$vboptions[bbtitle]

Something I recorded and mixed

Geoff738
June 10th, 2011, 02:50 AM
In the 90s! The artist is a guy named Stewart Hooey, from the cd Daughters of America.

But since it is very slow going on the new/my stuff; here's an oldie, but i think a goodie. Tracked in either his house in Hamilton or my condo in Toronto. The good mic was an AT 4033 - that'd be on vocals and acoustic guitars. I shudder to think what was on everything else. 57s for sure. I might've had an SM7 by this time? Maybe? Almost nothing had compression. I had the cheapest dbx thingey - but it just didn't work on his voice at all. At least we had the sense to use our ears and not use it. But still, he gets a little buried at times.

Also, mixed on home stereo equipment. I still have those speakers, and trust them more than my "studio" monitors.

Ok, the vocals are a bit sibilant (mind you, the ballad two tracks later was done at Grant Ave (Dan Lanois' old place) through an M49 and LA2a. I was there when it was tracked - and that was sibilant too.) The hats are too hot (I'm hoping we knew that at the time and did the best we could) and the snare is a bit much.

But ya know, I think it still holds up.

http://www.reverbnation.com/tunepak/3348667

Cheers,
Geoff

woodman
June 10th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Great to hear some of your work!

The "mongo snare" was pretty de rigeur in that era, so that didn't bother me. The hat, well, I like a prominent hat as long as it's not distracting, and this wasn't a busy pattern ... it got pretty rowdy in spots, like the outro instrumental, but then backs down. Mixing live drums is a dog due to bleed, but sounds like you spent some time getting good mike placement.

The sibilance ... well, without compression, it's pretty hard to de-ess without maiming the high end with EQ. So you went with the lesser of evils. Good piece o' work!

LightninMike
June 10th, 2011, 04:02 PM
mixing the drums live winds up being a lesson in gates..... and then it sounds too dry, so you wind up giving some back in the effects..... then it's too wet.... and you gotta then ya..... THAT"S where the fun is.....

BUT: when you find it, you have a smile that lasts all day long

Geoff738
June 10th, 2011, 04:24 PM
Hmmm. We might've de-essed. I know we did sometimes.

This was done on a pair of ADATs. Drums recorded in Stew's dining room. Probably a 57 on the snare and rack tom, the AT kick drum mic on the kick, probably a 57 or 58 wannabe on the floor tom. Crappy non-matched electret condensers on the overs, probably AT 4033 in the room. Not sure if I was still micing the hats at this point or had stopped doing that by then. Most of our drum sounds were pretty anemic, with crappy phasey stuff in the overheads etc. And the drums were recorded waaaaay too hot - so bleed city in every drum mic. (This was a case of setting the levels by eye rather than by ear - and trying to get the levels as close to digital zero without going over. Sometimes without complete success.) Probably a scratch guitar at the same time. And me trying to listen/ set levels in the kitchen. Given that we finally got a drum sound that had some balls, I think we overdid it in the mix.

Can't remember who played the electric guitar on this. The solo is not Stew. Can't remember anything about the bass - doesn't sound like the Sansamp to me. I think some of the tunes we used one of those on. The organ is a real B3 and Leslie. The acoustic guitar is probably Stew's Guild through the AT 4033, which we also used on his vocals. The piano was a clunky upright. We might have used a 57 on there. Can't remember. Recorded through a little Soundcraft board. For outboard there was an Ensoniq DP4, dbx compressor (and possibly eq) and I think there was a Yamaha SPX 90 (?) floating around too.

Mixed on my home stereo, and checked on other systems by mixing to cassette. Glory days!

The mix on this I don't think is the best one we did - but it's not one that I want back either. Listening to this stuff again from a distance, there are definitely a couple of those. This one's a bit thick in the low mids - the guitars are struggling a bit. There are a few spots where compression to even things out would have been a good idea - acoustics particularly, but drums too, bass, vocals. Smaller drums, particularly the snare. The vocals are about a yearning for earlier times - hearing Hank snow on the radio, etc. And I have the snare giving this giant thwack. The piano could come up, and be brighter. I think we tried to bury it because it had a lot of "mechanical" noise if I were to try and mix this today, I might try and make that a "feature". Probably could be a little airier on top as well. Sibilance on the vocals needs to be tamed more as well.

Anyhow, I figured it was about time I put something up on here if I'm gonna spout off about this and that. I was hoping it would be one of mine and perhaps even something from this millennium, but .... whatchagonnado?

Cheers,
Geoff

64Strat
June 11th, 2011, 10:27 AM
To Wood's point..... I don't mind "issues" like snappy snare or hot hat or a bit of sibilance in the vocal if there are other qualities that are overriding them like it being a great song, excellent musicianship, dynamics and so on. I thought overall that was very enjoyable to listen to. And by the way.... I really like AT4033's, I thought the vocal quality was very nice overall. Thanks for sharing that!

Geoff738
June 11th, 2011, 11:15 AM
To Wood's point..... I don't mind "issues" like snappy snare or hot hat or a bit of sibilance in the vocal if there are other qualities that are overriding them like it being a great song, excellent musicianship, dynamics and so on.

Exactly. A great song passionately performed overcomes a lot of technical issues with the recording.

And, I'd rather have an exciting mix rather than a technically perfect one. Sometimes having some of the musical elements out of balance can make for a better, more interesting and involving mix. The song'll tell you if you listen close enough.

Cheers,
Geoff

peteycaster
June 11th, 2011, 07:05 PM
Sounds good from here. It has a nice warm feel to it and drums sounded fine on my computer speakers. The slide fills were great. Liked the song too. Seemed to be pretty well recorded and I would be happy with it had I done it especially given the various locations etc.

Geoff738
June 11th, 2011, 08:23 PM
Sounds good from here. It has a nice warm feel to it and drums sounded fine on my computer speakers. The slide fills were great. Liked the song too. Seemed to be pretty well recorded and I would be happy with it had I done it especially given the various locations etc.

Thanks!

Most of what I know about recording and mixing comes from the recordings Stew and I did of his tunes all those years ago, and a few others I did around that time. We made plenty of mistakes, and the stuff we did towards the end was miles better than the very first stuff we did. (There's a reason I didn't put one of those early mixes up here :lol: Go hunt down the cd if you wanna hear 'em!) But it taught me a lot, and one of those lessons was that decent, even very good sounding, recordings can be done with fairly minimal equipment, in houses, apartments etc. Sometimes. I also learned that rooms really matter. Some early stuff was done in small, bright rooms. A suburban bedroom with no furniture in etc. You can really hear the sound of that room in the tunes we recorded there - and it isn't a pretty sound.

And, mixed on a home stereo. I also happen to think that decent monitors are critical, but on the right home speaker, that isn't overly hyped - it can be done. (Remember that NS10s were originally marketed as home stereo speakers).

Cheers,
Geoff

Geoff738
June 11th, 2011, 11:17 PM
Found my notes for this.

Some funny/scary stuff.

Recorded in Jan/ Feb 1998. Not sure how much later we mixed it. Probably fairly soon after.

Lead vocal was the SM7. Very surprised by this. Sounds good though. Shoulda used it on everything!

It looks like we recorded the piano in stereo and then ditched one of the tracks to add another acoustic guitar.

The cymbal swells off the top (a late in the process overdub played with mallets - for some reason I distinctly remember that. Recorded in my living room), backing vox and the guitar solo/fills are all on the same track!!! No wonder under fader moves it has one word: lots. I couldn't make this stuff up.

Toms and kick are gated and compressed. Surprised. I don't think we did that much, if at all. But, apparently we did. At least on this. Lead vocal is compressed on the way in. No mention of de-essing, but that doesn't mean we didn't. But I'm guessing not.

Apparently we ran the snare through an ART Tube preamp at some point. Not sure if we recorded with it or sent it via an aux. Looks like we tracked with it.

There was a (inaudible to me now) multitap delay (on lead and backing vocal, piano and the electric rhythm guitar) - no settings recorded (????); a "large room" with a decay time of 0.74s (that, I wrote down) on acoustic, piano, electric fills, snare and toms; and a 2.15 sec hall on lead and back vocals, cymbal swell, piano and toms.

No drastic eq - not much more than 3 or 4 db here or there. Except kik and snare. Both had a ton of upper mid "definition" added - @ 2.7 khz on the kik (we had major problems getting definition out of that kick); and 3.6 on the snare. Also, quite a bit of stuff @ 400- 450 was sucked out of the kick, and overheads (although not apparently the snare). The hat was miced. Dunno with what. I only wrote down the mic for the lead vocal.

Big advantage of doing this in the computer is it keeps track of all this stuff for you (until you go out of the box).

Listening to it again, the B3 is just a touch (and a half maybe) too prominent. Take down its level and maybe scoop a bit out of the low mids to give a bit of space for the electric rhythm guitar, compress the bass to tighten it up (sounding a little wooly and pitchy in spots to me) and a couple other little things. And we're in business. I do like where the vocal is sitting on this. I'll pat myself on the back for that, I guess. 95% of the way there maybe on this mix.

It would be interesting to drag the tapes out and (if I could find a functioning ADAT) try and remix it. Not that I'm going to. I just wonder how the mixes would compare. They'd no doubt be different. I'd like to think I could turn in a better mix today - I certainly have more gear. But, there's a lot of rust.

Anyhow, a fun stroll down memory lane for me. Hope you enjoyed it too.

Cheers,
Geoff

Geoff738
June 12th, 2011, 01:09 AM
OK. Added one more tune from that era. http://www.reverbnation.com/tunepak/3350443

Quite different. A ballad. Fretless bass. I might have played some of the percussion. Or not.

Anyhow, this one sounded way better than I remembered. Don't love the verb on the vocal. There's always something!

Cheers,
Geoff

woodman
June 12th, 2011, 07:41 PM
Man, really like "Adrienne." But what's the deal with the kick? Conscious decision to underplay it?

Geoff738
June 12th, 2011, 07:49 PM
Man, really like "Adrienne." But what's the deal with the kick? Conscious decision to underplay it?

No kick. All hand percussion - congas. Recorded in stereo! Why we did some of the things we did, I do not really know. Some of the other percussion is actually drum machine. I tried to get Stew to credit me with playing electric guero or whatever it was. I'm gonna hafta go check now and see whether he did. (Edit: Nope - just listed as "percussion".)

Vocal is SM7 again. Acoustic recorded in stereo (AT 4033 and cheap electret condenser). History does not recall how we miced up the congas.

Cheers,
Geoff

String Tree
June 14th, 2011, 01:17 PM
Nice work Geoff. Nice Mojo if I do say so myself.

Those AT 4033's were all the rage when they came out.
Whodda thunk that a Phonograph Needle manufacturer could make such a nice condenser Mic on their first try!

Geoff738
June 14th, 2011, 01:34 PM
Those AT 4033's were all the rage when they came out.
Whodda thunk that a Phonograph Needle manufacturer could make such a nice condenser Mic on their first try!

Yeah, the 4033 was the first "affordable" quality LDC (although technically more of a mid-sized). Sort of the poor man's 414 at the time. Really, the only other things out there were the 414 and the Neumanns - especially the 87. Of course, there were a few others, and those in the know were craftily scooping up the old tube Neumanns, Telefunkens etc on the cheap. That boat has sailed!

Cheers,
Geoff

woodman
June 14th, 2011, 04:03 PM
Yeah, a U87 would come in handy about now!

Geoff738
June 15th, 2011, 12:26 AM
Yeah, a U87 would come in handy about now!

And then there was the inevitable backlash - 87s are crap thing that seemed to be de rigeur on the recording forums a few years back.

If anybody out there wants to send me theirs, I'd gladly accept it.

Cheers,
Geoff

woodman
June 15th, 2011, 09:12 AM
I've heard the modern-manufacture ones don't compare to the vintage ones, but, hmmm ... where have I heard that line before? :razz:

I'll never forget the first time I heard myself through a U87 through headphones in a "real" studio ... it sounded like the voice of god! Of course I was disabused of that notion when the engineer started chewing my ass about mike distance.

String Tree
June 16th, 2011, 01:55 AM
I've heard the modern-manufacture ones don't compare to the vintage ones, but, hmmm ... where have I heard that line before? :razz:

I'll never forget the first time I heard myself through a U87 through headphones in a "real" studio ... it sounded like the voice of god! Of course I was disabused of that notion when the engineer started chewing my ass about mike distance.

Me too.
It was the first time I had ever heard my voice sound like me.

Geoff738
June 16th, 2011, 02:12 AM
Me too.
It was the first time I had ever heard my voice sound like me.

I don't want - EVER - my voice to sound like me. Neither do you.

Anyhow, after tracking and mixing Stew on a whack of stuff with my prosumer gear, it was a kick in the garbles to hear what he sounded like in a pro studio through a vintage Neumann M49 tube mic. No word of a lie, his vocals through that (and an La2a) sounded more like him than he did in real life. Or bigger/ smoother anyways. I remember commenting that it sounded just like him, but more so.

Anyhow, this is not to denigrate my signal chain at the time. Good results can be had with it (listen to the links above and you can agree or disagree). It is certainly not to denigrate the U87 - ST, if it works for you, use it. You would not be the first! It is merely to point out that if you ever get the chance to use an M49 in good nick, I encourage you to try it!

Cheers,
GEoff