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  • Writer's pictureMark

Album Release - The basics. Recording and mixing. Finished!

After months of recording, all the performances are done.

Back when I first moved into my apartment, I noticed a side closet would provide the best sound booth I could get. I hung rugs and foam padding to dampen the sound and did my best to eliminate reflections. Again, this whole thing is DIY, so I'm never gonna get true pro quality. And that's fine, and part of the fun and pride in it.

My gear changed a bunch over the months. Generally, I stuck to 3 mics. A shure SM58 for the more "rock" vocals that had me pushing more air and dynamics, a shure 57 for micing my amp (more in a bit), and an MXL condenser mic for more naunced vocals, on say, less aggresive songs. These fed into a Steinberg CI1 input box for connecting to my DAW (Logic Pro X on a 2012 Mac air). Actually, first I should note I ran the mics through a TC Helicon Voice Live Touch for a bit of adaptive EQ and at times full on effects like gang shout vocals. The setup worked mostly well, but I will say there were takes across days that really sounded different and had to be corrected as best I could in post using EQ. Also, my mac air surely does tend to sputter on larger, effect heavy songs, Often times I would enter a delicate high wire act of freezing tracks (converting them to processed WAV files and eliminating real time processing) during playback to make sure I didn't get the dreaded "System overloaded" error. I will say though, don't listen to people who claim you need an insane mac pro or such to record. Unless you are tracking a band or a professional producer, it's just not true. As long as you are patient, it can work. 📷 For my guitar, I play a Fender Roadworn Strat into a Blackstar HT-5, which I love. I always use the neck pickup, and for overdrive use a Timmy pedal, again, which to my ears is stellar. My final pedal in the tiny chain is a bit of tremolo from a Cool Cat.

So, tracks are recorded and I start mixing.

For this I use tons of plugins and such. Since I really wanted this album to have an overall cohesive sound, I selected a specific drummer and kit from the Logic Pro drummer utility, and tweaked everything around that kit.

With regards to effects. First off, Valhalla reverb is my reverb of choice. I use it as a bus effect, and run everything through it at around 15% usually to give it the appearance of being in the same room. I like stuff a little wet, so that's intentional.

For additional guitar effects I use Amplitube (and for bass in addition to the occasional midi and Logic's bass processors), and at times some of Logic' built in effects like tape delay, step filters, space designers, sweeps/etc. I am a huge fan of using midi guitars, so I process those through either Logic/Reason/or a Philharmonik processor. Vocals I take through iZotope Nectar 2 for de-essing/reverb/eq/modulation/compression, and then every track gets fed through T-Racks for compression/limiting/eq-ing. With this album I have become a huge fan of using a bit off center additional vox track with some saturation and overdrive to add some grit to the main vocals. Oh, and adding a very thinly eq'd, almost trashed delay. Gives everything a nice punky/grungy tint.

Less than 3 months out and I am still mixing. Scary.

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