For this first blog of 2020, I’m going to be talking about a current recording project I am working on. A few days before the end of the year, I had two full days of recording a great punk band that I am now in the process of mixing an album for! I’ll be talking about the set up I used for recording them for this month’s blog and mixing the album on my next blog.
To start, I want to talk a little about the album. It’s a 16 song album. The genre is garage/punk. We only had two days to this 16 song album, and guess what… WE DID IT! Everyone did a great job of executing their parts and staying focused (including myself). Since we had two days to record 16 songs, you’re probably thinking that we live tracked the album- and you’re right! Personally- that’s my favorite way to record, but I know not all music really calls for that *particular* recording process.
On the first day of recording, we captured drums + bass. We kept some of the guitars we used and doubled them on the second day of recording, but we’ll get to that later. For drums- lately, I’ve been straying away from the *less* is more mentality. I’ve been close mic-ing more of the kit. I ran into some trouble with a couple of my own projects by choosing not to mic certain things, and trying to use the overheads or the room to capture them, but ran into trouble when the mixing engineer didn’t have proper control over the things that I chose to not mic. On that note, if you’re also straying away from the less is more mindset, CHECK PHASE! The more mics you have up, the more the likelihood of phase happening! Anyways, we got GREAT drums tones on that first day of tracking. Now for the bass, it was very simple. I just captured a DI and put one dynamic microphone on the isolated bass amp. It was beefy, yet clean, and now I have two great tones to work with in mixing.
On the second day of recording, we knocked out guitars, vocals, and harmonies. We worked the whole day through. The first thing we started on was guitars. We re-recorded some of the songs we did the day before, and if we didn’t we doubled the guitars (for a wider stereo image) and added more layers of tone, etc. For the guitars, I mic’d with one dynamic, and one condenser (sm7b, and a Mojave 201fet). I placed each mic on two different speakers in the cab. We got a great tone out of this setup.
For vocals, it was very simple! I used a microphone I wouldn’t typically use for recording vocals, but it worked for this style. I used a Sm7B and used the Universal Audio 610 for the pre-amp. We doubled the choruses, and depending on the song…sometimes we’d double the whole song. After recording the main vocals, the bass player recording harmonies. For the harmonies, I used a CM7. I wanted these vocals to sound more airy and lighter than the main vocals. I wanted the main vocals to have grit, and these to counteract it, and I believe we achieved that pretty well.
As I’m going into the mixing process for this album- I’ll be taking notes along the way of techniques, plug-ins, and other things I’d like to share with you on my next blog. Until then everyone!
Virginia Haladyna is a musician, songwriter, performer, and freelance recording engineer based out of Austin, Texas. Upon graduating from The Recording Conservatory of Austin, she went on to intern and worked out of the world-class Orb Recording Studios. She has recorded two full-length albums, EPs, and multiple singles for local Austin bands. As well as recording other artists, Virginia records and mixes her band Happy, Hollow. She’s assisted sessions alongside established musicians, producers, and engineers the last four years and plans to continue honing her craft for many more.