Actually, this is a sample
4 track recording from last week of AE-237 Electronics Class using student-built
SONG: Strange & Beautiful
SONG: Save Tonight
live recording, bounced to mono consisted of the following ingedients:
Tape Stock: 3M 226 @ 15 IPS, 3dB over
250nWb/m, IEC EQ
drums (Mark): EV-635 A to Altec-1612
preamp / mixer / compressor
Vocal (Matt): EV-664 to modified
Pultec MB-1 preamp (with optical limiter) purposefully at the edge of distortion
Acoutsic Guitar (Luke):
sounding DI output through VF-13 student preamp (Matt's)
Bass (Jordan): Taken direct
through Altec 438
Week-3: Eagle-Eye Cherry
Overdubs on bounce
The Acoustic GTR was purposefully mixed low
so that a better recording could be had after the bounce
Mixing and Tape Machine Calibration
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
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
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.
Our first 24-itrack session was attanded
by Kevin, Mark and Matt with Chris P sitting in. The recording was
a cover version of Sly
Stone's "If you want me to Stay" that was recorded live. The
mix was very simple - not even 16 tracks were used - with Matt handling
the 2-track, chris P running the multitrack. Kevin massaged the majority
of the mix. At about halfway through, Mark and Kevin worked together.
We used Studio-3 as a live reverb chamber,
using an Aux Send to drive a powered monitor and a pair of KM-184s to capture.
We recorded these two mics to track 17 & 18, taking advantage of the
distance between the multitrack's record and play head to create 'pre-delay.
Week-7: Tracking Session
Trident Console with INPUT SELECT in MIC
mode. Preamp out via insert Send to Tape machine (this apprently
included the EQ in the record path, tho none was used). Tape machine
was connected to the channel strip via Insert Return. Stereo mix
was routed pre master fader via Mix Buss Insert Sent to dbx 160XT to the
Otari 2-track recording at 7 1/2 ips, 3dB over 250 nWb/m IEC EQ to unknown,
NOS 3M tape.
Talkback was via Aux send 4/5 to Furman
headphone amp to Mackie powered monitor with a ground lift.
to me, the mackie monitors are a little screechy - coudl be reflection
I think we have some vocal overdubs to
As noted below, there were 6 deliberate
rough mixes, plus 'bonus' tracks - live session stereo recordings.
Week-8: Mix Session
A very organized session with more details
to come about patching (stereo mix buss insert), mix buss compressor (dbx160XT)
and monitor EQ.
Week-9: Band Session
Everyone was a bit more preapred for Taylor's
band, early arrival was much appreciated and setup went fairly smoothly.
Communication was lacking a bit, as Taylor was holding back and the band
wasn't quite fully connecting due to monitoring issues. My original
email suggested setting up both talkback / floor monitors and then migrating
to headphones for the vocalists.
There is an overall fear of Phantom Power,
which under normal circumstances is invisible to Dynamic Mics, coil and
ribbon. You are taught to have a healthy dose of respect for Ribbon
Mics, and rightly so, as they are generally expensive and repair costs
are to be avoided. Phantom Power
Cleanup after the session went very well.
Luke started the rough mix and when I returned, Zacque assumed the position.
Zach's mix was burned to CD and then I took a crack at it. Both versions
are included here, both raw and processed, so you can gain some insights
into the power of Mastering.