Studio Stories: 4 People in 4 Rooms

Posted by on Aug 20, 2012 in Stories | 0 comments

In February 2012, I had a first. A smokin’ blues-ish band Van Funk & the LeBarons spent a weekend with us and were determined to record live off the floor.  No problem.  We can handle a 4 piece band.

  • A four piece drum kit with 9 mics
  • A bass guitar D.I.’d
  • A guitar into two cabinets
  • Two lead singers

14 channels to record a four piece band seems pretty easy.  We can do 24 in a snap! Then we tried to lay it out logistically. How do we maximize the isolation while still letting everyone feel like they’re playing together? How do we get two singers isolated from everything else? One singer is easy.  We have a little isolation room perfect for that.  But two?

Here’s how we laid it out

Drums into the large isolation room.  Easy.  This room was made for drums.  And when I say that, I really mean it.  I measured the largest drum set I could find and designed a room to fit it. The bass guitar was D.I.’d (no amp, for those not up on the lingo), so we could really put him anywhere. A relative non factor.

Two rooms (plus a control room) with an electric guitar and two singers left to fit in. We tried the singers in our main room (the yellow room…) but it wasn’t the right space, so ONE singer (Jordan) in the small isolation room and he sounded great. By default, with the guitar amps in the main room, we were forced to put the other singer (Jessica) in the control room.  Fingers crossed, MacGyver’d baffles to cut down on reflections, and one of our nicest mics (AKG414), we hit record…

Not only did she sound good, she sounded GREAT! (in my head I said that like Tony the Tiger) It was perhaps one of the most intimate, perfect matches of space-microphone-voice I’ve ever listened to.  All of us raved about how great she sounded… all weekend long.

And then began the adventure

Now, everything set, soundcheck done, we hit record.  And that’s when the real magic started happening.  We (or rather, THEY) recorded 18 songs in 18 hours, and we’re not done yet. Some songs might not make the cut, and others will be reworked and re-recorded, but this album will be smokin’.