up the
reverb length way too high, giving
everything a completely displaced sense
of grandeur, somewhat akin to the cannons in Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture.
Not all was lost, however. Though we
did eventually elect to track the drums at
my studio, we also opted to track the
vocal performances at the church, where
the long decay would be a little more in
context and the inspirational factor
would still be in play.
While we didn't perform any miracles, we did learn a lot from the experience. When next I'm presented with
such a wonderful opportunity, you can
be sure I'll work like the devil to make
the best of it.
Sven-Erik Seaholm (seaholm@
recordingmag.com) is a San Diegobased singer, songwriter and independent record producer. His latest release
"The Sexy" is available everywhere.


http://radialeng.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - August 2016

 Contents
Recording - August 2016 - Intro
Recording - August 2016 - Cover1
Recording - August 2016 - Cover2
Recording - August 2016 - 1
Recording - August 2016 - 2
Recording - August 2016 - 3
Recording - August 2016 - 4
Recording - August 2016 - 5
Recording - August 2016 -  Contents
Recording - August 2016 - 7
Recording - August 2016 - 8
Recording - August 2016 - 9
Recording - August 2016 - 10
Recording - August 2016 - 11
Recording - August 2016 - 12
Recording - August 2016 - 13
Recording - August 2016 - 14
Recording - August 2016 - 15
Recording - August 2016 - 16
Recording - August 2016 - 17
Recording - August 2016 - 18
Recording - August 2016 - 19
Recording - August 2016 - 20
Recording - August 2016 - 21
Recording - August 2016 - 22
Recording - August 2016 - 23
Recording - August 2016 - 24
Recording - August 2016 - 25
Recording - August 2016 - 26
Recording - August 2016 - 27
Recording - August 2016 - 28
Recording - August 2016 - 29
Recording - August 2016 - 30
Recording - August 2016 - 31
Recording - August 2016 - 32
Recording - August 2016 - 33
Recording - August 2016 - 34
Recording - August 2016 - 35
Recording - August 2016 - 36
Recording - August 2016 - 37
Recording - August 2016 - 38
Recording - August 2016 - 39
Recording - August 2016 - 40
Recording - August 2016 - 41
Recording - August 2016 - 42
Recording - August 2016 - 43
Recording - August 2016 - 44
Recording - August 2016 - 45
Recording - August 2016 - 46
Recording - August 2016 - 47
Recording - August 2016 - 48
Recording - August 2016 - 49
Recording - August 2016 - 50
Recording - August 2016 - 51
Recording - August 2016 - 52
Recording - August 2016 - 53
Recording - August 2016 - 54
Recording - August 2016 - 55
Recording - August 2016 - 56
Recording - August 2016 - 57
Recording - August 2016 - 58
Recording - August 2016 - 59
Recording - August 2016 - 60
Recording - August 2016 - 61
Recording - August 2016 - 62
Recording - August 2016 - 63
Recording - August 2016 - 64
Recording - August 2016 - 65
Recording - August 2016 - 66
Recording - August 2016 - 67
Recording - August 2016 - 68
Recording - August 2016 - 69
Recording - August 2016 - 70
Recording - August 2016 - 71
Recording - August 2016 - 72
Recording - August 2016 - Cover3
Recording - August 2016 - Cover4
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