This is a real-time shoot of a prototypical tracking session, with no smoke or mirrors. Going from scratch to a rough mix in an hour or so with mic choices and placements, preamp choices and mic swapping for tone shaping. All steps are explained and commented.
Tracked with Avid ProTools HD|Native, full line of Royer Ribbon mics and Mojave Condenser mics, UA 4-710, UA610, Great River MP2NV, Great River EQ1-NV preamps and eqs as well as Dangerous Music Monitor ST, Dangerous Music Summing and Focal speakers.
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- 00:00 - Start
- 00:0 - Violin
- 02:40 - Upright Bass
Is there any violin player from Indiana with a dry sense of humor in the room? Yes, come on over.
The incredible Clayton Mathews.
Step into your office.
OK. So the violin is a very difficult instrument.
Because it was designed a few hundred years ago before all the technology gave us things like Pro Tools and stuff.
It's an instrument that's very hard to record.
And fortunately, ribbon microphones are just perfect for that.
Would you be kind enough to play us something interesting? Potentially something from the song. Thank you.
So, if you look at the mike placement, the idea here is to be close enough to get the presence because we like to be inside the recording.
But far away enough that you don't get that "ba da Ba da eee" thing that happens when you record violins, most of the time.
The beauty of having a Ribbon microphone like this is that the ribbon smoothes it out.
All those peaks, very well.
Say you're gonna record these parts again. Play these parts again.
- Did you record this? - Just the end.
You're so swift.
Let's do it again. I wanna hear the verse part.
Here we go.
Isn't that fantastic? There's no recording, right? And that is, let me show you, It's a 121 through the 2-610 preamp.
You've heard that ribbons, especially the 121, which is not phantom powered, need a lot of gain. Ribbons need more gain to be able to get to it.
Probably your instinct will be to not use a tube pre-amp because you may get more noise if you put a lot of gain.
Can you play that again? The answer is: do not make assumptions.
Right? So listen to the stuff.
A ribbon through a 2-610 on the violin is heaven.
It just sounds good, you don't have to fight it. It's great.
This 121 sounds particular good on this. Great.
I would like to bring to the stage, potentially an upright player with any kind of sense of humor. It's OK.
Upright is a very difficult instrument to record.
Really difficult instrument to record because it was designed at about the same time as they designed that thing over there.
The violin. It's actually one hell of a big violin.
So big that they just don't use the bow anymore. They just go 'plunk, plunk'.
What we're gonna is, the common sense, is to put the microphone in front of the F holes and make sure that it sounds OK. Let's try...
Wherever you want Meredith, it's your show.
That looks like it will be good.
And what we're going through right now is...
The other side because, remember the beginning, we know from experience from our studio that the 610 sounds really great on bass.
We're gonna put that on the bass right now and listen to how it sounds.
Could you play the part from the verse as soon as Meredith is ready for you? - I'm done. - She's ready, go ahead.
Right? It's not that hard.
If you put the microphone this far away from the bass, what's gonna happen? It's gonna go like this.
'Boom, boom, BRGHOOm, boom'.
Pick your note, one of the notes is gonna stick out because your microphone would be exactly at the resonance level of the bass.
Let's try something else but mark this one down because it sounded pretty rad.
It's a technical term.
- You want further or closer? - Yeah, further. I wanna how it sounds.
OK, did you see that? Can you do a replay on that? The microphone was...
Could you please try a different placement? Yes, that makes a difference.
OK? We are talking about subtle things.
It's not a black magic when you think. It's just like...
Put the microphone there.
Try something else.
And most of the time put it back where it was.
Go ahead, same thing please.
Let's listen and then compare the two of them.
We moved the microphone this much.
Not gonna change the course of modern music.
Let's see what it does.
OK, the first one.
Hear the resonance on that note.
Uhh! That's fat. Can I hear the new one again? Worst resonance.
That top note is unpleasant. Alright.
Let's just switch it back to where it was.
But you might find something different.
We did some experiment where you you have a drumset. I did some experiment, I'm shooting some videos.
If you like what you're learning here, I have a website where you can learn that kind of stuff.
I'll tell you at the end.
We did a video where we put a drumset, we mike the drumset with one microphone.
Then we took a gobo, one big, just a big piece of wood, and moved it two feet to the right of the drumset.
We didn't put it in between the microphone and the drumset, we just took the gobo, put it in the room 2 feet to the right of the drumset.
It changed the snare sound.
It makes you want plant potatoes in Idaho for a living. You know what I mean? I picked Idaho out of nowhere.
OK, we have all that stuff. So, oh my god, we have a band.
So what I'd like to do now is record everything together, but just the first verse.
We'll record a pass of the song in a minute.
I wanna play everybody the bleed from microphone to microphone because you're told that we must isolate everything, everything must be perfectly isolated, in little boxes, otherwise you cannot make a record.
That is not true.
So, go ahead.
Cool. Isn't it nice to hear the song come together? You were wondering, right? So, let's just play that and listen to the room mike.
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Fab Dupont is a Grammy winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of pureMix.net.
Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.
He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.
Fab has been nominated for Grammys 6 times, including two Latin Grammys and has received many other accolades around the world, including Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards and US independent music awards.
Toots And The Maytals