Studio Project: “Pre-Production” & Recording – Rupert’s Vocals & Electric Guitar

photo 2By week ten all we had left to record in the studio was Rupert’s vocals and electric guitar along with some extra vocal harmonies. We organized with Ant (the keyboardist) to record the keys at his home studio as his schedule was too hectic to come into the studio on campus. So, essentially, we just had to book a long enough studio session for Rupert to do his thing. We booked the Neve for Wednesday 15/4/15 for seven hours from 12pm-7pm. This would be a generous amount of time to get it all done.

We had a brief meeting before reaching the studio that day DSC_0098and somehow confused ourselves as to what miking/DIing arrangement we were going to use. Initially we had it set up so that the guitar amp was miked in the liveroom. We were running well on time until we decided to change it so the amp was DI’d into the desk in the control room (mostly just for the sake of learning how to do it). This proved to be more difficult than anticipated due to the way the back of the Neve is organized but we stuck with the concept, determined to get it all set up before Rupert arrived. I met Rupert out the front of campus and talked him through the plan as well as our set up. He wasn’t so sure about the idea of playing in the control room while listening to his amp through headphones. His reasoning was that it would be easier for him to “rock out” if he and the amp were in the same room. We agreed that this might be the case and wanted him to be comfortable so we reverted back to the original plan.DSC_0074

DSC_0076Part of the original plan was to record electric guitar first just in case something happened and we ran out of time (Rupert might have to lug his amp and two guitars into the studio again which would be understandably annoying and inconvenient for him). However, Matt (the bassist) turned up unexpectedly with a couple of hours to spare suggesting that he might sing some harmonies with Rupert (as they do when they play live). We adapted the plan to first record their harmonies for all five tracks. They prefer to harmonize together live so we put them either side of a C414 with a figure eight polar pattern to best achieve this.

Once harmonies were done, Rupert agreed that he might as well record the main vocals for two of the tracks and do the electric guitar afterwards. We used the C414 again for this but obviously changed it back to the cardioid polar pattern. We’d used this microphone for Pete’s vocals two days prior and were very happy with the result.DSC_0083

We finished all the vocals around 3.30pm and promptly moved onto laying down Rupert’s electric guitar. All five songs were recorded pretty smoothly with a few takes of each and a couple of punch-ins. We wrapped up recording by 5pm. All we had left to do was pack up.DSC_0097

A few lessons were learned by the end of this studio session. Most were very basic, rookie errors such as not having a communication mic set up early enough into the session causing a disconnect between the live room and control room. Another was the fact that we’d used a C414 for communications. This was problematic as, due to its sensitivity, we had to turn down its channel fader whilst recording the electric guitar as it would clip severely. So what would happen is if Rupert finished a take and started talking to us we couldn’t hear him. Luckily one of us would see him trying to communicate and turn the fader back up. I think general group communication is lacking. I learned through the stand up meetings conducted in class a few weeks ago that this is the problem with most of our peers’ group project work. I personally haven’t had a big problem with this in the past though I think that could be due to the caliber of our project itself. We are in trimester four now so have developed our knowledge and abilities to such a degree that our ideas are more complicated meaning there needs to be more communication to work through concepts and planning. I’m guessing good communication is a skill that gets better with experience.

Anyway! Next is the task of recording a live Cattleprod set at Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall. Again, we’ve left planning to the last minute but I’m feeling confident that it’ll be a fun night and everything will run smoothly.

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