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Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass band in a cabin, the results Condenser Microphones
Old 15th December 2010
  #1
Talking Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass band in a cabin, the results

Howdy Folks! So I had that remote session in a beautiful cabin in NH last weekend. Very very pleased. I totally lucked out with the location. The cabin great room sounded absolutely amazing. I don't know too many studios in Boston that even compare to the beautiful sound of this room.

Here was the final track sheet:
1. Background Vox - KSM27
2. Woodwinds - AT4033
3. Melodica - MC012
4. Background Vox - KSM27
5. Electric Guitar Body - MC012
6. Amp - 57
7. Acoustic Guitar - DPA4011
8. Lead Vox - AEAR84
9. Bass - M160
10. Bass - DPA4060
11. Background Vox - KSM9
12. Mandolin/Viola - DPA4011
13. Mono Room - 58 in the ceiling (couldn't stand using only 15 of 16. Had to fill that last track with something...)
14. L Main - Schoeps MK5 (omni)
15. C Main - DPA4060 (taped to lead vox pop filter)
16. R Main - Schoeps MK 5 (omni)

Pres were ATIM8X2, SP828 and DAV BG1 for the Schoeps
Into HD24

Now my dilemma is mixing...

I was planning on having an outside mixer mix it for me. But now I'm toying with the idea of going bold and going with a VERY open in-the-room sound. IE mix it myself using the 3 mains and a tiny tiny touch of a few spots. Mix it completely dry except an intsy bit of eq. Leave compression for mastering. Similar to the Chris Thile album, How To Grow A Woman From The Ground (band around two telefunken 251s only).

This clip is a quick mix I did using the technique I just described. 70% of what you hear are the Schoeps. 20% is the DPA in front of the singer. 10% are a touch of the 57, M160 and both DPA4011s.

YouTube - Soul Fish (Watch at 720p!)

Let me know what you think! Keep in mind YouTube kind of squashes it a little. I can send a wav to anyone who's interested in taking another listen. Also, video was just a quick handheld. They'll more produced videos later. It is the band's first album so I'm wondering if this kind of open, completely exposed sound would be appropriate...

Thoughts??
Attached Thumbnails
Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass band in a cabin, the results-img_1416.jpg   Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass band in a cabin, the results-img_1437.jpg   Folk/Jazz/Bluegrass band in a cabin, the results-img_1575.jpg  
Old 18th December 2010
  #2
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boojum's Avatar
Very nice! Yes, mixing will be hard. I can offer no advice, so I will not. ;o) I like the sound of the group and am looking forward to hearing the final mix. thumbsup
Old 18th December 2010
  #3
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MichaelPatrick's Avatar
 

Don't know how hard it will be to mix, but I bet it'll be fun because it sounds like a great band.

Random thought about mixing: Shift away from the Schoeps and build up rhythm from the spot mics, then mix everything else in like you'd do if the room and LR mics weren't there. Then after the basic mix is done add the room mics if they improve the mix. I'll bet you'll need very little of them because your condensers may bleed enough on their own to bring the room in.
Old 18th December 2010
  #4
I can dig it. Just run it by the band and go for it!

MP's suggestion sounds like a good idea. It'd help you balance the various vocal parts too.

Sax doesn't sound quite as smooth as I would like, but there are so many things I do like about the rest.
Old 18th December 2010
  #5
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Ahhh... real music. Played by real musicians. At the same time. In the same room.

How cool is that?

I'm really way to old and square to say this... but...

Me likey.

HB
Old 18th December 2010
  #6
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Mats H's Avatar
Very nice, I had a great big smile on my face throughout! Good musicians playing together in a great room! Nice spacious sound, it'll be great to hear how it turns out!
Old 19th December 2010
  #7
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Nice song ajcdrum.

I bet you had a blast recording in that beautiful cabin.
The cabin did indeed sound nice; I bet the tracks sound sweet.

Why not have it properly mixed with that special "open in-the-room sound" you were referring to?
Best of both worlds would play a big part in bringing out the beauty of this capture.

I really cannot recommend the right mix approach until I can actually hear the individual tracks, so instead of a hypothesis I will hang back on this one; I don't want my conjecture to taunt you;-)

That said, I would have approached it differently than how you described your 'quick mix' YouTube scenario.

If you're concern that the YouTube clip might be messing with your sound, consider attaching that WAV file, so we all can hear it like you mixed it?
Old 19th December 2010
  #8
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staudio's Avatar
 

Thank you for posting this clip and giving such a detailed description of the tracking setup. I think the overall quality of the recording is good however the mix on Youtube feels too ambient and lacking some intimacy and presence for my taste.

I would suggest as others have, that you try using the spots for clarity and balance and then add the room mics if desired to add space and more ambience.

Looks like a fun job. I love it when the talent doesn't need headphones to play!!
Old 19th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post
Ahhh... real music. Played by real musicians. At the same time. In the same room.

How cool is that?

I'm really way to old and square to say this... but...

Me likey.

HB
+1 here
Old 20th December 2010
  #10
Gear Head
 

Great band, location and opportunity. Thanks for posting, I really enjoyed this.

Just a thought.. It might help to do a couple quick mixes using completely different approaches, starting fresh from an opposing perspective for each. It may well be that they all end up sounding good yet different, but doing that may help in determining which style best translates the 'vibe' you and the band are going for. At that point you can decide on spending time to further develop the mix yourself or pass it on to someone else along with an indication of the desired 'vibe' direction and test mixes.. all considering the time / budget constraints and desires of the client.

"What is appropriate", moves the discussion up a level from technical aspects of mixing to a more philophical questions of production. Personally, I dig 'open' sounding recordings for this type of material and feel that the ability to play and record in this manner is an asset this band (and this location) has that similar acts lack. For me that lends a certain aire of authenticity and desirability that may be a point of differentiation to help set them apart from a sea of dry 'studio produced sounding' releases. If you and the band feel those aspects are valuable and appropriate, the question reverts to the practical matter of how to translate that 'vibe' to best exploit those advantages.
Old 25th December 2010
  #11
Thanks for the responses guys!

Here's another track...

YouTube - Laura Grill Band - Kiss Me

A neat little arrangement of the 90s classic "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer. This time, the majority of the sound is the close mics. Let me know what you think!
Old 25th December 2010
  #12
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Mats H's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcdrum View Post
Thanks for the responses guys!

Here's another track...
Very impressive! I really, really like the sound of this. I believe you close micing everything helps a lot in this project. The first video was a bit diffuse in the sound. Best of luck with the album I'll for sure buy it.
Old 25th December 2010
  #13
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loujudson's Avatar
Nice! What a fun, sweet gig. I did a similar type rpoduction with w "jug" band recently...

Small thought abouyt the video - I'd very much prefer to see the overall shot, as when you get close to the individuals the light from the windows bwhind closes the bightness down too much, can't see details. The wide shots are great!

I like the close mic version better. I'd use more verb and some depth for the sax/clarinet - like a 421 or 441 - but realy fine work! Keep sending tem along, including final mixes. I'd also gently compress the vocal, and it seems a bit midrangy for my taste... but good!

It's raining in Califonia but I'd put up with snow to be there!
Old 26th December 2010
  #14
Registered User
 

Nice!

My only comment would be to NOT mix it ala the Chris Thile 'How to Grow a Woman' sessions. Big stink from Sugar Hill about how low the vocals were in the mix, and there wasn't anything they could do about it (2 spaced omni's, no close mics).

I'm sure you'll make it good....
Old 26th December 2010
  #15
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Between the two, I much prefer the previous bias toward the "ensemble", with, perhaps, a wee bit more of the spots mixed in for presence. The second mix is almost too much "in my face" and sounds like it could just as well have been recorded in a windowless studio as a forest cabin. It's nice for what it is (perhaps, more "modern" sounding) but, for me, loses the more intimate and, perhaps, "authentic" vibe of the first. Both could probably use some compression on the vocal... and on the clarinet ride in the second.

My $.02US. Lovely music, both... the "wind thru the clarinet" open was nice.

HB
Old 27th December 2010
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Gosh I love watching music recorded this way. Nothing beats the mojo you get from a big open room thumbsup
Old 27th December 2010
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
That said, I would have approached it differently than how you described your 'quick mix' YouTube scenario.
I really love the sound of the Blue Note stuff you have discussed in the past. Since we have the benefit of seeing the OP's room, players, mics, etc. here as well - I would really dig hearing your approach to this one.
Old 28th December 2010
  #18
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelThomas View Post
Gosh I love watching music recorded this way. Nothing beats the mojo you get from a big open room thumbsup
Mojo, indeed. Kinda like this... YouTube - I Should Have Known It (Video)

HB
Old 28th December 2010
  #19
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boojum's Avatar
My take: You've got a big beautiful room with a lovely sound. Why not use it?
Old 29th December 2010
  #20
Gear Nut
 

I'd like to hear something between the 2 mix approaches, not so much of the room as the first one, more room than the second one.

Beautiful recording job of some great performances. thumbsup Thanks for posting the utubes.
Old 31st December 2010
  #21
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GZsound's Avatar
Great band and what a great location.

My only comment is that the sax sounded a bit wonky and pretty much took over the band on his stabs and lead. Other than that it was a nice sounding recording.

Great group and obviously very talented..
Old 31st December 2010
  #22
Gear Head
 

good

i think it sounds good, but not great.

people seem to be listening with their eyes and not ears, as the cabin is very beautiful.

the sound is way too dry. maybe because you have too much expensive gear and tried to find a way to use it all.

this type of recording could have sounded a million times better in 1940.

use 2 or 3 mics maximum and don't overthink it.

the sax sounded good, the problem was that in relation to everything else it sounded alive and everything else sounded dead.

a ribbon on that woman's voice is not the way to go, she has a softish voice and you killed some of it.

the bass player is good and his solo couldn't be heard enough.

90 percent of this should have been the singer and her guitar, everything else is just backup. why is that so hard for people to understand... it's always all about the vocalist!!!!!

i think you should look at daniel lanois' techniques. i know he uses more mics than i am suggesting but that is more your intended style, you just don't know it yet.
Old 4th January 2011
  #23
Gear Maniac
 

very cool band!

how to grow a woman from the ground was recorded at sear sound, in a fairly dry and not that large room. it was a great sound, definitely; not everything pops like it could (like the vocals, as mentioned), but still a great, open sound.

the next album they did, as punch brothers, was recorded at legacy, in a much larger and more open room. they had close mics on everything, as well as two overheads way up high (there are some nice pictures in the liner notes). I feel like the sound they got here was better than how to grow a woman; things like the bass and vocals (esp. harmony vocals) really did have the punch and presence that they needed to, but the whole thing had a great sense of space and blend.

I like the second mix way better than the first. the bass sound is better, the vocal sound is better, the electric guitar is more present but still maintains that nice, open airy sound. I'm sure you can get some combination of the two. Sounds like you got a really nice sound out of all the mics. I would probably start with the spot mics on most of the songs (particularly on the bass), and see how the open mics add to the airy, reverberant quality, as well as the tone and sound of each instrument. For some songs where the instrumentalists are playing differently, the blend might change depending on what is brought out by the open and by the close mics.

I'd love to know where that cabin is, and who owns it, and how I could record there too! :D Anyway, happy mixing.

By the way, I'm newly moved to Boston myself- what do you do there? Clearly you work with some cool bands! I'm a bassist, trombonist and engineer (and I used to work for Steve Remote!).
Old 16th June 2011
  #24
The Results!

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you an update on this project. I ended up mixing the tracks on my own. Dave Sinko mastered. We are playing some dates this week...

6/18 - Landhaven B&B in Barto, PA
6/19 - The Purple Fidde in Thomas, WV
6/20 - Ebenezers in DC
6/23 - Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA

Come on out if you're in the area!

I produced an epk for the album too: YouTube - ‪Never Before EPK‬‏

The album will officially be on sale next Thursday (June 23rd). But you can stream the entire record for free starting today! Listen to it here.

I'd love to know what you guys think of the final product!

Thanks!

Alex
Old 16th June 2011
  #25
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcdrum View Post
Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you an update on this project. I ended up mixing the tracks on my own. Dave Sinko mastered. We are playing some dates this week.
...
Thanks!

Alex
I'll have to chat with Mr. Sinko about that...! I owe him several coffees, as it is. I'm fortunate to work with him a couple of times a year. He's fabulous peeps. Will it be available through Amazon or CD Baby?

I just wish I was more in the area for the live gigs. If you haven't already, chat with Dave if you can... he knows live acoustic reinforcement with great mics (see a Punch Brothers show for reference)... and that it's not a malapropism to use those two concepts in the same sentence, or on the same stage.
Old 16th June 2011
  #26
Dave is the best! Yep, it should be up on Amazon and iTunes next week!
Old 16th June 2011
  #27
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boojum's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcdrum View Post
Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to give you an update on this project. I ended up mixing the tracks on my own. Dave Sinko mastered. We are playing some dates this week...

6/18 - Landhaven B&B in Barto, PA
6/19 - The Purple Fidde in Thomas, WV
6/20 - Ebenezers in DC
6/23 - Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA

Come on out if you're in the area!

I produced an epk for the album too: YouTube - ‪Never Before EPK‬‏

The album will officially be on sale next Thursday (June 23rd). But you can stream the entire record for free starting today! Listen to it here.

I'd love to know what you guys think of the final product!

Thanks!

Alex
Aren't you guys hot stuff!! Wonderful album. I am going on-line to buy it. It is wonderful, real, musical and charming. Oh, yeah, I like it.


PS - Is there any way you could be persuaded to post FLAC 8 files rather than MP3 320 for download?? FLAC is lossless.

Last edited by boojum; 16th June 2011 at 08:49 PM.. Reason: download question
Old 16th June 2011
  #28
Thanks so much!

You'll be able to download FLAC files from Bandcamp come June 23rd!
Old 17th June 2011
  #29
Gear Maniac
 
npulsipher's Avatar
Cool stuff! Love the mix too. Congrats!
Old 17th June 2011
  #30
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Nice job; I love the EPK too.
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