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Author Topic: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.  (Read 9807 times)

rankus

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Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« on: April 10, 2006, 02:28:37 pm »

Hi All,

This will be the first installment in what will probably be a 4 part diary showing the production techniques that I, "Rankus" employ at a our little demo shop.

We have all heard the way the big boys do it when working with their bigger name artists, but there are differences in technique when working with non-pro bands, and less than top shelf gear.... And this is what my mini series is dedicated to:

We will follow an album recording with a pop band named Ouest from start to finnish, with audio samples of the final product...

Hopefully this will also dispel any rumors that I am a heavy handed "over the top" producer in the likes of RP etc....


How to get the most of the band when you are a budget studio:

Please see below for the first Installment: "Getting The Most From Your Drummer"
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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

Fibes

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Re: Rankus' Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2006, 02:30:43 pm »

Cool. Thanks for making this the forum where it happens!
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2006, 02:31:02 pm »

Installment #1  :  Getting The Most From The Drummer

In this photo we see Rankus coaching the drummer.  "We need you to hit the snare a little harder please".  You will notice that I do not simply hit the talkback but rather have gone out into the tracking room to coach the drummer in person.  

This intimacy helps set up a bond between you and the musician (-or in this case a drummer-).

With this type of personal interaction the drummer will have more respect for your input, and the "trust" will grow.

Once you have the drummers "trust" , and respect for your "abilities", you may be able to simply use the talkback and get the adjustments to playing style that you require for further guiding him...... It is likely that he will be as accommodating as he can.

After demonstrating to this drummer that I wished for him to hit harder he understood my intensions much better than he would have if I had simply hit the talkback....

So that is lesson number one... always make sure the drummer understands the nature (and nurture) in your relationship, and the session will run smoothly every time.

index.php/fa/2659/0/
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2006, 03:20:01 pm »

OK All funning aside I will talk shop. I really will follow this session through to completion here on Budget What Budget ... But I can't promise there won't be miss guided humor.


The drummer John B brought a Tama Rock Star kit, which is my least favorite budget kit in the whole world.  But that's what this is about: recording with and on a budget.

So let's have a look in detail about recording cheap drums.

THE KIT:

SNARE: I rented a Ludwig snare drum for this project because in the end that is the most important pc of the kit in terms of final mix.

KIK (Foot Drum , Bass Drum):  Cheap KIK drums usually sound like ass so I don't even bother to try to tune or get a good sound... I simply stick an SM57 in there and wrap the shell in a blanket.  The blanket will attempt to keep kik leakage out of the overheads etc.  I will trigger a sample kik drum in the mixdown with Drumagog...

TOMS:  They aren't TOO bad for this type of music (Think Blondie).  So the Toms are skinned with Evans Hydraulics to go for a dead "thud" kind of sound.... We go with that.

Cymbals:... Well we use what he brought which aren't that bad...


MICING:

KIK = SM57  (will be triggering so mic doesn't matter.. use the last mic standing)

SNARE:  SM57 on top and another under .... (I like SM57's on snare) .... the snare drum needed a tab of "Moon Gell" on it to tame some overtones.

RAK TOM:  Sen 421 ...  Love the 421 on smaller toms...

FLOOR TOM:  Audio Technica 4033  Shocked  ... My new secret weapon on F TOM ... bombastic on a budget! Floor tom had a pillow under it on the floor to tame overtones.

HI HAT:  Was mic'd with an SM57.  (Probably won't make into the mix but with lighter musical styles you never know. (Use a SDC if you have one)

OVER HEADS:  The most important mics IMO.  This is where we search for our best gear... In my case that's either Royer Ribbons (121) or RODE NT2000... went with the pair of RODE NT2000's into GT Brick Pre Amps.... Sounds sweet.  I like the tube pre's here as they tend to soften the cymabs when going into digiatl.

The rest of the mics went into an RME Octa Mic preamp (8 pre's in a rack)

SETUP:

The snare mic was about even with the rim and about 1" above pointed directly at the hit.... The Under Snare mic was down about 4 inches pointed at the center of the drum. (Phase flipped at the pre)

Rak Tom was about the same as the snare but using a 421.

Floor Tom: The 4033 was about 3 inches outside the ring and about 3" above, at about a 45 degree angle to the head pointing at the stick

The Over Heads:  L overhead above the snare drum pointing straight down catches HI HAT as well as left crash.  R Over Head approximately above the Floor Tom pointing straight down at the FT... catches the R Crash and Ride as well.  Both overhead Mics are equi-distant from the snare and just barely high enough to miss getting hit with a stick... In this case the distance from center of snare to capsules was 42" but this varies from kit to kit....  I keep the distance the snare equal so the snare appears centered in the stereo image.  As long as they are equal you can place them almost anywhere.

I also stuck a dynamic mic on the ride cymbal (a AKG D125)but doubt it will get used.... (Once again SDC would be preferable) (but we don't have any)

PROCEDURE

You may have noticed there are no "room" mics on the kit... I did this because we were tracking with other musicians in the room wit the drummer and I figured the room mics would have people walking in front of them etc.  

We fed the drummer a click track straight out of the DAW into the mixer (Behringer MX9000), and he played with either the keyboardist or the bassist in the room with him playing along "direct" to avoid leakage. The lady singer was with me in the control room with a Blue Baby Bottle mic to sing "scratch" tracks live. Drummer had Over Heads, Click, Vox, and Bass in his headphones.  (I like to keep the extra instruments to a minimum so the drummer has clarity of mix and room to feel around musically.)

This was all done to give the drummer a little more "live show" feel rather than having him play to canned tracks... In fact I have recorded this band 100% live before with good result, but wanted to track each member seperately this time for no reason other than to be able to use the best gear on each person rather than spreading it thin.

I mention the "mixer" above... I am using a Behringer MX9000 for headphone and cue routing.  This mixer is not in the recording chain but rather is used only to combine the DAW output (click and previously recorded tracks etc.) and to monitor the tracks being recorded. (The pres are split with one leg going directly to the DAW (RME Soundcard) and the other to the "mixer".  In this way we can forget about latency issues using a native DAW.) The "mixer" also gives me talkback and control room monitor level control... (A huge "big knob" with headphone mixing built in.)

NOTES:


I don't have time to post sound clips as we go, but I promise final mixes will be posted...

The project will be in tracking / overdubs for the next three weeks and I will post similar rants about the Guitars, Keys, Bass, and Vox during that time.... Then I will take a one week break before mix, which will probably take about two weeks with band input and tweaking.... Then I will post some MP3 stuff and explain the mix... ETA 6-8 weeks

I am attempting to show that with mid level gear and a great band you can make a respectable record ITB... (Boy I hope I can live up to THAT statement)

I may even try to get the band to join in our discussion....

Hopefully this will be educational to some, and entertaining to the Terry and Ross's et al.

I will be more than happy to answer all questions / accusations that anybody may have... Feel free to post in this thread.

Thanks again to Fibes and Harvey for hosting this debacle.
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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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Fibes

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Re: Rankus' Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2006, 03:53:33 pm »

rankus wrote on Mon, 10 April 2006 15:20

 But I can't promise there won't be miss guided humor.



I love it when she shows up.






BTW Royers go great on ride.


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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2006, 04:00:51 pm »

Fibes wrote on Mon, 10 April 2006 12:53

rankus wrote on Mon, 10 April 2006 15:20

 But I can't promise there won't be miss guided humor.



I love it when she shows up.






BTW Royers go great on ride.





Thanks for making me sticky Fibes!  Very cool.

Yes, I had considered the Royers for Hi Hat and Ride, but they are only a week old.. so I am still too afraid to use them around a drum kit... I know.. I am a pussy... (Prolly won't use those tracks anyway cuz John strikes a great balance on his own.. Sign of a good drummer..)
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

Fibes

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2006, 01:14:34 pm »

Rick,


I was thinking about this thread last night and i think we forgot one of the most important parts of making budget records--- Pre-production

Getting all the ducks in a row before a mic gets selected is gonna allow everyone to focus on the prize rather than the process.

1. get the arrangements down
2. select tempos without the pressure of the studio
3. work out to a click where appropriate
4. Rhythm section practice
5. Lyric sheets broken down verse by verse etc.
6. make sure keys are gonna work for vocals
7. instruments properly set up

etc.

None of this stuff costs much but it can save a ton of time in the studio that could be spent on more "fun" stuff.
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2006, 02:28:08 pm »



Nice catch Fibes.  In fact we did pre-production for this record several months ago..

Pre-Production:

I had the rhythm guitarist and female singer come in with an acoustic gtr. and sit on stools and run down their entire catalog.  We set up a click track to their cans and carefully decided on a tempo for each track.  (This is a pop band.. if it were metal or hard rock I would have the whole band play)

I created a separate file (project folder/ song) in Nuendo and tracked to a 48 track stock template of mine that we will fill in later with the other tracks and musicians..  This keeps the file management to a minimum once the band arrives as well... it's all done , just arm and  fill in the tracks.

We burned CD's of the "unplugged" songs with  click track for all the members of the band, so that the drummer could rehearse to the scratch tracks that we would actually use in tracking... And get comfortable with the click... Also the band and I could live with the tempos for a while.

This left me with a CD as well, from which I chose the 8 songs we would track... Thankfully the band was on the same page as me regarding song choices so that went smoothly  (the baseball bat stayed behind the door)  Wink

When the drummer/ band hit the studio there was a couple of last minute changes... We added a song and dropped another... one songs tempo was adjusted ,,, This is where having the whole band there even though we were only tracking drums was a good idea... I simply set up a keyboard and mic and we ran off another "scratch track" or two basically live...

Another important aspect of pre-prod is talking to the band about instruments: "We will rent a Les Paul, leave the Epiphones at home please" was the basic message there.  Drummer was asked to put new skins on the kit.  I will be supplying bass gear so no worries there.  The singer is simply awesome, so I left her to prepare on her own....   In short the band is very talented but is "gear poor", so I concentrated on rounding up instruments.

Pre-production is a must if you want to record a "real" record (even at the sub-budget level)
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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

George_

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2006, 03:12:37 am »

Coool Rankus!!

thanx for the thread.. aha another Royer user;)


can I complain about the kick and tell you, you should try to have a good pressure gradient mic too in there.. then mix together with your trigger signal..

crown PZM-30 rocks..Smile


cheers
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2006, 12:42:56 pm »


Hey George, good to see you here.

Yes I have become another one of "those Royer guys" (thank god) Wink  I recomend going into debt to buy at least one!

I have tried PZM mics in bass drums, and I do like that for sure, but in this case we are using a low-budget drum kit.  The bass drum does not sound great so I decided to go 100% sample/trigger rather than blend with microphone. (Thanks for the tip on the Crown)

I suppose this thread is not about doing things "right", but rather how to "make do" with what you have to work with.

Cheers
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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Tidewater

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2006, 09:02:49 pm »

You misspelt digital. Smile

Kevin, that drummer looks more than just a little like Steven.

Good stuff!


M
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2006, 02:34:28 pm »

/0 wrote on Sat, 15 April 2006 18:02



You misspelt digital. Smile



M


Thats unpossible.  I never make misteaks!!
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2006, 10:28:54 pm »

OK. I know this thread says "drums" at the top, but rather than start three more threads I will continue in this one.

We tracked most of the electric guitars over the last week and weekend.

GUITARS

index.php/fa/2713/0/

The Guitarists are Orlando and Alex.

Well, we kept the electric gtrs  simple and basic from both the tone / playing aspects as well as the recording aspects.

All gtrs were recorded with a single amplifier (Marshall JCM2000 with slant cab / celestian greenbacks) (would have preferred an 800)

We mic'd the cab with a single Royer 121 Ribbon mic about 3 inches back from the grill cloth pretty much pointed right at the middle of the cone on axis. (I am now calling the Royers "magic microphones" George)....  This  ran through one of my GT Brick pre-amps into the RME interface.

We had three guitars on hand to get different tones:  A new Gibson Les Paul, a new Fender Strat, and an Epiphone Les Paul knock off. (For the record, the Epiphone sounded nothing at all like the Gibson it was a clone of...  But that said, it did sound pretty good, and was used on several tracks..) (surprise!)

For rhythm Gtrs we primarily used the Les Paul straight into the amp with no pedals to ruin the sound. Guitar - cord - amp.  On one or two cleaner songs we used the Strat for rhythm as well. We tracked two tracks of rhythm gtr. "doubled".  These will likely be panned hard right and left. There are many ways that two tracks can come in handy when mixing.

For Leads we used whichever gtr we felt suited the mood, but added an Ibanez Tube Screamer pedal to the chain for some sustain. I also made sure the guitarist was in front of the amp instead of playing from he control room, which we did for rhythm tracks. This aids in sustain / feedback.... The lead tracks were all done as single tracks and will likely be panned center.

No effects were tracked.  The only EQ used was the EQ on the amp itself. (we spent many hours on this aspect making sure the gtrs will not step on the drums or vocals in the mix. (This is another place that good scratch tracks come in handy) .  We also wasted as much time as possible trying the different gtrs on each song, unless it was obvious which was required)

The boys are very happy with the resulting sounds and were walking on air after the sessions.  In fact there were at least two songs that took a completely different direction than any of us had expected.  This was a happy surprise on both songs.  (The departure was due to gtr sounds we cooked up that inspired us to look at the production and arrangements from a new perspective... one song went from ballad to "new wave" for instance.)

Any questions will be welcomed.

NEXT:  We will be tracking acoustic guitar overdubs and Bass gtr. this week. Stay Tuned!

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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips #1 - Drums
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2006, 03:35:32 pm »


BASS GUITAR:


index.php/fa/2714/0/

The Bass tracks were done in one 6.5 hour session. (Orlando must have had sore fingers but never complained)

Once again everything was kept basic and simple.

We used my Fender P Bass (with "California Electronics"  package) into a Bass Sans Amp DI box splitting to a Galleon Kruger (SP?) 400 amp feeding a Fender Bassman 410 cab.  The DI out from the Sans Amp went into a Groove Tubes Brick pre amp into the computer interface.


The DI side of the chain was mildly distorted using the built in Sans Amp distortion.

The Amp signal was kept as clean as could be, and mic'd with a RODE NT2000 which I feel sounds particularly good on Bass amps. The Rode Mic went through an RME pre amp that I chose for it's clarity.

We spent about an hour working on tones, going for a "boingy" full tone at the amp with plenty of high mids, a low mid scoop and full bottom.  

The DI was a "middsy distortion" for cut.

The two signals were recorded to separate tracks so that they can be blended differently on a per song basis during mixing. The mic'd amp for the round full bottom and some (very important) upper harmonics, and the distorted DI for adding some "cut".

The tones were played against the Kik Drum to insure there was not competition for the same spectral range, and EQ'd at the amp and gtr. if required. (As always the goal is to avoid EQ'ing in the box)

I should note I also consider Bass to be a lower midrange instrument, and shape the tone acordingly... For rock, try to keep it above the kick drum tonaly.

Orlando played the bass in the control room using the playback speakers for monitoring.

He played with a pick.  For a coulple of songs that required a more fingered sound we slid a small pc. of foam rubber under the strings at the bridge for damping... This gave us a very realitsic "finger pluck" sound.

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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

James Duncan

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2006, 08:42:52 am »

Any phase issues with the 2 bass tracks?
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2006, 03:00:53 pm »

James Duncan wrote on Tue, 25 April 2006 05:42

Any phase issues with the 2 bass tracks?



Good question.  Thanks James.

There will always be a time delay between the mic and the DI signal, due to the longer electronics chain and the air between the speakers and mic. (Potentialy causing Phase issues)

I do not worry too much about phase while recording as long as it sounds punchy.  I do go out in the room and play with mike position while listening to both tracks, and hit the phase switch on one of the pres etc. etc. in order to get them as close as I can by ear. But the mic position must sound good all on it's own (soloed) and that takes precedence over phase at this stage. (see next line)

But then, once it's on HD I will tweak again at the mix stage.  I generally do this on all tracks and sessions.  I will work the phase while recording, and then again in the mix by slipping tracks a few samples and/or playing with the phase switches on the channels in Nuendo.  

I do NOT rely entirely on the computer screen (waveform display) while playing with phase once in the box.  I will check visually , but in general I use my ears only for final decisions on phase... I mention this because being "in phase" may not be where things sound best.  Sometimes the tracks end up slightly out of phase and sound good. A sort of "EQ".  (Bass is always mono in shop, so no issues with stereo-mono collapse with bass tracks)

This is my philosophy with Drum tracks as well as any other multi mic, / DI/Mic setups as well.  Get the best phase you can while preserving the best tonal qualities.... because if it's slightly off you can deal with it later ITB. ... Best of both worlds approach.

More on this when we get to the Mixing stage of the BLOG.

Cheers
RW
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Rick Welin - Clark Drive Studios http://www.myspace.com/clarkdrivestudios

Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2006, 03:25:59 pm »

Quote:

(I am now calling the Royers "magic microphones" George


your magic mike is in my case C414;)

interesting fact.. connected my 50 watt alltube Reussenzehn poweramp to the 16 ohm marshallinput and drove it with 3/4 open volume.. wow.. thats tuuuuuuby;)

thanx for sharing.. will post some fotos too.. soon;)


I had the pleasure to mic a 12'000 $ drum (pearl star...something) in a 200$ treated room with an ok drummer.. I will share my results;)

cheers

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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2006, 09:27:47 pm »

To George: Heh heh, George this is the next Mic I will buy for my mic locker the c414.  I am jealous!

Everyone:  Here is a picture of Alex the lead guitarist and keybordist on this project.  I thought I had better get him on the hot seat as well.

Here we see Alex telling the engineer in a calm way that he is not going to do another take of that song....

Alex:

index.php/fa/2757/0/

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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2006, 10:02:27 pm »

VOCALS:


Hi All.  This last week was dedicated to tracking Lead Vocals, associated double tracks, and some harmony tracks as well.  This band does not have much in the way of "background vocals" as there is only one singer in the band.

Our lady singer's name is Trish and she can sing pretty damn good!  So there was not much for me to do in the way of coaching etc.... just stayed out of the way on that.

Initially I had intended to go with one of two mics:  One of My Rode NT2000's,  or my Bluebird mic from Blue.  So we set up the two mics into my two Brick Pre-amps, and I had Trish do a short take into each mic.

Well as fate would have it I did not like either mic on her voice, which was a drag because I didn't have much else to try.

The Rode was nice and bright but lack "fullness" in the mids.  The Bluebird had all the fullness that I wanted but lacked sizzle in the high end... oh what to do...

So we used both! ...  I set up the two mics with the capsules aligned by eye and ran off another test take. (see pic)  There was a little "hollowness" to the sound indicating that I had not got the capsules as close as I had thought, and was causing some phase issues.  So, with Trish singing I crawled around on the floor bumping one mic stand forward a bit and listening until things felt "solid"  and not "tubular".

This worked out quite well IMO because now I have two tracks going to disk.  One bright , and one full bodied and midsy.  This is great when it comes to mixing because I can pretty much "EQ"  her voice by blending the two tracks differently.  This is not a new technique, and I have used dual mics on may sources with excellent results.

Trish has extreme dynamic range so the Rode was run through my DBX160 compressor, to tame the peaks.. about 4db of reduction at 4:1 ratio on the peaks.

The actual tracking went smoothly over a period of four days.  On Sat and Sun we booked 4 hours each day so that we did not burn out her voice with extended sessions.  We got the bulk of the lead tracks done on these two days (6 songs) and tracked the remaining two songs on Tues afternoon. (2 hour session)  Then we had her double most of the choruses on Wed (2 hour session).  

I should note that I used an Audio Technica 4033 for the double (ing) tracks in order to set them apart from the lead track and hopefully give some depth. Same pat

These sessions were different for me in that I am normally coaching the singer to get better performance from them.  But in this case Trish is classically trained and is pretty much note perfect,... So I almost had to try to get less than perfect takes. I tried to get as many first takes as possible in order to capture that elusive emotional one.

Anyway this brings us to the end of the main overdubs, and I will do a quick "board mix" (no effects or eq) and burn some CD's for the band and I to listen to for a week or so, to make sure everyone is happy with he performances.  We still need to tweak a keyboard track or two etc. but other than that, I am confident that the takes we have will be the ones that go on the record with little or no tweaking.

So I will be taking at least a two week break from posting in this blog while the tracks age to perfection before mixing.  It is a good idea to spend as much time as possible NOT listening to the tracks during  this time.  I want to come back to mix with no preconceptions.

As usual, questions / comments welcome.

index.php/fa/2758/0/


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James Duncan

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2006, 10:06:04 am »

Quote:

As usual, questions / comments welcome




OK...so where is the picture of Trish??? Smile

Hehe...

I struggle with this concept of letting the tracks age a bit before mixing as well. I really need the time, but the band always seems to be in a hurry and on a deadline.

My biggest problem is with anxious musicians that want the final product right away. I find that even if I lay out the schedule up front to include a one week "ear break", I still get all the questions like: "when is my record going to be done, dude???"

It is crazy since I work hard to set the expectations up front...

Once the tracking is done, we take a week break to rest the ears, then usually a week of mixing before the first CDs are given to the band (here is where we differ, I never give them anything until I have had a first shot at the mix...alone, by the way!).

Then we do a final mix based on band feedback, and get a final sign-off on the mix before sending out for mastering.

This is always made clear, and yet is still the biggest problem I have, especially with the younger bands that are always in a hurry!
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rankus

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #20 on: May 09, 2006, 01:47:21 pm »

James Duncan wrote on Tue, 02 May 2006 07:06

Quote:

As usual, questions / comments welcome




OK...so where is the picture of Trish??? Smile

Hehe...

I struggle with this concept of letting the tracks age a bit before mixing as well. I really need the time, but the band always seems to be in a hurry and on a deadline.


Once the tracking is done, we take a week break to rest the ears, then usually a week of mixing before the first CDs are given to the band (here is where we differ, I never give them anything until I have had a first shot at the mix...alone, by the way!).




Sorry I have not replied sooner, but I was hoping to have something to report.  The mastering house is backed up (indy season) so we are in no hurry to get the mixes done, and will probably do some sweetening (percussion etc.) before mix time. Another couple of weeks at least.

Heh heh.  We forgot to take a picture of Trish while doing tracks, but she will be back in soon to do some tweaks and BG's so we will get one then... She asked if you would like her to wear her "dominatrix" outfit ... (Don't worry I know the answer)

Regarding giving the band board mixes... I agree that in most cases this is inviting problems. But in this case I have a very good working relationship with the band. This is the third project with them. We won't be tweaking endlessly, and they are mature enough to know that all good things take time.

Also due to the fact that this is a very tight budget production, it is better to make percussion decisions etc. out of the studio without the clock running.... Write and practice BG parts etc.  We get very prepared so when we hit the studio it all goes down very quickly.




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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #21 on: May 22, 2006, 08:34:51 pm »



UPDATE:

Well I have started on the mixing and have almost three songs in the bag.

The band has listened to the CD's we burned and has decided to tweak a few things: re-record vox on three verses, do some thickening tracks on some back ground vox, drummer wants to insert a kick drum under a couple of cymbal hits.  But that is about it.  All in all, we are all happy with our tracks and tracking.

We are aiming for finished mixes by the first week of June... (Sure) Rolling Eyes

Stay Tuned.....
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2006, 08:56:55 pm »

Cool! That's just two weeks sooner than we will have Elevated Basement jammin' again!

Rolling Eyes

Send food! Smile



M
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2006, 09:03:28 am »

edit.. not appropriate Cool
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2006, 02:26:03 pm »



George Had  a song that he had recorded in the post above and I asked him to remove it due to the fact it may confuse the readers of this thread once I get this album mixed and mastered...and post some examples. (It's on it's way to mastering this week.)

Thank you for your consideration George.  You are a gentleman.

His recording was great, and I am going to PM him to encourage him to start a thread on his work.

Cheers
RW
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2006, 12:02:14 am »

soooryy rankus..

cheers George
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #26 on: July 10, 2006, 09:11:00 pm »



UPDATE:

Sorry for the long silence. The band has been all over the world lately, and it's been tough to get everyone in to sit down for the final listen and tweak session.

Well that session happened yesterday, with the band dropping in with a list of thoughts on the mixes etc.  We tweaked a bit ( a little more bass on this one, a little less background vox on this one etc.)

All in all, we all loved the mixes, and things are now ready to send out to mastering.  I will create "stems" with the music comprising one stereo stem, and one stereo stem for lead vox, and another for BG Vox.  .

This will give the ME a chance to get aggressive with the music etc. without worrying about also affecting the Vox.  (IE if he needs to boost some high end it won't create sibilance issues on the Vox tracks. etc.)  I don't normally do stems but this project calls for it.  (Lead Vox have tremendous dynamic range....)

They will go in for mastering next week

The band has set a CD Release Party date at a local club on Sept 27th (email me for details if you want to come).

So, I suspect that they will tie my hands regarding uploading MP3's until then... but we will see.  Perhaps I can post something before then.

Cheers
RW
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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

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Tidewater

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #27 on: July 27, 2006, 08:27:40 pm »

Please no stems.

Please tell me it isn't so.

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2006, 08:29:09 pm »

Hahahahaha. Obviously Miles didn't log out today.

That was my post.

Maybe.
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2006, 10:18:29 pm »


LOL,

I always knew you and Miles were actually one person!

Well, the stem thing didn't work out for me anyway. I ran off some stems and then re-combined them myself as a test and felt that it lacked depth (for some reason?). (I have some theories) This would have been my first experiment with stems, and now I can lay that behind me. As Terry says: "I deliver one mix... the right one". Great sage wisdom.

So it went to mastering as stereo mixes with alternate mixes for 3 songs (vox down).

I got my copy back from mastering today, and like what I hear. The ME did very little in the way of EQ which makes feel good about my current monitoring setup . Yay!

I will talk to the band about allowing me to post an MP3, hopefully this will be OK to do before the CD release partay...

Give me a few days...
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #30 on: September 21, 2006, 01:09:46 am »

and the word is?????





///holding breath



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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #31 on: September 21, 2006, 10:03:09 pm »



LOL I've almost forgotten about this thread!  

I talked to Trish today, and she says the CD release party is next week (Wed)  and they expect to have the CD's back from the duplicators on Monday.... So I will get a CD from her and run off an MP3 by (hopefully) next Friday Sept. 29th.... Fingers crossed.
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #32 on: September 22, 2006, 02:54:05 pm »

Oh boy oh boy oh boy!
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2006, 09:18:03 pm »



OK, sorry for the long delay....

The new band name is "Tripping West"

index.php/fa/3542/0/

And you can listen to the long awaited MP3 :

http://www.hellfirerecords.com/Clark%20Drive%20Studios/Tripp ing%20West/Tripping%20West%20-%20Make%20Me.mp3
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James Duncan

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2006, 09:51:23 pm »

The production sounds great! Nice job!!! Smile

Now I have to go back and read the rest of the thread to remember how you made the dang thing!!!
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2006, 03:43:20 pm »

Sticky removed.

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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2006, 04:15:45 pm »



Many thanks to Harvey and Fibes for hosting this mess  Very Happy
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2006, 10:45:35 am »

Hey Rick:

I really like the acoustic guitar sound you got for the track that you posted.

Do you remember anything about how it was tracked?

And the electric guitars sound pretty good considering they are JCM2000's!!!
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2006, 04:27:07 pm »



Hey James.

IIRC the acoustic was a cheap $600 something or other... perhaps a low end fender... I mic'd it with a Rode NT 2000 in the usual spot: just where the neck meets the body pointing slightly towards the hole.   I also took a direct cuz the guitar had one... I'll bet the mix was about 75% DI and 25% mic..

Then... My secret weapon on acoustics in the mix is the BBE Sonic Maximizer plug that everybody hates LOL

Thanks on the electric guitars... I don't know why our JCM2000 sounds good but it just does...  All knobs in the 12 o'clock position ... pretty much every time. LOL  (Mic'd with Royer 121 though, so that probably is the main reason)
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #39 on: December 05, 2006, 07:35:04 am »

Thanks for that Rick...

Back to the acoustic...

How far away from the guitar do you use as your starting point?

How do you approach carving a sonic niche for the guitar in a dense mix like that? It sounds great!

The reason I am asking all of this is that I seem to be able to get a fairly decent acoustic sound when it is the main instrument, but in a dense mix, I am not thrilled with the sound I am getting. Yours sounds really nice and I would love some advice.

I tend to do stereo acoustics... x/y or m/s with SDCs (KM184s or AKG c451s). Getting them to cut through a dense mix is difficult. On the last session, I added an LDC (U87) which helped add some body, but I am still searching...

Thanks for taking the time to do all of this!
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2006, 02:08:35 pm »

I'm flattered James!  

I think there are several things at play here. First, I use and always have used, the Left Center Right panning method that Terry and William endorse.  This gets everything out of the way and leaves a hole between the right (or left) and center images where we can slip things, like that tricky acoustic guitar or other hard to hear things.... So I would suspect the guitar is panned into "no mans land" as Terry calls it.

Then,  The acoustic gtr is EQ'd to death.  I completely remove ALL bottom end using a high pass filter as high as I can stand it. (Possibly as high as 250hz).  Then as I mentioned I use the BBE Sonic Maximizer to boost the high end harmonics to make it even more tinny... Then on top of that I recall boosting at 3k on the EQ as well... If you listen to the acoustic track on it's own it is completely top end and tinny as hell... sounds horrible actually.. But in the mix your brain actually fills in the bottom end, and/or the other instruments like bass guitar hold it up...  Same with the electric guitars on this track in fact (high passed at approx 200hz)....

You don't need too much bottom end on the guitars in a track like this..  let the low end instruments have the bottom, the mid instruments have the mids, the high ones the high end etc.

I will usually "EQ at the amp" knowing that I will carve later anyway.

As for mic placement... I never worry about that too much... I live by an old rule that you put a mic up and if doesn't sound bad don't move it around trying to find a "sweet spot" just roll with it... (If it sounds good leave it alone)  I rarely sweat mic positions... But that said I suppose the mic was about 12 inches out from the guitar, and at about the 12th fret, as high from the floor as the neck itself, looking at the hole.

So it's a combination of several things... but if I had to put my finger on only one it would be the BBE plug, and rolling off the bottom...

A little chorus for "shimmer" won't hurt either... If things "move"  a little this helps cut as well.

PS:  I would lose the stereo micing if mixing into a rock song.. Takes too much real estate. If I go for stereo I will pan the DI to one side and the mic to the other sometimes as well.  Blumlien works well for solo performance too.  But  usually mono for rock songs.
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #41 on: December 06, 2006, 07:52:21 am »

Thanks, makes sense... especially the stereo miking thing.

I am probably panning hard L/R on those mics, and losing them in a dense mix.

I do tend to roll off a lot of low end (maybe not as much as you do!), and a bit of chorus is wonderful. Lately, I have been using the UAD-1 Dimension D emulation on acoustics. Very subtle, and very cool!

The BBE thing... man... not sure if I want to go down that road!!! But I do actually own it! I bought it about 5 years ago when it first came out as a DX plugin, and never really got on with it. I haven't installed it on the last couple of PC builds, but I have seen the CD recently. I'll dig it out and give it a whirl if you promise not to tell anyone!!! Wink

Thanks again!
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Re: Rankus' Budget Production Tips: Start to finish.
« Reply #42 on: December 06, 2006, 01:02:54 pm »



NOTE I edited my post above.... I do NOT high pass as high as 500hz... Bad memory issues over here.. It's more like about 250hz high pass on acoustics in a dense mix...  Embarassed

JAMES:   The BBE is not that bad if you only crank it to about "2".  Above that it's a tad brash (to put it mildly)
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Ive done stuff I'm not proud of.. and the stuff I am proud of is disgusting ~ Moe Sizlack

"There is no crisis in energy, the crisis is in imagination" ~ Buckminster Fuller
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