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The second college band that was recorded was a 4 piece, with a slightly different set-up, consisting of drums and bass guitar, plus two vocalists, one who was female and the other who was male and played piano. They were performing an original song tentatively titled “Got no Pity” which came from a line in the song.
This song was written on the piano by the male vocalist, including the lyrics, and then was adapted for the rest of the band, as a result the singer didn’t know what tempo the song was at, plus the rest of the band relied on him to begin the song, as the piano plays a chord before the first bar which swings into the first bar they all play on.
Me and Dan decided on doing a live take without vocals, and then overdubbing the male and female singers over the top, however the male vocalist wasn’t available to finish the vocals, so he did two takes of the instrumental, and one of the choruses, leaving us during mixing to duplicate it across.
For piano we tried a stereo mic-ing technique we hadn’t tried before, using two AKG C518M’s which have a vice grip attachment designed for drums. We had it so they were facing opposite sides to each other, one over the thicker bass strings, and the other of the thinner higher pitched ones.
Overall the C518M has a fairly neutral frequency response, making it not biased towards either the low end or high end, making a good match for the piano’s large frequency range, plus it has a role off from 1Khz bellow, so it can be placed close to the strings without being overpowered.
Its cardioids pick-up pattern is also beneficial, as it will only hear the strings in the piano, letting us close the lid more, keeping it open enough with a book, to isolate it from the rest of the room.
Drums and Bass:
For the drums we also tried something different to our usual set up, choosing to record both the outside of the kick and the inside using a AKG D112 outside and an Audix D6 inside. By having this set up, one microphone can pick up the boom of the kick; as its only hearing the resonant head, meanwhile the other is closer to the beater head, allowing it to pick up the pedal “click” as it hits.
The Audix D6 was a good choice for the kick drum, as its cardioid pick-up pattern combined with it being inside the kick drum, isolates it from the rest of the kit, allowing it to pick up the kick with more clarity. Meanwhile its frequency response favours around 50-100Hz, allowing it to pick up the boom of the kick, while it reduced response from 200Hz-1Khz makes room for the bass’s fundamental frequencies. It also has an exaggerated response around 2-4Khz which is where the click of the pedal sits.
The D112 shares a lot of similarities with the Audix, including pick up pattern and frequency response, as it also has a exaggerated response in the lower frequencies around 50-100Hz as well as the higher mids around 2-5Khz. However it also has a proximity effect when it is placed 10cm closer to the source, making it even more sensitive at lower frequencies, though it doesn’t have the same cut as the Audix does around 200Hz-1Khz, so it won’t be as defined as the Audix in that part of the spectrum.
For the Snare we chose to use a double mic it with 2 Shure Sm57, one placed on the rim, facing the center of the drum, while the other underneath at the same angle point up towards the center of the resonant head.
As mentioned above the Sm57’s cardioid pick-up pattern allows it to focus on the source, while its frequency response is exaggerated around 240Hz, allowing it to pick up the body of the snare, while also having the higher frequency range boost around 6Khz, which is where the “sizzle” of the snare is.
The bottom mic-ed snare needs to have its phase inverted as when the snare is hit, the beater head is pushed down, while when that air hits the resonant head, it is pushed out, so if one mic is hearing a rarefaction and the other is hearing a compression, they will cancel out to some extent.
For the overhead we used a pair of AKG CK1000s in an XY coincident pair set up. As mentioned before this stereo mic-ing technique has both capsules above each other, so that the sound is received at the same time with their pick up patterns overlapping, with the microphones being placed on the center line of the drum kit to get a balanced sound.
The CK1000s frequency response fits its use as overheads well, as its got a boost between both 2-5Khz and 7-15Khz, allowing it to pick up the ringing overtones of the cymbals, plus its cardioids pick up pattern makes its useful to, as we where tracking bass at the same time, so by placing the bassists sound source behind the microphones, he is isolated from the drums more effectively.
Speaking of Bass, we recorded the basses dry signal by having it go into a DI Box, as well as using another AKG D112 for the amp, because of its response from around 200Hz to 1Kz mentioned earlier.
For both sets of vocals, we used an Avantone CK6, as its frequency response features a role off from 100Hz downwards, allowing the singer to be closer to the microphone, while also feature a strategic cut around 300-400Hz to avoid some “boxiness” which might occur. It also has a very pronounced higher frequency range around 10K, so it can pick up the higher notes more clearly.