Miss America (Q Hut mix)

August 13, 2013 1:06 PM

The same song I posted a couple of weeks ago, but this time with live everything, including Hammond, drums, and Rhodes. No sims or samples involved... all recorded in the (very reverberant) Quonset hut. Mostly done as an exercise, turned out to be interesting I think.

So... drums are recorded with two overheads, kick and snare mics. No room mic... it was live enough already.
Hammond M3 is into a Leslie 760 and a single condenser.
Rhodes 73 is straight off the harp, direct, with a bit of tremolo.
Electric is Tele into an Egnater Tweaker 40, using a modded MXL ribbon mic.
Bass is going through an Eden metro tube combo and DI'd from there
Acoustics are the resonator mic'd at the bridge and a regular one at the 12th fret.

Anyway, aside from the sloppiness of my drumming and singing, the main lesson is that the real things take up WAY more space in the mix, especially the drums. I guess there's just more info there or something.

Despite this they also seem to be easier to mix.

Overall the mix seems sloppier but more exciting, especially at the end.

It's a lot more challenging overall because you have to play a lot better and there are a lot of things to get right and/or go wrong.

I thinned out the arrangement (lost the Nashville-sounding Tele) because it was all just too busy with the live instruments.

What do you think? I mostly interested in comparisons with the other one.

posted by unSane (6 comments total)

Anyway, aside from the sloppiness of my drumming and singing, the main lesson is that the real things take up WAY more space in the mix, especially the drums. I guess there's just more info there or something.

are you high-passing stuff? sometimes low-end rumble is more of an issue with mic'ed stuff, especially if your mic stands are on a surface that can vibrate... including concrete.
posted by dubold at 4:26 AM on August 14, 2013

mix-wise, there's a kind of "bonk" in the crash, it's a bit overwhelming. Personally, I'd dial that volume back or try and EQ it. Sounds better without the Tele part, i think. You're right about it being busy enough.
posted by dubold at 5:15 AM on August 14, 2013

Yeah, I'm digging the energy here. Even with really great samples and careful programming, it's hard to get the same vibe you can get with live instruments. This has got a feel to it.

I think dubold's point about the cymbals might come down to the OHs just being a little too close, which might be unavoidable in a space as big as this one sounds.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:27 AM on August 14, 2013

Yes, most everything is high-passed except the drums and bass (most of the kick is from the overheads so that's a toughie.

I'm still experimenting with the drum mic set up. I was using the Recorderman arrangement which puts one overhead behind your right shoulder and one above the snare, both at two sticks' length. This puts the latter very close to the crash as Ozzy notes. If I move them back it gets roomier and roomier.

A couple of the crashes are overdubbed though so I can look at that, and the EQ. Maybe split the overheads and treat high and low differently.

This was kind of a dry run for getting my actual drummer in to track some stuff. We may use more mics when we do that for a drier sound.
posted by unSane at 5:35 AM on August 14, 2013

I tinkered around a bit with the mix. I put an envelope shaper on the drums to bring down the room just a tad, and also brought down the overdubbed crashes, which isn't all of them, but most of the egregious ones. See what you think.
posted by unSane at 7:24 AM on August 14, 2013

Okay, so tonight we tried this for the first time as a band. It's just amazing how different it is when other people play the parts and not you. It felt like the whole thing went suddenly 3D or something. I'll try to record the next rehearsal and post it as another iteration of this.

I also played this solo at the Summerfolk festival up in Owen Sound at the weekend, a couple of times in fact. It was interesting that the prechorus ('it ain't easy') and chorus ('I miss you...") are simple enough that people were joining in on the second time through. It's really made me more conscious of simplifying my songwriting... that whole thing of playing something live really amps up the feedback loop sharply
posted by unSane at 8:39 PM on August 21, 2013

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