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Ray LaMontagne & Pariah Dogs - God Willin'
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#61
31st October 2010
Old 31st October 2010
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjfreeland View Post
Hello All!

Thanks for all of the positive feedback – It really means a lot to me to know people are enjoying this record.

I’ll answer a couple of questions/comments:

Exgato: “Can you tell me a bit about your playback set-up while tracking? It seems you got sounds fast and ran with it, always good. Did you use reference/comparative CD's or other sources to compare with what you heard in phones and/or rely on what you knew 'works' in a given situation? Did you check stuff with your speakers? What brand is seen in the pic and did you use a sub when listening back to the tracks at Ray's?”

I only brought my ProAc Studio 100s to Ray’s. At my place I mix with the ProAc’s as my primary along with NS-10 & ATC50 for the smaller and bigger sides of sounds. I have a sub I also brought because Jen really likes to hear that bottom end. I don’t normally run a sub with the ProAcs.

After I got my main rig setup I played a lot of stuff I’m familiar with through the speakers to get used to the room. I also printed roughs every day, listened back at the hotel, and compared to a bunch of other stuff, which is always informative.

Obviously while tracking I’m working with headphones. I’ve used Sennheiser HD650s for many years. They sound pretty good – not too hyped, and not too fatiguing. You switch back and forth a lot when you’re recording with headphones and then listening to playback with the speakers. If you do this enough times you get pretty familiar with how the two things relate so you know what you’re doing. It’s important not to get the headphone volume too loud – which is always tempting.

Yotonic: “The album does sound amazing, but I wonder who chose the M49? I really prefer Ray's voice through the SM7 as on Trouble, it has a smoother more gutsy sound than the LDC. His voice is so lush and the M49 like a lot of LDCs adds a subtle brittleness to it, more presence than it needs sonically.”

Well obviously it was my choice to use the M49. I also love the SM7 - which I actually recorded simultaneously with the M49 (see pic). For a little while I had a blend of the two but in the end went with my M49 because it just felt like it had more depth and worked better with the vibe of this band & recording.

I agree that Ray sounds amazing on the SM7 and “Trouble” is a really cool sounding record. It’s just that for this record we were going for a different thing.

I will also say that some of that edge you’re talking about happened in mastering. I was originally worried about it but Ray & Jay both loved it. I have a tendency to like things a little dark & round and I appreciated that Ludwig made the record jump out a little more on the top end.

It’s that classic sonic debate = one person’s round & smooth is another person’s dark & murky.

Thanks again for the feedback.
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Ryan
Me, I prefer round and smooth, and for those reasons I just love your prevoious work, especially when mastered by Gavin Lurssen. Just got the 'Good Willin' album on vinyl, and I gotta admit I was hugely disappointed. I just have to reach for the old clichès "it almost cut my head off" and "my spine just flinches". My girlfriend also reacted instinctively and wondered why it sounded so harsh. And that is on vinyl and listening through a fairly good stereo setup!

I wholeheartedly agree that it's all about Different Strokes for Different Folks, but this time I think it's just too much. Based on your previous work and your comment about your initial thoughts of the mastering I gotta say I believe you would have preferred a different mastering. At least I do.

Looking forward to the 10th anniversary remaster by Gavin Lurssen
#62
31st October 2010
Old 31st October 2010
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Thanks for posting all this stuff. It's really cool to see and hear what you're doing. Generous of you to share it. Thanks

J
#63
31st October 2010
Old 31st October 2010
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Thanks for posting your experience Ryan. Love behind the scene stuff like this.
The recording sounds wonderful.
Can you comment on how well the Taytrix worked for you?
i.e. wish you had more ...those pictured were sufficient for the purpose...very (or not so very) effective as isolators?
rjfreeland
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#64
3rd November 2010
Old 3rd November 2010
  #64
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Hello All,
Finally have a second from mixing the Hugh Laurie record.
Here are some more questions & responses:

Dominique Grand:

Did the musicians have a separate headphone mix and if so, how did you manage this with your setup?

What sample rate did you use?

Is you gear permanently in the road cases and do they have back-panels with EDAC or D-Sub connectors for easy setup or do you wire everything "old school" when you get to the place you're recording in?


I use the Furman HDS-16 & HRM-16 system for headphone feeds so everyone has control over their own mix. These guys are pros and I trust them to get their mixes right. Apogee outputs 1-16 are my monitor sub mixes while outputs 17-32 feed my effects and the headphone system. I do pre-fader sends to those headphone outputs so I’m completely independent with my soloing and changes. I can really start digging into the sounds and not worry about distracting the musicians.

I record 24 bit 88.2kHz BWF.

At the time of Ray’s record my gear was all in a bunch of 8-12 space cases. I recently had NRG build me 4 shock mounted 20-space cases, which now house my entire rig. It’s a lot simpler to setup but I need to hire cartage now to move them around town. I have d-sub patch bays so each rack plugs into the patch bay and I’m up and running quickly. I used to do it all with xlr cables but if you run into trouble and need to change something it’s a total nightmare. The d-sub patch bay allows me to take more risks because I know I can get out of it quickly.


Sam Silent:

Hi Ryan, I see a McIntosh power amp in some of your photos... I was just wondering what model you use to power your proac 100's?


I actually use a Hafler TransNova P3000 for my ProAcs. It’s always worked fine. I have a McIntosh 2105 for my living room setup and it’s fantastic! The one you see in to photos is Joe Henry’s McIntosh amp that he uses when I’m not there.


Djsheppard:

I wanted to ask if you mostly used the vocals from initial tracking or if you overdubbed a majority of them? I saw your setup for the vocal mic separation from the acoustic guitar, i am just blown away at how the vocal sound comes across. If you did use the vocals from the initial tracking, what are some obstacles you had to overcome in the mix to account for what small bleed you did acquire, and how did you get around them (any phase issues) ?



All of the vocals are live. When I fixed things I would just grab them from other takes and try and work around the bleed. Ray never just sang without the band playing. This is one of the greatest strengths of working with ProTools – I can fix what I need and don’t need to drive the musicians (or myself) crazy punching in.

I’m not sure if you can see it in the photos but I put the vocal mic and acoustic mic as close as possible facing in opposite directions. This gets me as little phase problem as possible - which is preferable to having the acoustic mic in a place, which may sound better but will cause me grief with phase.


Mr. Light :

I'm pretty sure that's a refinished '40s Slingerland "Rolling Bomber" kit. The giveaway is the lugs made out of rosewood. There was very little metal used in anything made in the 40s, most of it was going towards the production of weapons/war machinery. I stumbled upon a kit a couple years ago and brought them home purely because they were beautiful. All original w/calfskin heads, etc. I was just wanted them for living room furniture but damned if the thing doesn't sound fantastic under a mic! They've gotten a good amount of use at my place, I'm always excited to see someone else using them.


Thanks so much for this detail. I’ve worked with Jay for over a decade now and he usually shows up with some random assortment of old drums. I think the “Rolling Bomber” kit is the only group of drums he’s showed up with that were actually designed to be played together. It’s hard to keep track of what he might show up with – I just try and be prepared to capture all the greatness he’s putting out!


powderfinger :
On "Like Rock & Roll and Radio" I really like the mix between vocal and acoustic guitar. Can you give some insight on how you EQ'd the vocal and acoustic guitar? Where you typically boosted/cut to get things to sit just right, etc. Also, did you typically high-pass the vocal and/or acoustic?

I answered this via PM but in case anyone else is interested I’ll repeat it.
I don’t really use much EQ while mixing. I try and get my sounds with mic selection and placement. I do HPF quite a bit to try and keep thing clean and not too muddy on the bottom end. It’s hard because Jay and Jen put out a lot of dark sub information. So to try and get some punch and volume out of it without blowing the speakers the HPF is my friend.


cjac9:
Maybe I'm just unaware but you are one of the only people I can think of making great records/mixes ITB without a controller. I know you are running outboard gear and summing etc. but you are still "mousing around."

How do you deal with automation in Pro Tools?

I feel like my static mix gets to a point where it's great and then I need to take the mix to the next level and I'm just staring at those little auto lines in Pro Tools and I want to punch my computer. You seem to have chosen this workflow, as opposed to a lot of people who can only afford to be ITB.



It’s all just what you’re comfortable with. I started at Bob Clearmountain’s with an SSL and moving faders. I’ve just changed my style over the years. I’m not actually putting ProTools into automation mode and then trying to move the fader with the mouse (that would probably drive me crazy as well). I get the static mix where I like it and then I draw automation manually as needed. The advantage is I do it as the song plays without having to roll back. If I’m listening and something seems a little low I just bump it up as the music keeps playing and on the next pass I can hear how it sounds. After years of this I’ve gotten pretty good at it. I just keep listening and never need to stop, roll back, push a button, try a fader ride, and unarm the track. With my method I just never think about it – I’m constantly making subtle adjustments without needing to stop playback.

This might have started as a result of playing the take back for the band and doing some rides as the music plays. So every time we listen to the take it sounds more and more mixed and I don’t need to stop and interrupt everyone’s enjoyment of hearing the performance.

But if you don’t like working with the mouse there are plenty of ways to still work with faders! Whatever works…


Texum:

Me, I prefer round and smooth, and for those reasons I just love your previous work, especially when mastered by Gavin Lurssen. Just got the 'Good Willin' album on vinyl, and I gotta admit I was hugely disappointed. I just have to reach for the old clichés "it almost cut my head off" and "my spine

just flinches". My girlfriend also reacted instinctively and wondered why it sounded so harsh. And that is on vinyl and listening through a fairly good stereo setup!

I wholeheartedly agree that it's all about Different Strokes for Different Folks, but this time I think it's just too much. Based on your previous work and your comment about your initial thoughts of the mastering I gotta say I believe you would have preferred a different mastering. At least I do.


Man does this ever disappoint me! I haven’t actually heard the vinyl pressing. The label had it done and sent off without getting my approval. They keep saying they will send me a copy but still haven’t done it. Did the vinyl version include a digital version and do you have the same opinion about the digital version? I’m just curious if you feel the CD/download version is also harsh?

I’ve been working with Gavin for years and always love the work he does. Obviously Bob Ludwig is an amazing mastering engineer and I love what he did with Ray’s record. I can’t speak to the vinyl pressing but am really disappointed that you feel it sounds harsh - harsh being my least favorite adjective to describe music. I’m going to get copy as soon as I can and check it out. I really hope they didn’t end up with some crap pressing plant – it’s a dying art and easily f-ed up.

Gavin will be mastering this Hugh Laurie record next week and I’ll share your thoughts with him. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such great mastering engineers.


Jamz:

Can you comment on how well the Taytrix worked for you?
i.e. wish you had more ...those pictured were sufficient for the purpose...very (or not so very) effective as isolators?


They worked really well. Like I said before I wish they didn’t look like office furniture but we didn’t have time to build our own. They got the job done – no complaints.


Thanks again for all the great feedback everyone. I really appreciate it. I’m heading up to AES this weekend with my friend David Boucher and hopefully there will be some great new gear to check out!

Ryan
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#65
21st November 2010
Old 21st November 2010
  #65
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Ray LaMontagne & Pariah Dogs - God Willin'

Ryan I bought the record the other day and listened to it at work a couple of times. There're sections where you completely drift off and get lost in it for two or three tracks. It's a beautiful recording and there's just nothing distracting about it. It sounds very effortless and familiar. I do feel that the songs aren't as individually great as say Jolene, but it doesn't matter because as a piece of work it draws you in. If our job is to translate the emotion of a performance into a recording and to maximise that in a mix, you have done a perfect job. Thanks for sharing all that detail.
#66
23rd November 2010
Old 23rd November 2010
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yeeeeeehaaaaaa - listening to the first track - what a groove :D
#67
24th November 2010
Old 24th November 2010
  #67
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I think this is brilliant, many thanks for the info, the album, to Ray, Ryan et al.
#68
2nd December 2010
Old 2nd December 2010
  #68
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53rd Grammy Awards - Final Nominations List
Category 91
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

An Engineer's Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)
1. BATTLE STUDIES
Michael H. Brauer, Joe Ferla, Chad Franscoviak & Manny Marroquin, engineers (John Mayer)
2. DIRTY SIDE DOWN John Keane, engineer (Widespread Panic)
3. EMOTION & COMMOTION Steve Lipson, engineer (Jeff Beck)
4. GOD WILLIN' & THE CREEK DON'T RISE Ryan Freeland, engineer (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)
5. PINK ELEPHANT Seth Presant & Leon F. Sylvers III, engineers (N'dambi)


Congratulations Ryan!
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#69
3rd December 2010
Old 3rd December 2010
  #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PheelTheMusic View Post
53rd Grammy Awards - Final Nominations List
Category 91
Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical

An Engineer's Award. (Artists names appear in parentheses.)
1. BATTLE STUDIES
Michael H. Brauer, Joe Ferla, Chad Franscoviak & Manny Marroquin, engineers (John Mayer)
2. DIRTY SIDE DOWN John Keane, engineer (Widespread Panic)
3. EMOTION & COMMOTION Steve Lipson, engineer (Jeff Beck)
4. GOD WILLIN' & THE CREEK DON'T RISE Ryan Freeland, engineer (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)
5. PINK ELEPHANT Seth Presant & Leon F. Sylvers III, engineers (N'dambi)


Congratulations Ryan!
Congrats Ryan! I wish you could mix my new record
rjfreeland
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#70
17th December 2010
Old 17th December 2010
  #70
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Thanks everybody!
Just got the Grammy ballot today. Anyone that really digs this record and is a voting member your vote would be much appreciated.

- Best Engineered Album, non-classical for me
- Best Contemporary Folk Album for "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise"
- Best Song for "Beg Steal or Borrow"

I'm also up for Best Traditional Folk Album for the Carolina Chocolate Drops if you liked that record.

It was such a great experience making this album. I'm glad so many of you out there enjoyed it.

Thanks again,
Ryan
#71
20th December 2010
Old 20th December 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjfreeland View Post
Thanks everybody!
Just got the Grammy ballot today. Anyone that really digs this record and is a voting member your vote would be much appreciated.

- Best Engineered Album, non-classical for me
- Best Contemporary Folk Album for "God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise"
- Best Song for "Beg Steal or Borrow"

I'm also up for Best Traditional Folk Album for the Carolina Chocolate Drops if you liked that record.

It was such a great experience making this album. I'm glad so many of you out there enjoyed it.

Thanks again,
Ryan
Well deserved! I guess this is my favorite album of 2010, especially regarding the sonic quality.
#72
20th December 2010
Old 20th December 2010
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It's definitely my favorite. I had just about worn out the cd, listening in my car and on home stereo. Finally took it into my studio (DUH!) and discovered just what a great recording this is. And, thanks to Ryan sharing so much info, I'm now able to use seperate mics on guitar and vocal with minimal bleed and absolutely no phase problems. Thanks again for taking the time to share so much Ryan. You are the best.

Larry
#73
20th December 2010
Old 20th December 2010
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Sounds amazing on my home system, and those speakers are extremely unflattering to badly recorded/mixed tracks. Which means you did a really good job, congrats!



Cheers, Jonas.
#74
27th December 2010
Old 27th December 2010
  #74
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What are you using for hpf? Do you have a favorite pluggin you trust or do you use hardware? I love ribbons on drums but it can definitely get a little beefy down low. Thanks for all the info. I just bought the record and have learned a ton from listening to it. Your mixing style is so different sounding to me than anything I've heard. I can't wait to try some of the things I'm hearing on my stuff. Great job! Very inspiring.
#75
11th January 2011
Old 11th January 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjfreeland View Post
Hello All,
Finally have a second from mixing the Hugh Laurie record.
Here are some more questions & responses:

Texum:

Me, I prefer round and smooth, and for those reasons I just love your previous work, especially when mastered by Gavin Lurssen. Just got the 'Good Willin' album on vinyl, and I gotta admit I was hugely disappointed. I just have to reach for the old clichés "it almost cut my head off" and "my spine

just flinches". My girlfriend also reacted instinctively and wondered why it sounded so harsh. And that is on vinyl and listening through a fairly good stereo setup!

I wholeheartedly agree that it's all about Different Strokes for Different Folks, but this time I think it's just too much. Based on your previous work and your comment about your initial thoughts of the mastering I gotta say I believe you would have preferred a different mastering. At least I do.

Man does this ever disappoint me! I haven’t actually heard the vinyl pressing. The label had it done and sent off without getting my approval. They keep saying they will send me a copy but still haven’t done it. Did the vinyl version include a digital version and do you have the same opinion about the digital version? I’m just curious if you feel the CD/download version is also harsh?

I’ve been working with Gavin for years and always love the work he does. Obviously Bob Ludwig is an amazing mastering engineer and I love what he did with Ray’s record. I can’t speak to the vinyl pressing but am really disappointed that you feel it sounds harsh - harsh being my least favorite adjective to describe music. I’m going to get copy as soon as I can and check it out. I really hope they didn’t end up with some crap pressing plant – it’s a dying art and easily f-ed up.

Gavin will be mastering this Hugh Laurie record next week and I’ll share your thoughts with him. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with such great mastering engineers.


Listening to the digital version now. Although I think I get what you are saying about what Ludwig did in mastering, I also think the digital version sounds much better that my vinyl. Strange, guess that's a first for me:-)

As I live in Europe, I guess there's a possibility that my copy was pressed in a European plant, and maybe that's what caused what I described as a somewhat harsh top end. My local vinyl pusher, who also are a die-hard vinyl aficionado tells me that, as vinyl is gaining in popularity once again, one side-effect is that we will get a larger amount of poor pressings.

Are there other people that have experienced the same thing when it comes to the vinyl version of this record?

Anyway, I want to congratulate Mr. Freeland with the Grammy nomination as well, glad to see that this record and the engineering gets the credit it deserves!

Best to you, Ryan, and thanks for contributing!
#76
11th January 2011
Old 11th January 2011
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Ryan. Just saw this thread, and have to say that I love, love, love this record. What a beautiful job you did recording these great songs! My favorite listen for a while now. Thanks so much for the inside info!!
#77
11th January 2011
Old 11th January 2011
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Big Breakfasts + No Click = Genius!

More seriously, this IS a great sounding CD... well done. A great example of the power of recording live with bleed as a feature, not a bug.
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#78
28th January 2011
Old 28th January 2011
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I'll just chime in and say (together with the rest of the choir) that I love this album! Been listening to it for some weeks now and it truly is an inspiration. When I started reading this thread I had a few questions, but they have allready been asked and answered. So I'll just say THANK YOU, and I agree with budgetMC; the breakfast comment - genious! It captured my interest even more actually!
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#79
10th February 2011
Old 10th February 2011
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This record is a grower. And I loved it when I first heard it.
#80
10th February 2011
Old 10th February 2011
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Anyone catch them on Conan last night?
#81
10th February 2011
Old 10th February 2011
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Wow ...great thread. I find myself appreciating the recording all the more as I listen now. Such a great vibe. Thank you for sharing this experience and all your knowledge Ryan.
#82
12th February 2011
Old 12th February 2011
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Ryan, I picked this record up based on this thread and because I've loved much of your work with Joe Henry (Blood From Stars is INSANE!), Aimee Mann and Jonatha Brooke. I wasn't familiar with much of Ray's work, but you've really made a brilliant sounding record that manages to sound SO great while never getting in the way of the songs or performances.

Thanks for all the detail in the thread and good luck at the Grammys!
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#83
15th March 2011
Old 15th March 2011
  #83
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- Best Contemporary Folk Album!!!!!
Congrats!

Great work! Love this album! Reading your notes on the recording was a lot of fun!!!
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#84
15th April 2011
Old 15th April 2011
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wow. all along i thought that the drums on "god willin" was varispeeded. the transients seem humongous and larger than life. if it was in PT (and recorded live) it couldn't have been recorded at half speed to be over dubbed. talk about serious vibe. congrats!
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#85
18th May 2011
Old 18th May 2011
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Ryan:

I'm late to the party, but thanks so much for this post. A truly humbling share to witness within a great moment in music.

Great work, man.
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#86
2nd July 2011
Old 2nd July 2011
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I, too, am late to the party but I just had to express my admiration for your incredible work. Especially considering your modest, at least compared to some other productions, set up. Just goes to show, once again, that it's really all about how you utilize your equipment. Love the record, tone, production, and song-wise. Keep up the good work, Ryan!
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#87
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
  #87
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Compression!

Thanks again everyone! Just came across this interesting thread about the overuse of compression on Ray's album. I was just curious to get some other people's feedback as it's got me thinking.

Is Compression The Modern Aesthetic

Thanks,
Ryan
#88
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
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As long as this thread is back let me post a retraction. I had mentioned elsewhere that Ray's voice was recorded with a Wunder CM49, whereas Ryan pointed out here that it was a real Neumann M49.

As they say in Casablanca, "I was misinformed".

Great album, btw. Sonically all you could ask for, IMO.

-R
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#89
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
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I'll be doing one mic live to 1/4" mono next!
Nice to hear from you again...
Ryan
#90
22nd July 2011
Old 22nd July 2011
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LOL!

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