Recording - (Documentary on a song)

  • Quentin Harley
Posted: Mon, 07/28/2008 - 19:28
We have been chatting away so much on how to get the tools going, and (almost) nothing on what we are doing with the tools... Decided I'll document a session - let's call it a documentary on a song (hopefully for fun) Why this one? Because I have absolutely no idea what to expect from this. This coming Wednesday I am doing a promo for a upstart girls band - don't know what they call themselves yet. Well, they say that word of mouth is the best advert you can place - and this is just a bit of in the mouth while things are a bit quieter. Anyway, the session will be at a local church, and will include piano, keyboard, guitar and vocals at least, and perhaps drums and bass... in a venue with a strange sideways roof, and a resulting sideways reverb. Where to start! At least there is a large isolation room (the mothers room) which is quite soundproof, and relatively anechoic. The band apparently plays well together, but I don't know if they ever had a real studio experience - so it will be Jam and divide & conquer. (I hope) I'm just going to pack in every last piece of recording equipment I have, and we'll see More after the first session... ETA 45hrs


  • Quentin Harley
  • 05/24/07
  • Wed, 07/30/2008 - 21:58

When I got there it was quiet as a mouse. No one there. No doors open. Tried the number, but it was a land line, and no answer.

45min later. They have just arrived! Great. 15min to set up... not.

The setup: 1 (electrical) piano, 1 (broken) steel string guital, 2 voices and lastly, nothing else.
Piece of cake.

Hurdle #1
The church has 3 snakes running to the stage area, where the recording of the piano will take place. Those snakes are connected to a large live desk, and fitted to the cabinet. Do I want to remove the desk? No.

Hurdle #2
The "isolation" room I wanted to use has acoustics similar the that of a tin out-house

Hurdle #3
The other room with suitable acoustics is back stage... very far away from where I have to set up my rig.

After extending the cables I needed from the snake, I have the following signals available:

2x piano (stereo output)
1x Guitar plugged
1x Dynamic Mic (for prelim vocals)
2x Phantom powered condenser mics (omni)
1x Midi output from Piano

Tracking the session was done in the following way.

The song has a very dynamic tempo, and they did not like the click track, so I recorded the guitar in isolation with the condensers, and the piano on the stereo outputs.
Vocals was then added, and afterwards backing vocals, also recorded using the condensers.
Using the same piano they added some strings to the bridge.
(Always sound easier afterwards)

Midi recorded using Rosegarden, and audio using Ardour.

Next: Mixing - the difference between ordinary and, well, not ordinary...