For the recording in my FMP, I decided against the traditional way of getting a band or artist in to record a song, so instead I decided to sample my instruments in using Logic’s EXS24 Sampler. The reason I chose this is because I find it easier as an artist to write and draw things in and listen to it coming together and whether or not pieces fit together.
For my sampled drum kit I decided on using just the Kick, Snare and Hi Hat. I only used these 3 because I knew in the grand scheme of things I would only use these 3, as I’m not a big fan of drums being dominant in my own tracks. Earlier in my career of being a North West Kent student I blogged on how to record and set up a drum kit so I won’t go into too much detail, I will just state the basics and anything I did differently. Please refer to “I Will Drum All Babes” for more details. I didn’t use the two overhead pencil microphones at all as I was only doing single hits so I didn’t deem them to be necessary. For the hi hat, I used the SM57 and positioned it just above the hi hat so as I would get a good sound from the hit. When it came to the snare, I recorded it with two microphones, one for the top and one for the underneath. For on top I used the SM57 again and positioned it above it with the head facing toward the centre of the snare. Then for the underneath I used the SM58 and again positioned it toward the centre, however a bit further away. When it came to the kick drum I wanted a deeper, fuller sound, with oomph from the air coming through in the low end. So, through the top of the kick drum I fed the microphone through and left it dangling inside of the kick close to the base. Also, when EQing the kick drum I gave a bit more low end than normal to add to the effect I was looking for.
Not only did I want the straight up clap using the Neumann microphone, but I also wanted to add a more stereo effect to make it seem more full. So in the live room I set it up so as the clapper would stand in front of the Neumann but there would also be the two pencil microphones above them, one to the left and one to the right. When coming to putting it into the sampler I panned the left pencil to the left and the right pencil to the right, then just keeping the Neumann in the middle and bouncing all 3 of them down together.
The ukulele was a little bit different, as I wanted a loop as well as a single hit. The recording process, however, was completed the same for both samples. The way I did so was to just simply set up the Neumann and have it positioned to the body of the ukulele when being played. Note, that I recorded 2 hits however the seconded sounded pretty awful due to someone who shall not be named, let’s just say he’s a bit slow, decided to normalize so all could hear was the hit and then very loud background noise.
This again was a simple one. I set up the Neumann so as it was directed at the hit as I wanted a strong prominent hit. There was however a ring to it so when it came to the EQ I decided to give it a lower high end and make the hit around 2k hertz more projecting. This was not normalized as it was done by someone a bit smarter than the guy before so the xylophone came out sounding quite good.
The guitar is similar to the ukulele; in the way I wanted a body sound from the body. So again I set up the Neumann with it positioned to face the body of the guitar but I also set up an SM58 near the fret. Seeing as the chord wouldn’t change, it seems unnecessary, however I wanted to experiment with what it would sound like picking up the resonation but not directly behind the Neumann. However, experimentation isn’t always successful as I found out it didn’t really add anything to the sound.
Electric Guitar & Bass
Seeing as these two are electrical instruments I needed to record them with an amp or put them through a pre-amp. I decided on the latter and put them through the Mesa. I then messed around with the Mesa touching its knobs and what not to trying to get the cleanest sound I could for the both of them. When it came to recording them I recorded a single hit and also a chord for the electric guitar and then with the bass I decided to get 2 hits with one being an octave higher than the other.
When it comes to recording some instruments it’s hard to vary the technique when all they really need is just a microphone in front of it, non the less I’m spicing things up in the bedroom and changing things up a bit by changing the microphone. Goodness. So, instead of using the Neumann I decided to use the SE microphone. With this new and exciting microphone I recorded the following in a similar fashion of just playing it toward the head of microphone: Recorder, Mbira, Stylophone, Harmonica, Accordion and Whistle. I will state however, when recording the wind instruments, (Harmonica, Recorder and Whistle) I had to take a stand further away as they were a lot louder than my other instruments and it was clipping in Logic.
Miscellaneous part. II
I did record some other instruments that never made it into the final mix of my tracks, so what I’m about to say is a Timothy Bird exclusive. The first one being a cowbell, the reason I didn’t chose this as part of my percussion is because I didn’t really feel like it went with a lot, with the type of sound I was going for it just sounded a bit of sync with the feel of the track. I recorded the cowbell by again being boring and using the Neumann centred in front of the cowbell when hit. The second instrument to not make it was the zephyr, I originally intended it to be in there as I knew it would fit well in the track, however it was out of tune and when trying to get it into tune through Logic I could never get it quite right and it would fit with one melody but not another one so sadly the dream of having a cool zephyr in my track left with half the money. The recording process for the zephyr was another boring job with again the Neumann being centred to the zephyr hit. The last and most interesting instrument to be sent to the fires with Qui Gon Jin and Jim Carrey’s career is the vuvuzela. The reasoning behind this is because you couldn’t get the thing in tune as it changes note throughout the playing of it. I then thought about whether or not it could be used as an FX in the track, although it was plausible it just wouldn’t sit well in the track and I knew I’d be getting complaints about how much of a wasteman the vuvuzela is from the other instruments. The way I recorded the vuvuzela is a little bit more exciting, although admittedly still not that exciting. I set up a Neumann microphone close to the vuvuzela and a pencil microphone further away so as it would sound fuller and when bouncing down I would bounce them down together.
I don’t believe in vocals.