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My first post! Help! "Green Music", seriously. DAW Software
Old 2nd September 2007
Here for the gear
kasparhauser's Avatar

My first post! Help! "Green Music", seriously.

Thanks for reading!

I have a challenge: I am short-listed to compose music for a green technologies company. Know much more about composing than I do recording. Usually, I’d compose on my laptop and send them a Sibelius file, get the yay or nay, and then if “yay” have the money to just pay somebody else to record it. But the nature of the assignment is such that the sound is going to be key to whether or not I get the gig. A synthy mockup isn’t going to cut it, so I need to record this “green music” mockup myself, it has to sound decent (but not great) BEFORE I get the money to have it recorded by a genius engineer.

I have lots of time to tinker, but I need NEW GEAR!

The little I have: Protools LE, One AT4050, Two Neumann KM84s, crappy preamps/plugs/reverbs, crappy concrete basement, plenty of fine instruments, mediocre amps.

The music will have an obsessiveness a la Depeche Mode and Philip Glass, but the instruments will be imitating nature, e.g. woodwinds doing bird songs, but again not in a field recording way. Very structured. Besides an electric slide guitar a la “Enjoy the Silence”, and electric bass, everything else'll be acoustic.

The sound: VERY closeup, lots of subtlety, very warm and earthy. Examples of tone: “Red Right Hand” (okay, minus theremin) and “The Weeping Song” by Nick Cave; the drums on “Human Behavior” by Bjork; the way the marimba becomes the heart of “Natural Beauty” by Neil Young; the way the harpsichord acts as a dissolving effect between phrases in baroque music, particularly Handel’s Conterti Grossi. In a word—heady.

Any thoughts on gear? Unfortunately I have no Buena Vista Social Club on hand, so I’ll be recording one track at a time. I am willing to spend for mid to high end. I’m definitely getting some good JBL monitors, and am considering getting an ORAM MWS pre with Earthworks EQTC30 for total transparency to start. Then having something like a Distressor or UAD-1 card to tweak with. Maybe a TC-4000 reverb unit.

Thank you for reading this!
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
John Suitcase's Avatar

I wouldn't obsess over which preamp to get too much, just pick up a stereo pair of anything really good. Spend a little time getting the room right, but again, don't kill it. Sounds like you have decent mics, and decent instruments. Your A/D isn't top shelf, but it'll do. Just pickup a good pre and you'll be fine for now.

And don't obsess over which one, it won't matter that much. Something like the DAV preamps would be great, or whatever, just something that has a good rep, there are lots to choose from.

Good luck!
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
deda's Avatar


You could spend a fortune on equipment and these Gearslutz will be forthright and correct in their recommendations on what type of equipment you'll need to have in your rack plugged in with the lights all on. But from your very explicit explanation of what your looking for you need ''Daniel Lanois" to paint such a musical canvas. I'm not being a smart ass about this it will take technique with said equipment thats rare to know much less learn from the manuals that you'll be collecting along the way. Maybe someone can recommend a Producer/Engineer book that would help you with what you lack, engineering experience for starters, maybe Mixing With Your Mind its suppose to be a hell of a book.
You explain your project beautifully and you seem to have the talent to see the canvas and hear its nuances so good luck with your project and don't go into a bunch of debt is my only other recommendation, regards ,,deda,,
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
leaper's Avatar

Yes..i second the above messages..looks like you already have the equipment necessary to make a success of the project. if you are using pro tools on 002 or M audio pres then it should be fine..001 pres might cause you problems as far as capturing "space" which case i'd suggest an upgrade.
your post gives the feeling that you're in a bit of a panic..relax...relax!
only thing that would concern me is your description of the recording space.
sounds like you don't like it AT ALL! I can't imagine you feeling good about this project if the recording space doesn't do it for you.
so my suggestion would be to record in a space that will have the needed ambience for your project...if that means investing in a laptop and finding an other location rather than buying exotic preamps...then do it. There's a big controlled ambience on these Cave recordings. you can easily capture it with the mics you have. The important thing is that you will be in a space that makes you feel "YES!!!" and that will effortlessly push you to great things.
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear

Thinking outside the box here, and not in reference to ITB vs. OTB discussions: hook up with a talented engineer who is already set-up and give him a cut of the deal.

This type of relationship could become mutually beneficial as you could have access to the means to supply consistently good quality demos for future submissions rather than Sibelius files, and in exchange he/she may offer a better rate for doing the finished product once it is accepted, so you both come out winners in a symbiotic relationship.

Other than than, I agree with the other comments. The gear you have will probably get you where you want to be if used properly. Buying new gear, however, will not necessarily get you farther ahead if you don't have the knowledge to exploit it. You are better off practicing with what you have. Once you know what to do you will be amazed at what you could do with what you already have.
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear
John Suitcase's Avatar

The OP said he wanted to work with an engineer down the road, and described his preamps as 'crappy'. Given those constraints, I think you'll see some real benfit from good preamps. acoustic music is very sensitive to preamps, since the recorded instruments are lower level, so noise does become an issue, also, having fast preamps will help the overall clarity. You may be able to rent or borrow a couple of pre's but even if you buy them, they hold their value better than just about any other gear.

I agree that you'll want to find a great sounding room if possible, but if it's not, just experiment a lot around the house. The biggest problem is that with acoustic instruments, ambient noise becomes an issue. Things like air condition, traffic, refrigerators, etc will all interfere. That's one reason a traditional studio may be appealing.

Good luck, and if anything, you might consider using a professional mix engineer, once you have the tracks sounding close.
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