AE-240 Winter'14
eddie ciletti

updated 9th April'14

Week-9 Jam Band Session

Week-10a: Screaming for your Bass OD

Week-10b: Screaming Guitar Solo

Please also be sure to do the class survey.

Week-1: Introduction and Edit "Chinese Chicken" by Duke Williams and the Extremes

Week-2:  Edit "Dizzy" by Tommy Roe

Week-3: Recording the Blues to4-track

Bass: Evan > P-Bass split > SWR-LA-8, SM-58, Altec 438.
Drums: Kirk > Modified Nady TCM-1150 > Altec-1612
Guitar: Chris > Modified Blues Junior > EV-635a > Neve-1272 with JLM mod
Vocal: Lindsey > AKG D-12 > modified Pultec MB-1 with optical limiter

For more info on the gear

If you feel like mixing is more seance than science - and want help!!!

Patch bay layout - not up to date, not on the floor so it's more visible.

Week-4: Recording and bouncing Justin's Song

Overall, a very productive session!!! A dark and moody piece with tasty and complimentary acoustic instruments captured in 3D with the lovely Stereo Royer Ribbon mic (through a transformerless and experimental great River preamp).  The piece is very dynamic and a bit of a challenge to keep under control.  I have presented both Lindsey's soft and loud mixes as they are different.  We may need to take another shot at the bounce as both of these mixes are bass heavy, plus there are tiems when the vocal is shy of where it needs to be.  Once again, I have applied a simple 4-band compressor-limiter to help tame the bass and enhance. 

Please give a close listen to all of the mixes as I have a very unique way of using multi-band processing.  I highly recommend the ML-4000 above ALL other plugs.  If you have to spend money - buy this one first.  I can teach you how to use the DYN-3 comp / lim, the 7-band EQ and D-Verb so you can get better mixes AND save money.

Also, after class, Lindsey was working in studio-2 and encountered axactly the problems I anticipate with the SSL, so I showed her how to patch around the problem.  PLEASE download and print out the SSL links so we can get a better handle on signal flow and patching.

Quiet Mix
Loud Mix
Raw Mixes
Processed Mixes
Week-5: Flanging, Mixing and Tape Machine Calibration

SUCCESS!  A very good sounding bounce, it played very well in my car on the way home.  Once again, raw and processed versions, listen to both closely and see if you can tell what was done - there was less to be done.

Justin's Song Bounce-2 Raw
Justin's Song Bounce-2 Proc

Our flanging sessin also went very well.  As always your feedback is requested and required. 

Here's a mystery track that Evan will be curious about...

Please also be sure to do the class survey.

Week-6: 24-track mix session in Studio-2

Setting up for the first time created a punch list of things to do for week-7.

  • Make space to connect multi-track to the wall panel
  • Connect the remote to the tape machine
  • Patch the 2-track
  • Assess the monitoring system
  • Mixing Tips
Once everything was setup, we learned what the console can and can't do.  We printed two different mixes to the 2-track.  The primary difference between the two is that bass EQ was applied to the second mix.  The mixes sounded better in the Tech Room than in Studio-2.  They also played well in my car.  Listen for yourselves and include in your report.  I have also included a previous student's mix for comparison.  Each have their strengths and wekanesses.
 Heart Mix-1
Heart Mix-2
Heart-mix 2010

Week-7: 24-track recording session

  • Advance Prep means picking a song and keeping it simple
  • Get the preferred 24-track machine and remote from the closet.
  • 2-inch tape stock should be with the machine along with take sheet and track sheet.
  • No 2-track will be used, but do print a rough mix of the session on the 24 track
  • Patch directly from preamp out to tape machine input as per these fine documents...
SSL Signal Flow from mic through patch bay to monitors
Simple SSL block diagram
  • PLEASE document and email the session - as in - the completel log / story of how the session came to be, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Week-8: 24-track Overdub and FX session

Recvording engineers have the unenviable task of optimizing a mix for a wide range of 'playback systems,' from ear buds to laptops, car and home stereos, clubs and 'decent' headphones.  That is why I wanted to share with you BASS MANAGEMENT FOR ALL FORMATS, because I feel it requires a holistic approach - of understanding acoustics, the ear (its Loudness curves as well as the curves most car and home stereo systems add) and harmonic awareness, of Bass in particular.

I think the track could come alive with some creativ guitar parts, like arrpegios in the verse, rather than just the chord changes.  The reverse vocal FX worked nicely as did Some of the reverse guitar FX. 

After every one had left, I got a chance to listen to the individual tracks and make some EQ and Dynamics choices.  Then the four of us - Lindsey, Chris and Kirk - did mixes you can hear below.  Something that Evan does on the bass (two-note chord?) at the beginning of the track makes it very thick in the 100Hz to 300 Hz range, after which it seems to behave in the mix.   The processed versions try to tame the bass.

I wasn't all that happy with the drums and I hope to be able to show you some tricks that do not require so much EQ and processing.  It's obvious that drums in that small space are challenging - you can hear the low end buildup from inadequate trapping.  The brightness I needed from the snare and the attack I needed from the kick brought too much of the wrong kind of cymbal tone into the mix forcing me to mildly compress and gate them. 

Adding treble after the fact - from tape - only adds more hiss.

There are three options to brightening the snare.  A bottom snare mic being one, putting an old hi-hat cymbal under the snare stand is two and the crotch mic is three.  You can use ANY omni mic in the crotch position and it helps the kick beater.  I always use a kick mic, but never inside the drum.  I do not ever mic the kick drum head - or the beater - perpendicular to the head - this simply generates too much proximity mush.  ANGLED and aimed at the beater works much better.   If there is no front head, a D-112 works really well from the  floor angled up to the beater.

In the future, spend more time getting better sounds and more level to tape.  PLEASE use EQ as a last resort.


Week-9: Jam Band Doesn't Play Little Wing

Here are the four tracks we recorded week-9. 

Kick: akg-414 (omni), Crotch: akg-414 (omni), Snare: SM-57, Hat: EV-664 (cardioide), OH: AKG C:61 (tube)  or AKG 451, Guitar: Cascade Fathead, Room: Royer Stereo Ribbon, Bass: EV RE-20 / SM-58.  All using Trident preamps, no EQ.

The rough mixes were done in the tech room on Week-10 using only mix buss EQ, compression and limiting to CD.  The files ripped from CD then got some global in-the-box- multiband processing. 


Week-10: Screamin' For Your iPAD Bones and Bass

Monday 9th March: Fly In overdubs
Week-10 started early - very early - as in 1AM Monday morning!  I got down to my control room to experiment with Week-7s track 'Screamin' for your Bones.'  I like the track and felt an arrangment could make it better so I whipoped out my iPad and got to work.

I got to IPR about 1:30pm Monday.  Lindsey met me and we completely tuned up the machine - repro-bias and record alignment.  Chris was there as well.  I had bounced out the overdubs to CD - panning the original tracks to one channel and the overdubs to another.  Because the ODs were in stereo, I had to bounce out twice.  Once in the tech shop, I transfered the CD to teh quarter inch and then did two bounces to the multitrack.  Then, due to all the water - and my electronics class - I had to wait until the evening to do a rough mix.  I am pretty happy with the results.  I brought in a cute little 24-channel line mixer and hard pathed an EQ for the kick and EQ foer the Bass.   Sounded good in my car and also at home, so now I feel I can guide you through the final OD and mixing process.  I want to recut the bass and know what needs to be done to each track.

Tuesday 10th March: Bass and Acoustic Overdubs
Austin Jones overdubded bass to improve clarity.  Jordan Yeakey was kind enough to offer his Epiphone Thunderbird Bass, which was DI only into Great River preamp and Summit limiter.  Bass a difference in clarity a focused performance - and recording techniques - cane make.

You might wonder why I offer raw and processed versions of the mix.  It's simple, really, listening with mastering ears - trying to squeeze more out of the mix - helps me to hear deeper into the mix.  If I try to bring clarity to the vocal and it makes the cymbals to bright - or realize the low mids are cloudy,  I go back to the mix with that in mind and make the necessary tweaks.  It has happened over and over again with this track.

Below are the mixes - raw and processed - before and after the Bass Ovwerdub.  Give a listen, let me know what else it might need.   I think it needs 'something' in the bridge - @ 2:17 - whadda y'all think?  Or maybe just edit to 'single' length? vocals?

 Bones (raw)
iPAD Overdubs
Bones (proc)
Screamin' For Your Bass (raw)
Bass and Acoustic ODs
Screamin' For Your Bass (proc)

Until now, I have spared you MANY technical details, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the machines and the process.  I hope you have enjoyed what I like to call ‘the Discipline of Analog,’ a.k.a. learning to be creative within a minimalist construct. We have not really prepared for these sessions, but as musicians, you now know the importance of preparation and pre-production as applied to an ensemble performance. 

So far we have learned to live with four available tracks, embracing the commitment of bouncing all four to one in order to create three available tracks. Now it’s time to Mix!

Here are the steps:

  • Demag: make sure the tape heads – and tools that will touch the heads - have no residual magnetism.
  • Clean: if you want to hear treble, the heads must be free of tape oxide that can shed onto the heads
  • Playback Calibration: a TEST TAPE is your friend. It is ‘Full Track,’ recorded across the full width of the tape.
    • Reference level = 1kHz
    • Course Azimuth = 8kHz (focus for treble)
    • Fine Azimuth = 16kHz 
    • The above HF can be used for Playback EQ, but 10khz is the reference
  • Record Calibration: 
    • Bias is used to minimize distortion
    • Input cal = adjusting the meters for an incoming signal of known level: +4dBu = 1.22 Vrms = 0 VU.
    • Record Level = 1kHz
    • HF Record EQ = 10kHz
    • Low Frequency Calibration: Yes, surprise! Low Freqs are swept from 250 down to 40 hz and the LF playback EQ is adjusted so that the bumps and dips are about equally above and below 0VU.
  • Insert mix buss EQ and compress
  • Get ballpark settings
  • Use reference tones to confirm Left / Right balance.
  • Blend away!