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Recording an EP in January – Suggest recording techniques Condenser Microphones
Old 21st December 2010
  #1
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Recording an EP in January – Suggest recording techniques

I'll be recording between January 2nd and 7th 2010, here's the demos: Mealla

I'd love so read what you guys recommend or would like me to try out. It's singer-songwriter stuff, think a mix between Norah Jones and John Mayer.

My mics:
CAD M179
Rode NT3
Oktava MK012 (matched pair with cardioid, hypercardioid and omni caps)
Shure SM58
Shure SM57

My preamp:
ART MPA Gold with NOS Telefunken tubes
Tascam FireOne built-in preamps
Alesis IO 2626 built-in preamps

I'll be recording vocals, acoustic guitar, and violin and am wondering what you'd suggest for that kind of music.


Available rooms:
One small bedroom that's pretty much dead down to 200 Hz (acoustic foam everywhere, big bookshelves, bed, carpet floor)
One medium sized room, think average american master bedroom, completely unfurnished but with a carpet floor. I used it once as an amp room and it worked extremely well. I just put some mic stands around the amp an mic and spanned a heavy blanket over that.
One large room with couches and a wooden staircase connecting it to the floor below. There's quite a noticeable reverb tail when you clap your hands but it's a nice ambience.
Old 21st December 2010
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Wow! I really dig your songs! Your voice sounds great already, so whatever mic you chose to use for your demo, I would stick with it. The main thing that I'm not hearing is that you need more low-end in your guitar, and also some width. Try a three mic approach on your guitar. Possibly your Oktava's in X-Y pointing where your neck meets the body of the guitar, and then another mic over your right shoulder (assuming you are a right handed player). The over the shoulder mic helps to give a player's perspective. As far as your rooms go, I would shoot for whatever room or area has the most reflective floor. Acoustic guitars sound better on a wood or concrete floor. I would have mixed your guitar a little louder, and definitely added some low-end. Also, the over the shoulder technique is a great method to use when recording violin. If you can track down a decent ribbon mic, throw that over the violinist's shoulder in your most reverberant area. Hope some of this helps
Old 21st December 2010
  #3
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You could even try miking the actual body of your guitar. Or use a large diaphragm condenser directly ontop of a small condenser, with the large one pointing downwards at the guitar's 12th fret. Don't remember where I heard this, but ive tried it and it sounds good.
Old 21st December 2010
  #4
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Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely try out the over-the shoulder mic. I do actually keep a large wooden board around as a poor man's gobo. Maybe I'll use that as a wooden floor for a change, at an early reflection point. It's really a bummer that there's only carpet floors around here.

XY on the 12th fret combined with a shoulder mic sounds interesting. I'll have to invert both XY mics for good monitoring, right?

However that's not me performing on the demos, I'm only producing and recording. Mealla recorded that on her own with Garageband and some very crude mic (I believe an iPhone) in one shot, i.e. it's a raw performance. I just mixed it very quickly to get it sound half decent.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

If that voice was recorded with an iPhone, then im super impressed with the mic on the iPHone.. You don't necessarily have to invert the polarity on the x-y set up if you're using a third mic. Try it without, and if it sounds better when you do, then yes. I would BEGIN with the over the shoulder mic as the primary mic, since that will more than likely remain centered. Get that mic placed where it sounds the best. Then move your x-y pair around to get your stereo width. Sometimes, if I know I will be hard panning something, I will intentionally place it slightly out of phase in mono because once it is panned to stereo it can be HUGE
Old 22nd December 2010
  #6
Registered User
 

you never mentioned a bathroom they can have great ambience not to mention if you have to go your already there heh a lil note a great voice like this can stand on it's own so don't be afraid to back off the reverb
Old 22nd December 2010
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doulos24 View Post
you never mentioned a bathroom they can have great ambience not to mention if you have to go your already there heh a lil note a great voice like this can stand on it's own so don't be afraid to back off the reverb
One bathroom is smaller than an amateur's vocal booth, the other isn't much larger and has barely any tiles. Both sound pretty terrible. :-)

But yea, I intend to go easy on the reverb, trying to make it a rather intimate recording.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionaudio View Post
If that voice was recorded with an iPhone, then im super impressed with the mic on the iPHone.. You don't necessarily have to invert the polarity on the x-y set up if you're using a third mic. Try it without, and if it sounds better when you do, then yes. I would BEGIN with the over the shoulder mic as the primary mic, since that will more than likely remain centered. Get that mic placed where it sounds the best. Then move your x-y pair around to get your stereo width. Sometimes, if I know I will be hard panning something, I will intentionally place it slightly out of phase in mono because once it is panned to stereo it can be HUGE
I'll ask her how exactly it was recorded. I did quite a bit of EQing though. :-)

I know my main preamp (where the XY mics will go into) has phase invert switches, I'm not sure if my other built-in preamps have them though. I'll follow your suggestions for that setup and see how it works. Thank you.
Old 22nd December 2010
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

If you are using a DAW, you can invert the polarity after the fact as well
Old 22nd December 2010
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionaudio View Post
If you are using a DAW, you can invert the polarity after the fact as well
I know, but it sounds afwul on the monitoring headphones if it's out of phase. Then again, I could just mute the out-of-phase mics in the headphones mix.
Old 26th December 2010
  #11
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I've played around with Mid-Side (MS) recording and somehow I think I'm doing it wrong. I put it in an existing thread dealing with Mid-Side in Logic 9 though, because it belongs in there: M/S encoding in Logic

If anyone can tell me what I'm dong wrong, please tell me in that other thread, there's screenshots and audio files too.
Thanks!
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
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So my Alesis IO 26 is giving me troubles, weird analogue klicks and pops in every channel. I'm back to 2 channels on my trusty Tascam FireOne.

I've been using the CAD M179 on lead vocals, Rode NT3 on backing vocals. Here's what it sounds totally dry, no EQ, not anything. A cool thing we did (kinda by accident at first) was to record the backing vocals in the chorus with the NT3 far away and off axis (see image attachment). Puts in back in the mix all by itself. Nice. :-)
Attached Thumbnails
Recording an EP in January – Suggest recording techniques-off-axis.jpg  
Attached Files

Vocals.mp3 (1.09 MB, 148 views)

Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lionaudio View Post
If that voice was recorded with an iPhone, then im super impressed with the mic on the iPHone..
It was a Blue Snowball USB microphone actually. Sorry for the wrong information. The iPhone microphone is pretty awesome though, very clear.
Old 6th January 2011
  #14
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Ended up doing every song differently. One song is A B stereo, the other MS and the other one is mono but double-tracked and panned. Interesting how some miking technique sounds awesome on one song but awful on the next. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. One more day of recording and we're done with principal tracking. See you in a few months when it'll be released.
Old 6th January 2011
  #15
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Jose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Ended up doing every song differently. One song is A B stereo, the other MS and the other one is mono but double-tracked and panned. Interesting how some miking technique sounds awesome on one song but awful on the next. Thanks for the suggestions everyone. One more day of recording and we're done with principal tracking. See you in a few months when it'll be released.
Hey, looking forward for that EP, that girl can actually sing.thumbsup She reminds me Maria Mena a lot.

The demos sound very nice.How did she record it?With one just mic for vox and guitar?What reverb and settings did you use?Give me some tips...thumbsup

BTW, the record will be just voice and guitar or you'll add more instrumentation?
Old 7th January 2011
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
Hey, looking forward for that EP, that girl can actually sing.thumbsup She reminds me Maria Mena a lot.

The demos sound very nice.How did she record it?With one just mic for vox and guitar?What reverb and settings did you use?Give me some tips...thumbsup

Yea, just that Snowball mic I mentioned earlier. I extracted the dry track from the garageband project an put some Logic Studio Space Designer verb on on. Some treble roll-off on the verb and it was all good. I can make a screenshot if you want. :-)

BTW, the record will be just voice and guitar or you'll add more instrumentation?
Just finished recording a few hours ago. It was totally awesome, the demos were of her singing while playing only shortly after the songs were written. After practicing, standing, warming up the voice... it's amazing!

There'll be a Bruno Mars cover (just guitar and vocal) on her youTube channel soon: youtube.com/user/meallat
Check her out on facebook and twitter if you're into that social stuff. There's a new cover on youTube every few weeks and people seem to love it.

The EP will be fully produced, one fellow Gearslut (you know who you are) will be contributing mandoline and nashville guitar on it. If someone is good with percussion and wants to donate some of his talent and recording skills, let me know. :-)
Old 7th January 2011
  #17
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This is what I hate about the music business. You've got a girl like that who I've never heard of, and will probably never make it on the radio (statistically speaking) yet I've got to listen to Ke$ha everywhere I go because someone decided she was good. It makes me sad to think of all the talented people in this world whom I'll never hear because they didn't know the right people or catch the eye of some 50 year old CEO who can't even play a kazoo.

In any rate it just goes to show you how important the source is. I mean, that's a CAD M179 she's singing into! Not that they're bad mics... Just trying to say I wish I had a voice like that singing into one of my mics!
Old 9th January 2011
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
This is what I hate about the music business.
Well, it used to be: record labels pimp it out to the radio stations, radio plays decent music, people buy music so they can play it whenever they want.

Now it's: record labels pimp out mediocre music to the radio stations, some people listen in the car and download it somewhere for free. Then they start hate listening to music altogether (partly because of the fatiguing masters) until they stumble upon something on the internet or at a party. The good stuff can stand on its own even if it was recorded with a laptop's built-in microphone and totally unproduced. Now the problem is that people want to support that artist but don't know how. This is where things like PledgeMusic come in where people can donate money for production and get some extra goodies like signed CDs, private meetings, free concert passes, etc. while funding the production.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
In any rate it just goes to show you how important the source is. I mean, that's a CAD M179 she's singing into! Not that they're bad mics... Just trying to say I wish I had a voice like that singing into one of my mics!
Agreed. I could have recorded it with a big Neumann and a premium chain of preamps, compressors and EQs on pristine tape with an excellent engineer in a perfect vocal recording room. I'd say the vocal quality formula is 90% artist talent, 8% audio engineer skill and maybe 2% gear. Now I wouldn't call myself a highly trained engineer but I know my room, gear and software so we got a good 90%.

You can produce as much as you want, if your talent isn't worth much, you can't get anything nice out of it. Some japanese music is actually sung by robot voices and you don't really notice which is very sad in my opinion.

Have you ever gotten goosebumps from listening to an amazing song on headphones with your eyes closed? I had that last tuesday, then I opened my eyes and realized the singer was doing it live, at two arms length from me in the same room. That felt great! I'm actually a fan of being in the same room as the artist, much more personal than looking at each other through a window. Much easier to communicate too (but yea, we had talkback mics).
Old 3rd March 2011
  #19
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Jose's Avatar
Hey MrCrowbar how is it going?

I am looking forward to hear that EP!thumbsup
Old 3rd March 2011
  #20
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MrCrowbar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
Hey MrCrowbar how is it going?

I am looking forward to hear that EP!thumbsup
We're making progress. Final mixing is scheduled for mid April and I guess we'll have it out in May. Get the latest news and updates (including production videos) here: https://www.facebook.com/MeallaT?ref=ts (no account required)
Old 14th March 2011
  #21
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Update:

I recorded everything in 88.2 kHz in Logic Pro because I wanted that extra audio information to make things like timing and pitch edits much less obvious. (Yes, I did some testing a while back, when stretching out transients in a 44.1 kHz recording, you notice how it gets chopped up into small bits right away because the algorithm has to "invent" or "copy and paste" stuff to fill the gaps. When the material is 88.2 kHz, you can stretch it out (or change the pitch) quite a lot before it sounds weird.

It was already troublesome to record, I set the latency to the max (analog monitoring rocks) but it still froze up on me on several occasions, ruining an otherwise great track because the computer couldn't handle it. Now mixing is tough, running low on both CPU power and hard drive (5300 rpm 2.5 laptop drive). Using a 3.5" firewire hard drive helps a bit, but the CPU is still way busy and I need to be able to mix and edit in the subway.

My question is: Do I lose a lot of audio quality when converting the whole project from 88.2 to 44.1 kHz for final mixing? I'd do the time and pitch correction in 88.2 kHz but I just need a responsive system for mixing and editing. My input converters sound best (in terms of subjective tone and transient response) in 88.2 kHz (better than 44.1, 48, 96 or even 192) so I guess the benefit of recording in 88.2 kHz won't be totally lost. I just wonder if there's anything bad about downsampling during the post-processing stage.
Old 26th June 2011
  #22
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Project is almost complete, 1 song is done and I'm uploading the videosong (what you see is what you hear) right now and will follow up with a video link in an hour or so.

One fellow Gearslut helped out, recorded mandolin and nashville guitar on this track and totally remxed another.
Old 27th June 2011
  #23
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Here we go, tell me what you think.

Old 10th July 2011
  #24
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I like her a lot ! The song is great and the production is spot on

I like the sound of the acoustic guitar she is playing. Sounds very natural. Her voice sounds great too.

What I don´t like that much is the snare sound.

The overall sound is pretty good. What monitors are you using ? Is this song "mastered" ?

Godd job !
Old 10th July 2011
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by espasonico View Post
I like her a lot ! The song is great and the production is spot on

I like the sound of the acoustic guitar she is playing. Sounds very natural. Her voice sounds great too.

What I don´t like that much is the snare sound.

The overall sound is pretty good. What monitors are you using ? Is this song "mastered" ?

Godd job !
Thanks!
Don't have lots of choices in terms of snare with addictive drums. Still think it works well. The audio on the video is kind of mastered but not the final master. The audio on the bandcamp page is the final master though.

Here's another song, in this one the audio is the actual master and the guitar was recorded with a spaced pair of Oktava MK012 (cardioid):
Old 10th July 2011
  #26
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Jose's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrCrowbar View Post
Thanks!
Don't have lots of choices in terms of snare with addictive drums. Still think it works well. The audio on the video is kind of mastered but not the final master. The audio on the bandcamp page is the final master though.

Here's another song, in this one the audio is the actual master and the guitar was recorded with a spaced pair of Oktava MK012 (cardioid):
Very nice songs MrCrowbar.

What Gibson guitar is she playing?I agree with the snare sound, I think it is the one of the AD standard kit right?Maybe try with the one of the 70 kit preset.

I used AD in the past until I found out this stuff, you must give it a try for your drums recordings.

Acoustic Drum Loops and Drum Tracks | Drums On Demand

Good job, looking forward to listen to more songs.
Old 10th July 2011
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jose View Post
Very nice songs MrCrowbar.

What Gibson guitar is she playing?I agree with the snare sound, I think it is the one of the AD standard kit right?Maybe try with the one of the 70 kit preset.

I used AD in the past until I found out this stuff, you must give it a try for your drums recordings.

Acoustic Drum Loops and Drum Tracks | Drums On Demand

Good job, looking forward to listen more songs.
Interesting link thanks. I really gotta get new drum samples soon. I generally start out with one of the default kits, then swap out single drums and cymbals, tweak compression, mixing, fx, etc to match the song. It's not a standard kit, lots of tweaking went into it.

The guitar was a Gibson J-45.
Old 11th July 2011
  #28
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Everything but the drums sound good...
Try to find a drummer to play or just buy better samples..
She has talent, I bet it wont be hard to find a decent drummer willing to record for little cash...

Keep us posted!
Old 11th July 2011
  #29
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ppingpoong's Avatar
 

man digging your tunes! can't to hear how the recordings go
Old 11th July 2011
  #30
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RebornOnline's Avatar
Just to echo what others have said - great songs, great performance, great recording and great production. But the snare doesn't fit.

I'd recommend Superior Drummer, it's got some nice brush sounds and even the stick sounds respond well to velocity.

Keep up the good work
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