Audio setup & inventory (Part 2)

Posted: December 7, 2011 in Audio Editing, Cover Videos, Instruments, Music & Slice
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 

In this second part, I will go over the studio gear, not that this is a long list because it isn’t but I can get a bit deeper with some of the gear here specially in the setup part. In this post I will cover the third category, that’s where we start to enter my domain. When I say studio please don’t get me wrong this is not a studio it is not even a bedroom studio it is a basement rig that does the functions for all the recording, in the closest to decent way we can afford and manage.

One of the most important things in a studio is the layout and recording rooms and we have one that is definitely in the book of how it should not be done. I don’t think that describing the basement is of any bodies interest but as an indicator it is made of tile floor, cement walls and celling, it is a long and wide open space full of ambience reverb and resonance. This is very bad because it bleeds into the mic’s and there for to the recordings. So we have the room against us in every way possible. Later on this post I will explain how we have tried to address this problem.

Next is the fact that the basement is not this use exclusively and at this time I have a rack with 3 servers running 24/7 an these machines have big fans an are tremendously loud. This forces us to find solutions in order to isolate the sound, good enough the servers run hum in a narrow range of frequencies, so they can be removed or cleaned out with a Noise Gate and EQ in the mix down.    

Third handy cap is the equipment it’s self. We have a XENYX X1222USB Behringer mixer, not that this is a bad piece of gear but it was not designed for recording it is more appropriate for PA mixing  http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/X1222USB.aspx. It is a very versatile console and we are getting the best out of it. It does provide a nice USB interface with the PC where we do the recordings. But we are limited to a stereo mix output for recording. This is limiting in the sense that we record as many as 4 mic’s simultaneously and a stereo DI coming from the preamp. This adds up to a total of up to 6 channels, that have to be mixed before recording and allow no room for may changes once recorded. It would be nice to be able to record all 6 channels on different tracks and edit them during mix down.

BEHRINGER XENYX X1222USB

Also the recording PC is a Toshiba Protrege R400 laptop with 4Gb Ram but only 2 USB ports. So it is also far from best.

We are using 2 different mic’s in the recording 3 of witch are Behringer XM 1800S this is not the all-time preferred SM57 Sure but it is clean tight and once you get to know it, you can capture grate sound with it. I also use a Sennheiser e815S that is also a dynamic Cardioid type but this mike is a bit darker than the Behringer But also very flexible   

BEHRINGER ULTRAVOICE XM1800S      

During recording we run the monitor and line back to Slice from an other console this is a Acoustic Control DJ-1500 it is a really old analogue DJ desk that we only use to mix the raw audio and the original track for Slice to have the reference. Not a great piece of HW but it is more than what we need we could be using the main consoles monitor or aux to provide the monitor source.  

DSC01694

Slice uses the Panasonic RP HTF 600 headphones for monitoring they provide a good range and have a decent noise reduction padding. these are not professional but are budget safe.

RP-HTF600

If you are still asking your self how we have gotten around the issues of the server ambient, and the room conditions well here is a little explanation. We built a booth around the amps & mic’s to isolate as much of the problem as possible. Using special isolation foam we built a 4 piece housing that contains the gear that is producing and receiving the sound that is being recorded it is not a perfect Isolation or not even near to an anemometric chamber, but it provides more than 30db attenuation form the outside. eliminating most of the reverb and resonance of the room, and shielding most of the server hum. This brings the noise level down bellow minimums & makes it easier to process later with a noise gate and remove the undesired sound. It is a home made booth but we get a dry & clean sound that can be later treated to provide ambience and all the rest of enhancements it may need.      

DSC01594  DSC01600

This is the opposite of elegant but it does the trick and turns a horrible recording location in to something workable.

Ok lets talk about the setup. it is very straight forward and simple, From the Preamp & Effect rig we come out Stereo with two lines directly in to the amplifiers. Also 2 Balanced lines in stereo leave the preamp and are directed as DI straight into the main mixing console.

From each of the two amps we have set up a pair of mics each one is positions closer to the cone outer rim to get a darker and thicker body. The other is set to be closer to the dust cap but not exactly centred, to get a more crystal response and more sparkle. Both amps are using the clean channel and we use very little reverb at this stage, it would be very hard to fix later if our choice where wrong. We do set some gain on the different amps to get a bit of the bite and feel of each one to bring in a better stereo image and also a richer sound spectrum. the mic’s go straight in to the console where we match all the gain structures and add some inline compression at 3:1 ratio with a fairly high threshold.  We also apply a High Pass Filter to remove all the possible rumble and some of the hum from the servers. the two mic’s from the Marshall are panned full right while the to mic’s from the Orange are panned full left. the two direct lines are spaced out 75% left and right according to the amp settings.

image

On the console we adjust the levels of the mix depending on the song and the sound we need we may even have to rearrange mic’s and amp settings and EQ but we try to keep the EQ as neutral as possible, therefor on the console we do not adjust anything so we have more headroom during mix down. every thing is checked for phase issues and when we are ready we send the mix to the Laptop via the USB interface and record it there using a DAW that I will cover in the next post.

Finally, the monitoring is done by an external console that receives the mix form slice’s performance using the monitor aux send and mixing it with the original track that he is covering played back on an Mp3 player. received by slice in his earphone. I can also use this system with an other mic as a talkback channel.

See part 1 to view the amps and instrument equipment.

Once again thanks for reading my blog and I really hope that you enjoyed it.

Ian.

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