Sunday Session 24th Feb 2013

Strange day. Electricity conspired against us. Right at the outset, not one, but two power supplies for effects pedals had bad hair days. Fortunately there’s a fairly well equipped workshop here, 30 minutes and we were up and running.

It was also a 1st semi-serious attempt to record a Sunday Session live while playing myself. (who else he would play?) Seriously though folks .. The Sunday Session are about playing live. Recording isn’t the main aim, with no idea who’s going to turn up, what instrument they’re going to play or through which amp etc or whether I might be required to play to fill in missing instruments and because of the spontaneous nature of the event, record needs to be pressed the moment the action starts.

Gear – PreSonus StudioLive 24.4.2 desk into SONAR X2 Producer – Fujitsu Lifebook – Core I7-2620M CPU @ 2.70GHz 2.70 GHz – 8.00 GB Ram – 64-bit OS – Win 7 Pro.

What was being recorded to hard disk wasn’t being audibly monitored and I didn’t quite get to do a thorough (any) sound check. Instruments weren’t reinforced through the PA.

Didn’t notice the crackling produced in the recording of the electric bass from a flat DI battery, none of which was apparent through the bass amp. Also didn’t notice the bass amp mic had been bumped far too close to the speaker, resulting in that track clipping from start to finish. Both bass tracks were a mess.
I also hadn’t thoroughly checked input levels, EQ, compression on the drum mics at the desk. Heaps of hihat penetrated the top and bottom snare drum mics, toms and L&R cymbal mics. Bass guitar penetrated the kick drum mic due to the bass amp being about six inches off its normal position and on a resonant part of the floor, even though the rig is on wheels. It usually sits directly over a huge 24″ structural RSJ running under the floor.

So it goes. Learn from the mistake of trying to do too much at once … once again. At the end of the day I had a bunch of cr*p. Cr*p in, cr*p out? Decided to try a few experiments with a variety of plug ins just to see how much ‘cr*p in’ could be gotten rid of and how whatever was left might be usable. Tried a couple of Variety of Sound free plug ins. Very classy stuff!

Here’s a snippet of part of a spontaneous jam, with just a touch of editing at the beginning to give it an intro and a lot of EQ/Compression on various frequencies to either squeeze ’em out, bring them up or rebuild a reasonable sound.

Graham Stoney – drums – EQ’d hi hat out of the snare, L&R cymbal tracks with series of Cakewalk’s 4 band parametric EQs and bass out of the kick drum track using same. It’s a plug in that can be extremely tight and exacting. Tweaked the cymbal and snare sounds with Cakewalk’s LP64 Equalizer. Rebuilt kick drum using the same and Variety of Sound ThrillseekerXTC blue.

Final dressing of each track via Sonar ProChannel. Top and bottom snare mics were then bussed together mono. L&R cymbal mics bussed together stereo. Tom mics, same. Then the whole drum kit thru a stereo buss for a final fix, compression and EQ via ProChannel.

Benni Seidel – bass – The mic track was useless. The DI track had intermittent buzzes and crackles all over the place, it sounded like playing with a plectrum (which I didn’t), except it was almost ALL plectrum. Hi-shelfing everything out left only a deep rumble. Surgically EQ’d the errant frequencies out with a series of Cakewalk 4 band parametric EQs, it took eight, each band finely tuned a part of the ‘noise’. Rebuilt what remained with Cakewalk’s LP64 Equalizer and dressed with Variety of Sound TesslaPROmkII & ThrillseekerXTC blue

Zizhi Zhou – guitar/keyboard/vocal/all-through-this-busking-rig – DI’d – It’s a rather sensitive battery driven rig, easily over driven and it was all on one track. Subtracted, boosted & squeezed frequencies to get a little clarity, again using Cakewalk’s 4 band parametric EQs. I could have spent more time here. Maybe another day I’ll look at cloning the track, one for guitar, one for keyboard, one for vocal, then treating and panning each differently.

Nabil Daoud – guitar – Shure SM57 on Nabil’s amp. Although it was here we had power supply problems at the beginning, the recording aspect was the only thing that was anywhere near right. Tiny bit of EQ, compression via Sonar ProChannel

Everything was then pushed through a master buss via iZotope Ozone 5

For the cr*p I started with and the little time and effort, it almost sounds almost OK. Ain’t computers wunnerful?

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About 82A Sunday Sessions

The 82a Sunday Sessions are every Sunday 3:00pm to 7:00pm in a private studio/rehearsal space in Alexandria Sydney Australia The sessions are open to experienced musicians/performers/artists who're interested in collaborating, experimenting, pushing their envelope and critical dialogue in a cross section of performance arts. Music, spoken word, movement etc. The facilities and equipment are provided free to participants. Originality and critical dialogue are encouraged!
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3 Responses to Sunday Session 24th Feb 2013

  1. Amers says:

    Don’t know about that until today, but Benni you still doing a great job

    • Benni says:

      D@mn I clicked ‘publish’ instead of ‘save draft’. Didn’t mean to put it up until everyone had OK’d. Oh well, if you think it’s OK, everyone else thinks it’s OK, so it’s OK :-)

  2. Graham says:

    Good work Benni. Reminds me of that line from Rockin’ the Suburbs by Ben Folds. :-)

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