Thursday, March 14, 2013

Anarchic Botany

Here then is the latest ambient jam recording. Things. Which include a certain guitar player's performance (mine), and the the sound recording methodology. But not necessarily in the same blog post. First let me talk about the recording process we used.
Dave Wolfe at the drums with 2/3rds of the microphones.
It was something like this. The bass was going direct via a Mesa Boogie Walkabout (feeding a Lindell preamp) and the two guitars were somewhat hidden from the drum kit using SM58's (feeding two Neve 1272 preamps). Two Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina microphones in an X/Y configuration over the drum kit (feeding Neve 1272 preamps) with a Rode NT1 just outside the kick drum (feeding a Lindell preamp).
A closer view of the drum "overheads".
So yeah. Thing one is that the "overheads" for the drums are down pretty low. This is perhaps a mistake, they should be about a foot higher than they are. The cymbals will be relatively less loud if the mics are moved further away.
But having the bass go direct really worked nicely: for drums. Lily and I struggled a bit with getting the bass to sound "right". Listening back to the recordings I'm not really hearing the stuff we were struggling with. What we're trying to get is a good midrange sound on the bass without it being to stringy/buzzy/slappy. But we were fighting with the low end on the bass and I think this indicates we should be using vastly better headphones when we're recording so we can hear those things. Ha! Yes. Capital idea, that.
The JamHub works remarkably well. I mean, it's by far the least-expensive of those kinds of things—headphone monitoring systems where each musician can control their own mix—and except for the somewhat irky fact that the 1/4" signals are all stereo (and that only the XLR inputs may have effects applied to them) it behaves as one thinks it should. Indeed, the XLR inputs even seem to be able to handle line levels, which is nice because we use one of the drum channels to come in line level so we can put some gated reverb on it (for monitoring).
The jam evolved into the Dead tune "Eyes of the World". Or, rather, it evolved into the rhythm section playing Eyes and Drew insisting on playing a melody to it which is quite simply wrong. So I have been told. In order to get that out of my system we might have to pretend that there's a new song here and have Pleasure for the Empire be responsible for it.
The thing we get into at about 9 minutes is interesting. It could possibly be an interstitial between City Samana songs or something for the Imaginary Opera. The Em to G#m is kind of cool. We could have the Chorus in the opera (a soprano) sing over it.

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