AUD210 Week 3: Studio Roles
Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lateness of this post, but for the last few weeks I have looked like this…
…And thus, typing has been a no-no. Sorry.
For the first session in the studio working on our Sound-A-Like project, Tighten Up by The Black Keys, we tracked drums. We were working under the guidance of our lecturer Tom Glover, who was great as always and very helpful and informative but also let us find our own feet and experiment too. On the drums, we were graced with the very talented Ryan, who was both professional, friendly, and more than capable to perform the track as required. Because the original track was not recorded to a click, I spent some time beforehand creating a tempo map on our session in preparation for the day. Ryan was able to play along with a blend of the original audio, and the customised click track. Needless to say, we were very lucky to have him.
For this first session, I was given the job of being one of two runners. We had the view that during our tracking sessions, the runners would be a kind of jack-of-all-trades, filling in anywhere that needed an extra pair of hands. This worked out well, as we were a couple of people short on the day, so I ended up taking on the role of microphone assistant, along with Sahil. I was really happy to jump on this, as it was the first time I have had the opportunity to set up microphones for drums recording.
I had previously done some research into drum recording techniques, through Lynda and various other online resources, and felt that this put me in good stead for the job. I found it really interesting to note the difference in sound between changes in microphone placement. For instance, gaining or removing ‘ringing’ from the toms by favouring the outside or centre of the drum skin. We also did a lot of work to replicate the sound of the original track, by noting the large amount of room sound present. We actioned this by using three overhead microphones, and three room microphones placed strategically around the space. This gave us lots of options for the mixing process. Overall, in terms of the microphone placement, I feel like we did quite well to replicate the sound of The Black Keys, though there were of course some things that we could improve on.
Although overall the session was a success, I feel like we could’ve done some more preparation for the day. Specifically, I feel like we didn’t pay enough attention to the tune of the drums on the track. We spent no time discussing this with our player, and afterwards, it was notably different in our version. The other area for improvement was perhaps the communication between the control room and the recording space. At times, it was hard to know if what we were doing in the recording space was having a positive effect or not, because there wasn’t enough communication between the two rooms.
These, as I said, were only small areas of improvement, and I do feel overall that we executed a successful recording session, getting great results for our project, and learning a lot about the process of recording drums.