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Electrical Audio Session w/ Steve Albini, Studio A (photos/info) Condenser Microphones
Old 12th August 2010
  #1
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Thread Starter
Electrical Audio Session w/ Steve Albini, Studio A (photos/info)

Hey gearslutz,

I wanted to share pictures, info and music from my band's recording session @ Electrical Audio w/ Steve Albini. We spent 3 days with Steve cutting a 9 song record in July. The record was done live, with no overdubs except vocals.

Day one we tracked all guitar, bass and drums live.
Day two we tracked vocals and began mixing
Day three we finished vocals and mixed.
Day four, we spent half a day finishing the mixes.

The record is available for free download @ Grandfather - Why I'd Try (320kbps mp3)

or you can go to Grandfather on Bandcamp for FLAC, AAC, and other higher quality audio formats.

Session Photos are up on our facebook page, which have detailed pictures of mic placement: Grandfather on Facebook (Like/Friend/Share Us on Facebook to keep updated w/ shows, news, etc.)


Input List:
All mics through Neotek desk preamp except as noted

Drums (Kentucky)
Bass Drum Front: Beyer M380 -> 1176 Limiter Slow Release, 20:1
Bass Drum Batter: Shure SM98
Snare: Sony C37e -> NTI EQ
Rack Tom: Josephson E22s Top and Bottom
Floor Tom: Josephson E22s Top and Bottom
Overheads: Royer 122 (L&R) -> 1178 Limiter -> GML EQ + 678k + 3726k
M-S Stereo: AKG C24 M.S (0 + ∞) -> Electrical M-S Matrix
Room Ambience: Neumann CMV563 + N55k Capsules (L&R) -> 20ms Stereo Delay
Rimshot: Shure SM98 -> GML Limiter

Bass Guitar (Alcatraz)
Low: Beyer M380 -> Urei LA12 Limiter “Auto” – 3dB
High: Josephson E22s -> John Hardy M2 Preamp -> HPF 280Hz

Electric Guitar (Center Field)
Low: RCA74 (“Junior Velocity”) -> GML Preamp
High: Audio Technica Pro37 -> GML Preamp
Room Ambience: Crown PCC

Vocal (Kentucky facing Center Field)
Main: Neumann U48 -> John Hardy M2 Preamp -> 1176 Fast Release 20:1
Vocal Ambience: Crown PCC -> Expander Keyed to Vocal Mic



The record was completed and brought to Chicago Mastering Service the day after to have mastered to vinyl, digital and CD by Bob Weston. There are also photos of the mastering session on our facebook page.

I'd be happy to answer any questions about the recording. Steve and Bob were both amazing to work with, and we couldn't be happier with the end result.

P.S. Band Equipment List: Grandfather's Equipment List
Old 12th August 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
 

stuff sounds real.

nice.
Old 13th August 2010
  #3
Gear maniac
 
papawhitehead's Avatar
Good stuff man! Great detailed info!
Old 13th August 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
 
matskull's Avatar
 

Nice, really interesting reading, thanks for sharing.
Your band is pretty good, I don't listen to that kind of music often but that's a genre I can really appreciate every now and then, thanks for the music!
Old 13th August 2010
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
bonnybilly's Avatar
 

Sounds amazing man, well done. That's how you do it : record cut in 3 days.

All the best.
Old 13th August 2010
  #6
Gear maniac
 
jlaugh87's Avatar
 

Awesome, I love Steve Albini's work. and Shellac has been one of my favorite bands for a long time!
Old 13th August 2010
  #7
Gear Addict
 
SHIRK's Avatar
Very nice. Love the detailed photos and descriptions. Album sounds really cool.
Old 13th August 2010
  #8
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Plush's Avatar
Made in Chicago, made right!

Nice job!
Old 13th August 2010
  #9
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Thread Starter
thank you.

cutting an album in 3 days is a tremendously intense experience. first, we rehearsed these songs for months to pull it off. we wanted each song to be a full live take from start to finish, no overdubs or punch-ins. if something went wrong, the take was started from scratch.

in the studio, there was essentially NO time to get any perspective on the performances. we had to trust our instincts in the moment and make decisions on the fly. saving 2 or 3 takes of a song, or redoing it later in the session would require us to use more tape, which we couldn't afford.

that being said, while we were @ the mastering session on the 4th day, we finally got perspective, and realized that the pressure of recording in a short amount of time and to tape was good for us. we all have a tendency to over analyze and nitpick, and this method of recording prevented us from doing that. we were much happier with these recordings and performances than anything we have ever done @ our home studio (with limitless time and editing capabilities)

i highly recommend bands recording this way, if it suits your style of music.

also, i highly recommend attending a mastering session with Bob Weston in Chicago, he is genuinely one of the nicest guys around and has extremely good ears.
Old 13th August 2010
  #10
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davet's Avatar
 

The music isn't my cup of tea, but it sure sounds great!!
Performances are right on. Love that ginding bass sound.
Care to share what the bass player uses to get that tone?

Thanks,
DaveT
Old 13th August 2010
  #11
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Thread Starter
As for the bass, pictures of the rig are on the facebook page: Grandfather on Facebook

Vintage 1976 Fender P-Bass into a vintage 1966 Blackface Fender Bassman Amp. The amp was going through 2 1x15 cabinets (Electrical Audio Custom Made) that had EVM-15L speakers in them.

As for pedals the chain is: Boss TU-3 > Crowther Prunes and Custard > Pigtronix Attack/Sustain.

for guitar and drum gear: Grandfather's Equipment List
Old 13th August 2010
  #12
Gear maniac
 

Very cool tunes man!
Loving the guitar & bass tones & the overall
ambiance captured on the recordings.
Hats off for doing it live. Very refreshing!! :-)
Any Toronto dates planned?

Cheers
Sean
Old 13th August 2010
  #13
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davet's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikoo69 View Post
As for the bass, pictures of the rig are on the facebook page: Grandfather on Facebook

Vintage 1976 Fender P-Bass into a vintage 1966 Blackface Fender Bassman Amp. The amp was going through 2 1x15 cabinets (Electrical Audio Custom Made) that had EVM-15L speakers in them.

As for pedals the chain is: Boss TU-3 > Crowther Prunes and Custard > Pigtronix Attack/Sustain.

for guitar and drum gear: Grandfather's Equipment List
I have an active P-bass Deluxe and a 65 Blackface Bassman. I pretty much use the Bassman as a guitar amp. I've tried the Bassman with my bass rig. At low volume it's OK, but once it gets cranked it does that grinding sound. I have a 1 x 15" Ampeg too. Now I'll have start hauling both my bass rigs to gigs now. heh
Thanks,
DaveT
Old 13th August 2010
  #14
Gear maniac
 

Love the solo at the end of the Outcome.
Were you killing your fuzz to get it kacking out or what??
Explain.

Sean
Old 13th August 2010
  #15
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Thread Starter
dave-t: the Bassman was originally my second guitar amp, but we tried it out on bass one rehearsal and fell in love with it. being that I use a 22 watt Deluxe reverb for guitar, the bassman's volume can stay low enough to not sound too ratty, and still fit well in the overall mix. we've tried going back to the ampeg svt-3 he was using, and it felt lifeless in comparison. his P-Bass is passive.

sean (ringwrath): no toronto dates planned yet, though we are looking to tour as much as possible later this year. shoot me a PM and let me know of good venues around Toronto we can contact. Maybe we'll do a Rochester NY/Toronto run soon.

as per the solo at the end of the outcome, that is my fender strat (bridge pickup) > analogman beano boost (mid setting) cranked all the way up into the Deluxe Reverb (volume 5). that's just how the pedal reacts when i play in that register on the guitar. the same exact pedal configuration is on the ending of "it's good enough now", so you can hear what else that tone can do.
Old 13th August 2010
  #16
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kick drums sounds impressive!
Old 13th August 2010
  #17
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Infernal Device's Avatar
 

Where can I buy the vinyl?
Old 13th August 2010
  #18
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Thread Starter
Buy Vinyl and CD Here

We just went to the pressing plant yesterday. The Vinyl and CD should be shipping out in 2 weeks, though feel free to order now.

All the artwork is being handmade. We had rubber stamps made for the images (the CD has 10 different images). Everything will come in a polysleeve to protect the artwork. We are really excited about the physical releases.

all 10 images for the CD can be seen here: Album Art
Old 13th August 2010
  #19
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Infernal Device's Avatar
 

Never mind. Dumb moment on my part. Gonna grab one. It lists all the formats?? I guess the 320k will be cool for download.
Old 13th August 2010
  #20
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Thread Starter
320 kbps is fine, great quality for mp3. FLAC is my preferred method for audiophile quality.
Old 13th August 2010
  #21
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Infernal Device's Avatar
 

Sounds great. I just bought it on vinyl. You guys rock.

You practiced, prepared, went in prepared like a true artist and let the people you hired do their job. You lived in the moment, and trusted you instinct. You offer it for free and make it available on vinyl with hand made art----for TEN BUCKS?!?!

Of course I am gonna buy one.
Old 13th August 2010
  #22
Gear interested
 
muzicalmovement's Avatar
 

Very nice... Excellent mixing as well, all parts in harmony with each other..

worth pressing..
Old 13th August 2010
  #23
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lasso's Avatar
 

Likes!

Old 13th August 2010
  #24
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TurboJets's Avatar
sounds huge, sounds great and you guys freakin' rock.

100% killer recording. Congrats!
Old 13th August 2010
  #25
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matskull's Avatar
 

This morning I put your CD on my ipod after I listened quickly to 2-3 songs before I went to work.
So I listended to it in my headphones at work today and I really enjoyed it, great music that sounds real, I like it, congrat.

I wanted to ask you where I could buy the CD but you already answered that question.

I have a question concerning the guitar tracking/mix.
I work in a noisy warehouse so I couldn't analyse everything, I don't know if you have 1 or 2 guitarist, I'll have to listen again, but it seems to me that most songs only have 1 guitar.
This guitar surely doesn't sound mono though and that's a charateristic that seems to come back again and again from Albini's recording.

How is it achived exactly?
Also, on one of the first song, I can't remember which one, there's a crazy stereo delay on the guitar that's only there a few times in the song, was it going through 2 amps or was it added during the mix? It sounds cool.

Thanks
Old 13th August 2010
  #26
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Thanks for taking to the time to share all this info!
Old 14th August 2010
  #27
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Thread Starter
matskull:

one guitarist, one bassist, one drummer. that is all you are hearing. oh yeah and vocals, which are handled by our drummer (vocals were overdubbed, as tracking them behind the kit would have posed some problems - could be done, but not ideal).

there are no instrumental overdubs, no doubling, so it's always one guitar. no other instruments used at all.

the stereo effect you are hearing is a result of the way the guitar was mic'ed and mixed.



The top Mic is an Audio Technica Pro37 while the bottom mic is an RCA74 "junior velocity" mic. With both guitar and bass, Steve uses 2 close mics, one that captures more of the upper high end (AT), and one that fares better on the low end (RCA). There was also a Crown PCC mic placed on the floor in the middle of the room to pick up ambience. The room the guitar was recorded in was HUGE.

For most of the stereo imaging you are hearing, it's just the mics panned Left and Right. Depending on the song, or arrangement, the ambient mic was brought in to give some more ambience/imaging. the ambient mic may add some delay to the signal as it was at least 20-30 feet away from the amp, and picking up reflections from all around the room.


Old 14th August 2010
  #28
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikoo69 View Post
matskull:

one guitarist, one bassist, one drummer. that is all you are hearing. oh yeah and vocals, which are handled by our drummer (vocals were overdubbed, as tracking them behind the kit would have posed some problems - could be done, but not ideal).

there are no instrumental overdubs, no doubling, so it's always one guitar. no other instruments used at all.

the stereo effect you are hearing is a result of the way the guitar was mic'ed and mixed.


The top Mic is an Audio Technica Pro37 while the bottom mic is an RCA74 "junior velocity" mic. With both guitar and bass, Steve uses 2 close mics, one that captures more of the upper high end (AT), and one that fares better on the low end (RCA). There was also a Crown PCC mic placed on the floor in the middle of the room to pick up ambience. The room the guitar was recorded in was HUGE.

For most of the stereo imaging you are hearing, it's just the mics panned Left and Right. Depending on the song, or arrangement, the ambient mic was brought in to give some more ambience/imaging. the ambient mic may add some delay to the signal as it was at least 20-30 feet away from the amp, and picking up reflections from all around the room.
Nice, I became curious about this when I first heard shellac, than I listended to in utero more closely and realized it was similar, I started to listen to some other stuff Albini did and heard the similarities in its guitar sounds.

I wasn't aware that multiple mics on the same guitar amp and room could be so effective.
Thanks A LOT for those really cool info, good luck with your band, it rocks.
Old 14th August 2010
  #29
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lpkyer's Avatar
 

Thread of the year
Thanks for sharing and great music there
Old 14th August 2010
  #30
Gear Head
Just downloaded the album. Wow, per my taste, one of the most sonically-outstanding rock records I've heard this year. Cool tunes, great performances, and massive sounds!

Props to your bassist on that awesome Lydian theme at the beginning/end of You're Strange. Think I will be buying the vinyl! thumbsup

PS Do you have any plans to come to Providence? I'll be going to school there this year and I would definitely bring some people out to see you.
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