Project: Live to Multi-track, Rig Setup

I’m actually traveling right now for this project. A couple of weeks ago I began compiling the rig I was going to use to record a live-to-multitrack audio project. When doing the vocal recordings, I tested what became my final rig.

Ta da…

The rack and the laptop in my studio for testing.

The rack and the laptop in my studio for testing.

So, this set up will give me 18 microphone preamp inputs plus 8 analogue line inputs. Hopefully that will be enough for a 4-man band. I will find out tomorrow night when I can start setting up.

Here’s a closer look.

Live to Multitrack Rig, Closer Look

A closer look at the live rig which includes 2 motu units and a focusrite preamp. The top is a passive mic splitter from ART.

From top to bottom:

ART Passive 2-way mic splitter
– This will allow me as much autonomy from the live sound system. I took a peek at the room tonight (it’s set up for another group) and there was a nice ground loop hum… yippee!

MOTU 828 MkII – this was a hand-me-down from a friend’s studio. Since I already had the 8Pre, it was nice to be able to firewire chain together and need no extra drivers. This box gives me the 2 mic pre inputs plus 8 analogue ins. But it ALSO gives me way more routing options for alternate mixes to headphones, etc. Major plus.

MOTU 8Pre – 8 mic preamps with a firewire connection. Pretty straightforward and has been the center of my studio for the past 4 years or so (after migrating away from ProTools).

Focusrite Octopre – 8 mic preamps, focusrite style. Using ADAT optical to connect to the 828. I could connect it to the 8Pre too… or I could purchase another one and easily add another 8 mic inputs. This is the newest bit of kit I have. Looking forward to it using it.

Most likely tracking in Logic Pro 9.

One more note:

I think I will have more than 8 channels of audio that need to be split away from the live setup. So, I made 5 passive Y-cable splitters. I know they’re not the awesomest, but I made them. However, I don’t anticipate needing to use more than 1 or 2 because I think I will be mic’ing for the recording more than what they will use for the house mix.

Will update more about microphones and developments as they go during this project!

Project: Vocal Comping

Vocal Comping

I know I’m behind the times and still using version 9, but I still get a great kick out of weaving together a good vocal comp.

Recently I’ve been doing some vocal track recordings. All the musicians are in another town, but the vocalist is here. So, she’s been coming in and doing some of the vocal tracks. Getting back into more of the music side of multimedia production has been a joy for me!

Some things which have changed since I first started in recording 15 years ago:

  • Running a mix to DropBox and being able to listen to it in virtually any environment – we used to be amazed at being able to burn to a CD recorder and listen in the car!
  • The pitch correction software has gotten pretty spectacular. I use Melodyne by Celemony. Just the light version… but still amazing.
  • The ability to collaborate with musicians all over the world. I know that sounds like so 2005 and people have been doing it but I was not doing it… so… it is amazing to me.

Something else that amazes me? How stinking small audio files are compared to video files! I’ve returned from video shoots with 250 GB or more. A whole audio project and 15 GB, with all revisions maintained for archiving? Gosh… sign me up!

Anyway, the screen shot above is from one of the vocal sessions I recorded a couple of weeks ago. The girl can sing better than that but time was short for her and she’s tired of working on this project so, compromisio! I really like how easy it is to cut a comp track in Logic. Maybe it’s that easy in other software, too. I haven’t found it to be simple in Audition – but that software seems more suited to broadcast and audio for video situations, or at least that’s how I use it most.

Project: Audio Stories

Recently, big hopes for a video story-telling project fell through. I was left with a deadline and nothing with which to meet it.

After consulting with a friend and the client, an idea came about to turn the video interviews into narrative audio stories, a la NPR.

The first go at it was… disappointing at best. I just wasn’t catching the story arch, the audio wasn’t adding anything to the copy. It was just a mess.

So after a small break from it, I came back in and was able to refocus. Completely deleted the other drafts out of my mind and started pouring over the script transcriptions looking for each individual’s story. It was amazing how the little break helped me to have clarity. I wrote a draft and a friend helped me edit it. The first story came off without much of a hitch. I did some audio narration work and spliced in segments of the audio from the original interviews.

Unfortunately, I can’t embed those stories here due to privacy with the client.

The final product was 4 audio stories and the :60 Promo Video.