Monday, January 6, 2014

Engine Five Studios

Well the holidays are over and here is the latest update on the making of the new Huxster full length release.
We've moved into our studio/practice space right around Thanksgiving to start overdubs. so far we've gone to Powerstation NE to track as much of the ten songs as we could. that included all the drums, Bass and we hoped some Guitar. i brought the tracks back home and went through the task of editing the drum and bass tracks into completed performances. once i was done it was back to our place we've dubbed "Engine Five Studios". we'd like to think this is were all the magic happens.

First up at our space was Acoustic guitars. Paul banged through most of the tracks fairly quickly; there wasn't acoustic on all tracks so it was fairly painfree. after this we moved to electric guitars, so now for all the gear heads here is the micing and preamps we used to capture Paul's array of stuff. Paul set up his live setup for tracking; why not it is "his" sound and it sounds great. this includes a closet find 1965 Fender Deluxe and a 17watt Dr. Z stack. for the Deluxe i used a Sennheiser 421, for the Dr. Z i used a BLUE Baby Bottle and for the room i used the Powers Microphone Company Kelsey. these were recorded on three separate tracks with a fourth for a direct line. Microphone pre amps for this are an Avalon 737 for the room mic, a Toft A2C two channel pre for the 421 and the BLUE. the DI was a fishman.

Now the secret sauce, Paul's Guitars. Paul like most guitar players, i assume, have different guitars for different sounds and feeling. regarding the year of each of his guitars, i'm sure i'll get it wrong but the models are: Gibson Firebird, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG (with P90s), Epiphone Casino, Fender Telecaster, Taylor Acoustic and a Guild Acoustic.  Guitar tracks from Powerstation were all recut with additional rhythm tracks and solos. the intention of this record is not to go over the top with tons of "stuff". we are a three piece rock band and we want the record to sound like it.
Next on the docket is vocals. as a drummer, i'm not allowed to sing and frankly, i don't want to (even if i could). i leave that up to the trained professionals. for vocal recording we try to keep in simple as well. microphone into a pre amp into protools. we built a vocal booth out of moving blankets in our control room so Dave and Paul can work on their own. as for the gear to record vocals, i setup two microphones since i really want to capture the performance without worrying about which microphone wants better for a style or singer. i setup two great vocal microphones side by side. a Neumann U87 and a Powers Microphone Company "Kelsey" both through a Toft mic pre.

Just a short history of my involvement with Powers Microphone Company. several years ago i got a post on Facebook regarding a breast Cancer benefit someone was putting together. i reached out and offered Huxster to play the show. during the lead up to the show on facebook i discovered the organizer knew someone who made custom microphones. well of course i reached out to find out. this is when i met Bill Powers. Bill had a studio and like most of us wanted some of the best microphones available to record with. we also like most of us he couldn't afford the 10s of thousands of dollars to purchase high end microphones so he did what most of us couldn't do; he built his own. so i called Bill and told him i wanted to check out is top mic against my Neumann U87. i went to his studio with my Neumann and we compared microphone. Bill has a tubed microphone named the "Madison" which was a prototype at the time to compare with. i was blow away especially after Bill told me the price he wanted to charge. before i purchased one however i wanted to really test it so i setup at my studio to record a vocal using both microphones actually the same way i'm recording the Huxster vocals now. i set them up side by side using the same type pre with no EQ or compression, just a slight change of gain to match levels and recorded one of the Huxster tunes we were working on at the time. i made a quick mix again without any processing; one mix with the U87 and one mix with the Madison. you could barely tell the difference between microphones. i bought serial number 001 and love it. once Bill came out with the "Kesley" which is similar but with multiple positions/partners and dual elements i grabbed one and love it as well.
Here is the Link to Bill's microphones; buy his microphones and support local independent musicians.

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