Today I worked with Dave on tracking all of the bass parts for this project.
Prior to this session i conducted some research on different bass production techniques used by various producers and if there were any specific types of equipment or hardware that were popular for this. Although I found a vast array of different techniques, i found that a lot of producers favoured the use of the DBX 160 compressor for bass to help reduce its dynamic range including Jacquire King, Joe Chiccarelli and even Mark Ronson who uses the Waves plugin equivalent. I also used a technique applied by Warren Huart where he adjusts the attack of the compressor to print a bass track into Pro Tools which stops the bass from ‘fish tailing’.
When applying these techniques into my own session, i used the pair of Sony SRP-L210’s to compress the bass amp and the bass amp DI. A quick point here is that I decided to leave the bass guitar DI channel raw and uncompressed so that I could use it as a backup if I needed it further along down the line. I adjusted my gain structure to the appropriate level and then began setting the threshold on the compressors to achieve around 3-5 dbs worth of compression. I did actually have an EBS bass compressor pedal on me for the session however using the hardware in the studio gave more flexibility when it came to adjusting the ratio and the attack.
Applying the necessary amount of compression to these two channels really helped warm up the overall sound of the bass as well as control the dynamic range. The main reason i wanted to reduce the dynamic range like this is because when Dave was recording his bass takes, there was a significant dip in volume when he played the higher strings which prevented us from getting a stable level for the control room mix. Once I was happy with the compressed bass tone, i noticed that the signal was still ‘fish tailing’. To prevent this i increased the attack time on both of the Sony compressors which didn’t eliminate these sharp transients completely but it definitely helped reduce them. The pictures below show the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the adjusted attack time of the compressors.
uad jacquire king hardware
https://www.waves.com/in-the-studio-mark-ronson?utm_source=wnletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=studio-mark-watch-now&utm_campaign=weekend-newsletter-oct-13-2017-ronson-ms mark ronson
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjFPQFjIEdo Joe Chiccarelli
record bass produce like a pro
To ensure my workflow stays as effective as possible, i spent a few hours before vocal tracking editing all of the guitar takes i had recorded. This is a similar process i did for the bass editing.
First of all i made sure all of the different takes had been comped and cross faded into one another to avoid any weird pops and to ensure all of the edits were smooth
Although i made sure that both mics were the same distance away from the amp during the recording process, i then checked the phase alignment, especially against the DI signal, of the two mics and esnured they were both fully in phase with one another.
A more vibed vocal session, again saves work before the mix stage
This week me and Ben took a listen through all of the lead vocals that I had comped and tuned as well as all of the blog posts I’d added since last week. We spent most of the tutorial listening through all of the tracks and then discussed some possible backing vocal ideas that could help fill all of the tracks out.
With regards to my blog, as the majority of my posts are still in draft form, Ben recommended that I begin publishing them for next week, even if they do need editing, so we can begin to see how my blog will look when all of the posts are in it. Doing this will mean that it will be easier to see how I can improve my blog.
He also recommended that I try and write as many blogs posts as possible and to record all of the backing vocals ready for next week.
Now that we’ve recorded all of the bass parts, i wanted to make sure that they were edited and comped before moving onto the guitar tracking process. I’m also doing this to maintain an effective workflow and to save a lot of effort when it comes to the mix stage.
I began by sorting through all of the takes we had recorded and then cross fading them into one another to avoid any unnecessary pops. I then removed all of the unwanted parts (parts where dave wasn’t playing and you could just hear the hum of the amp etc) and consolidated them all into one piece of audio per track. I then went through all of the bass tracks and altered the phase alignment as i was noticing a bit of cancelation with the bass amp track compared to the DI tracks. Once I had done this, by removing all of the cancelation it meant that i could clearly hear the sound of each track more accurately. These are similar steps that Chris Lord-Alge recomends on his latest Waves webinar.
With the bass edited, comped, consolidated and phase aligned, it now means that we are ready to begin the first session of guitar tracking.
For this session we focused on guitar tracking, specifically the rhythm guitars with the addition of a few lead guitar tracks. We actually managed to record the rhythm guitar tracks for ‘Wake Up’ at the end of our last session as we already had quite a good idea of how we wanted them to sound, however we weren’t sure for the rest of the tracks so this required a little more time to experiment.
The foundation of the rhythm sound ended up consisting of a Fender Telecaster running through my Orange Rocker 30. I then used a Shure SM57 and an AKG C414 on the guitar cab and took a DI signal from the guitar into the desk as a back up incase i wanted to re-amp it. Once we had experimented with different tones, it was clear two of the tracks needed to quite a crunchy guitar tone whilst the other two required a warmer, less gained sound to compliment the style of them.
Once we were happy with all of the rhythm tracks we moved onto the rest of the guitar parts such as leads and cleans. A great thing about this was that each of these tracks all required different tonal qualities which allowed us to experiment with various pedal delays and modulation which we printed into Pro Tools.