Notes on “I Don’t Wanna See”

So I get over to The Shenstone Space where we jam and record and set up the mic’s – Krister’s kit is already up.  We run a 58 to the snare and put the E602 in thge kick.  I hang the RE320, what I am also liking on vox, over the floor tom.  Now, I do like the sound of the tom innit, but damn, there’s lotsa bleed.  I gotta rethink that, altho’ it came in handy on the ride (see below).  I just bought a new multi-mic-mount, not so I can mount 6 mic’s, but so I can 90-degree the OH’s (SP C5’s).  So I do, about Krister’s head height, about 3′ out, snare centered (more on that below).  Finally, I hang my un-modded MXL144 ribbon (the modded one stays home for guitars) about 5′ up (because we got 7′ ceilings, 6′ where the duct work is) and 10′ out, with the back facing a open concrete-floor & wall 10’x20′ room – we want the Bonham option, y’know.

And so we jam for about 3 hours, so long that I run outta SD card (8 gigs!) on the R16…  We missed the last take of the fifth, (yes, 5th!) song we wrote in session.

One of ’em is “I Don’t Wanna See”, what is drums, bass and vocal, all recorded live.  To be sure, I edited a fair amount at the mid-point breakdown, just to tighten it.  But the vocal is unedited, me, sitting, singing into a ’57 as we jam.  That’s how it started, a jam.  Now, I do like to keep a mic up just for cues and such; it’s just this is the first time I improv’d a vocal, also.

So, next day at Fetacentralrecording Drinx, Daycare & Laundry I mixed down the drums, continuing over to today (working onna number of things, and living life, too, believe it or not.)  Now, alla my beayatchin’ about the bleed in the floor-tom mic (RE320) doesn’t acknowledge how handy that bleed became here.  Krister did lotsa ride work, and so I smashed the be-jaysus (with the Blockfish plug-in) outta that track, and did a little high-pass to bring the ride.  Panning it to 9:30 or so, tho’, threw the kick offa center, what I adjusted with the room mic panned about 12:05 right.  The actual kick and snare tracks (only about 10 snare hits in the whole tune!) were then used to balance the image within the OH tracks.  That is to say, on this particular track, I used a lot of the OH, more than I usually do, as it is mostly kick and cymbals.  What is to say, my typical approach usually ends up building on the snare and kick tracks, altho’ it’s not set in stone.

Aiight, so after getting the drums mixed, and at the same time, I worked on the bass track, what was mostly 4:1 elctro-type compression, some pass-filtering, and limiting.  I confess I hadda move about 5 or ten notes to line up on the drums; we did have a little problem with the beat getting turned around, what is why there is a breakdown – make a mistake?  No such thing – make it musical!

At this point I did a little work on the vocal, cleaning it up, some hand-pasted delays (“mirror”, and at the end) and put on two compressors, first a electro at 4:1, then a opto at &:1 with a delay patch; I love chaining compressors, even in software.  The voc is also pass-filtered.

That done I laid off the acoustic guitar tracks with my 30+ y.o. Ibanez and 15 y.o Washburn.  The outside tracks of each guitar’s stereo pair is a Shure BG2.1 panned full.  The inside tracks are also BG2.1 and panned opposite-side 10:00 and 2:00, except when the vocals come in they are panned same-side 10:00 and 2:00; the idear is to open a hole for the vocals.  Note that when they are fully stereo they sound almost chorused.  I did no EQ or effects on these guitars other than the panning.

The last track is the (hopefully) ethereal lead.  I used a old Fernandes Sustainor into my Marshall, mic’d with a modded MXL144 into a Eureka pre, and then I added a big reverb to it.

My mixes now start thru Autratones in mono, and then I spread ’em out on the Tannoy’s.

My psuedo-mastering typically, and here, consists of a high-pass filter and limiting.

Aiighty, I hope ya listen and diggit; note there is a link below to a slideshow with a few relevant pics.

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