Here is the album artwork. I’ve very excited for the finished product. I just finished checking that the songs sounds good on several different mediums. I had to make several volume changes over the past few days but I’m very please with the results. I hope you are too!

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Above are my notes on side-chaining.

I have been mixing for about two and a half months now. Mostly at open labs on Tuesdays or whatever other days I could make it.

I was EQing mostly the kick on the tracks to give it a fuller sound and more attack. During tracking, I spent more time time adjusting the kick than any other mic. I think the kick is so important in a mix. For lows in your mix you really have to pay attention to bass and kick. There are so many instruments that lie in the mids that lows are important to capture correctly.

Professor Hartzell pointed out to me that I had some amp noise that I had to cut out. I had noticed it but didn’t realize it was as big of a problem as it is until I heard the song on a stereo in the classroom. So now I listened back to check wherever I had unwanted amp noise and used gates to control them.

Bill, the guitarist, had mentioned he wanted some effect on the vocals on “Questions in Longing” because of the songs reggae feel. I added some reverb on the vocals. I did a medium plate. I didn’t want it to sound big, just different. I decided not to add any on any other songs because they didn’t quite fit the songs feel.

In one open lab, Brian Boyd had been talking to me over the last several weeks about my project and brought up how in country the instruments often compete in the mix. He proceeded to show me a ducking technique he had just learned from Bill Korecky. The only difference from other ducking was the use of the phase button. It made me experiment with ducking. I ended up just using it the regular way but I had never really tried ducking in my mix before. Usually I used side-chaining to duck the harp or guitar during the vocal parts.

My main focus was mixing volumes. In some of the tracks, there are so many instruments and so much going on that mixing the volumes played the biggest role in making the mix work well and give everything it’s own place. I worked really hard on automation. I booked time in the C24 for the ease of recording automation.

This took more time and dedication than I had thought but I made sure I had enough time before my project was due to take care of any last minute things. I had fun mixing the volumes but definitely learned a lot. There are so many options. At the same time I didn’t want to make the volumes go all over the place, I just wanted to highlight what needed to be highlighted in its right time.

The only thing I decided to cut from any mixes was the mic’ed amp for rhythm guitar on “Say It Ain’t True” because that song had so much going on that this freed up enough space to not make it sound muddy. We still had the direct track from the rhythm guitar and it sounded better, more clear than the mic’ed amp.

The next morning after our last studio session, I went to open lab to mix all my tracks. I realized that I didn’t save Mike’s harp part correctly from the night before. Somehow I had saved Tony’s bass part but not Mike’s. I learned about disc allocation ad what that means and how to use it when using an external drives. It was a lesson well learned but sadly enough I had to scramble to book more studio time to re-record Mike’s part. We schedules time for Friday, April 27th.

I only booked the Toft for two hours. I figured that would be plenty of time to record his part and account for any troubleshooting we may run into. Bill had come too to help Mike realize the parts where he comes in. We used the same set up as in the SSL on the Monday prior.

It didn’t take long to run through his parts but he did have a hard time with the arrangements again. We had the time to relax and get it right. We ended up talking a little bit in the studio about we wanted out of this final project and how we wanted the end product to sound like. We also discussed deadlines. I had to explain to them a few things about punching in. We had been using Punch record a few times in our sessions. It’s tricky to get it to run smoothly if there either isn’t a clean break between takes or a seamless in and out of the punch in.

I made sure I checked disc allocation before and after I recorded this session. I wanted to be sure we didn’t lose what we had and that I would have all the material I needed to finish this project on time. Now the only thing on my mind was mixing.

Today’s session was supposed to be pretty relaxed and we were focusing on getting everything done that still needed to be done. We needed a bass track for “Selfish Reasons Why” since we ran out of time in our last session. Mike also wanted to redo his Harp on “My Own Way Home.”

Bass took about three or four takes. ProTools was having trouble and kept freezing up when I pressed record. After about 20 minutes of doing takes with this issue, it ended up being resolved. Tony had really been practicing for this bass line. The only thing that stopped the flow and interrupted his concentration was the fact that he had to keep waiting for protools to stop acting up in between takes. Once bass was done, we were really pleased with the take and moved onto harp.

We recorded Mike’s harp with a 414 on the Vox tube amp. He used his Shure green bullet mic as usual. This took awhile because he wasn’t sure where in the song he should come in. Mike and Bill discussed arrangement for the song in the studio. This is why it took a few takes and took some time. I wasn’t worried about time because we had a full studio scheduled for several hours just to record two individual tracks.

We made good time and had a relatively relaxed tracking session. We were outta there by 10.

Harp with surrounding Gobo’s for “Say It Ain’t True”

Gear used to record the Harp on April 12, 2012

The whole bands arrangement on April 12, 2012 in the SSL

 

Input list for “Say It Ain’t True” when we had a session in Bill’s home studio on March the 26th

 

We had another studio date in the SSL. Our goal was to finish up the rest of “Say It Ain’t True” by recording Mike’s harp and Brian’s vocal’s. Brian did his vocals in the SSL ISO booth while Mike did his Harp out in the middle of the SSL studio. We used some gobos to helpkeep the harp within reasonable distance from surfaces in order to not let the harp sound too big but give it some room sound. We used a 414 on Mike’s Vox tube amp (AC4 TV) w/ Boss chorus, delay and enhancer pedals. He was using a shure green bullet mic and a hohner “Big River” Harp in the key of low E.

We used a u87 on Brian’s vocal’s as usual. It was set up the same as the last session.

After we finished recording all the pieces for “Say It Ain’t True” the whole band went in the studio to play “Selfish Reasons Why.” Bill played guitar in the left hand corner of the room while the drums (played by Tony) were placed to Bill’s left. Mike played his harp in the middle of the room. Brian was still set up for his vocals in the ISO booth. It only took a few takes and we were done with the majority of “Selfish Reasons Why.” Bill went back into to do some guitar fills for the song.

He then switched to his 1985 St. Blues Eliminator and recorded “Justine.” It’s about a one minute piece in the same key as “Selfish Reasons Why” that is just instrumental. It is to be played right before “Selfish Reasons Why” on the CD.  We ran out of time after this.

 

Originally written March 27th.

Last night I went over to Bill’s house and we did some recording. We did the rhythm guitar for the next song which is “Say It Ain’t True.” He had the Tascam all set up in the garage already. He had a drum track already made with his drum machine. We recorded a direct guitar and an SM57 on his Vox amp. It only took a few takes to get that done right. Then we recorded his slide guitar parts. Those sounded so good. I’ve never really seen someone play with a slide before so it was a cool sound and a cool experience.

Shortly before we started the slide guitar, Ton’y showed up ready to play some bass parts. After the slide was done, Tony practiced his bass part a bit then we recorded his part direct in just a few takes. It really all went very flawlessly. The last thing we did was record some guitar lead parts and then we wrapped things up.

Our next studio time is scheduled in April 12th in the SSL. We are going to finish bass on “My Own Way Home” and put vocals and maybe harp into “Say It Ain’t True.” We hope to work on as much as we can for the last song “Selfish Reasons Why.” Our last studio date is scheduled for April 23rd. Whatever we don’t finish up or feel like fixing will be done in that last session.

I just went to open lab this morning to start the mixing process. It’s definetly overwhelming and gives you a lot to think about. But it was nice to put them all together and start forming a plan. I recorded the three finished tracks onto a disc so I can show Professor Hartzell tomorrow. I’m hoping to get some feedback and advice on mixing. I already have some questions written down that will really help me during tomorrows meeting.

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