MsP Production Blog


Archive for the ‘Recording Strategy’ Category

“Final Words,” a New Song By Kim Pingul f.k.a. Cocoa!

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This one’s called “Final Words.”  Music and lyrics by Kim Pingul f.k.a Cocoa, produced and arranged by Kim Pingul and me and some extra assistance from Harmony Speaks.

This one’s pretty dark; Kim needed to get something off her chest.  This was the first rock/acoustic song I’ve ever produced, and it came out great.  I finally got to record my drums and bass and use the acoustic guitar recording setup that I outlined here. We’re pretty happy with the final product, and we hope you guys like the song.

Later on this week, Less will be coming through to record some material.  So we might be releasing new stuff very soon!

MsP’s staying real busy.  More coming your way, very soon!

-mnshyn

Recording Drums for a Sample Kit

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

In a few hours, I’ll be releasing my first ever original drum sample kit.  After months of releasing kits I’ve found, searched for, or given to me, this’ll be the first bundle that I’ve recorded with my own equipment (or lack thereof).

What equipment, you ask?

  • Ludwig Standard Drum Kit: A kick drum, a snare drum, hi-hats, two mounted toms, a floor tom, and a ride/crash cymbal
  • Evans E-Rings
  • Blue Jelly Mufflers
  • Shure Beta 52A
  • Shure SM57
  • Audio-Technica 2020
  • Jazz Drum Sticks
  • Drum Brushes
  • Studio Projects VTB1 Preamp
  • Samson C Com 16 Compressor

Here are notes on how I recorded the drums.  I took a few pictures before my Blackberry’s battery died out.

The kick drum had the resonant head removed, and was recorded a few times with one pillow and a few times with two pillows inside.  I used a Shure Beta52A to record from three different positions: halfway inside the kick drum, outside the kick drum on the resonant head side, and on the batter head.

Figure 2010-06-16/1: Shure Beta 52A on the outside, with two pillows

Shure Beta 52A Outside Kick Drum

Figure 2010-06-16/2: Shure Beta 52A on the inside, with two pillows

Shure Beta 52A Inside Kick Drum

Figure 2010-06-16/3: Shure Beta 52A on the batter head

Shure Beta 52A On the Batter Head

The snare drum was recorded with a Shure SM57.  The snare strainer was set at different levels for different sounds.  An Evans E-Ring and blue jelly were used to muffle the drum in different ways for more variation.  Jazz drum sticks and brushes were used.

Figure 2010-06-16/4: Shure SM57 on a Snare Drum, with an Evans E-Ring

Shure SM57 on a Snare Drum with an Evans E-Ring

All three toms were recorded with an SM57, with the blue jelly and E-Rings for different variations in sound.  They were also hit with jazz drum sticks and brushes.

Figure 2010-06-16/5: Floor Tom with an Evans E-Ring, with my drum brushes laid down

Floor Tom with my drum brushes

The hi-hats were recorded with an Audio Technica 2020.  They were recorded open, closed, and pedaled.

The crash/ride cymabls were also recorded with an Audio Technica 2020.  Blue jelly was used to muffle the cymbals and calm the ring.

Figure 2010-06-16/6: Audio Technica 2020 on a Crash/Ride, with a blue jelly muffler

Audio Technica 2020 on a Crash-Ride Cymbal

More to come. =]

-mnshyn

Recording an Acoustic Guitar Direct And With Microphones

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

This past week has been really busy, and I finally had a little bit of down time to go work on some music.  As I’ve have written in a previous post, I had recently bought a new Ibanez Acoustic/Electric guitar and an SM57.  I’ll cover the SM57 in a future post, but for now I want to share my experiences recording the acoustic guitar.

My attempts at recording acoustic guitar were always fine.  Never great, but they could pass.  Now that I have my own acoustic/electric, I figured I can try to figure out what way would be best to capture a nice, thick sound.

Recording direct (whether it was acoustic or electric) always sounded dull to me.  There was just a certain tone that was missing, and I could never put my finger on it, whether it was the missing reverb, or just the way the pickups were bringing in the sound.

With an electric guitar, you can always use plugins to mess with the sound because electric guitars are manipulated in so many different ways today that you can record something direct, then use effects to get the desired effect later.  This goes for distortion, overdrive, flangers, chrouses, and whatever else.

Acoustic guitars are a lot more difficult, because the desired tone and/or sound for a majority of acoustic guitar uses will be very similar.  The differences may come in the way it’s EQ’d, or some style of compression or reverb.  However, that particular sound of an acoustic guitar cannot be created or be the product of a manipulation from an electric guitar and have it sound that accurate (at least during the time of this writing I haven’t found anything that would do that yet).  Of course you can get VSTi’s that have acoustic guitar sounds, but where’s the fun in that? =]  Especially since, unlike an orchestra or a chorus, you can buy yourself a guitar and a mic to record with for about $200 (of course at the very low end of the food chain.)

With an acoustic/electric, you have a choice of either mic’ing it up, or going direct, or doing both.  Neither on its own for me ever fit the bill completely.  However, recording both simultaneously covered all grounds and got me the sound I personally was looking for.

Keep in mind also that I don’t have a state of the art studio, and I’m stuck with an E-MU 0404 Sound Card with two mono inputs.  I do have a Samson MDR6 mixer, which I thought would be useful for me when I bought it, but realized after I wouldn’t be able to simultaneously record four tracks and be able to manipulate post-session.  I could, however, use two mics and feed them through one mono signal or two for a stereo, if I so desired.

The final setup that I came up with that got me the sound I wanted was the following:

  1. Ibanez Acoustic/Electric direct with the bass slightly up into a Studio Projects VTB1 Tube Preamp  into one channel on the 0404
  2. Audio-Technica PRO37 small diaphragm condenser mic at the 12th fret about four inches away + Audio-Technica 2020 large diaphragm condenser about six-seven inches pointed at the third fret, going into the MDR6,  then into the other channel on the 0404.

I then compressed both recordings softly and gave both a slight reverb.

The direct recording captured I’d say about 80% of the sound I wanted, but the mics gave it that extra 20%; that character and natural reverb.  I then panned one 25% to the left, then panned one 25% to the right.

I think it’s pretty good.  What do you think?

More to come people.  Stay tuned.

-mnshyn

Freshness: An Ill Biggie T-Shirt

Friday, May 7th, 2010

United Five Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls Babe Ruth T-ShirtHere’s an ill Biggie T-Shirt from the good folks at United Five (no relation to 5Fam, name is a coincidence).  Any fan of hip-hop knows the King of New York, Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls.  From the ever-so-fluid flow, sharp wittiness, and uncanny storytelling ability, Biggie is one of the most (and for many, simply the most) revered emcees.  Even after his untimely and tragic death in 1997, he still is in a majority of top 5 lists, and for a majority of those, he’s in the #1 position.

United Five’s description of the shirt:

The Biggie, Babe Ruth Re-Mix T-shirt. Untied Five teams up with designer CuddleMachine for this clever fun shirt. Representing two of New Yorks greatest icons.

All t-shirts are screen printed by hand using soft to the touch inks.
100% Combed Ring spun Cotton. Super-soft, lightweight, slim-fit tee. Machine washable and preshrunk to minimize shrinkage.

You can check their website at http://www.united-five.com, or go directly to their shop at http://shop.united-five.com.  I personally have this t-shirt as well as their Crooklyn shirt.  Aside from the nice designs, they’re good quality; I’ve washed them quite a few times since with no signs of wear and tear.

From what I understand, the name of “United Five” comes from the five boroughs of New York, so you’ll see some borough specific tees as well as some that represent all five.  So if you rep the city hard, you may want to grab these shirts to show your solidarity.

Tomorrow, I’ll be hitting you guys up with some info on the new SM57 I bought.  It’s the first SM57 I’ve bought for my mic arsenal.  Studio pros know the SM57 very well, and though the review I’m going to give would be obvious to those who have had it, I’m hoping it’ll be enlightening to those who are trying to find the right microphone for electric guitar amp cabinets and snare drums.

More to come, so stay tuned!

-mnshyn

“West Side” Story…

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Just a few notes from me re: Roll Call ’10.

Pipe organs – check.

Plucked chord drops – check.

Epic strings – check.

Dirty drums – check.

Long Beach to Compton – check.

1995 – check.

Ice Cube – check.

If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I have scored and am producing a hip-hop track (yes, hip-hop) on the MsP collaboration album Roll Call ’10.  It has the flavor of an old-school, mid-’90’s, West Coast track.  It’s not really a “Gangsta” track, though the theme for the song will be gang related, but only to a degree.

We don’t really want to give away too much on the content of the song but what we can tell you is that it will not be POV – the lyrics will be from 2 bystanders/observers.  The track WILL play on your state of mind and you WILL feel like you just watched some psychological drama.  Beyond that, you’ll have to wait and see.

Last night (4.4.10/Easter Sunday)  MooN ShynE and I discussed how this track should progress and we came up with some interesting ideas as far as the “theme” of the song.

This track will feature:
MooN ShynE – vocals / mixing / mastering / arrangement
K-Maculate – vocals
ADM – producer / composer / storyline (partial)

I would appreciate MooN ShynE’s input on this as well…

That’s it for now………

Track listing complete. Order is finalized. 75% done.

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Just a few notes from me re: Chamber Waves.

If you’ve been to the ADM facebook page and clicked on “discography” you would have seen a 10-track listing for the Chamber Waves album. Though I initially wanted to keep it to 10 tracks I’m adding an 11th. The 8th track will be “Switch-up” which is what we’re working on now and I didn’t want to remove any of the other songs because I like the way they fit into the flow of the album. I thought about perhaps moving something to the 2nd album but that’s a while off and that album will be going in a slightly different direction.

*Speaking of the 2nd album, I CAN tell you it will have a 149 BPM hardstyle track and an 80 BPM ambient track with NO percussion or audible bassline.*

At the end of this post you can see the finalized album listing.

Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 are finished.
Tracks 5, 8, 11 are works in progress
Tracks 7 and 10 are in need of a major overhaul, including instrumentation (10) and massive EQ’ing (7)

As far as track 8 is concerned, I’m not sure what MooN ShynE will do on his Roll Call ’10 album, but I sort of want it to feature BBI on my album. Only because I already have a track featuring MooN ShynE and track 11, MMSKM, I will try to get background vocals from K-Maculate so that will feature him (hopefully). Maybe I’m being OCD about this but I just don’t want to repeat myself and, at least visually, I want to give the album variety.

1. Parallel
2. And Want Two
3. Reflections of You
4. Screamer
5. Project InhalOr feat. MooN ShynE
6. XXIII
7. Fast Fantasy
8. Switch-Up feat. Black and Blue Ink – (tentative…)
9. Create the Electric Process
10. Lonely on the Outside
11. MMSKM

That’s it for now………
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