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May 26th, 2005

Recording Melba [May. 26th, 2005|09:26 am]
Okrzyki, przyjaciel!
Some of you may already know that my son Lucas (ramunedrinkage) plays guitar. Last night I recorded his band Melba and through the magic of the Internet you can listen to the results.

As it happens, I had just recorded Foolhardy in their basement rehearsal space, so my laptop and such was packed up and ready to go. Both sessions were an experiment in recording a whole band with one microphone -- the signal chain was

MXL 990 Large Diaphragm Condensor -> Art Tube MP Preamp -> Edirol UA-1A -> Laptop.

The recording method was to set up the mic facing the drummer, point the bass, guitar, and vocal amps at the microphone, and then move stuff around a bit until the balance was decent, and let it rip. The result isn't as transparent or manipulable as you'd get with having a microphone on each instrument, but I think it's an honest representation of the band's live sound. With some careful listening you can get every instrument clearly audible in the mix. Drums, in particular sound really good with this setup. Scott's vocals are a little distorted, coming from using a crap mic through a guitar amp, but it mostly sounds good for this kind of music.

The Art Tube MP has a limiter built in that's fairly transparent, so the audio files peaked about -5.5 dB no matter what. I bumped the bass up a bit to bring out the kick thump, and cut around 1khz for harshness, and then normalized. The result came in right around -12dB RMS, which corresponds to where most commercial recordings fall with respect to loudness. Usually I have to use some compression after the fact to get up to that level; it's cool to get a healthy overall level without much processing.

I really like these songs, too, especially Pompeii. Lucas stole some chords from Radiohead for the verse, but the way it changes up for the chorus is pretty close to perfect.

Lineup:
Scott Hanson: Vocals (wrote all lyrics except Pompeii)
Johnny Accaragui:Drums
Pete Lehman:Bass
Lucas Williams:Guitar and Synth (wrote all music and lyrics on Pompeii)
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