Recording and mixing Funk House Bands

Mix 1 –                                                            Recorded musicians –

Vocals – Maya S                                                Guitars – Kyle W, Luke D

Guitar – Luis V                                                Bass – Mike B

Bass – Mike B

Drums – Ben W

 

In the previous months my tech group and I had recorded multi track recordings of the musicians on the performance course, we were given a MIDI track called “Funk house” and had to get the musicians to play to a click track whilst keeping the song structure, on the first day we our guitarist Luke who thankfully already had ideas and the song structure down so we only have to worry about the technical aspects of things. Luke joined us in the control room by plugging directly into the mixing desk of studio two. Meanwhile in the recording room we had placed a Peavey Bandit 112 guitar amp and hooked it to a DI-box, which then gets its signal through Aux D, which is where the guitarist is plugged into the control room. And the DI’s output was routed to input 1 on multicore.

 

 

 

Here’s a channel list as well as reasons why we picked the equipment below although, I will mention these microphones were chosen for its sound pressure level, our conclusion was that the snare is the loudest instrument in the studio and a common mic used for it is the Shure SM57. So we compared all the mics Max SPL in comparison with the SM57 and chose the ones with higher or equivalent levels keeping in mind the sound we are looking for.

Equipment Input How & Why it was used
DI Box Input 1 Guitar – Aux D – DI – AMP, see above for details.
Shure SM58 Input 3 On axis back of amp, picks up more bass frequencies in back, for its cardioid pattern.
Sontronics Orpheus Input 4 Room mic to capture natural reverb of room. Omni directional pattern used.
CAD M179 Input 5 On axis in front of amp, has a -20 dB pad that helps when signal is too loud. Set the pattern to cardioid but has Omni & bidirectional patterns. +4dB boost around 14Khz and two more boosts around 3 – 8 KHz, which is great for guitar recording.
Click track Input 14 Tempo reference
Playback L & R Inputs 15, 16 Playback

The CAD M179 Frequency Response and its pickup patterns:

m179

 

Mike’s Recording Session

 

Equipment Input How & Why it was used
Line out from Amp, Ampeg BA115 Input 1 So that it can be modified later. Plugged into channel 1 on multicore. Was a grounded DI signal
Audix D6 Input 3 Cardioid pattern, crisp bass response with good mid range. Added padding -30dB as it was peaking. Freq response peak at 35Hz – 80Hz. Freqs from 90-Hz – 600Hz are attenuated so it reduces “boominess”.
Click, playback L, R Ins 14, 15, 16 Tempo reference and playback.

Audix D6 Frequency Response and Pickup patterns,

audix_d6_polar

 

Kyle’s Recording Session

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Equipment Input How & Why it was used
DI Box Input 1 Guitar – Aux D – DI – AMP, see above for details.
Shure SM58 Input 3 On axis back of amp, picks up more bass frequencies in back, used for its cardioid pattern.
Sontronics Orpheus Input 4 Room mic to capture natural reverb of room. Omni directional pattern used.
Rhode NT2A Input 5 On axis in front of amp, max SPL is higher than SM57 so withholds more amplitude.
Click track Input 14 Tempo reference
Wah Pedal Plugged into amp then DI, stopped towards the end due to pedal making squeak noises and showed up on recording

 

 

 

NT2-A_Technical_Graph

Headphone Mixes (Studio 2)

Musician Auxiliary Notes
Luke DI in Control room’s headphone amp On Mix A so it can playback on faders. Click sent to Mix A So we are able to adjust volumes without interference with musicians mix.
Mike Aux 1 pre-fader
Kyle Aux 1 pre-fader

In the recording session we had the luxury of exploring playlists and therefore, used this method to our advantage by looping the record button in P-T, meaning our musicians we able to sit tight in the studio and continuously perform until the take was perfect. For my mix I began by opening a session with the original MIDI session in P-T and along with all the session data and its markers, tempo and tracks. We did similar things with the other two musicians but they played in the live room instead of DI in the studio room.

 

I began exploring the glory of playlists and it’s convenience in being able to select parts of the song I find most interesting without cluttering my edit window with new tracks as I was able to just toggle between waveform and playlists view in just one click. I carefully listened to every track to find the best takes by toggling between “solo” and listening to the whole mix, listening to the whole mix takes priority as this is what the audience will listen to, spending too much time in solo and then the mix can sometimes be counter intuitive once you’ve set your soloed track’s effects and levels as it may not blend in with the whole mix.

 

Behold Playlists…

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Some tracks that have been replaced with better takes…

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P-T allows you to easily add other takes in without deleting the original partfrom the image above, by highlighting a part you want and then clicking on the arrow pointing up, it does all the hard work of copying and pasting and then getting it on the same time position as the original.

 

The Drums

I had ample drum takes but a lot of them were incomplete or spoilt in some way particularly take 3 and 7 and end of 1. Take 1 will be my original/final as it was the first take taken and the most energetic as well as blending with the tune. I panned the overheads to the left and right channels for the stereo effect. I comp’d take 7 at 1:01 mark for its superior drum fill. I lowered the volume by splitting the part at 1:22 with CMD + E and lowered the internal fader as, the cymbal clipped and I didn’t want to lose further volume on the overall click.

 

The Bass

For the bass I chose the original track for its smooth funky freshness of its consistent and fret buzz free playing. However, I did comp the 0:31 & 0:44 sections as the note slides were smoother and had not buzzing. The bass was record on axis with an Audix D6 as it had a good bass response. The DI that was used had a high pitched buzz and was quite prominent so I used a Low pass filter around 4KHz on the EQ and cut the noise without sacrificing tone. It worked out well with a bass rich tone.

 

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The Guitar

There were three takes for the guitar and to my surprise I noticed immediately part of the second track was a harmony track. I added this to a new track and cut out bits that were contradicting the main track with silence. I panned the two tracks left and right and at slightly different volumes with the harmony track I added a pinch of distortion with the Eleven Free plug-in. For the guitar solo I muted the right channel whilst the left plays and then halfway un muted it and muted the left thus ending up with an epic solo that sounds as though two guitarists were playing.

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The Vocals

Lastly I comp’d the most interesting sections for the vocals however, with the volume loud enough I could hear bleed coming from the singers headphones she was wearing at the time, adding a gate solved my issues and by ensuring the release and attack is short you wont be able to hear it when there’s no vocals. I had my De-Esser set to 7KHz which is where the S sounds are.

 

The gate used…

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The De-Esser…

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The end result for the first band mix…

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Mix 2

Vocals – Glen S

Guitar – Connor A

Bass – Mike B

Drums – Ben W

 

For this mix I kept the same drum and bass sessions as my last mix to save time, same as before I imported the session data and added them to new tracks. I followed the same procedure again and comp’d the best bits, I muted sections that were near silent for best results.  Balanced the entire mix as best I could without any clipping of tracks, With the vocals there were plenty of takes so I decided to add another vocal track that is a harmony. I got the left and right vocals to pan left and right around the middle of the song by simply muting sections on one track then the other. Now my time mixing Funky music has come to an end for now, I should be posting about my Tech band soon so keep checking for updates. Once completed I bounced the files to a disc as 16bit 44.1KHz, interleaved .wav file.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 11.01.58

I also normalized my guitar track to increase the overall volume

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