Asked Re: Choosing the Right Monitors, I answered

(I note that this response was to a fellow traveler looking for monitors under $200, and whether or not to be concerned about lack of room treatment.)

Aiight, I am not a pro but I am a prolific and long-time experienced recordist (read, “old”), with a fairly extensive but low-cost collection of gear in my bedroom studio (“bedio”).

Glad to meetcha.

So, my $1.280 is to do a little research, and seek out used gear. I rely – have for years – on Tannoy PBM 6.5 II monitors, which can be easily found on the Ebog for under US$200. I recall certain KRK’s, Alesis and even Samson speakers being praised in years past, such that 5 or 10 years later might be extremely good buys. (FWIW, I used Optimus 5’s for a long while, and OK results, with cross-references in the car, the home stereo, etc.) I have a pair of Auratones which, while not “nice” to listen to, sure give me good mixes, and I paid far less than your limit. For that matter, I have a $50 Tivoli that I am confident I could use along with a shite stereo boombox and get presentable ruff mixes of the rock stuff I do.

I wouldn’t be too concerned (place any particular greater emphasis) about low-end reproduction in that cross-referencing can help, low-pass filters can help, etc. You can always add a cheap sub later, if you need to get a rough idear of what’s down there … (Hate subs for mixin’, myself, but they come in handy on certain material, such as EDM and even noise/industrial.) Front vs. back vs. no port is something of a matter of preference as well as a dictator of monitor placement (rear port has to be farther off the wall for accuracy), but ports are basically seemingly essential if you want reasonable low end from small monitors and drivers.

Room treatment? Understand that I am speaking of low-budget approaches, entirely un-sanctioned, and from my own particular [lack of] taste and experience. That said, one of the purposes of near-field monitors, and indeed headphones, is to minimize the effect of the room you are in as you go about trying to blow minds. That’s not to say simple issues, such as trying to be in the center of the room (I’m not) and and least 6-12″ off the walls (I get 6″, ahem) should be ignored. The heavy blanket thing may feel useful, but ultimately gets oppressive, and fucking dusty. I do things like open the closet doors, keep lots of pillows on the bed (It is my “bedio”), use sensible volume levels (I like 82db at the listening position, but start much lower and try at least one mix much higher) to maximize that “near” part of “near-field”, toe the speakers and keep them at proper height while trying to keep reflections minimized re the desk, etc. I do have a cuppla bass traps … And like I said above, I change out speakers, and sometimes use headphones (I like Sony MDR 600’s for their imaging and bass exaggeration), and I often drop into mono for multi-track level-checks, as well.

Finally, ” to be able to accurately hear an honest representation of what I have tracked and be able to make the correct mixing decisions” is as much abut experience – particularly including your non-standard listening environment and gear (by what I mean, you are not moving from one expensive pro studio to the next) as it is the room and the gear itself, which latter two things arguably only make things easier/quicker/more repeatable, but not necessarily better.

Or at least so I tell me.

DISCLAIMER: a pot of coffee and the Sunday morning news shows, as well as a slight hang-over and rapidly building heat and humidity, have gone into the drafting of this novella

I mix with olive juice.

Z Vex Vexter Super Dooper 2 in 1

The Super Duper 2in1 is terrific on bass into my recording amp (Ampeg BA 108), it ups the Ampegnessossity.


5 olives.

Some short inexpensive LDC’s& MDC’s for vocals reviews

In answer to a friend’s query:

For a relatively inexpensive MDC or LDC I could easily reco for vocals:

Sterling ST6050 Ocean Way – lots of depth, sounds kinda vintage, sweet top

MXL Genesis FET – brighter than the 6050, not dissimilar

Sennheiser MK4 – very clean, neutral and accurate

Shure KSM27 (MDC) – nicely colored for vocals, fairly neutral, a little bright

ADK A6 – no color, neutral, seems dark because of that

Blue Spark – like a lot of less expensive LDC’s, but cleaner, and has a switchable cap for color

AT 4040 (MDC) – nicely colored, a little bright, accurate, can have some vocal artifacts at times, nice on OH’s

M-Audio Luna – a fave on vocals, very colored, vintage sounding

M-Audio Solaris – multi-pattern version of the Luna -I prefer the Luna, but they are close

CAD GLX 3000 – like a lot of less expensive LDC’s, but cleaner, slightly colored

CAD M179 – accurate, kind of dark, nice on OH’s

Yamaha YC – a short review

As posted at

I write play rock (on guitar, bass vox – keys is for fill-in) , and I need to get some organ sounds going on. I have 3 Casios and a Yamaha, the kind with built in speakers. They do OK cheese, but … I have a nice Yamaha S-03 what sounds great, but is relatively big, needs a stand, is a PITA to program and set up. I have a Microkorg, what sounds like a Korg synth – if you play synth, you know what I mean; organ is possible, but … I have a Arturia Microbrute – oh, what a lucky man, I am. Then I found a good price here on this – all my roots-rock and other organ needs is met. It sounds great with built in leslie (tone, fast, slow), distortion and reverb effects, adjustable attack (the key-hit part of the sound – think B3, and Billy Preston) and drawbars. It has 4 patches to start out, (Yama, Hammond, Vox, etc.) and is about infinitely adjustable. And it’s very portable, 3/4 sized, wall-warted, and it’s almost Nord red. FWIW, I spent a lot of time looking for a case and went with the Gator 21″ (one for the MicroK, also). IMNSFHO, this rules. (Can be heard on the most recent stuff on bandcamp under Vlayman).

My Friday nite recording adventures

So, last night, at the instigation of the drummer, we again did “improv” recording. (I gotta getta better name for that, because they’re really a little more structured.)

In a exchange of emails during the week, he indicated how cool last week’s session was, and let’s do it again.

This time, while I brought my head and bottom, (and my amp and cabinet), I left the bass stuff in the truck, except my Hohner B2B j-style.  Tom had his 30 w. Peavey Classic (what a sweet amp), also, but we never plugged it in. I DI’d and I gotta say, the hi-z input on the Zoom R16 is really, really good, with this bass – I get a very convincing and inspirational grind out of it what rules for monitoring in cans, altho’ I typically re-amp or at least heavily EQ ifd I keep the trax.

I have a cheap Zoom 505 multi-FX and so I had Tom dick wiffit whilst I set up the drum mic’s, what were typical but slightly altered in that there were only 5:
E6502 on kick;
SM57 on snare;
SP C4’s in XY for OH’s (again on that imaginary snare/kick bisexting line opposite the hats)
RE320 looking across the rack toms, pointing at ye olde floor toms

The eighth track on the R16 was a SM58 for yo’s vocal styleeings.

Aiight, and since we agreed to do this as of Thursday, I got up at 8:30 AM Friday (I took the day off already) and by 10:15 I had the lyrics to 5 choons.

1 6-pack Lagunitas IPA – like, yum.

So then, wif me seated behind the recorder and Tom to me right as we faced the kit, we started on each song.  First, we either chose some chords (“Hey, Tom, what’s yer fave 3 chords?”) or used a word (one song as FAGG for the verse) or started witha bass riff inna single chord.  Then I would take a cupopla minnitz to fit the bass to the lyrics, and then we’d write the chorus and whatever bridge.  Going thru the parts we’d work out the derrangement, and also candy-shite like where to  put stops and breakdowns and one choon even opens wif just bass and vocal.

Then we’d do a practice partial-run of the parts.

Then – and half the time the other guys didn’t know – we’d be recording the take. Most were first takes, of 5 we did do two fecund takes.

The results? Mebbe I’ll post a ruff inna while as I have 58 minnitz of 8 tracks I’ve just started on, but, I think, as far as the drums go, stellar.  And that was the idear, to get drum tracks to the songs to what we will in the coming weeks overdub the guitars and the bass and the alleged singing and do all the sweetening  and mixing and masturding, etc.

We have so much stuff with Tom, now, I am gonna publish some tracks of just me and Mark (and a couple with Herr Grankenspoine) as MVx2 separately, and come up with a new project name for this aggregation.

Did I mention we’re having a blast?

Azza aside, we recorded between 6:00 and 10:30, and then sat around until 1:00 AM tellin’ war stories.  thumbsup

carpal diem!


Last night’s jammage and recording a new writing approach

Last night I recorded my drummer OD’ing on a Granx collab (coming atcha later today, G – it’s great!) and also on a MVx2 choon I originally playt to a loop of him.

That tookt about 2 hours because of lotsa BSin’, etc., and I mebbe had me a cuppla 312’s.

We did the OD’s by me having rendered the reference track to mono, and recording the drums on 6 trax (E602 to kick, SM57 on snare, RE320 on floor toms, Perception kick mic on racks, OH’s was SP C1’s in ORTF about 5′ up and 6′ out on the kick/snare axis).

So I left the drums pluggt in and DI’d the guitarist, Tom’s Les Paul thru a blues-driver into a channel and my headless bass into a channel and we jammed straight thru for 28+ minutes with me laying down a riff, the drums catching and then the guitar, going 3-5 minutes, stopping and then me starting a new one.

It was noteworthy because we had nothing written – I just thought up a bass line, figured the tonic for emphasis, and started playing – including changes that I made very obvious by nodding at the band, and showing my hands to Tom.  I could not do what he did – he follered me with very little hesitation, and even less mistakes, he’s that good.

Mark and I have been locking well for at least a year now – it was damn-near seamless.

So we ended up with 6 tracks of drums, plus a bass and guitar track each, in a half hour of improv.

I told the guys the bass and guitar were irrelevant (if fun), that the key thing was to get the drums inna groove for looping and writing to. That said, some of the playing is worthy just because of the interaction.

Anywhat, if ya get the chance to try doing this, do try doing this.

carpal diem!


Vlayman: “All the Drugs”

All the Drugs
c. ’16 Vlayman

Get the cork out,
pour you another
It’s yer favorite way of ducking for cover
Peel the bag open,
make a line
It’s yer favorite way of stacking time

With all the drugs
and all the booze
You hadda know you were gonna lose

Twist the cap off
crackin’ the seal
It’s yer favorite way of numbing how you feel

Draw the stuff up
through the cotton
It’s yer favorite way towards ending forgotten

Drums: Vezina
Basses: IbzA-E_Brick_160_VC3Q
AcGtrs: Martin-EV664-Eurek
Vox: MD421n-VC1Q
LdGtr: Tele-VT60-Sprlux-PM1000(pad)
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.