I know I keep banging on about this month's thrill - coming out of the box for the Sons and Daughters record. So I thought I would explain my thinking (and feeling). The project was beautifully recorded onto "One Inch" 16 track Analogue Tape. I wanted to integrate my usual "In the Box" mixing method into the whole process. I have fallen in love with the working method of setting up mixes and adjusting them later after input from Band, Producer, Record Company. Letting the mixes grow and be inspired by different tunes and mixes across the album is a method I really value, as a way of navigating the route to the best possible result, especially when I am not mixing the whole time with the band.
So I put together a "white room" for a month at Strongroom, initially with my rig, Apogee Ensemble and Metric Halo ULN-8 convertors, and a rented Fat Bustard. This has enabled me to work alone, and with Scott from Sons and Daughters and Keith (the producer). Recall on the Fat Bustard is very simple (most of the controls are notched), and everything else is recalled with the session and so the album has been taking shape nicely.
Finally I have rented an Ampex ATR 102 for a day at the very end of the session, so when all the mixes are approved I shall be able to print the whole album to half inch tape at 30 ips, as well as back into Logic at 96k.
I have an old (3 years) Mac Pro and I was chatting to Hasan from macxperts about what a great machine it has been and is for audio. He suggested a very cost effective upgrade for my Tower - SSD drive for System Apps and Audio. So I bought one from OWC
I came out the box for the Sons and Daughters LP Mix, and it was a new experience for me. I have successfully tracked in the past with my ULN-8 and my Ensemble at 44.1k so I was hoping for a simple and stable solution again - though this project was 96k. I had quite a few problems - interfaces not being recognised, terrible glitchy audio, no audio, Logic complaining about wrong sample rate and more. I had to replace the firmware on the ULN-8 and the Ensemble although both were already at latest firmware and latest drivers when I started the project, it seemed they became corrupted. Shutdowns did not always solve the problem, and though I was enjoying the project, the music, the audio and the challenge I found it very frustrating at times, and wondered if my system would be more stable with 2 Ensembles or 2 ULN-8s instead (though I would still have to aggregate). I also considered (and am still very interested in) a non aggregate 16 output system using an Aurora 8 hooked up to my ULN-8.
After reinstalling the firmware on the Ensemble I followed the instructions exactly and switched on the computer before powering up the Interface. This made me think that switch on order might be important, so from then on I booted the computer before switching on any Audio Interfaces. This seems to work very much better, and now my system seems to be stable and very useable.
Throughout the recording of the new album for Emmy the Great I have become (re-) enamoured of the sound of Figure of Eight mics. And I don't just mean ribbons - thought the ribbons have been a substantial part of it. I have also been using my Schoeps Collette MK8 on the Guitar amps with a Royer an SE or a Shiny Box Ribbon, and my wonderful 30 year old Schoeps CMTS 501 (the first microphone I ever bought) as a classic Blumlein pair in many different recording scenarios. I have been loving the sound that I am getting from these beautiful mics. The sonics of this record is all about the Figure of Eight.
I was listening to Schönberg's arrangement of his own Opus 4 for String Orchestra on Radio 3 this morning when John recommended the poem to me. The poem is wonderful too. Here it is. Thanks John and thanks to Dehmel for a beautiful sharing.
Alphaville: Interesting afternoon in the studio with Marian and Martin working on arrangements and vocals for a new song. Replacing, reducing, editing, enhancing, focusing. Enjoyed supper afterwards in Teddington. Followed by a good phone conversation with Pete, (who is currently in NY) about ideas and ways of working. .