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Rob Schnapf Ribbon Microphones
Old 29th September 2010
  #721
Here for the gear
 

yea, i have to agree its nice to have some clear information/insights into recordings like these, i must admit i hold elliott smith in high regard too. i think it was a great thing to get a pairing of this production sound and the the songs themselves together. real chance pairing, whatever it is, they really stick with you.

Rob,

I see a lot of gear keep popping up as far as vocal eq and compression in this thread, and the same with guitar chains. are these units personal pre meditated decisions or just, what they had in the studio at the time?
i guess you can pretty much count on a decent facility having a couple 1176, some la20/3a etc. and neve/api pre's seem to be the favourites whoever you ask. but i just wondered if you carry your own 'special' or fave bits around too?

also am i to understand you had a hand in Nine Black Alps Everything is. ?
i love that album and think its majorly overlooked, are your approaches or signal chains much different on something like that?, with such a stark contrast from all the vocal/acoustic guitar tracking/mixing you've talked about, i'd be very interested to know

great work btw, on all that's been mentioned so far in this thread, all stuff ive bought! and its nice to realise a correlation
Old 30th September 2010
  #722
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rob S's Avatar
[QUOTE=kepeb;5840184]


I see a lot of gear keep popping up as far as vocal eq and compression in this thread, and the same with guitar chains. are these units personal pre meditated decisions or just, what they had in the studio at the time?
i guess you can pretty much count on a decent facility having a couple 1176, some la20/3a etc. and neve/api pre's seem to be the favourites whoever you ask. but i just wondered if you carry your own 'special' or fave bits around too?

well its premeditated in that i really like 1176's and LA3A's.
but if they arent working on a sound or there is something specific in mind then we will go use something else.
i do have 3 racks of stuff that i travel with.
some of it is common some of it is for the different colors.
but its all very functional, no ego collecting.

also am i to understand you had a hand in Nine Black Alps Everything is. ?
i love that album and think its majorly overlooked, are your approaches or signal chains much different on something like that?, with such a stark contrast from all the vocal/acoustic guitar tracking/mixing you've talked about, i'd be very interested to know

i'm glad somebody else likes the record.....
so, to be general and broad, i would say not really a different approach.
its all music.
one has their melodic sensibility and aesthetics
arrangement melody sonics etc.
and its a matter of applying it.
you have a starting point and then venture off from there as you need, to adjust to the situation.
if that makes any sense......

Old 1st October 2010
  #723
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
i'm glad somebody else likes the record.....
Ha! what do you mean by that? yea, there are quite a few of us :D

ok i think i get what you mean about the different approach tho
so, you separate how you want the melody and and arrangement to feel and sound before you start and then expand on that. is that something you like to do on your own when mixing or do you prefer to get input from the 'recordee's' too ?

it'd be great if you would like to talk some about recording 'Everything is', like the space for all the guitars!
some of the sounds on that thing just made me want to re-assess how i had recorded up until then, and kinda made me want to twiddle with the compressors.

without getting you into the whole loudness war thing, i'm not even sure if it is technically but...in a good way! Everything is sounds very up front, polished and 'loud', is that what you were going for, and do you do comparisons to other peoples or even other commercial mixes when your working on a project?

thanks for taking the time to speak to me, its an honour
Old 1st October 2010
  #724
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Mr. Schnapf,

I love Verbena(and I think AA Bondy's American Hearts is one of the best albums of the past decade).

What was it like working with him? What vocal mic did you use, and how did you record the piano and strings??
Old 1st October 2010
  #725
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rob S's Avatar
[QUOTE=kepeb;5845944]Ha! what do you mean by that? yea, there are quite a few of us :D

ok i think i get what you mean about the different approach tho
so, you separate how you want the melody and and arrangement to feel and sound before you start and then expand on that. is that something you like to do on your own when mixing or do you prefer to get input from the 'recordee's' too ?

hmmm not exactly i think.
you take care of arrangements in preproduction.
that's driven by your melodic sense and your feelings about songs, no?
then of course you have a method of working, mics you like to use, mic pres and compression you generally try.
you start from there and change it up as you need to.
reacting to the situation and the players, the room, the coffee, whatever......
but i think its good to stay open and in tune to whats going on.
if you're to preconceived you can be chasing what it isnt and missing what is actually happening out there on the floor.
be prepared but not locked in.
and yeah i like when the band/artist is there for mixes.
instant feedback analogue style.
its a time saver and bull**** reducer.


it'd be great if you would like to talk some about recording 'Everything is', like the space for all the guitars!

well i have a lot of guitars and amps. it helps to have the guitarsenal so every gtr track isnt occupying the same sonic space.
single coils, humbuckers, clean dirty and direct.
its not all les paul marshall or whatever.
just some les paul marshall.....
but it was alot of guild polara and P90's along with les pauls and SG's(guild S100)
marshall(old JMP's) drz hiwatt bedrock vox old orange
and that little Zvex amp.


and do you do comparisons to other peoples or even other commercial mixes when your working on a project?

no
Old 1st October 2010
  #726
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddy Ray View Post
Mr. Schnapf,

I love Verbena(and I think AA Bondy's American Hearts is one of the best albums of the past decade).

What was it like working with him? What vocal mic did you use, and how did you record the piano and strings??
mr?
wow
okay
so, mr ray,
mr bondy is awesome.
dark and very funny.
on the verbena record we used a lomo 19A9 for vocals.
strings were mellotron and echoplex.
beyond that the details are fading into the mist of my brain as its 8 yrs and a f%#* load of records ago.
Old 1st October 2010
  #727
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Teddy Ray's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
mr?
wow
okay
so, mr ray,
mr bondy is awesome.
dark and very funny.
on the verbena record we used a lomo 19A9 for vocals.
strings were mellotron and echoplex.
beyond that the details are fading into the mist of my brain as its 8 yrs and a f%#* load of records ago.

thank you Sir!

thumbsup
Old 1st October 2010
  #728
Here for the gear
 

ah, i see,
i had misinterpreted, thought you were just talking about after recording, but that makes sense now. in tracking. do you never get more involved in the pre production side with bands/artists then, or do you more often get a reference or demo before you start making any processing changes?

I mean,i thought some of that must be done with a specific final sound in mind as opposed to strong coffee guiding you, right? do you think its easy to go wrong and get 'locked in' on these targets as you say?



and maybe a couple more about the NBA recording, just because i'm so familiar with that one
did you get all the tracks down together or more separated multi-tracking, how did you isolate etc.?

there is a lot of close double tracking on the vocals, how radical is the eq'ing to make that sit how it did or was it more general levels?


thanks again for answering, and i appreciate the details in your last reply
if i'm honest, i didn't realise just how many records i like that you were involved in, do you ever get time to just listen to things you enjoy with such a schedule?
Old 1st October 2010
  #729
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kepeb View Post

do you never get more involved in the pre production side with bands/artists then, or do you more often get a reference or demo before you start making any processing changes?

ideally its both.
get demos.
chart them out.
sit in a rehearsal studio and work on the arrangements.
throw down with ideas and use the good ones

I mean,i thought some of that must be done with a specific final sound in mind as opposed to strong coffee guiding you, right?

sometimes there is something specific in mind sometimes you're sending out the probe.


do you think its easy to go wrong and get 'locked in' on these targets as you say?

there is no empirical yes or no.

did you get all the tracks down together or more separated multi-tracking, how did you isolate etc.?

first focused on drums
then overdubbed and finished a song at a time.


there is a lot of close double tracking on the vocals, how radical is the eq'ing to make that sit how it did or was it more general levels?

not radical eq.
there were several layers of compression.
i think i mentioned it earlier on this thread regarding elliott.
some of it for effect or distortion and some of it for
leveling.
the sum of which lets it sit nicely in the track
and give it a vibe.
Old 4th October 2010
  #730
Gear Nut
 
bellchilton's Avatar
 

Rob,

What is your typical go-to mic set up for guitar amps? Royers? 57's? 421's?

Do you double mic guitar amps?

Are you a big fan of double-tracking rhythm guitars and hard-panning them?

I know different projects call for different approaches, I guess I'm just asking what you find yourself doing most often...

Cheers
Old 4th October 2010
  #731
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bellchilton View Post
Rob,

What is your typical go-to mic set up for guitar amps? Royers? 57's? 421's?

Do you double mic guitar amps?

Are you a big fan of double-tracking rhythm guitars and hard-panning them?

I know different projects call for different approaches, I guess I'm just asking what you find yourself doing most often...

Cheers
the 57 with the transformer mod.
usually start there.
could be a 160 or a 67 for extra .
or open up a mic in the room thats on something else and see if we get lucky.
or move something around purposefully.
but generally the 57 gets us far down the road.
i like dbling rhthym gtrs.
unless there is something else more interesting going on which dbling would distract from or eat up the space.
its kinda like mastering the obviouse.
if it sounds to cluttered subtract the redundancy.
etc etc....
Old 4th October 2010
  #732
Gear Nut
 
bellchilton's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
the 57 with the transformer mod.
usually start there.
Forgive my ignorance...

Is that the TAB transformer mod or the transformer-less mod on the 57?
Old 4th October 2010
  #733
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rob S's Avatar
the tab transformer mod.
i got mine from mercenary.
nothing like money well spent.
specially when its not lots of it,
Old 6th October 2010
  #734
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Hi Rob,

I find it hard to believe we’re over 20 pages into this thread and no-one has asked you about Fu Manchu’s Daredevil. I’ve always thought of this record as a minor masterpiece – great songs and performances, but just amazing sounds you recorded. How did you achieve a balance between definition and deafening fuzz with the guitars? They sound overwhelmingly loud, yet there’s always room for the rest of the band and the vocals. The start of Egor gets me every time. Anything you particularly recall from these sessions?
Old 6th October 2010
  #735
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rob S's Avatar
yeah 20 pages is getting a little ridiculus.
phew, i have fond memories but not clear ones of that record.
its pretty much drums bass gtrs live.
overdubbed solos vocals and cant remember what else.
but it was pretty damn live.
i think the vocals are all tripled.
distortion or edge via spectrasonics 610 and or eventide omnipressor.
tom seemed to have a good relationship with the omnipressor at that time.
i think it was recorded and mixed in 10 days?
part of the reason it works is that its not super dense instrumentally
so its basically gtr left gtr right
and solo in the middle.
once again less = more. particularily sonically speaking when you add in the fuzz element.
fuzz was brought to you by fuzzface, jax and nuwah.
mixed on the fantastically round and transformery api demedio(RIP) from wally heiders 4.
my brain still works.....
Old 15th October 2010
  #736
Gear Nut
 
bellchilton's Avatar
 

Hey Rob,

What's your typical bass chain for a rock record? Your bass sounds always sit so well in the mix whilst still being upfront and powerful...

What are your favourite bass amps?

Cheers
Old 15th October 2010
  #737
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rob S's Avatar
often its a PBass into an old SVT into an 8X10 cab.
soundelux/bock 195- API 512 or the likes into 2 LA3A's then the pultec.
or could be distressor LA3A.
could also be a B15 with the same approximate chain.
Old 17th October 2010
  #738
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
often its a PBass into an old SVT into an 8X10 cab.
soundelux/bock 195- API 512 or the likes into 2 LA3A's then the pultec.
or could be distressor LA3A.
could also be a B15 with the same approximate chain.
Rob
you mention two compressors often. are you daisy chaining these together?
this is something that i have never done. i am usually afraid of printing too much compression. is it weird to have everyone dissect your approach so much?
Old 17th October 2010
  #739
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by minkmink View Post
Rob
you mention two compressors often. are you daisy chaining these together?
this is something that i have never done. i am usually afraid of printing too much compression.

yes to the daisy chaining.
it doesnt have to sound super compressed, its a matter have how you apply it.

is it weird to have everyone dissect your approach so much?
nah, doesnt seem like dissection, seems like some questions.

Old 17th October 2010
  #740
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Keith Moore's Avatar
 

Rob Schnapf

Hey Rob,

Great thread but 30 pages is a lot Yo sift through. Not sure if this subject was touched on but what are some of your favorite consoles to work on? And favorite gear in general. Don't need to mention everything just the stuff that makes you feel like a kid in a toy store kind of stuff. Love the Elliot Smith records. They're the kind of records that bring you in and make you feel like you're there.
Old 18th October 2010
  #741
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rob S's Avatar
i like a "good" console.

1176's LA3A's 550A's U67's are things that make me feel comfortable to have around.

les paul, tele, 330, a junior, J50 an Echoplex and a mellotron also bring the comfort

and a pile of great songs
Old 19th October 2010
  #742
Here for the gear
 

Rob

so when you used to (or still do) track to tape, what kinds of levels did you like to print? were you a safe guy or did you like to slightly saturate? were you more into higher output tapes like GP9 and 499 or more into 456 and etc.?
Old 19th October 2010
  #743
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rob S's Avatar
dont really use the tape any more.
although sometimes mix to it (1/4").
ATR sounds real good though.
but went thru a dark time before ATR was out when you could only get that other stuff that i wont mention.
and hated it.
it didnt sound the way tape used to (good) and it fell apart.
now, tape is expensive and budgets are way down, so i'd rather invest the money in time rather then the storage medium.
never was into pounding the tape with super elevated levels.
seemed as though the shelf life of the top end was affected.
i liked scotch 250.
it had a great smell.
there was the 456 stage that we went thru.
then the GP9.
then it all went to hell.
Old 20th October 2010
  #744
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
i like a "good" console.

1176's LA3A's 550A's U67's are things that make me feel comfortable to have around.

les paul, tele, 330, a junior, J50 an Echoplex and a mellotron also bring the comfort

and a pile of great songs


yep.
sounds about right to me.
Old 22nd October 2010
  #745
Here for the gear
 

Since you’re still kindly answering questions, I’ve got another one... I’m mixing a band at present with a GBV-like sensibility (I’m using Isolation Drills as a reference for my mix) and I’m struggling with low-mid definition i.e. I’m getting cloudy and muffled when what I’m aiming for is weighty and rocking. Is more high passing or low shelving part of the answer? I’m mainly using Waves API EQs for individual tracks – any suggestions from your own experience with API gear of settings you’ve found that are good starting points for clearing things up? Any other suggestions for a more coherent low end appreciated.

Thanks!
Old 24th October 2010
  #746
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rob S's Avatar
hey paul

i wish i could stear you clearly but mixing in the box with api plug ins is just a different experience than the hardware and a stereo buss.
and i'd be talking out my ass if i made suggestions since that isnt how i work.
i'm not saying doing it that way is bad or anything.
whatever it takes to get the job done.
i'm just sayin......
Old 24th October 2010
  #747
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Just add some 'Surgical focus' **drum roll**

Wiggyheh
Old 24th October 2010
  #748
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skybluerental's Avatar
 

hey rob,
love your work.

couple quick questions:

whats your take on the new 550a's vs old 550a's?
ever had em side by side??? how do they compare sonically?

same thing with purple mc77 vs UREI 1176 blackface??
any opinions?

i remember reading something you wrote a while back about new vs old LA-3A's and i had the exact same experience as you when i had them side by side. the old ones peed all over the new ones even before i got them properly sorted out. it was pretty night and day.
Old 24th October 2010
  #749
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
yeah 20 pages is getting a little ridiculus.
Awesome thread. The legend and tales of Rob Schnapf! May it live for another 20 pages...and more...and more...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob S View Post
my brain still works.....
No kidding!!!
Old 27th October 2010
  #750
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rob S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by skybluerental View Post
hey rob,
love your work.

couple quick questions:

whats your take on the new 550a's vs old 550a's?
ever had em side by side??? how do they compare sonically?

same thing with purple mc77 vs UREI 1176 blackface??
any opinions?

i remember reading something you wrote a while back about new vs old LA-3A's and i had the exact same experience as you when i had them side by side. the old ones peed all over the new ones even before i got them properly sorted out. it was pretty night and day.
[QUOTE=skybluerental;5924342]

i think both new and old 550A's are good.
i dont really care if they sound different, its of quality.
never did a side by side thing with them.
but i like an old API console and i like how legacy's sound.
its different but good.

i like the MC77's alot. i still like an old blackface though.
i would say the purples are perhaps a little brighter.
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