Getting The Hang of Hanging Ten

Sooooo… I don’t have any sounds to show you as I suggested I might in my last post. Sorry very much for that. Instead, I will be telling you about my super sterling day in the studio at uni.

A small group of us were tasked with replicating (roughly) the audio of a Hang Ten TV advertisement from the early eighties. You can see the original ad here if you really want to. Anyway, here’s a little run down of what we did along with a few photos.

There were four responsibilities to be fulfilled. They were Producer/s, Tape Operator/s, Studio Engineer/s and Drum Technician/s. Ananda and I were the two Tape Ops. Together, we successfully operated the DAW (Pro Tools in this instance) and mixing desk to make sure signals were coming through at the right levels and all takes were recorded to the producers’ satisfaction. I can be seen below, sitting at the Audient. Below that Ananda is consulting with the producers while at the DAW.

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The only part of the drum kit available to us initially was the snare so before and during the recording process of this single drum we developed the sound when it was struck so it eventually sounded very similar to the snare audible in the advertisement. This process started with tuning the drum to the appropriate key along with experimentation with a tea towel over the top surface to change the sound when it was hit to a softer, more deadened one. The implementation of said tea towel can be seen in the below photograph along with Drum Tech, Ben (I’m not sure what he’s doing).

IMG_0622After one or two takes we resorted to a bit of outboard compression and eventually some EQing using the desk. The whole process ended up taking about three hours which might seem like a long time but it was worth it for the technical knowledge I, along with most others, gained.

After the rest of the drum kit was made available to us the Drum Techs experimented with a few micing positions. Dylan (our ‘facilitator’) eventually suggested to us the Glyn Johns Technique. It turned out to be an extremely effective way to mic the drums, particularly for the sound we were after. The Glyn Johns involves the use of just four mics; one on the kick, one on the snare, one overhead approximately centred over the drum kit and another located to the side of the drummer/drum kit (in this case it was to the right of the drummer). This technique may be visible in the photos below (though they’re not very clear photographs).

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IMG_0628I found it to be an EXTREMELY productive lesson. I learned quite a bit and realised that I’m not as bad at everything as I thought I was. For example, console operation. Though I hadn’t used or been anywhere near the Audient analogue mixing desk before, I found its operation relatively easy to grasp (it’s much the same as Eurodesk, just bigger and prettier).

Today, we only got as far as recording the drums for this tune but tomorrow we have three more hours to work on it! I will provide an update on our progress afterwards!!

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