This is the site for music, click here for my blog on other stuff

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Band on a budget - the recording process part 13

I managed to pull a muscle in my back yesterday so instead of being out and about making the most of the good weather I have been sitting here fiddling with knobs- Finbar Saunders eat your heart out.

I've been working on Words still to try and get a bit more separation in the instruments, a bit more lift to the drums and get the vocals a bit more consistent.

Here's where I've got to so far:

Next step will be to work on the bass sound a bit to help it cut through (add a bit of amp simulation to start with I think) and then look at compressing the drums a bit to get a bit more control on them.

Then it's probably going to be a case of parking this one whilst we consider production and other instruments.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Band on a budget - the recording process part 12

Well that was a pain in the arse but it's now done.
Sorted out the guitar parts for Words over the last days or so. Took the 23 takes of the main rhythm guitar part and comped them down to a best section then did some tweaking to line everything up nicely to the drums.
When I was doing the recording I also recorded some supplementary chord work that I've also been sorting the timing out for so dull job done but I think it's shaping up quite well.
Fixed a little error on the main vocal as well by substituting a previous take.
Next job is to lob a High Pass Filter (HPF) across all the channels apart from the kick and bass and do a little EQ and light compression on the acoustic guitars.
After that we're waiting on the other guitar parts and then I need to get everyone over to have a listen and agree a production approach - personally I think a bit of piano would work very nicely so I'll have to see if someone fancies giving it a go.

In the meantime I'll start having a look at the guitars for Northshoremen.

Here's a little screen shot of what I've been working on the recently:

[EDIT] and here's quick render of how it's sounding so far:

Monday, 31 July 2017

Band on a budget - the recording process part 11

Thank you to everyone who's been reading along, especially if you've been emphathising with the guitar tracking issues, so far it has been every bit as challenging as I was expecting.

Sadly however now it all slows down...

I'm back at work tomorrow, so from now on we'll be looking at occasional weekend time and snatched evenings here and there.
We are in a bit of a pause period anyway though, I have one more bit of recording to do (some organ sounds via my guitar pedal) and then it's tidying up the guitar parts and sending all the stems over to the guitarist for him to record his parts. All of which is pretty dull and mechanical really.
The interesting bit really starts again when we've pulled all that lot together, got some basic 'faders-up' mixes for everyone to listen to, and start thinking about how we want to produce the songs.

All of which will have to wait to for a bit, as, dear reader, will you.

Thanks for staying with me this far, I'll be updating again with each bit of progress along the way but it will be far more intermittent.

Because this is the internet, here's a picture of a cat:

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Band on a budget - the recording process part 10

Today was every bit as frustrating as I expected it to be.

It actually started out quite well, I fished the Tascam interface out of the garage along with some more mic stands and cables and set up a rig to try some alternative guitar mic positions.
This was messy...

but if it got me a decent guitar sound then I'd consider it worthwhile.

After further experimentation I ended up with a set up like this:
Two small diaphragm capacitor mics, one pointed around the 12th fret (but low down and pointing slightly up and in) and one pointing at the bottom half of the body behind the bridge (this one about horizontal).
Nothing really surprising there but I have made a couple of tweaks from previous occasions trying this, firstly I've brought the mics in a bit from 12" to about 8", and secondly I've used Omni capsules. This has given me the extra presence of close miking but using the omnis means that they're still capturing a broad swathe of the guitar sound.
Plus a DI from the pick up just in case.
Having tried it with strumming, picking, slappy type stuff and a bit of blues, this will now be my starting set-up for this guitar in this room in future.

And that's where the positive part of the day stopped.

Most of the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to nail the part for Northshoremen. This is quite a tricky part for me and, unlike vocals or some lead parts, it needs to flow all the way through the track. I tried recording the whole thing in one pass but after 7 or 8 tries decided a new strategy was required. So I worked through each section of the song in turn (overlapping the previous sections) until I had a reasonable take of the whole thing.
I have, however, ended up with 29 bloody takes! I'm going to need a spreadsheet to work out the best bits for sticking together.
Bloody horrible and sorting it out will be no more fun.

I rounded off the day trying to rerecord the acoustic parts for Building for the Flood - having listened to the existing parts again I decided I wasn't happy with them.
This went slightly better but as these two songs share very similar chords my fingertips were mush from the first half of the afternoon and I was struggling to fret things properly later on.
I think I have some workable takes though.

Tonight I'm going to head to the pub-quiz and then tomorrow I'll try and tackle Words - this promises to be just as much fun as Northshoremen...
I should really just write some songs I can actually play...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Band on budget - the recording process part 9

Well, that's the vocals done. Pretty happy with what I've got over the last couple of days even if it has taken longer than I'd have liked. Not for technical reasons this time, just because I was knackered this morning and didn't get going 'til lunch time and because of the competition recording yesterday afternoon (which went quite well I think, and I now own a shiny new mic, see below:
We'll give that a spin at the next band practice methinks).

As for the actual vocal recording, that's largely been hassle free. Just a case of setting up to try and minimise room noise, getting the mics aligned to minimise phase issues and then setting levels. Very much stuff I've done before lots of times, the only difference being using the Art pre-amp to try and add a bit of colour - to be frank, I'm not sure it's made a great deal of difference but I'll have a more analytical listen later. There's certainly nothing I'm unhappy with there.

Next up is recording my acoustic guitar parts.
Arguably this should be pretty straightforward as well but there are a couple of complications:
1) a couple of the parts are quite complex, particularly Northshoremen, and
2) I've never really been happy with the recorded sound I've got to date.

So for the rest of this afternoon I'm going to experiment with some different mics and placements to see if I can get something better. I'm pretty certain I should be able to. I can't believe that it's an issue with the kit - no matter how budget my set up, I'm sure it's capable of what I'm looking for.

Right, enough prevaricating, let's crack on.