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The recording of "Relish"
Old 1st January 2005
  #1
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

The recording of "Relish"

Wwhitmann,
Since you brought it up in another thread, how about getting into the specifics of recording and mixing this album.

I should also add that I have loved your work and am very glad to have you here.

Thanks,
Michael Greene
Old 1st January 2005
  #2
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Drumsound's Avatar
William wrote a really great article for Recording about Relish. Recording Mag back issues should be able to get you a copy. I'm gonna go look in the basement for mine.
Old 1st January 2005
  #3
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sonic dogg's Avatar
Yeah to that WW..! How about that rhythm section on Spider Web? Geez that one is what I warm my ears up to...Its not that unusual to expect that record to sound great especially with the Hooters doing most of the instruments...They were no slouches IMHO...And that Vox guitar sound.......yeah lets hear all about it....Ya done good....!
Old 1st January 2005
  #4
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Did any of you make it to our little "how to place a mic" seminar at Hyde Street at AES on the first night (Thursday)? William did a fantastic job, explained his thought processes extremely well. He was awesome! Its nice when you meet someone who knows what to do. its heaven when you meet someone who knows what to do and can explain it to others easily. William has that rare talent.

Brad
Old 1st January 2005
  #5
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

William seems to have that amazing ability, much like Jim Scott, and Lee DeCarlo and many other Record Plant alumni, to be able to get to the root of the sound in a very simple no bullshnit sort of way, and to have also worked and lived through all the crazy times of the 70's and 80's and not be jaded or burned out. That all by itself is amazing but then you put it together with contemporary results and it is a real show of talent.

Wish I could have attended the get together at Hyde Street........

Michael Greene
Old 2nd January 2005
  #6
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Thank you, yes I am indeed wonderful {g}
(Hi, Brad)

There's a both a lot to say and yet really NOT much to say about Relish.

Geoff Daking set up a Trident Series 80 and a Studer 827 for us in a house (next door to his at the time) in Westchester, NY and we made the album there. Although the Series 80 was STRICTLY for monitoring.
We listened on Westlake BBSM-12's driven by a Bryston 4B.
The entire record was recorded on 456 at 15ips at 6 over 250nW/m (what some might loosely call +9 over 185)

The drums and piano were in the living room on the other side of the wall we were facing in the dining room/control room.
Joan was set-up on the enclosed porch, looking in the window at the drums.
The amp for the Wurlitzer electric piano and the Leslie cab for the organ were hidden in the bedrooms down the hall, and the guitar was done by drilling a hole in the floor (Geoff!) and running a line down to the basement to an AC-30 (we had three to use, but mostly used my 63 copper panel top boost).
Mark Egan played bass guitar in the living room sitting on top of an enclosed box that was a 15" speaker sealed inside with an RE20. We drove it with a Vox AC100 (we had two, tempermental as they can be).
We ran a Y cord to a passive DI as well but I rarely USED it.

The living room was long and narrow, and the drums sat in the middle with their back to the long wall, in front of the fireplace.(stone)
I had an SM-7 in the bass drum and a packing blanket over it.
Snare drum was a KM-84 although for a time we tried the Gefell 84-ish mic (300???) but I didn't like it as much.
Toms were mic'ed with one mic over the highs and one mic on the side at the lows, these were Gefell UM71 and again i rarely USED them (only on about 3 songs).
The main part of the drum pick up was two STC4038's spaced wide looking in at the kit.
Because the room was long and narrow, they were really almost back against the front wall and about 2-3 feet wider than the outside edges of the kit... looking in at the snare at about 90degrees... this made them perhaps 8 feet from the snare, each.

All of the amps and Leslie were mic'ed with Gefell UM70s or M71 (the cardioid only version).
Joan sang on a U-92 tube Gefell.
It was a decision that Rick Chertoff and I made after discussing it, to buy and use so many new mics out of the box because I felt the consistency really worked for us, rather than sorting through a forest of different sounding hired microphones.
In a funny way the sound of so many similar mics is part of a unifying factour on that record.

Spider Web is Gary Lucas playing through that same AC30 in the basement.

I'm not a fan of varying mic pres (as I've been saying endlessly and no doubt tediously) but in this case I had to make do with what we could get our hands on.
So it is a mix.
The drums were through a Neve BCM10 broadcast desk 1066 modules... the bass drum was also sent to an API 553 EQ because the 3 band 1066 wasn't enough.
Joan went through a 1081 and an API 525 compressor of mine that was from the Record Plant.
Bass was through API pres.
And most everything else was through Daking pre/eq's (which were fairly new, we may have had prototypes at that point).

We mixed at Pie Studios on their all discrete 8078 Neve to 1/2" 499 at 15ips.
So the whole record was recorded and mixed through discrete amps.
I didn't even want to BOUNCE through the Trident to avoid ever using IC's... although I did have to bounce backing vocals on one song.

And all through the process I tried to keep everything dry, except for natural ambience, and in its place pictorially.
There's almost no panning, everything is right left or centre, and there's almost no reverb, except in one or two tiny spots. Joan has some delay on her voice (at the mix) but it's a very straight ahead mix on the whole.

Anyway, that's a good overview... anything else, ASK!
before my memory fades entirely...
Old 2nd January 2005
  #7
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

William,
Thanks so much for the reply. What would you say the tone of the main room was. Bright, dark? I ask because I have used Coles on the drums many times and have to admit I have never loved them. I always seem to want to eq them and then they still feel a bit boxy. I have thought back to the many sessions I know they have been used on and it seems that the rooms are perhaps a bit brighter or more open sounding which helps them translate better. All the rooms I have used them in have either been very live but also very warm (Boardering on dark) or very dead (1970's Hidley rooms). What is your take on this.
As for the UM-70's I truly believe it is a sleeper mic. I have had great luck with them when I have used them and also the um-92.

Thanks again,
Michael Greene
Old 2nd January 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
I actually think the room was on the darker side... not terribly live. A typical living room in an older house.
Did have a high, two story, ceiling, so was relatively open sounding.
But I am also not afraid to EQ!
Old 2nd January 2005
  #9
mpr
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Ten years after the fact, this remains a great recording that I often use for reference.

Couple questions: You mentioned some delay on Joan's vocals. Do you remember the approximate settings? Sounds like a subtle back wall effect that is parking her voice wonderfully into the mix.

Also, I really love the bass drum sound you got here. IMO, it is a tasteful sound that could be used across genres. Do you recall the drum kit and whether it was tuned loose or tight? It sounds tight, but that could be the EQ talking.

Finally, while I got you on the line here, the bass guitar / bass drum relationship sounds very consistent and harmonious. Did this fall into place at the tracking stage or did you jump through some hoops in the mix?

Thanks
Mark Robinson
Old 2nd January 2005
  #10
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Mr. Whitman, Gearslutz has become an even more informative place since you arrived. Hey, I've got my drums in front of the fireplace too!



I know you have repeated yourself endlessly about not liking to use too many different mic pres. I seem to have missed this info however. Would you please explain briefly why this is? Consistency? Easier to mix? This is how it was done in the good ol' days, on a discrete console where all pres are the same?

Thanks kindly!
Old 2nd January 2005
  #11
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The bass guitar/bass drum relationship is very much THERE on tape, which is really ,my philosophy in general. Get it working right onto the recording, making the mix fairly simple.
In addition to making mixing less of a nightmare, it also means that every overdub finds its place into the picture and you know, REALLY know, straight away if the overdub sonically and musically FITS or not.

There's absolutley nothing special done to get those two sounds to work together other than that they are recorded with similar microphones (RE20 and SM7)
I never compress the bass dum.
Or any individual drums, for that matter, only room mics.

The bass drum was probably tuned more on the low side actually, but it's packed lightly with a moving blanket and a sandbag to hold it in place, for a fairly tight sound. LOW, but tight.
Plus, it's certainly EQ'd... boosted at 100Hz (or 50 Hz), rolled out a bit (3-4 dB, i hate when engineers roll TOO much here) in the 400-500 range, and boosted for click at 1K and at 3k.

You answered your own questions about my feelings re: multiple mic pres...
I think that, ESPECIALLY for less experienced engineers, the consistency of using all the same (if high quality) mic pre works tremendously in your favour.
And that ends up making it easier to mix as well.
The fact that so many records were made briliantly on consoles with, of course, all one type of built-in pre, only proves the point.
It's only with the proliferation of desks with lousy mic pres (starting with MCI, in no small part) that this business of engineers bringing in outboard mic pres really started.
Now it's obvious that most home recordists aren't buying large consoles.. so the move to individual "modules" is logical.
But the "need" for variety is a trend that, i think, is more marketing driven than art or technique driven.
If you walk into a studio with a great desk, there's no need to bring in one channel for something else because you "like that" on an acoustic guitar or whatever.
It's silly.
People should worry much more about having GOOD mic pres than a variety of mic pres.
Of course it's in someone's comercial interst for you to think that you have a Neve but now you NEED an API to get just the RIGHT guitar sound.
If I have a Neve desk i don't need an API, if i have an API I don't need a Neve; etc.

The delay on Joan's vocal is mostly a setting I used on the Eventide H-3000.
It's two slightly different delays, one on each side...I varied the times, by ear not by math, for each song. but for example, i might have 260 msecs on the right and 280 on the left. So there's a quick left-right scattering effect following the initial dry vocal in the middle.
Often I also had a little pitch shift mixed in as well, sharp by 9 cents on the side with the longer delay and flat by 9 cents on the side with the shorter delay. The pitch shift was set at 50% return level vs the 100% return level of the delay (that is, much more delay than pitch shift in the mix).
Old 2nd January 2005
  #12
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Yep, that's what I thought. I've been thinking of ditching a few pres and going with mostly all one model. Those new Tonelux units look especially intriguing. Discrete, modular, and remote controllable.

I've been 'relish'ing a great sounding, remote controlled, affordable preamp for years now.

heh

I imagine you'd recommend selling the IC preamps first!
Old 2nd January 2005
  #13
mpr
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William, thanks for the reply. It is great to hear that the mixing for this album was very straight forward as a result of your tracking with final intentions in mind. I think this philosophy is lacking in many modern productions.

Regarding using the same pres: I have decided to sell most of my outboard preamps in preparation for an old 80 series Neve board I recently purchased from the BBC. I am looking forward to that continuity of sound that I hear on many of my favorite recordings, not to mention the refined workflow that comes with such a console.

Thanks again for sharing.

Mark
Old 3rd January 2005
  #14
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally posted by wwittman
I had an SM-7 in the bass drum and a packing blanket over it.
Very generous of you to share so much ino about the Relish CD. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!! thumbsup

The Kick is rockin' on that album. Do you recall whether it was a single or dual head and where you placed the SM-7?

Also, no overheads or room mics (other than the Coles)?
Old 3rd January 2005
  #15
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No additional rooms or overheads.. i almost never use strict "overheads" anymore... I decided years ago that I really like looking at the kit, or even just the cymbals, from the front.

For most songs, it's those 4 mics. On a few, including when Rob Hyman played the drums on One Of Us, I turned on the 2 tom mics as well.

Bass drum was single head... and the mic was inside, about 8" from the head and pointing in at the strike point on an angle.
Old 3rd January 2005
  #16
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

William,
Again thanks for all the great informative reply's. It's nice to see someone who doesn't believe in secrets. I have another question. If I don't have a pair of Coles to use, or matched ribbons for that matter what kind of mics would you suggest to try? Would you lean more towards dynamics or not? Also have you tried it behind the kit in the same way? If so do you get anymore coverage of the toms etc?

Also I didn't completly get the positioning. Are your Coles in front of the kit, or on the sides of the kit looking in and at each other? Also about how high are they.

I have used 2 mics equadistant from the snare on the sides of the kit looking in and have loved it. They were about 4 feet high maybe angled down a little bit but not much.

Did you end up compressing them at all in the mix or were you lucky enough to have players play balanced enough that you didn't feel the need to do any dynamic processing in the mix?

Thanks again for your insight,
Michael Greene
Old 3rd January 2005
  #17
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Kestral's Avatar
 

Wow, this is great stuff!

William, I'm so glad you mentioned the idea of using all of one mic pre. Our humble tracking studio has two Neve 1073's and we are about to add another Neve (a 1084) and we have three 1176's (one blacface, two silver face blue badges) and we're about to add a vintage LA2A.

I've always used just one pre, and ever since I got the Neve, I don't even think of API. But in sessions, I'll usually get some goober that goes, "Don't you need an API?" and I'm thinking, "What for...??!"

This whole "variety" of mic pres thing reminds me of when I started off playing keyboards, I bought a synth and the salespeople convinced me to get another one "for variety", and then another one, and another one.

These days, I can do more with just one Wurlitzer or Roland Juno than an entire rack of digital sample playback synths.
Old 3rd January 2005
  #18
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I think William is right when he says a lot of it is marketing. If you happened to buy all your gear at once, you may end up with a little sidecar style console, or a modular pre system, 4 or 8 channel units, etc... But if you start accumulating gear slowly over a number of years, chances are good that you may end up with a bunch of different preamps. They are constantly coming up with new ones, the market is pretty flooded at this point. But I want to check out the Tonelux still.
Old 3rd January 2005
  #19
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The room 4038's were at about 4 feet off the ground.
They were in front of the kit and wider than the kit.. then pointed inward making a triangle with the snare at the third point of the triangle... (if that's clear?)
So they were definitely in FRONT, not on the sides...

I compressed them some going to tape. Not again in the mix.

If you didn't use ribbons, I'd lean to condensers.
I honestly don't use many moving coil dynamics... only on bass drum and bass guitar.

I have tried it behind the drummer as well... and it certainly works.
I cannot say WHY exactly, but it seems very room dependent.
The better sounding the room, the more I tend to find that in front sounds better.
In some problem rooms, I've gone in behind the drummer.
Old 3rd January 2005
  #20
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max cooper's Avatar
 

I've always really liked the vox sound on that record and I just noticed the MG UM92 on Natan Eldred's site. Is that one and the same mic? I'm sure the great singer and the 1081 had a little to do with it too.


also interesting, just added a pair of 525's for drums however the only use they've had so far is all the vocals I've done since they've been here. At first I thought it was "new gear, gotta use it syndrome" but I'm genuinely liking the sound. Do you use 525's often?




***a vote for another Too Much Joy record***
Old 3rd January 2005
  #21
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After read this topic, I bought Relish and I'm just amazed with the sound!!
Great to see how a 1995 mix still sounds modern proving that good mixes is eternal.
What takes my attention most was that brave hard pans.
I'm always afraid to hard pan stuffs like this... will consider that in my next project.
Wittman, is possible that this kind of hard pan mix encounter problems on TV Broadcast or wherever there's a dickhead manage the audio?
Old 3rd January 2005
  #22
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MJGreene Audio's Avatar
 

William,
Thanks, that clears it up for me. I will have to give it a shot on my next drum session. A room that I do a bunch of work in has a bit of a living room vibe and sound although I can see this working in most situations. It kind of reminds me of a style I used about 15 years ago with overheads spaced wide like that but about 12 feet above the kit in a dead Hidley room. The distance and a great drummer seemed to balance out the cymbals and give a great overall sound and then I would just add a bit of kick and snare.

As I have found over the years but sometimes seem to forget; Less is indeed more. Or the old slang: Keep it simple stupid.

It just works better most of the time.

Thanks again,
Michael Greene
Old 3rd January 2005
  #23
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HudHudson's Avatar
 

A shout out to William for his insights and great sounds. I think I burned the 0's & 1's right off my "Relish" CD listening to "Right Hand Man" over and over when it came out ("Got my panties in a wad at the bottom of my purse" - what a line!).
Old 3rd January 2005
  #24
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I know I've told the story before, but I love the Right Hand Man bass sound... we literally captured the last take before the speaker (in the sealed box) blew and we had to replace it!
THat shredding speaker sound was great.
ESPECIALLY coming from Mark Egan who's not known for his rock-ability, mostly.

I ALWAYS place things L-R or C... I grew up doing it and like it the best.
Back when She's So Unusual came out I remember being somewhere, at some party, and in the room I was in there was up-beat Vox organ but no guitar (which was in the other room!)
But other than little adventures such as that, I've never had a problem on radio or in mono.
Someone would literally have to not USE one channel for it to be a problem.
In some ways I suspect you get a BETTER add to mono without as many things to cancel and add between tracks.
I do check in mono (and on ONE speaker, otherwise it ISN'T) from time to time... but not religiously (that is, no candles burning or robes, and only the occasional human sacrifice.)
Beatles records never seem to have any trouble sounding good on the radio either {g}

Yes the UM-92 is the mic. Although, I have to admit, it's been mostly replaced in my PERSONAL affections by the UM900.
I used that on Joan for her newest record (which I only did the first 2 days of set-up for) and it sounded terrific.

I love the 525 limiter on vocals. It's far and away my first choice for vocal compressor.
I've used it on anyone and everyone and it's the only compressor Cyndi Lauper will allow on her voice.
I love that it can actually do quite a LOT and yet not sound like you're killing the vocal... so singers don't FEEL constrained from going for a loud note... it doesn't fight you.

I use it in Compress mode with the slowest release (both buttons out).

I have used it over the years on many things but it's really only my favourite for vocals.
Old 3rd January 2005
  #25
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psytechguy's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by wwittman
Yes the UM-92 is the mic. Although, I have to admit, it's been mostly replaced in my PERSONAL affections by the UM900.
I used that on Joan for her newest record (which I only did the first 2 days of set-up for) and it sounded terrific.
Are you talking about "How Sweet It Is?"

Currently in heavy rotation at my place! One of the few CD's in awhile that I can listen to all the way from beginning to end without skipping tracks.

Could you elaborate a bit on how it was tracked as compared to Relish?

Mike
Old 4th January 2005
  #26
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max cooper's Avatar
 

Didn't Mark Egan play on American Garage?



Quote:
I love the 525 limiter on vocals. It's far and away my first choice for vocal compressor.
I've used it on anyone and everyone and it's the only compressor Cyndi Lauper will allow on her voice.
I love that it can actually do quite a LOT and yet not sound like you're killing the vocal... so singers don't FEEL constrained from going for a loud note... it doesn't fight you.

I use it in Compress mode with the slowest release (both buttons out).
I'm glad this didn't post before I got the 525's from a fellow G-Slut, otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the great deal I did!

I get confused about the release buttons all the time, so I made a sticky note and put it on the rack:

both out: 0.1 second
#1 in: 0.5 second
Both in: 2.0 Seconds
#2 in: 2.5 seconds

:Â )

unless they were different. These were made pretty recently. Amazing how versatile they are with four release modes and fixed attack. I've been using 0.5 and thru the 'phones it sounds real "breathe-y" but on playback it sounds fine. Cool.

And what a bonus it is to have Mr. Wittman here!

Quote:
A shout out to William for his insights and great sounds. I think I burned the 0's & 1's right off my "Relish" CD listening to "Right Hand Man" over and over when it came out ("Got my panties in a wad at the bottom of my purse" - what a line!)

Yes!
Old 4th January 2005
  #27
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Cosmonauta's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by max cooper
Didn't Mark Egan play on American Garage?
If there's only one Mark Egan... YES!!
Old 5th January 2005
  #28
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Mark is perhaps best known for his work with Pat Metheny, but he's certainly got a long, impressive list of credits.
A great player, and a great guy.

The Joan record I was mentioning in passing isn't out yet.

I did 2 days of set-up "consulting" before I left to tour with Cyndi...
Old 6th January 2005
  #29
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jwh1192's Avatar
yes, thank you for sharing ... funny thing i have been noodling around with a version of Crazy Baby from Relish .... wonderful sounds and such a vibe .....

peace john
Old 7th January 2005
  #30
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Funny, how somethings on a record take lots of time ands others sort of blow by...
I remember very little about Crazy Baby in part because it sort of blew by with not much effort.
(not that that's a BAD thing!)
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