Saturday, October 13, 2007


After a summer filled with more hiking than mic'ing, I'm back in the studio with COLDSHOT. Readers of this blog may recall the unfinished project we began in 2006 before the band relocated to the state of Florida. After some major personnel changes the band has emerged as a leaner and meaner 4-piece combo. Remaining from the old line-up are drummer Mike Lew and bass player Darren Barhydt, who journeyed back to New York last weekend to record drums for 10 songs. Many of these songs are new compositions and a couple of songs are re-worked versions of songs we recorded in ’06.
As usual Chris Bittner of Applehead Recording Studio was instrumental in helping us get the drum sound that we went there to get. Unlike prior sessions I’ve brought to Applehead, we opted to use the API console preamps for the close drum microphones and the Neve inputs for the room mics. It was a good choice. The drum sound is fantastic. Lomo tube mics were used as overheads, Stereo pair of Geffels in the room plus my Groove Tubes MD-1 as a distant ambient mic. Up close I used my Electrovoice ND-868 inside the kick along with the studio’s U-47 FET outside. On the snare we started with a Beyer 201 on top and an AKG-414 on the bottom. I liked the sound of the 201 at first but I began to notice the snare would occasionally sound a bit “boxy” so we switched the top mic to a Shure SM57 which had that classic midrange signature and worked better in the mix. Sennheiser MD-421 on all the toms, an AKG C-451 on the hat, which was great but crapped out halfway through the session and had to be replaced with an Shure SM81. Also used an SM81 on the ride. Mike Lew was admittedly a bit nervous at the start of the session because our goal to track ten songs was a bit ambitious, and we took out time on day one getting the drum kit sounding it’s best and tweaking the microphones and headphone mix. Once we got started tracking though he found it easy to perform because his sound was great and as a result he really got comfortable and got into a groove. We tracked six songs on the first day and four more on day two. Mike’s takes were very solid and we only asked “The Man In The Hat” (Beat Detective) to fix a few minor things. By early in the evening Sunday we were done tracking. We listened down to everything once more to be sure there was nothing we had missed, and then as assistant engineer Jesse broke down the room mics Chris and I set up to get a good drum STEM mix for the overdubs to be tracked to. The tracks ran back through the API desk and I did some EQ and compression on the tracks and got a really nice mix without any digital processing or effects. We ran the mix through the API 2500 Stereo Buss Compressor, which I asked Chris to tweak, and it sounded awesome. Monday morning Mike and Darren were on their way back to Florida with their sessions on a DVD and a reference CD to help keep them awake.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Recorded MADD DOG performing live at BSP Lounge in Kingston NY at just after 10:00 PM. I had just returned to Stewart Airport at 8:15, after a short trip to visit my parents in Florida. Cheryl picked me up and we had a quick bite and then headed straight to Kingston on the thruway. She brought along my Mbox/iBook rig and pair of SM-81's, and a stand and her son Chris Chaos, who assisted me with set-up. We set up a standard X-Y with the Shure mics, about 18 feet from the stage of the small gallery-sized venue. The house sound guy, Kip, had an excellent mix in the room and the stereo pair sounded great, as I monitored through Sennheiser cans. Madd Dog rocked eight classic rock songs, but during the recording I had a DAE Error and the iBook lost communication with the Mbox resulting in me missing two songs. As we were by and large there to record, when they finished the set I informed the singer Jimi Bass of the problem. They did an encore of the two missed numbers. The following day at my home studio I ran the tracks through some mcdsp compression and EQ plug-ins and the Fairchild 660 and mastered discs for the band's review. I forgot to snap a shot, even though I had my camera with me, so I lifted the band's logo from their site. Click it, it's a link to the MADD DOG website.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


GRAVITY KRUSH basic tracking at Leopard Studio went really well. We got drums and bass for seven songs during the weekend-long session. Drummer Pete Roan brought in his vintage Gretsch kit, it sounded great in the room. Pete played really solid to the click and recorded really well. On the kit I used a pair of Rode NKT Tube mics as overheads, preamped with API 312s, Sennheiser 421s through Neve 1272s on all three toms, in the kick drum an Electrovoice ND868 throught an API 312 and compressed with a Summit TLA50, Snare was a good ol' Shure SM57 through an API 312 and compressed with DBX 160A. On the high-hat I used a Shure SM81 through the Eureka with some compression and EQ. Also in the room for ambience was Jimmy's Lawson L47 patched through the Avalon VT737 channel. That mic got a great rooms sound, and indeed is great on just about anything. It was set to Cardiod pattern and placed in the room about eight feet back from the kit, and 3 feet from the floor.
Midway through day 2 we were done with drums and we set up to record bass. Bassist Joey Flash played through the studio's bass amp the Ampeg B-15. I recoreded a DI and the Lawson L47 on two different tracks, the Lawson through the Avalon VT737 and the DI through API 312 with DBX160A compression. Joey spent the afternoon knockin' em out and by dinner time we were done. I spent the evening doing some editing, and mixing the drums down to a stereo mix for use in the overdub sessions to follow. We plan on beginning the guitar overdub sessions in a couple of weeks. We'll be doing the guitars at the band's rehearsal space on my mobile rig. Once the guitars are done the plan is to go back to Leopard for the vocal recording.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Went to APPLEHEAD with Dolor this weekend for the final mix. Engineer Chris Bittner was at the controls. We spent the first few hours putting together all the tracks from the various tracking sessions and getting them all routed to channels on the consoles. We used the API for the drums and the Neve Sidecar for the vocals. Guitars also went through the API and bass was routed through the Trident and summed there befor going to the API. We compressed the Bass sum with an EL8 Distressor, as well as the snare. We used various other compressors and processors and by lunch time the tracks were sounding great. Band Manager Phil Lorito dropped in for a listen and to give a "pep-talk". He stressed the importance of having the vocal out front. After a discussion with him I decided that we would make stems (Stereo Track Element Mixes) in addition the the Stereo Mixes, so that I would be able to "re-mix" the vocals to the music at any desired balance level. The session went really well. Chris did an outstanding job mixing six songs in two days. Here is a short film of Chris throwin' down the quick mix.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Two years ago I had the opportunity to spend a week at Leopard Studio while owner Jimmy Goodman was away (see: 02.24.2005 “Some Fun Of My Own” below). I used the time experimenting with vintage recording techniques and gear, and I recorded basic tracks for three psychedelic era songs. At the time I had hoped to return at some later date and finish the songs, but I never did. I had since decided that it would be better to apply some of the same techniques to something new. When Jimmy asked me to stay again this February I jumped on the chance. I brought over some of my favorite vintage stuff and set up for ten days of old school album tracking.

The first weekend my friends Loudmouth Bill and Mr. Kane joined me and we sketched out several songs, each based loosely around grooves and progressions copied from the album “More” by Pink Floyd. Bill, Kane and I each recorded some spoken word stuff. We used a Lawson L47 and the Avalon 737 Preamp with some compression. Mr. Kane also sang on a couple of the tracks. By the end of the weekend we had eight songs.
After they left I spent a couple of days adding guitar and bass tracks, using the sketches which had been done to a click as the foundation. I ran my Altec 639B Ribbon Mic through one of Jimmy’s vintage Neve 1272 preamps and used it in several placements on two vintage Ampeg guitar amps, a Gemini I and a GU-12. I played my ‘74 Fender Telecaster, and got some great tones. Bass amp also an Ampeg, the B15 mic’d with a Senmnheiser 421 through another Neve 1272, and of course a vintage bass, my ‘74 P-Bass.

Later in the week drummer Larry Lubkurt came out and replaced all my bad drumming with excellent performances, which brought these recording to a whole other level. Larry is pro and vary talented. He came up with parts on the spot for eight songs he had never heard before, and it was awesome. I was glad I had taken the time to mic the drums in a more modern way than the crude 2-mic technique I had used on the covers recorded two years ago. I used my Electrovoice kick drum mic ND-868, and the Octava MK-219 on the snare, a pair of Rode NTK tubes for overheads, all using API 312 preamps. On the toms I used Sennheiser 421s through Neve 1272s all around. The Lawson L47 was still running through the Avalon so I used it for the room. The drums sounded amazing.
I spend the second weekend adding a few parts and mixing. Loudmouth Bill and Mr. Kane got to hear the final mixes the following week when I posted them on a hidden page on our website. The page is no longer hidden and here’s the link: More Pink Pigs Head

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


This month I began pre-production with GRAVITY KRUSH. I first heard these guys at The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie. They have a great power-pop sound with solid grooves and excellent vocal arrangements. I attended some rehearsals and helped them choose songs for the project and identify the tempos. Then, after making click tracks in ProTools, we tracked scratch guitar and bass tracks for the drummer Pete Roan to record to. I also recorded Pete, pictured here, playing along to the pre-production tracks. I left the band with a copy of the pre-production sessions to practice to. We’re planning on beginning to record in March.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Completed the vocal tracking with DOLOR in December and took time off for the holidays. Then this weekend we brought the project to Leopard Studio for some final editing and pre-mixing. At Leopard used the ProTools HD rig to assemble all the elements into one session. With all the pieces in place we did a rough mix that included some effects programming for the vocals and lead guitars. We have scheduled a date for the final mix, to be done at Applehead late in February.