Thursday, February 17, 2011

RPM Challenge Day 12

The big day arrives to track at the studio, we have the whole day to ourselves, and the whole day is reserved just for tracking the Indie song Troy finished writing earlier in the week.  We arrived at the studio early enough to get a good start on the day's progress.

Going in we could tell something was looming overhead, we'd made a lot of progress without any real issues, as if we were having too much good luck on our progress thus far.  We quickly tracked the electric guitars to the demo track we had done earlier. 
Troy took a few runs through tracking and we experimented with the ideas for the sound we wanted to achieve.  Double tracking with two different guitars and pushing different sounds through and playing with panning ideas for editing and mixing later were critical notes we established early on in the day to stay consistent with the "vision". 
After guitars we moved to drums.  While we discussed what setup we wanted, I mentioned I've been wanting to experiment with a unique mic selection for overheads in mid/side for this track that might sound really cool. 
We went out to set up our mics and get the drums together.  I started setting up overheads and Troy brought out the rest.
In addition to the overhead selection we tried out a wide setup for room mics, and 3 mics on the kick to go for a really fat and thumpy sound.
We got all the mics set up and were underway until the point where we had to get levels and settings dialed into the preamps.  The first sign of trouble was that our overheads weren't getting any signal at first.
Our very first problem started manifesting with our patching as we'd been moving a lot of stuff around in the patch bays trying to get the order of things we wanted.  The next issue that came up was running clean enough power to the tube condenser mic I wanted to use on the overheads.

Due to our unique location's design we had to run a large extension cable into the drum booth to get power to the power amp for the microphone.  Even with the extension plugged into power conditioners it still caused too much noise in the line to use. 
We dropped the mid/side idea and ended up with just a single overhead mic, and it sounded beautiful all on it's own!  The room mics ended up playing more of a role in the mix.

Then something more serious came up.  Our whole morning seemed shot as we had to deal with the issue of one of our mic pre's misbehaving.  While Troy's had this particular preamp for almost a year we have never really had to use it until now, and that's where the trouble began.

Troy called one of our friends at our local Guitar Center where he bought the preamp from, and tried to see what we could do on it, while we tested it out. We even took it out of the patch bay and tried running direct. 

After a 25 minute call we ended up closing up shop for a side trip to Guitar Center, with the broken down pre
After a bit of waiting around and discussing options on what could be done, we got rid of the defunct mic preamp and walked out with a lovely new one from Universal Audio.  Troy says he's been wanting this one for years, and now he has it. 
We got back to the studio quick and plugged and patched in the new preamp to get back to tracking.
With the new preamp up and running and everything set up and ready to track we resumed the drum track.  Troy went on a few takes for the drums being as they were a simple enough beat to keep in time with and not a whole lot of fill work for the style. 

We tracked through the drums with a few hiccups in recording.  We still ended up with a great take and amazing sounding drums even unmixed.  Up next to finish off the track: Bass.

Troy decided to go back and clean up some of the guitars so we dialed in a sound on the amp and the preamp to sound warm and toasty! 
With so much stress from losing time and taking care of random issues throughout the day, we stopped production and decided to resume tomorrow.

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