Acoustic Magic (part 1)

In Manifold Recording, recording studio, technique by manifold_admin

In previous blog postings, I previewed that we would have a very busy spring at the studio, and this has indeed come to pass.  We’ve done a lot of tracking, a lot of mixing, and not–unfortunately–a whole lot of blogging in the process. Let’s work on that, shall we?

There are many approaches to making a record, and even a few good ones.  The ones that get me the most excited are the ones that include the capture of great audio.  We are very proud of the acoustic quality of the Music Room and our Booths.  We also have an extensive collection of high-end microphones.  The art of the tracking engineer is using the microphones and the room acoustics to get the best performance from the artist and the best sounds from the instruments.  Here are some photos of recent tracking sessions that demonstrate the flexibility of our environment and the creativity of Ian Schreier, our chief engineer.

Here Ian sets a pair of close mics for a trombone:

Ian will often use a Schoeps condenser and a Coles ribbon microphone together as their complementary characteristics blend very nicely together.  But of course the close mics are just part of the acoustic picture.  There’s nothing like the sound of a section playing together in one big room:

The gobos provide separation for the close mics, yet the room mics pick up a well-blended diffusion of the three instruments playing together.  Each of the gobos has a diffuse side and an absorptive side.  Ian has strategically placed the diffuse sides where they are most needed (opposite the trumpet and sax) and the absorptive side to trap some of the bass coming from the trombone.

Here’s another perspective showing both how much visibility the musicians have between each other, how nicely the microphones are separated from each other:

And from up above (not too far from one of the room mics):

And when it comes to recording drums, there just is no substitute for a properly sized room (with 16′ ceilings):

Finally, a shot showing our lead vox mic combo, Telefunken Elektroakoustik U-47 and C-12 :

That covers some of the highlights of one session.  Stay tuned for more!