AUS230 “The Cave” Recording Session

For last weeks session we had recorded “The Cave’s” drum sessions as part of her five track EP. The sessions are divided into different weeks with each week tackling a certain instrumentation and so for week four we were assigned the task of recording bass and drums. However most of the two days were spent solely on drums and the idea of tracking bass is postponed until a further date.

The class were allocated job roles to ensure the session would be evenly distributed. I was assigned the task of bumping in and bumping out which involved the moving in of equipment and also providing and requesting feedback from musicians if everything went smoothly before and after the recording session. Since the equipment was a drum kit there was a lot of heavy lifting for both the drums and the amount of microphones we had to rent out for the session so the bump in crew came early and help hauled the gear in early for the other roles to help setup.

We used a combination of condensers and dynamics  microphones to record each piece of kit. We had primarily setup a list of all the microphones that were involved and labelled them with their respective usage. However after some time in the studio, we had ditched a couple of other microphones or even swapped

The full list can be read below :-

Instrument Mic
Kick In RE20
Kick Beater SM57
Kick Out AT2050
Snare Top 1 Rode M3 (Guy Gray)
Snare Top 1 Shure SM7B
Snare Bottom KM 184
Hi Hat C451
Rack Tom 1 MD421
Rack Tom 2 MD421
Floor Tom MD421
OH Left – Ride Royer 121
OH Right – Hi Hat Royer 121
Room M C414 / Neumann U87
Room S C414 / Neumann U87
Room L Crown PZM
Room R Crown PZM

For microphone placements, we used a variety of stereo and mono recording techniques to record both the ambient and direct sounds of the kit. Most of the directions on mic placements came from Guy as he supervised us all on the distance and also the angles in which he wanted the microphones to be placed.

I was not involved on the operation of the pro-tools session since i was bumping in and setting up the studios for the recording session with guy but the mic-list and mic placement pre-production was integral to get the ball rolling on the recording session. There were also A-B mixes of the percussions to get the right sounds and rhythmic nature of the drums as close to the reference as possible.

By far the most interesting usage of stereo miking was the use of the Blumlein recording technique to capture stereo width within the drum kit itself. The Blumlein was setup in an overhead way and rotated slightly to where the front address was facing the far reaches of the drum kit. We had also built a sound tunnel for the kick drum as Guy had wanted to isolate the kick drum to sound as dry as possible without outside bleed from the plethora of other sounds that would be active at that time. This added an extra thickness and punch to the kick from the other high frequency nature of the genre.

Toward the end of the session, Guy had shown us some post-processing techniques such as parallel compression using the distresor to make the kick and snare more punchier and powerful than the already precise setup we had. He had also talked about phasing and proper use of corelation within stereo mixes to make it mono compatible. Overall i felt both the setting up and the post processing was a great learning outcome for me personally but the process was rather long and tedious and could be more efficient if the sessions were organized before hand with more time for collateral and extra takes due to the indescive nature of the musican.

The Second part of the recording at Tall Poppy Studios

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