Monday, February 28, 2005


Joe Kelly (of Provan) brought in a drum recording session for a commercial music project he is working on with friend Dan McKay. This was truly a drum tracking marathon, as they had 12 songs to record, and there were 3 versions of each song, a full length version, a 30 second version, a 15 second version and a 10 second version. Amazingly we got it all done in just 2 and half days, thanks in large part to the awesome talent of the drummer they brought in. We used several of Joe's mics, and many of the studio's as well, along with both house Mic Pre's and some that Joe likes to bring.
In addition to the close mics on the drums we also set up 2 sets of room mics. The first set were AKG 414s set up in an "X/Y" placement in cardioid pattern (pictured in foreground). The second set of room mics were Joe's Cad Equitec mics, which we placed near the corners of the room and set in omni pattern. The 414s gave a very "true" room sound, sounding much like what you hear standing in the room, and the Cads gave a more distant and ambient sound. For all the takes we tracked both sets of room mics so that we could decide later which one to use in each song.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

02.24.2005 SOME FUN OF MY OWN

With the time I had at Leopard Studio between bookings I did some recording of my own. Ever a fan of 60's psychedelic music I endeavored to re-create some of my favorite tunes and tones. Keeping in mind the nature of the technology of the time I limited myself to using a minimum number of tracks and I kept the mic'ing very simple. I used only the available instruments and amps, which Jimmy has at his studio. No EQ either, just amp tone controls.

I used just 2 mics for the drums. One Oktava MK-52 ribbon mic for the kick drum and another for an overhead. I ran these through API Mic Pre-amps. Getting just the right placement of the overhead took quite a bit of trial and error, as I had to record myself playing each time until I got all the drums sounding balanced.

For the bass sound I played Jimmy's very nice Fender Precision bass, which sounded great through Jimmy's Ampeg M-15 (re-issue) bass amp. I used a Sennheiser MD-421 microphone and API Mic Pre-amp. I set the tone controls on the amp so that it sounded very round and fat. Not much high-end at all. I isolated the amp with a single "gobo" in an attempt to simulate what might be done if there was a full complement of musicians playing live in the room. As with all the tracks the signal path was as simple and direct as possible; from source to mic to pre-amp to recorder.
Jimmy has several wonderful guitars and amps. For most of the tracks I played his Dan Electro through the Vox AC-15. The Vox amp does have a pre-amp gain stage for overdrive but for some tracks I opted to use his MXR distortion pedal to get a more "fuzz" tone. The Vox Wah pedal also came in quite handy. So did the "reverse" plug-in in ProTools. OK, some would say that's cheating but I had to reverse some guitar tracks to be true to the psychedelic form and since there were no reels to flip...
In all I recorded basic tracks for 3 songs. The first was "Corporal Clegg" by Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd. Then, using much the same setup, I recorded a song called "Lulu Arfin Nanny" by Kaleidoscope, and finally an original composition based loosely on another Sid Barrett track called "Madcap's Embrace". The experiment was a great success. My tracks really sounded vintage. Many thanks to Jimmy for letting me stay and play!

Sunday, February 20, 2005


Spent these past 2 weekends working with Cisco and Tommy on vocal tracks. Gary came up too and shot lots of video, which he is posting on their site Cisco sat at the piano and did warm-up exercises before each vocal session. Between takes, to give him a rest, Tommy and Gary also tracked some acoustic guitar and solos. For the vocal tracks I used Leopard’s RODE NTK tube microphone through the Avalon 737 pre-amp. I needed to use quite a bit of compression, as Cisco is a very dynamic singer. Between the 2 weekends we got excellent takes of about half the songs. For the guitar tracks I mic'd the acoustic guitar with an AKG 414 and used my Rolls RP220 tube pre-amp. For some of the solos we used Leopard's Vox AC-15 and Fender Bronco mic'd with a Sennheiser MD-421 through API pre's. All in all it was a very productive block of work. All the music tracks are completely done, and about half the vocals are finished. Some of the songs still need some lyrical tweaks, which the band will be working on over the next week or so. Then we can finish the vocals and move on to the mixing process. I'm excited about how this project is turning out. It's sounding really impressive. All the time and attention to detail is really paying off. Here are some stills. Don't forget to check out the videos.