Jack Oughton - Access To Music Studio Diary.pdf


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Jack Oughton - Access To Music Studio Diary.pdf

  1. 1. Jack Oughton Live Recording MUSPRA215 Location: Scream Studios, Croydon. Session: Abive: Digital Audio Workstation, Behringer Eurodesk MX9000 with sound isolated room in backdrop For this session we used a DAW [Digital Audio Workstation] running Logic, and a 24 channel Eurodesk mixer. We chose Logic because it is an incredibly stable and flexible software programme that in my opinion, works equally well in live sound recording, and sequencing. The mixer used was a 24 channel Eurodesk MX9000. I used this mixer to set the levels from the sound check and to control the master fader. This mixer has Pan balance and Hi/Low/Mid boost settings on each channel strip. However, I chose to use software plug in effects in Logic instead. I did this as it gave me greater flexibility in the mixdown phase later in Logic. If the channel were to have effects on it already, these may conflict with changes made in post production, or add
  2. 2. additional post production work to compensate for these effects. I used the Eurodesk to set the levels for each instrumental track in the sound check, and to control the overall master volume. This was to prevent peaking later on in the recording, and to do my best to keep the levels at a similar range to make Logic post production easier. The mixer has hardware equalization settings such as frequency boosts, reverb and pan on each channel strip, but I did not use these as recording a mix would give me more flexibility later on in Logic. I found the mixer generally easy to use, but did discover that musicians seem to play even louder later into the track than they had in the sound check, possibly as they got into the music more. This meant I had to keep turning faders down, as the track progressed. Equipment Used: Shure SM58 This was used on vocals. Usually, we would be using condenser microphones, such as
  3. 3. a Neumann for vocals, as they have a larger polar footprint [they can pick up more sound in room, and therefore can better capture the subtleness of a vocalist’s articulation], in this case however, this would have been a problem, as the vocals were not in a completely isolated booth, and instrumental bleed would have taken up a large portion of the frequency range. This is why we used the SM58 instead. The Sm58 is dynamic microphone, not a condenser, with a smaller footprint. This meant that it picked up more of the sound which would be coming from one direction [ie. Abdul (the rapper)’s mouth]. The SM58 is also more mobile and allowed Abdul the freedom to move around, as a rapper he is energetic in his performance. Neumann TLM with attached pop shield. Set up in a semi enclosed vocal area with an absorptive surface [you can see part of it behind the microphone] it is a very sensitive vocal microphone. This mic ended up unused as Abdul, our vocalist wanted more flexibility in his movement, and he used the SM58 instead.
  4. 4. Behring Ultra Direct Injection [DI] Box This was used to record guitar. I prefer direct injection where possible because it eliminates any ambience problems the room may pose, as it takes the signal directly, and is not recording simultaneous background noise. This means that I have a very clear guitar track in my mix, I have been able to add effects to it in post production (making it stand out more). I have also not had to apply any gating or frequency reductions to compensate for bleed.
  5. 5. Peavey Bass Amplifier and AKG D112 Microphone For the bass amp I used an AKG D112, close miced on a Peavey Bass Amplifier. I used this microphone because it would pick up less of the surrounding noise, and I knew that instrumental bleed would be less of a problem here, since the bass sits lower in the overall frequency range and I could trim the top part of the EQ.
  6. 6. Pillow for damping of kick drum skin + AKG D112: thumpy kick drum sound!
  7. 7. The Drum Kit The drum kit we used was a Yamaha Tour Custom with an assortment of different microphones. The AKG D112 was used on the kick drum because it is designed for this purpose, it picks up signals with a boosted low end, is the characteristic low thump of the bass drum. Both the bottom and the top of the snare drums were close miced with Shure SM57s, again because they are dynamic and more directional, this was intended to reduce bleed from other components of the drum kit as much as possible. They are also very versatile microphones and were able to pick up the mid to high frequencies a snare’s sound sits in. For the same reasons pertaining to frequency, SM57s have been used on the hi-hats. Toms were miced with Shure PG48s, as the toms sit mid to low in the frequency range and the Shure microphone works well
  8. 8. within this sound band. Finally, T Bone SC1100s were used as overheads, intended to record the ambience of the kit. They are condenser microphones and due of their wider polar footprint they do a good job of picking up every part of the drum kit, from the bass drum to the hi- hats. Specified Criterion: I will now attempt to argue how I have hit the specified criterion for the module. Create a multi-track live recording of an ensemble of at least four musicians, which meets the following requirements: a. The recording should last a minimum of two minutes; The recording lasts 3:12. b. There should be at least four tracks; There are more than 4 tracks. c. Use of a variety of microphones for different applications (e.g. vocal and instrument); Each musician playing on this track had at least one microphone close miced to his instrument. The vocalist also had a microphone. d. Use of both ambient and close micing techniques; Ambient and close micing has been used in these recordings. For example, the drumkit had overhead microphones used above the hihats and snares, and a microphone embedded in the kick drum e. Create enclosures to diffuse reflections where appropriate; The vocals were recorded in a separate improvised area which used wood panels with carpet, which was within the same studio room as the other musicians. f. Use of direct injection; The guitar track is recorded with a DI box as well as the microphone recording the amp directly. g. Use of input gain to avoid distortion and excessive noise levels; In the recording process I did an initial sound check to attempt to determine the maximum levels for each musician and prevent individual track peaking. In postproduction I reviewed the waveforms in Logic. h. Application of EQ , pan and level to mix the track;
  9. 9. I have used EQ on certain tracks to top and tail them, to ensure. For example on the bassdrum I cut the high frequencies and on the hi-hats I cut the low frequencies. I have used Pan on both tracks of Abdul's vocals, to make the pitch shift more stark. I have used fader levels throughout, on the desk and later in Logic to compensate for the natural variation in volume on each track. i. Use of effects (internal or external) on at least one track; I have used effects on many tracks, for example, I have used Logic's tremolo on the guitar track. j. Creation of a balanced two-track mix with correct gain structure. The track's output was stereo. In post production I ensured that the levels stayed below peaking. STRENGTHS I believe I have created a rap track with a well-produced, prominent vocal line. I tried to copy the style of production I have observed on Eminem's tracks. I created 2 vocal tracks with the same audio recording, pitch shifted one by a semitone and then panned one to the left and one to the right. This creates a harmonic dissonance on the vocal track, delivered in stereo, which I think makes the vocals more aggressive sounding. I also argue that I have created a strong snare sound by greatly compressing the bottom snare microphone. This emphasizes the sound of the ball bearings under the drum skin. I also used EQ to bring out higher frequencies on the top microphone snare, trying to make it sound as sharp as possible. I also argue that my use of noise gating in postproduction was of an excellent standard. For example gating allowed microphones such as the bass drum microphone to be triggered only by the actual kick, and by setting the trigger threshold correctly I managed to avoid accidental triggering by ambient sounds from other parts of the kit, WEAKNESSES There is significant bleed on many of the tracks, such as the hi-hat overheads and especially the vocal recording, if you solo the vocal tracks you can clearly hear other instruments. I found it hard to engineer it out due to the rapper’s vocal frequencies occupying a wide frequency range. A solution could have been keeping the rapper behind the vocal isolation screens. Also, the volume of the vocalist’s voice varies, even when normalized in Logic, possibly due to his microphone placement changing in distance from his mouth. This is troublesome to work with because find it hard to enhance his voice without engineering the bleed too much.