2012 – Session Diaries

 

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Tuesday 17th July – Phil Harding reports

“The basic backing track of Tereza’s ‘Robert Song’ was successfully laid down yesterday (Monday) with great performances from Ben Haines on Drums – Matt Waddell on Bass – Greg Fitch on electric guitar – Gill Edwards on keyboards and Tereza on acoustic guitar and guide vocals. It was a tough day technically as coaxing the wonderful Gus Dudgeon MCI JH500 desk is not easy when working for such a full line up, even after being lovingly restored by the Glamorgan University team – lead by Dan Turner – it still often needs multiple ‘hits’ on various pots and buttons to get a clean signal to tape…

Today (Tuesday) we’ve progressed with guitar and keyboard overdubs and made full use on both days of the loan mics and equipment from our sponsors. The Rupert Neve RN17’s have been brilliant on drums for HH and on the acoustic guitars. The RNR1’s also wonderful as a front pair on the drums. The Unity Boulder monitors and the SE Rupert Neve Egg monitors have both been a treat to work on so far..”

Wednesday 18th July 
“Today finished fabulously here at the Gus Dudgeon Suite in the Glamorgan University, Cardiff. We completed guitar overdubs using a combination of the Telefunken Elam 251 and the Rupert Neve RN17 on acoustics from Greg Fitch and the artist Tereza. We also completed keyboards with Gill Edwards, the session arranger working with us, using the Novation Ultranova synth and the acoustic piano here mic-ed with the SE 4400 and the same Telefunken Elam 251 and the Rupert Neve RN17 combination.
We then set ourselves up for vocals last night, ready to record with Tereza today and had some interesting mic comparisons and interesting mic pre-amp comparisons – I’ll give you the results of that tomorrow… We’ve mainly been monitoring with a combination of the Unity Boulders (Loud) and the sE Munro Eggs (wonderful). We’re currently setting up for our 6pm string session – using virtually all of the microphones on loan… By the way, the sE Voodoo ribbon sounded great on the electric guitar overdubs yesterday.”

Thursday 19th July
“We’re just about to put our final overdubs onto ‘Robert Song’ for Tereza, a 3 piece brass section to complement some of the guitar and vocal parts already recorded. Last night we had a wonderful 10 piece string section in and did 3 different passes of 3 different complementing arrangements by Gill Edwards and although that was a fairly small section we ended up with an enormous sound thanks to some great mic choices and great engineering from Dan Turner and Gwilliam Jones. The sERN 17’s were put to good use yet again, mainly on violins and the sE T2 sounded great on some solo cello parts today. Having used the Telefunken Elam251 largely on vocals since Wednesday we decided the Gemini 2 has been great today for backing vocals with Tereza and her friend Laura O’Connell, really great open sound. The ribbon mics from Rupert Neve will be put through their paces tonight for the brass with the RNR1’s being used as a stereo close pair and the sE Voodoo VR 1’s will be tested close up. We have generally gone with the in-house Microtech Geffel M930’s as room mics for both the strings last night and the brass today, we also tried them on drum overheads on day 1. The Focusrite ISA 1 has been in constant use as has the Novation UltraNova keyboard. Tereza is coping well with the mega amount of technology and overdubs onto her song and we’re all looking forward to the mix sessions tomorrow…”

Friday 20th July
“Our brass session went really well Thursday evening – the musicians again abley guided by our arranger Gill Edwards. The 3 piece brass section had a variation of mics – the sERN R1s as a close stereo pair gave us a classic ribbon mic combo and the close mics were a combination of 414s, sE 4400s and a classic ’87 on the sax, again the Microtech Geffel M930s were distance room ambience mics.

So, onto some ‘speed’ mixing for our last day in the studio. The idea was that I would do a mix in the first part of the day and Dan Turner would do a mix in the latter half, giving the students the benefit of seeing two different styles of mixing. At last we had some clear time and chance to put some of the other loan equipment through it’s paces. We used the Cartec eq on kick which sounded great, like a cross between Pultec and API. The Focusrite Liquid channel was on the lead vocal for compression and the Portico 11 stereo bus processor was put through its paces by Dan Turner on the overall mix. It was a day of quick decisions and lots of editing and tweaking. We got a great result in the end and we’ll link you to both mixes very soon. I’ll also be doing another reference mix when I get home and all 9 students will deliver a mix as part of completing the Masters Module that has been embedded into the week’s work by Glamorgan University.”

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