Mon, 17 July 2006
News, a great interview with project studio owner Stewart McClellan, some Viewer Mail regarding patchbays, Big Al's Gear and Studio Upgrade Conundrum continues, we tweak the Stupid Knob and we have a new contest! We'd also like to thank this week's Big Tipper Aaron Griffith!
Live 6 Interactive Tour
Combo Mac OS X Updates Compatible With Pro Tools 7:
Mixing With Your Mind
Stewart McLellan is a project studio owner in British Columbia. He also used to work for TC Helicon developing and testing cool new gear, which he still does on occasion as a consultant. We caught up with Stewart a couple of weeks ago and had a chance to chat about his approach to making music in his studio...AND even getting paid for some of it!
Q: David Bowie’s Vocals On "Heroes". Bowie's voice starts dry and then has this huge reverb that develops deeper as he sings stronger and then automatically becomes more intimate and up close as he sings more softly. How'd they do that?
A: Here's the answer straight from Tony Visconti, the man who came up with the idea.
"I set up three microphones. We only had two or three tracks left, and I needed one of these for backing vocals. I couldn’t even bounce down, and so we’d snookered ourselves.
"Therefore, even though I would have ideally loved to put each mic on a separate track – enabling us to capture the whole room when he sang loud, and just that one mic right in front of his face when he sang quietly – I put gates on mics two and three. Mic number one was in front of him with fairly heavy compression, because I knew beforehand that he was really going to shout, and it all went down to one track. This was recording by the seat of your pants, and Bowie was thrilled with the idea that I wanted to do something unique. He thrives on anything that’s different and someone else hasn’t thought of yet, and I just thought ‘Let’s do this live,’ because he’s a great singer and he could always sing it again if I made a mistake. That’s the luxury of working with him: he’s consistently good when he sings. He’s in tune, he’s passionate, and he delivers an arena-type performance every time.
"Mic number one was a valve U47, and with the other two on gates I made sure that number two, an 87 placed about 15 feet away from him, would go on at a certain level, while the third mic, another 87 that was all the way at the other end of the room, didn’t open up until he really sang loud. That reverb on his voice is therefore the room itself, none of it is artificial, and it’s his voice triggering the gates. What is really great is that the sound of the opening two verses is really intimate. It doesn’t sound like a big room yet, it sounds like somebody just singing about a foot away from your ear. The whole idea worked, and what you hear on the record is probably take three."
Congratulations to Austin Moore from Manchester UK for getting the answer exactly right! He's also a Music Technology Lecturer at the University Of Huddersfield and a dance music producer. Check out his sites: ShaFunkers.com & Musictech.hud.ac.uk Austin takes home a free copy of Guitar and Drum Trainer from RenegadeMinds.com!
Also coming in with the correct answer just after Austin was Trevor Thornton and Ben Wells from Tasmania. We also have a couple of Honorable Mentions. These were both great guesses and actually interesting and usable techniques in their own right!
“I think Bowie’s voice was sent to a buss which had a gate followed by a verb on it. Singing quietly would allow for a dry, intimate vocal because the gate remained closed. However, when the singing got loud, the gate would open allowing the signal to go through the verb effect.?
Andrew Brierly from the Home Recording Odyssey Podcast
“The most low tech way that I can think of is to use real reverb, i.e. a room with great reverb characteristics, then sing back from the mic for the loud section were the reverb will show up and sing close and personal for the quiet parts were the reverb will be far less noticeable.?
See you next week!
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