Recent Studio Time, A Reflection

In the last couple of weeks Zoe, Wyatt and I have been working hard recording our artist in order to get a completed product worthy of professional release, our portfolios and our end of tri projects. We have learnt a number of value life lessons and improved on some hard and soft skills over the last couple of weeks as a result!

This blog will pretty much outline my last couple of sessions, especially last nights (25/07/18)! Overall, we’ve been trying to achieve a very raw, heart on your sleeve type vibe with our artist. Her songs are really deep and come from a place of emotion and issues that she’s dealt with throughout her lifetime. Because the sessions are so raw and there are only a couple of instruments in each track, we’ve been really trying to build up her comfortableness and confidence with us and in each session in order to get the best performance out of her during recording. A big part of this has also been trying to get the best recording possible. So we’ve been applying a few different techniques in order to get a great feeling. I wrote a blog detailing some of this pretty heavily in a blog last week, but I feel like I didn’t completely explain the reasoning behind our setup and wanted to do so. Basically, because everything we’ve setup is in order to get the most sound as possible. In most sessions, we have had 5 mics total on a single guitar, set up as in this picture:

Screenshot at Jul 19 16-53-58

We have a mic on the 12 fret to get a bit more of the chord change sounds and harmonics. Things seem to resonate really well around that area of the guitar and allows for some really quite clear, nice sounding tones around the mid-high band of frequencies. We also place a mic on the body of the guitar to get a bit more of the low-mid section, as this part of the guitar will give the mix a bit more bass and low end that a track with only two instruments won’t have usually. We’ve also setup a pair of NT5s as room mics/overheads. These are capturing a bit more of the room sound and catching some natural reverb from the room and guitar. These mics tend to make the guitar sound a little bit out of phase so we have been fixing this both in post and during the recording stage to try and get the fullest possible guitar sound. We also set up 1 mic over the artists shoulder and pretty much next to her ear. At the end of the day, the best sound is usually what the artist is hearing, so putting a mic there to capture that sound gives us yet another option to play around with and adds some more tones and frequencies to the mix.

As well as learning and researching various mic techniques for this project, consistently being in studios has increased my confidence significantly in the use of Pro Tools as well as signal flow and use of desks for recording and mixing. Before this project, I have been using the studios rather sporadically, however, now I’ve begun using multiple studios weekly in order to hone my skills and create better work while I have the access.

I’ve also gained some experience dealing with some crappy people in the last week! Unfortunately, a couple of students/artists were jamming overly loud and being fairly inconsiderate in a studio close to ours which bled into our recordings, it’s a long story I can’t really be bothered explaining in depth, however this application of my problem solving skills, communication and dealing with others has shown me that I handled the situation rather well, despite still having room for improvement.

Anyway, we are now into the last couple of sessions before the mixing stage of the artist’s songs. We have recorded 2 songs in their entirety and are halfway through a 3rd, so should be able to get 4 songs completely recorded by the end of next week. The deadline for the whole project is week 12, which is approaching at an alarming rate, so completely mixing and mastering will also be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Thanks for reading this little update! More to come soon.

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