Over my time using the studio and preparing for the recording of my final track, I feel so much more confident with a lot of the technicalities of recording, mixing and mastering and feel more confident in the terminology used and in my ability.
Having had a lot of time in the studio previous to my final track recording, I knew what mics I wanted to use to record the upright. I set up 6 different mics for the recording:
I tried AB, XY and Mid Side set ups with the following mics:
-AB – Rode NT3
-XY – Neumann KM 184 x2
-Mid Side – AKG C414 x2 – one mic (omni or cardioid) facing front of sound source – one mic (figure-8) at 90degree angle to other mic facing sides of sound source
As I was mostly playing the piano in the middle, I made sure I positioned the mics over the middle range of the piano rather than the high and low octaves.
I learnt how to set up the Mid Side technique properly with 3 channels in my pro tools session. I created two tracks for my mid side mic set to figure 8 pattern. I added an EQ plug in to the first, turning on phase inversion and then copied the same EQ plug in to the other figure 8 track, but this time bypassing the phase inversion. I then panned the two channels – far left and far right.
I recorded a few takes of the piano and then listened back to them. I also made a midi recording using the Roland in the studio as a backup in case anything was wrong with the piano recordings. In my final recording I used the AB mics merged with the Mid Side as I felt they held nice detail but also a full bodied ambient sound of the upright.
I knew exactly what vocal mics I wanted to record on having had my time to experiment in the studio previously. I used a Shure SM58 mic to record my main vocals (see mic experimentation blog post for more detail) and the Electro-Voice RE20 to record my harmonies and improvisation as I was singing a lot of falsetto and gentle high vocals which I felt sounded nicer through the RE20 than the SM58.
Having listened back to the vocal and piano recordings I was very happy but wanted to create more depth to my track and so recorded some midi synth parts & other instrumentation such as bells. I used the BOOM plug ins to create some simple drum sounds and the Xpand!2 plug in to create some of my own sounds.
When mixing, I wanted to create a bubble of random patterns with samples but I also wanted to create a soft vocal with a lot of reverb. This was not to try and hide certain parts of my vocal or ‘just because’, as I was pleased with my final vocal recording. It was so I could create a scope of atmospheric layers that coherently intertwined with my instrumentation to engulf the listener into a certain state. I did however, need to make sure that my vocals punched through the mix enough to still stand out, rather than be overtaken by the rest going on. It took me a while to get this right but after applying a bus reverb for the two main vocals and a compression bus for all the samples, I feel I got a good balance. I’m really happy with my final track and how much I have progressed over this module, but I would love to spend some more time mastering my final track to get it to where I want it to be.