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This week we had the pleasure of bringing in a Gold Coast music award winning band called Leopold’s Treat, for a song recording session. The band took the form of four piece, with two acoustic guitars, lap steel slide guitar and harmonica, with a lead vocal and a each other band member singing backing vocals. The band creates a warm founding rhythm with the acoustic guitars with tasteful lead lines filling the space on occasion. A lot of the soundscape comes from the lap steel guitar, which had was played with a slide and a reverb with a large reverb tail. The harmonica featured between the lyrics leaving space for the vocals, it also added to the scape with a lot of drony howls with a vibrato on the each fade out.

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The Neve studio would be the recording space for the band, naturally there was a desire to record all 4 members at the same time to capture a more live effect that would suit the music better, recording vocals later. Due to the certain cue’s of the song and the unclear transitions, it was soon established that recording the instruments separately would be more suitable, as it would allow us and Kate who was leading the song, to lay down her guitar track and vocals first, which would guide the other members of the band for their takes.

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With the recording, we approached all the guitars with both a DI signal and a microphone(s), which is definitely going to give more options in the mixing and editing phase. For the first Acoustic we used a Neumann U87 condenser sitting a couple of inches away from the 12th fret on the acoustic which was a large bodied steel string Maton, with a deep resonant sound with a bright string noise. The second acoustic was mic’d up with a pair of Neumann KM184’s in an XY stereo pattern, a pretty popular technique for an acoustic guitar but also offered some variation in sound from the first acoustic. The lap steel guitar was also running through a DI with 2 spot mic’s, a Sennheiser MD421 which with its flat frequency response would pick up only the honest detail of the sound. The second mic was a Royer 121 ribbon mic. The harmonica has quite an obnoxious sound, so we used a Shure SM7B dynamic, they can take an absolute kick in the guts of sound and yet they maintain a lot of clarity. We used 3 room microphones for the recording, the other Neumann U87 sitting fairly low in the centre of the room and a pair of AKG C414’s sitting about twice the height, with them put in opposite corners of the room. It was mainly to catch a bit more ambience of the room sound which is pretty dry, also I’m fairly certain it’s a crime to have a Neumann U87 mic and not use it.

Here is a rough list of microphones we took into the studio…

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The signal we achieved with these mic’s was fantastic, thanks to our lecturer Guy who coordinated the setup but also brought some of his own equipment for the band to use, which helped to smooth the session out and save us some time messing around with poor quality equipment that would create trouble and delays. Next monday in class, we will all be taking a copy of the session to mix, this will be a great opportunity to try some new techniques with a different style than I am used too.

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