Many A Session Has been Had


Its been a busy one!

I have just moved to Surbiton in South West London; With a view to get myself into a nice solid 9-5 Monday to Friday job.

However, it has been a nice busy few weeks. I have been in the studio a number of hours working with various singer song writers to help them put together EP’s and demo’s.

For one composer called Ross Skilbeck, we have been working on a piano album comprising of a number of compositions within variants on a theme. It’s dark and moody with expressive rich chords, that even at times of obscurity, pleases the listening ear. Unfortunately the piano situated in the studio doesn’t quite have the right sound for the mood of the music (a little bright and hard) so there are plans in motion to do a location recording at the Birly Centre where we should be able to capture both the sound of their nice shiny grand piano as well as their nice shiny concert hall.

Ross also did a collaborative session (playing guitar and vocals) with highly talented singer Chloe Powell, where they spent a day recording a number of cover tracks giving each their own twist. You can find some of the recordings here.

As well as the studio time, I have also just completed Elderflower Fields Festival again for the 4th year running. I was working with Sussex Events Ltd to set-up, operate, and take down all lighting and sound equipment across 3 stages. The festival in all went very well, with only a few hiccups, mostly to do with the power generators used this year, they weren’t as reliable as one would hope. But other than that, the weather was great, I drank far too much, saw the sunrise too many times, mixed some great bands, and some bad ones, and went home to pack up my home to move it all to London.

Interview tomorrow.

cheers

Recording The NDC Choir


A few weeks back I had a lovely Choir Director approach me to do a location recording for a the North Downs Chamber Choir.

The Artistic Directer, Sarah Latto, has a number of projects going some of which look really interesting this is her website: Sarah Latto

The recording was a nice change, the choir was mixed, with about 40 singers. The piece, “Verily, Verily” was performed at St Pauls Church in Woldingham, UK.

The recording was also being filmed as promotional footage for the choir; so the setup needed to be fairly out of the way.For the recording I used an Omni mic on a boom above the choir positioned in a semi circle around it, with the zoom H6 doing the recording with a Mid-Side capsule set at the center point a little way back from the choir. I then had a shotgun microphone at the back of the Church (which was very long and narrow)  pointing into the high ceilings to pick up the acoustics of the space.

Issues faced were the ever noisy florescent lighting; quickly turned off and replaced by some floods. More issues came to light during the mix. movement noises etc, I will come to these later.

A few photos of the space and setup:

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The church goes about another 30 feet back from where this photo was taken. There were some very interesting standing waves going on.

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The Boom in the process of being setup (DIY stand made from a few chunks of timber, some wall hooks and a M12 bolt, If any one wants more info on this, let me know). With Angus the Film maker, getting his white balance and angles. Waiting for the talent

I haven’t got any photos of the choir in position as I was busy recording audio, but there will be a video to come, Shot by Angus with my audio.

In all I am happy with the outcom, i had a few issues with the recording which i had to sort. the were a couple of shuffle noises that i had to mask by merging 2 different recordings.

Looking closely at the waveform you can see a slight click (of someones heal) removing this but masking it proved trickier then initially anticipated as it was on a trail off of a note leading to a breath, so dropping in new audio meant that it had to sit exactly.edit 1

Getting the audio to sit well wasn’t possible with the performance so a cross fade had to be used along side a section from a different recording. The waveform has been expanded as a visual aid (its not clipping).

editThis fixed the issue; I made the edit about half a second before the initial click, making the edit seamless.

I look forward to posting the end product on here!

Thanks for reading!

Andy

Back in the studio


Had a lovely recording session with a fella called max last week. His family had bought the session for him for his Xmas present. We had a great time recording some live Piano, Electric guitar, and acoustic. We used a studio that is nice and cosy with a fairly sized library for a live room. Was a lovely space to work with.

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I was pretty happy using the 12gauge greens as overheads on the piano; I also used them as an XY on the acoustic guitar. I’m fairly happy with the results.

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Thanks

Review -12 Gauge Microphones


This Review is aimed to cover aspects of the Red, Green, and Blue Microphones from 12 Gauge Microphones. In this review I am aiming to cover the following topics:

  • Build quality, presentation and aesthetics
  • Polar pattern accuracy and frequency response, including the differentiation between two microphones of the same model (green and blue)
  • Conclusion

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Continue reading

Coming Soon- 12 Gauge Microphones review


I have recently just bought myself a box set of 5 lovely new 12 Gauge Microphones, which over the next few weeks i’m going to be putting through their paces with a variety of different situations, instruments, and microphone techniques.

They are basically microphone capsules built into the spend cartridge of a 12 gauge shotgun.

The set includes the following:

  •  Cardioid Greens x2
  • High Spl Cardioid Blues x2
  • Omnidirection red x1

12guagemicrophones

 

I am hoping to give these a serious test including polar pattern shape and accuracy; and potentially frequency response, as of yet I haven’t been able to find any information on the specs of these mics as every one is hand made and therefore slightly different.

So please be patient for the review. its gonna take some time

If you are interested for more information please visit the 12 Guage webiste, the guy that makes them, Brad, is a legend.

Cheers

 

Zoom H6 in action Indian Ceremony


In an unexpected turn of what performances go on in the theatre I currently work in; I was asked to do the sound for an Indian coming of age ceremony. It was very interesting combining what the professional Indian musicians flown in from India wanted it to sound like, and how I, as a western engineer thought it should sound like. which became apparent were two very different things. However both I and the musicians and the girl performing the ceremony were all very happy (the ceremony which as far as I can tell, consists of a number of dances performed to tell the stories of traditional Indian culture…. I may however be completely wrong.)  

I was asked to make an audio recording of the evening(about 3 hours long).

I used the zoom H6 with the XY mic capsule for the ambiance with the the Left+Right feed from a Allen and Heath analogue mixing console I was operating from. I had both the female vocals on compressors and a bit on the percussive instrument (I forget the name). 

Heres some of the recordings from the evening!

Thanks for reading/listening!

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments box below! 

Cheers

Zoom H6 Review


 I recently purchased the zoom H6 and promised a review, so here it is!

I bought the Zoom H6 which came with the XY capsule, the mid-side, a foam windshield, and a 2 GB SD card; I am also keen to get my hands on the the 2x XLR/TRS input module so that I can use the H6’s 6 audio channels. I’m not too fussed with the shotgun attachment as I already have a shotgun microphone of a similar quality.  The purpose of getting the recorder was to enable me to record more freely in the field, to have enough channels to do bigger projects, and having the possibility of 6 channels opens up the ability for 5.1 recording in the field. 

Out of the box

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Xlr patch bay DIY


This is a simple “how to” on how to build a rack mount xlr patch bay. The purpose on this occasion was to gain easy access to the xlr inputs on the back of my Focusrite Saffire pro 40.

To do this you will need:

1- A length (19 inch) of easily adjustable panel, in this case wood. Metal or sturdy plastic will also work (if you have the tools). This needs to be at least one rack mount space wide (1U) depending on how many sockets you are installing.

2- A number of mountable xlr sockets (female) the number you need is determined on the intended purpose of the patch bay. This is where the money gets spent, I had two random ones that I wanted to use up but bought the other 4 neutrik sockets.

3- Multi core looms. How many cores and how much you need is up to you, I bought 3m of 4 core balanced (make sure it’s balance) and cut it into suitable lengths.

4- Male xlr connectors. The number of which is determined by how many sockets on the patch bay you have.

Tools:

Hand drill

Sharp chisel

An assortment of drill bits

Hand saw

Sand paper

Screw driver

Screws

Ruler Set

square

Pencil

Soldering iron

Solder sucker

Solder

The first process is preparing the panel to a 1u wide and 19inch length so as to fit in your rack unit. It is important you do this now so as to avoid issues fitting the patch panel at a later stage. Once the panel is the right size, marking out of socket spacing can begin, it is important that the spacing between each socket is the same to avoid aesthetic issues.

Drill large holes accurately that are small enough to not be seen from the front of the panel. Any additional clearance should be done with a chisel (make sure to protect the surface you are working on) The sockets should fit snugly, sit evenly spaced and straight. imagelooOnce happy with the sockets position, use screws to fasten them into place.

Construct a cable tension bar around the back of the patch bay so as to relieve stress on the socket solder joints. This also helps strengthen to the overall unit, helping to prevent flexing when plugging in and out of the bay. image Prepare your looms with suitable length tails to enable more flexibility when soldering. image Make sure everything is stripped twisted and ready prior to beginning, saves a bit of hassel. I put some heat shrink on mine to ease pressure on the cores and also because it looks tidier. Tidy patch bay, tidy mind.

Cable tie the slack of loom to the tension bar making sure to give enough to reach each socket. Then begin soldering, making sure to solder each part of the core to the right pin of the socket.  image

 

Once completed it should look something like this: image Notice there are two un-used cores on the second loom, this is for the future depending on what I need.  Possibly TRS inputs. These will be fitted to the panel accordingly, you can see the small preemptive marks for position of sockets.

Finally, attach and solder your xlr male connectors onto the other end of the looms making sure to label them. Sometimes the little numbers on the core cable can come off or fade, plus it’s a pain to look for.  Again make sure to solder the cores correctly! image

Hopefully everything should work perfectly, if it doesn’t, check your soldering, look for bad connections etc and modify where necessary!

 

Thanks for reading! And building!

 

Thank you to Toffer King for the XLR wiring diagrams! 🙂

Elderflower Fields Festival 2014 Review


WHAT A WEEK!

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I have just returned from engineering at Elderflower Fields Festival, it was long, hard work. The weather being in the UK was typically rubbish and it rained a lot apart from the Sunday where it was lovely! there was shin deep mud, a lot of stuck transport vehicles and a lot of stressed contractors.

But none of that matters. I had one of the best festival experiences of my life to date over the weekend. “The Magic Numbers” who hit the British music scene pretty hard in the mid Naughtys basically decided to turn up, jump on stage and then do a load of effing incredible covers such as “I’d rather go blind” by Etta James  and a few my Fleetwood Mac and many more all on the woodland stage at the end of the night.

Imagine this, you’re in the middle of a Forrest, there is a disco ball hanging to your left high up in the trees, you are in an open sided tent  with 40 or so other late night music lovers, you have just finished watching some genius lyrics and keys by “Duke Special”. everyone is starting to think about going to bed after the three days of solid music, activities, and of course a fair amount of booze. And then all of a sudden some other guys wonder onto stage and you think, “Hey I recognize those guys” they then start to have a cheeky jam with duke which then turns into a 45 minute set of covers, own material, and pure improvisation. FACE.MELTED.

 

The festival is perfect for young families and worked beautifully on the new site. There area few issues that need addressing but nothing substantial and are all easy fixes. In all that gig on the Sunday night for the 40 or so people that were there to see it was the best I have ever had the pleasure to work on. and i look forward to see what happens next year. if you get the chance, BE THERE.

Elderflower Fields 2014


I’m off this weekend for the third year to Elderflower Fields Festival in the the lovely Sussex country side where I will be acting as Sound Engineer and system design for both the main stage and the smaller acoustic stage.

The festival itself is in its third year and steadily expanding; this year on a new site in the heart of the Ashdown Forrest.

Geared towards kids activities and parental relaxation, the festival is extremely relaxed and always has a good buzz. It has been doing very well doubling in size in its second year, this year will be interesting to see what the organizers do to push it further. I know there are hot tubs on top of a double decker bus….because…. why not!

 

Find more information on their website!

Elderflower fields Festival