Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

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 #99861  by eric
 Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:25 pm
I also thought this was really well recorded and mixed. Whats your recording setup and signal flow? I'd have to guess you're recording / mixing/ mastering mostly in the box for a project like this ? P.T. HD ?

..and HOW MANY instruments can one man play? and play well !!!! nice stuff're living my dream
 #99862  by playingdead
 Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:08 pm
Thanks, man. Working on a new tune that I can play some tuba on.

(Kidding. Dusting off my Telecaster and a slide for the next one.)

My setup is really simple and nothing nearly as expensive as a Pro Tools rig. I use a Presonus StudioLive Firewire board ($1650 or so) to record the tracks into an older Mac Pro using their Capture software. It can do 16 tracks simultaneously, which is handy if you want to use multiple mics on a guitar, or record guitar and vocal at the same time (I also use the StudioLive to multitrack record my band).

I like to mic the guitar (Gibson maple CJ-165) around the 12th fret with a Rode NT-4 stereo mic, panned hard right and left, and also take the signal off the Baggs Element pickup through an Aura Spectrum DI preamp with a good sounding image, run 100 percent image. I find that the Aura image adds some nice sparkle, and the Rode gets the woody body sound nicely. I tend not to use both channels off the Rode in the end, I will pan the Aura one way, and the better channel off the Rode the other way for a little stereo spread.

The bass runs direct off a GenzBenz Shuttle 6.0 head. The drums are Roland V-Drums, TD-12 kit. I edited together a kit I like with a deeper snare and tom sound. They are a bit hard to play, because the pads are smaller than real drums, but boy, do they record beautifully. For keyboards, I'm using a cheap Edirol controller running either the B4 software for organ, or a Native Instruments Akoustic piano software for piano. Vocals are recorded with a cheap MXL 2001 mic that I had modded by JJ Audio to be more like a Neumann U-87. I really like how it sounds for vocals and it sounds really nice on acoustic guitar, too. When I do electrics, they run direct through an AxeFX Ultra.

I really don't use much in the way of effects or compression, just a tiny bit of an onboard StudioLive plate reverb on the vocals and snare drum, just a little. I put a little bit of 2:1 compression on the bass and vocal mic, and that's it. I just do the final mix to taste live on the Presonus board, riding the faders and muting channels when needed, and capture the stereo WAV file on the Mac Pro. I drop it into Logic Studio to quickly master it and make the final track file.

I used to take all the individual tracks into Logic and EQ, compress and try to fine-tune them, add plug-ins, etc., but eventually realized it sounds very good and organic just straight off the board. As organic as digital can get, anyway.

For the actual recording process, typically I will set up a very basic loop using EZDrummer at the correct tempo, then lay down the acoustic guitar and vocal part first. (I don't really like using drum loops or a drum machine as finished drums, I like a more organic approach.) Then I add the bass, play real drums over it, do the keyboards and fix mistakes on the fly as I go. Doesn't take long, probably took about four hours to record that particular tune. If I don't feel like I'm playing well or it's not happening, I just shut it off and do something else. That's easy to do when you're the whole band, engineer and producer. Kinda hard to operate the camera at the same time, though.

I should post one I recorded a few months ago for the band I was starting in Austin to play both Grateful Dead music and originals with, I recorded it very much more with the Dead's instrumentation, Jerry guitar sound, and so forth. No video on that one ... yet ... LOL
 #99863  by eric
 Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:07 pm
the studio live seems like a such a great choice . I believe they just released another one recently at a really decent price point for all the capabilities. At some point I'm gonna hafta merge the soundboard and recording interface into one but for now have just been tapping the SB channel direct outs > interface> PT . PT compatibility with other gear other than Digi/ M aud has sucked / been non existent in the past which made gear like this inaccessible (as well as cashola) . But the current PT 9 runs like a champ (as did 8) on my Mac and can now be run into with other gear like the Presonus stuff. Also a Logic fan.

music is mixed to shit these days ...(studio stuff anyway)..really cant stand it...

I think one of the reasons the one man band recording sounded so good to me is because it was so natural and unprocessed (as in the actual mix) (albeit some digital signal here or there)

each instrument seemed panned properly and clearly fit into it's proper "space"
the acoustic guitar wasn't being squashed.. it was just really clean/ balanced/
you could hear the natural wooden "thump" of the attack of the guitar.
natural sounding eq....also not drowning in verb....

big fan of the less is more when it comes to this type of music...let it just be itself

all in all, thought it was a good tune ...