So I’ve decided to document my recording sessions with the bands I work with so you can see how I work and how I could put together a live or location audio / video recording that works for you as a solo artist or a band.
Recently I worked with function band ‘Funky Junction‘, a six piece funk and soul band from West Sussex. They wanted some live audio for a promotional video they are putting together. The video will be done at a later date so for this session we were just concentrating on the audio. We did originally talk about recording one of their gigs live but decided that as it was for a promo video we’d get a cleaner recording at their rehearsal place. This would also enable us to do more than one take of tracks if needed.
So we set a date and I met up with the band at Ford Lane Studios just outside Arundel. The first thing I needed to work out was the room and positioning everyone to get the optimal recording environment. I had chatted to the band pre the recording regarding monitoring etc and we decided to monitor a lot of the audio through headphones to minimise as much of the spill as possible and also to enable the singers to hear themselves as much as possible.
This meant I could DI a lot of the instruments ie the bass, keys and guitar. I know DIs don’t often give you the best representation especially with electric guitars but I weighed it up and the benefits of DIing far outweighed having a howling guitar amp in the room.
I miked up the kit and the singers and patched all channels ready for recording. I decided to face the singers at the drum kit. It was a fairly small room (roughly 8 metres squared) so I had to try to isolate their vocals best I could.
Recording is a 2 way process between the band and the engineer and the best results are always achieved when both work together to achieve the same goal. I spoke to Kev from the band after the recording to get an insight as to how the recording went from the bands perspective. Heres what he had to say:
“We needed an Audio recording for an upcoming promo video, so we enlisted Neil’s services
to help us achieve our goal. We booked an afternoon at our local rehearsal space and set up as we usually do at Neil’s suggestion. As we wanted to reduce spill we decided to monitor with cans from a feed on Neil’s desk into my small rack mixer and D.I. the bass keys and guitar. Neil suggested we use SM58’s rather than condenser Mics to further reduce Drum spill which made sense as the room was fairly small and would add to the live vibe we were looking for.
After settling in and checking levels we cracked through about a dozen cover tunes out of our usual set. After a couple of takes we felt we had captured a good selection to choose from. I must admit I didn’t really notice Neil’s presence which is great as he became part of the band during the session.
After about a week Neil sent us fader up mixes so we could give him our feedback on the tunes and check them out on our own music systems.
After a few mixes, we fine tuned them to our requirements and with Neil’s help we got a result – Job done.”
Working together we achieved a really nice live but well polished audio mix to go with their forthcoming video. Have a listen to one of the tracks (below) & let us know what you think by leaving a comment?
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