Nothing But The Call production notes Monday, January 15, 2007 (10:48AM) + Prep for recording. * Target method: M/S Stereo technique - Yesterday I bought a BlueTube DP preamp so that I can flip the phase of the side mic channel. I am going to get a 2nd mic (Behringer B2 Pro, backordered). * Pick a tempo: 152 BPM--pretty quick. * did a couple trial runs. Record at 24 bit, 96 kHz. This is going to be near-field, acoustic work with little effects (mild EQ, mild reverb, not even delay), so it needs to be quality. - Need to practice - render trial_two.mp3. Can't play the rendered WAV file due to the bit depth and sample rate. Time to get audacity (which has been recommended to me on the PowerTracks user forum two or three times now): http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/windows follow instructions for Lame MP3 encoder: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3 Nice program! Why didn't I do this before? OK, now I can get to a playable wav file: : Export a WAV file from PowerTracks : load into audacity. : change project sample rate to 44.1 kHz (16 bits is set as export bit depth in preferences) : export to wav file and/or mp3 (selection only works). - Need to make sure the click track ends by the last note, or I can hear it in the mic. - trial three. much better. Audacity is very nice for prepping the final WAV and MP3 files. : Curious--if I overwrite the original wave file, does the audacity project update? Yes! That means I can change the mix, generate the WAVE file, and just hit "export" in audacity to get the final product with audacity editing (fades, trims, etc...). Saturday, January 20, 2007 (2:15PM) * Got the second Behringer B2 Pro mic. Try various stereo-miking configurations. - I will take a tip from both Phil Keaggy and Chris Proctor: supplement the bass with a pickup. : This requires recording to three tracks. Simple: select two audio inputs in the audio drivers dialog (see audio_drivers_a). Then set the input channel to "L+R (2 tracks)" (see audio_prefs_a). This causes PT11 to record on the current track, and the following three tracks (the fourth is junk). : Record flat, though I will low-pass filter at mixdown. Do not monitor--only monitor of the mic pair. : Route the mics through the (balanced) main bus. Route the pickup through the subgroup. Fortunately, I have the connectors. Not worried about super audio quality on the pickup since it will lose the highs in the mix. : Oops, I need to monitor off the subgroup so I can hear the click. Record via aux 1. - After a bit of googling, the one I see the most has the two mics separated; one aims at the 12th fret, the other aims at the bridge, both from 6 to 12 inches away. So the mics are separated by 24 inches. Cardioid. Panned hard left and right. : Find the sweet spot via trial and error: move side to side until the bass is panned center. : Save as nothing_but_the_call_sep_pair.seq. - M/S Stereo. : Tuning the side: pan both channels center. Move faders until silence. Then restore hard pan. : Save as nothing_but_the_call_ms_mic.seq. - Render both takes. : Problem: wav file is trash. Import in both audacity and PowerTracks. Trash in both. Try rendering MP3 directly. No luck. Reboot. No luck. That is odd since I have rendered this file successfully before. > remove effects one at a time. no luck > convert to 44.1k/24 bit. No luck. > Convert to 96k/16 bit. IT WORKS! > I notice that 24-bit files are reported in audacity as "32-bit float". But so is the 16-bit file. : Save the two: A: nothing_but_the_call_a.mp3 Sep Pair B: nothing_but_the_call_b.mp3 M/S Stereo - Slam these two out on the web and get some feedback. Sunday, January 21, 2007 (9:35AM) - I found the perfect interface for comparing the results. See compare_st_mics_a. Import both final results into a new PT session. Highlight a section, use solo mode and looping. Switch between the two by selecting the desired track. Try the mono button. : B sounds much better in mono...consistently. : A sometimes gives a slightly more interesting stereo field. But they both have a very marked field when compared with mono. : B has better bass...consistently. : B might have better upper mids and highs in the upper-fret section. : B has a fuller sound for the Am run and strum. B does all the strums better. : B seems to do the low metzo-piano run better with deeper, tighter bass. : A has more interesting mids on the C-G/B-A2 sequence. : A has more interesting transients on the main Em sequence. : B does all the bass and strums better. This makes a more pleasing dynamic range and is a powerful argument for it. However, A's more interesting stereo field makes it a difficult decision. I am not sure that I really care about the mono response. Wait for some votes to come in from those that don't know which is the Mid/Side and which is the separated pair. Put a poll on the PowerTracks User Forum. 1/21/2007, 8:47 PM. A=2, B=0 : Tim Churchill wrote: "I'm not sure why, but I think I prefer the "B" track. It may be the way it was recorded, proximity to the mic, etc., but the guitar sounds more real to me. It seems to pick up the true tones, harmonics, and clarity you would hear in person. It's just my take on the two different recordings." Tuesday, January 30, 2007 (7:27AM) : The poll is split 9 to 9 with the heavy hitters favoring B (M/S). But I am thinking I prefer the separated pair with some rework to improve bass response. + Woke up at 4AM. Couldn't sleep. Composed a bridge. "I will awaken the dawn"...again. The feeling has been growing on me that the song needs something to break the two repeated phrases (the song has been of form ABCABC). At the Gm (frets 8-10), the addition goes up rather taking the cascading downward direction and ends on A9/C#. Then I do a cute gimmick on the 3rd and 5th strings winding down to a Bbmaj7-#4 where I let the note hang before resuming on the Am7 run up the 2nd and 4th strings. Saturday, February 3, 2007 (12:44PM) + As I approach recording, one concern is the noise level. I just used the SLM, dBA. Check some A-weighted levels: furnace & PC off: 30.6 furnace only: 32.4 furnace + PC: 35.5 guitar low: 75.0 guitar high: 87.0 - The SLM (Check Mate CM-150) lowest range is 30db. - Most of the residual noise comes from the PC fan. The furnace and PC fan are broadband and not objectionable. This gives me a minimum signal-to-noise ratio of 50db. The big problems come from cars driving by and the boys playing. Record late at night. - While doing this I leaned the 414 against my desk chair (instead of the three guitar stands in the room). While I turned my back to take a reading, the chair rotated and dropped the tip of the headstock on the metal tube leg of the utility table putting my first REAL ding in the guitar. OK...I bought it to use it. Sorry, Jesus, about my initial response. Your will be done, not mine. Tuesday, February 6, 2007 (8:25AM) + Record. The time has come. I have practiced A LOT with the metronome above and below 152. It is snowing outside, and the house is quiet. Fingers are in great shape. The 414 has new strings, and I adjusted the action (Low E = 5.5 64ths, High E = 4.5 64ths). * Begin a new SEQ file. Perhaps it will write the 24-bit wav file. * Tried dropping the right mic, thinking it would pick up better treble, but the bass suffers. Raise it back to the same level as the left mic. * Setup took about an hour. It's also taking a while for me to relax in front of the mics. Second attempt went decent, but my finger missed the high G and I breathed during the pause. 10:25 AM * Oops, forgot to tune. * 11:58 AM I think take three is a winner. I goofed the bridge lick. Rather than try a punch-in, I just recorded that sequence at the end and pasted it into its spot (easy since it is flanked by silence on both ends). * Nope, can't write a 24-bit wav file. Friday, February 9, 2007 (4:23PM) + Mix. * Trial mix was a bit bass heavy. Perhaps too much of the expression system. * Trim some of the pause in the bridge end. * Add slight EQ to mics. dip at 250Hz. * Final editing in Audacity. - Trim. Fade in and fade out. - Convert to 44.1kHz. * render nothing_but_the_call_mix_a.wav and nothing_but_the_call_mix_a.mp3
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 (5:58PM) * Still too bass heavy. One of the forum guys mentioned it, and I notice it in the car. Most evident on PC speakers (with subwoofer). Rely on PC speakers and Fostex T40 headphones. Drop pickup fader from 100 to 79--about 4 db. Render nothing_but_the_call_mix_b.wav & nothing_but_the_call_mix_b.mp3 4db?!? How did I miss that? It still sounds slightly bassy in the car, but great otherwise. total production hours to date: 15.0
Friday, October 26, 2007 (6:00PM) * I can't believe I left that dead note in there! Time to fix it. Just grab the next instance of it. - The trick is selecting the portion of the following three notes that is just long enough to overwrite these three without a gap that would be an audible glitch. I zoomed in on the six-note sequence and used the markers window to measure the lengths. Then I used the cursor hot keys to set the markers. - Oops, can't write 24/96 output. Convert to 16/44--for good! - Render nothing_but_the_call_mix_c.wav and nothing_but_the_call_mix_c.mp3. Use 192kbps for the MP3 resolution--this was, after all, my little episode of audiophilitus.