Recording Steel Drums: Our engineer rises to the unfamiliar challenge of capturing a loud steel band in their octagonal rehearsal building.
Amongst the many things I enjoy about being a recording engineer is the variety of people you meet and the unusual situations you can sometimes find yourself in. This past month alone, I’ve recorded a few different guitar bands and singer-songwriters, a brass section, audio for an English exam paper, and a hurdy-gurdy player. For this month’s session write-up, though, a personal first: recording a steel band.
When I was initially contacted by the Cambridge University Steel Pan Society, to see if I was able to accommodate their 14-piece steel band at my studio, I had to politely decline on the grounds that they wouldn’t all be able to fit in my studio’s live room at the same time — and I couldn’t see much merit in attempting to record a band like this in a modular overdubbed fashion. But I did ask them if they had a good room that they rehearsed in. If they did and it was suitable, I reasoned, I could take my little mobile rig along and record them at their place. They seemed to quite like the idea, but before committing to the gig, I thought it sensible just to pop out and take a look at the venue, to listen, and figure out more broadly what I’d be dealing with.
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