This blog is part a series of entries from inside the production mind of Audio Production & Engineering Associate Program Chair Kevin Bowe. Kevin will detail the audio production sessions that he and his Production Portfolio class run during the course of the term. This term, Kevin and his class are working with artists like Hot Date, Alexander Young, Jonah Marais, Batteryboy, Hot Date, Maudlin, Jake Ilika, and Communist Daughter.
11/18/2015, Mastermix A
Maudlin is a classic, 3 piece, punky rock band featuring the husband and wife team of David Priebe on bass and Priscilla Priebe on guitar with Whelan Quinn as their (relatively new) drummer. David has taught music business here at IPR on and off and is a partner at Green Room Booking. Maudlin has been together for a long time, but I don’t think they’ve spent as much time in the studio as some other veterans, which made it a fun day. These are NOT jaded musicians, they were there to have fun and make music…. so we did.
With a 10 piece band, the challenge is to find enough room in the mix for each element; with a 3 piece it’s about making each thing huge enough to fill the space, knowing that going in influenced our choices. The mix actually starts the minute you start setting up mics. Despite my leaning towards warmer sounds overall, and my love for the Coles as drum overhead mics, for this session the Shure KSM 44’s were a better choice. The AKG 414’s can get a little brash if the drummer bashes the cymbals, although in this case the drummer had expensive, nice dark Zildjians. But the 44’s worked perfectly to capture the high-end energy necessary for this kind of music. His drums (see pic) were custom made Ellis beauties and they sounded AMAZING. We did a fairly standard mic set up on them, crushing the TLM 49 room mic with the 1176 instead of a distresser.
We saved the pair of distressers to compress the bass as we cut it (passive DI AND an RE 20 on the cabinet. I was concerned about getting enough bottom out of his lovely Rickenbacker bass (see pic of bass and amp) because the reedy nature of their sound sets them apart but you want enough bottom so it can live nicely with the kick drum. I was pleasantly surprised by how much bottom we did get and the distressers pushed the signal forward, even though we only lit them up about 3 db tops.
Priscilla was playing through a really cool “Orange” amp (see pic) and it sounded just like those amps should, warm and dirty. The standard “57 and a Royer” did everything we needed; I could have survived with just the 57 but the Royer added some low mid that I would probably use in the mix.
Priscilla had a cold so we didn’t cut vocals, the band was so well rehearsed and tight they didn’t even need a guide vocal track OR a click. This is one of the advantages of cutting a band that gigs regularly… these guys instinctually play together so well – regarding tightness in time and playing dynamic changes together – that a click would have hurt, not helped.
The students set up the drum mics perfectly with no input from me, and the only minor glitch was hunting down the source of an intermittent buzz on the bass. After we changed out every element in the signal chain (the noise was only there on the mic, not the DI, and only on certain notes) we realized it was the bass cabinet vibrating!!!! After moving it, the problem was solved.
We easily got 2 songs done and the artists were thrilled! This band will be back for another session later this quarter.
Check out Kevin’s past blogs: