Quite a few people have asked how I record the Sunday Session, what mics, how many takes, software etc etc
It’s live: one take, often there’s no discussion about what is going to be played. No overdubs, no samples, nothing added, only subtracted from the mix. Mostly channels are recorded fairly flat, with a tweak to the tops, especially on vintage ribbon mics. A bit of a roll off on the bass end to get rid of whoofs & rumble.
Is basically a large room in an artists warehouse/living space. It’s not sound proofed, there no baffles, no partitions, no booths and it has a tin roof. If it rains, it’s great for … well, recording rain on a tin roof!
There’s no separate control room, so it’s like being at a live gig in a very small club or pub
Everything: is close miked & first thru a PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 – 24 channel digital mixer then thru a firewire to the recording computer;
Fujitsu Lifebook SH761: at the moment. Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) J7-2620M. CPU: @ 2.70GHz 2.70 GHz. RAM: 8.00 GB. Operating System: 64-bit / Windows 7. With nothing else running (clean boot), it handles 24 tracks @ 48,000 Hz 16 bit
Recording Software/Daw: Sonar X2 Producer, Sound Forge 10, iZotope Ozone 5.
Plugins: some from Sonar, some from Sound Forge and a few from Variety of Sound (Free and extremely nice)
From the Presonus: there’s a stereo send to a 1970 Jands JM10 12 Channel Analogue mixer to the PA FOH with a touch of reverb added via a Digitec DSP128 processor. The FOH acts as the main foldback for vocals and acoustic instruments only, no guitar amps, bass, keyboards or drums. Because it’s a small space/venue this is adequate for the players and/or an audience. Another stereo send goes to a secondary foldback system, two speakers either side of the players. It carries mono vocals & acoustic instruments and a slight touch of keyboards & guitar amps to the opposite sides of the setup so everyone can hear each other.
The PA/FOH: 2 x 15″ JBL 2 way enclosures powered by a Behringer iNUKE NU3000 – Stereo 880 Watts per side
Secondary foldback: 2 x 12″ x 2 way enclosures at the back of the setup powered by an Amcron Micro-Tech 1200 – Stereo 480 Watts per side. There’s also a small powered mono monitor for the drummer.
Drum Kit: Close miked. Bass drum 1 x Sennheiser e602-II. Main snare is a 1930’s Premiere double snare 2 x SM57 one on top, one underneath). Tom Toms 3 x SM57. Timbalis & Drouyn Marching Snare share 1 x SM57. HiHat and Piccolo snare share 1 x SM57. Cymbals 2 x (Matched Pair) Rode NT55 positioned overhead & close.
Congas & shakers: 1 x Behringer C-2
Bass: Via a DI. Keyboard: Via a DI.
Guitar cabinets: Vox AC30 – 1 x SM57, Roland JC120 – 1 x 1952 Riem 230 Mignon Ribbon, Fender Princeton DSP65 – 1 x 1960s Shure 330 Uni-Ron Ribbon Ribbons are via Triton FetHeads
Sax/Brass: 1 x Sennheiser MD 421-II
Vocals: 2 x Beyerdynamic M500 Ribbons (matched pair) thru Triton FetHeads, 1 x Sennheiser e835, 4 x Shure SM58’s
All vocal mics have foam covers which cuts down on ‘popping’ ‘p’s, ‘b’s and the whoof of the ‘w’s in ‘when/what/why’. Also easy to clean after each use.
Also have: a variety of DI’s and other mics .. full list of gear
Mixing process: un-necessary frequencies are most often taken out and because the room is live, there’s spill. Again this is subtracted via EQ leaving only what’s required to define the character of each instrument or voice. The tracks are then edited, cut down, getting rid of glaring mistakes and really boring bits before position/panning & reverb/effects on each channel if necessary and a mix down. The mixed track is copied two or three times. One copy is kept, the others are used for mastering versions. These are all kept in the one DAW file as separate tracks. A copy of the raw mix is exported as a high quality .wav file, so if the DAW file is lost or corrupted there’s still a copy of the semi finished track
Mastering: Usually left for a few days before mastering with Sound Forge 10 & iZotope Ozone 5. This is done via Sonar X2 so the mastered tracks stay in the same DAW file. Again, the mastered tracks are exported as high quality .wav files in case the DAW file is lost or corrupted.
Next mastering session I’ll render some samples for here.
Distribution: MP3 by Lame via the DAW