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Old 23rd November 2020
  #2
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1. Most of the drums and bass sound is managed in the soundcheck at the beginning of the day before a song is recorded. I start with the drums. The drummer has made big choices by which drums he is choosing to play, how he has them tuned and what heads he is using-- what cymbals he is using.
Taking that as a starting place I mic them up and add one or two room mics. The drummer plays each drum for levels and panning... and then plays the beats of the song for 2 minutes for final adjustments. Then I call him back to check out a bit of recording I would do during that final soundcheck phase. Usually they say- "oh, great-- I love that, and the band nods their heads, smiling. Sometimes the drummer will say "Oh geez, I better use that other snare drum, and a different crash cymbal and tune my floor tom better". Sometimes they will say "can you make my hi hat louder and the snare brighter". Yes, all of that is part of soundcheck and can easily be done before tracking. Usually the whole drum check from the time the microphones are set takes about 20 minutes. Then, because 99% of everything I ever record is live band playing together in one room (amps and all) I test the bass sound individually (two mics these days: U87 Neumann and RE-20 Electrovoice) and then ask the drums and bass to play together. From recording music since I was 20 or so, I can just tell and feel when drums and bass sound like a team together, both in terms of sound and volume. Its really "Kick-snare-bass guitar" that is the focus here and its supposed to sound like a lovely machine that works together. In mixing, or even with the addition of other parts, subtle eq is applied all through the process to help the various drum parts stand out and yet, BLEND in as well.

2.I dont HP things "automatically" I do HP a bass guitar in the mix or a kick drum if i feel it helps the overall song gain clarity, or maybe a vocal if P-popping is a recurrent problem. That's about it, really.

3. Compression. I use compression all the time, its one of my main things I learned how to use once I got working in a good studio and once I started in with digital audio (I came from analog recording/ tape originally). I love these things: Waves R compressor- just compresses without degrading or altering the sound of the thing I already recorded the way i wanted it to sound. Avalon 737 sp preamp/compressor/eq-- great for recording vocals with real analog tube compression on the way in. Helps the singer sing better and makes the voals fit into the track incredibly well. LA-2A compressor, so smooth and warm and pretty for singing-- fat and powerful. Distressor: great for making a soft pretty voice have some extra edge to stand out among powerful instruments. Great for screaming singers and people with big big voices, to add extra attention grabbing tone and warmth. Oddly and perhaps hilariously, I only use the fastest attack and the fastest release on every compressor I ever use, both for mixing and tracking. The only exception so far, is when I want to make a totally psychedelic crash cymbal sound, that is at it's most quietest when its hit, and then slowly gets louder and louder as it decays. Then I guess I am using a very slow release! Usually I only RECORD compression on room mics, sometimes drum overheads (sometimes only one of the two gets compressed for extra time delay weirdness) and vocals with while we are tracking.

I like to make busses when i mix, and make parallel channels for the drums, one heavily compressed, the other clean. I put compressor on bass buss, guitar busses and vocal busses as well as on echoes, delays and reverbs quite frequently.

I only put UAD precision limiter on the master bus to show the clients, but send the song without that to Frida Claesson Johansson, my mastering engineer in Gothenburg, Sweden.