Back to the Session Notes Index
The Blizzard of '77
For this project, the band wanted to get quality recordings of a number of songs (13, in fact.) We decided that a live, ambient type recording would be fitting, and that everyone would play together, including vocals.
The first thing I did was to tweak the snare drum a bit, to get it to cut through a little more. I did this by tuning the heads tighter, and removing some muting. It's important to remember that step one in any recording is getting the source to sound the way you want it. I mic'd the drums in my standard way, but since he had 4 toms, I ended up using the Sennheiser e604s on the two high toms, and SM57s on the floor toms. I used a sennheiser e609 on the snare, aimed almost across the head, away from the hihat, to reduce bleed. I used my GT44s as overheads, looking in from above the front of the kit. The kick was a D112 out in front, and a Nady dynamic on the beater side.
The guitar was mic'd with a KEL HM1, since he was playing a smallish amp, and I wanted to get a good accurate sound. I ended up pointing it at about a 45 degree angle to the cone, to cut down some bite that was a little too aggresive. The bass was an RE20 on his 4x10 cab. Since we wanted a sort of garage vocal sound, we used the Shure Green Bullet, taped to a stand. It went into a little practice amp they had on hand, which was mic'd with an Oktava MK219, sort of lying in front of the amp, tilted a little, with a packing blanket over the amp and the mic. It still picked up some drums and guitar, so I left that mic on, even when he wasn't singing, as it contributes to the overall sound. Lastly, I put two Oktava MK012s on stands pointing at the far corners of the room, looking up at the area where the walls join the ceiling. This gives a nice smooth room sound, without any transient peaks. It also gives a more diffuse sound because of the three surfaces interacting.
We tracked all 13 songs, with a few takes of each, then picked our favorites. There was some very minor editing here and there, just to corrrect a couple of flubbed notes. We overdubbed a second vocal on a couple of tracks, which I recorded using both the practice amp and the room mics. Mixdown went fast, I did a rough at the end of the day, then did final mixes at home, which I presented to the band via the internet. I didn't do too much, as the basic tracks sounded very good. I added a little reverb to a few things, mostly just for an effect on the vocals, and occasionally the drums. I think the end result is very organic, very live, and a good representation of the band.