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Session Notes: Spektakulatius Revisited | Audio Examples

Hear For Yourself
By Mike Senior

The audio files available on this page accompany my Session Notes article in SOS July 2019 about recording the band Spektakulatius (www.spektakulatius.de). The filenames for these audio examples should be fairly self-explanatory, but here are some additional notes to describe exactly what you are hearing in each case.

Kick01_Old

Here's the raw signal from the kick-drum mic (and ADK S7 large-diaphragm condenser) on the previous Spektakulatius session. Although the signal has plenty of nice low-end weight, because the mic was set up outside the drum, it doesn't really have enough midrange beater definition for rockier styles, and it also picks up quite a lot of roomy spill from other instruments.

Kick02_New

Here's the same ADK S7 microphone you heard in the Kick01_Old audio file, but as it sounded on the session shown in this month's article. By placing it inside the kick drum, I was able to get much better beater definition and much less room sound, while still maintaining a solid low end foundation.

SnareClose01_Old

On the previous session, I'd used a Sennheiser E906 dynamic mic in a traditional over-the-snare position. Because the mic is still a good three inches from the drum head, the sound isn't too bad, but it still has more stick-attack and resonance than it has real tone or noisiness.

SnareClose02_New

As explained in this month's article, for the latest session, rather than using a traditional over-snare close mic this time (as demonstrated in the SnareClose01_Old audio file), instead I put an AKG C414B-XLII large-diaphragm condenser mic at the side of the drum to pick up a richer blend of shell tone, head resonances, and snare rattle. I used the mic's figure-of-eight polar pattern to  reduce spill from the cymbals and toms around it.

Piano01_Old

On both Spektakulatius sessions I placed a pair of condenser mics inside the piano. On the earlier one, these were a coincident pair of large-diaphragm Groove Tubes GT55 cardioids. While these worked well in conjunction with the piano spill coming from other mics in the full-band setup, they did sound a little coloured tonally on account of the mics' off-axis frequency response

Piano02_New

For the session featured in this month's magazine, I used a pair of Oktava MK012 small-diaphragm omni condenser mics instead of the Groove Tubes GT55 large-diaphragm cardioids you heard in the Piano02_Old audio file. You can hear how these mics provide a much clearer tonality, and were much more usable inisolation, without requiring the support of piano spill from other mics in the band setup.

SaxSpillOverheads01_Old

Here's what the drum overhead mics (a pair of Shure KSM141 small-diaphragm cardioid condensers) sounded like on the previous Spektakulatius session. Notice how the saxophone is not only quite loud, but also quite roomy — this caused problems at mixdown in terms of bringing the saxophone sufficiently upfront for its solos.

SaxSpillOverheads02_New

Exactly the same overhead mics were used on the most recent Spektakulatius session, as shown in this month's article. However, because of increased baffling around the drums and an SE Electronics Reflexion filter directly in front of the saxophone's bell, you can hear how the sax spill is both significantly lower in level and also drier too.

Bass01_AcousticMicSolo

Here's what the upright bass close mic (a Rode K2 large-diaphragm valve condenser mic) sounded like. Despite a good deal of baffling around the bass, a hypercardioid polar pattern selected on the microphone's power supply, and a post-recording low-pass filter, it's still capturing a lot of spill from the rest of the band.

Bass02_AmpMicOut

Here's a mix of the band using only the upright bass's mic signal. Although there's enough low end from the instrument, it lacks definition higher up the spectrum.

Bass03_DISolo

I also took a DI signal from the bass's bridge pickup, but as you'd expect, the sound feels rather lifeless.

Bass04_AmpMicSolo

By feeding the bass DI signal heard in the Bass03_DISolo audio file to the player's normal live amp and miking that up, I was able to get a more appealing midrange sound, while retaining relatively low spill levels.

Bass05_AmpMicIn

If I high-pass filter the miked amp signal heard in the Bass04_AmpMicSolo audio file and mix that in with the instrument's main close mic, it helps its midrange definition without making the timbre seem too unnatural — as you can hear in this mix. Compare this with the Bass02_AmpMicOut audio file to hear the impact of adding in the filtered amp mic more clearly.

FinalMixes_Overview

Here are snippets of a selection of my final mixes from the Spektakulatius session featured in this month's Session Notes article. They were all mixed with the Cockos Reaper DAW. You can hear these all the tracks from this session on Spektakulatius's latest album 'About Christmas', which can be ordered directly from their web site www.spektakulatius.de.

Published July 2019