Normally a melody or rhythm section will appear out of a jam session or knock around, once I have this roughly shaped I will put down the three main jam sections ( verse chorus bridge ) and try and get a rough sound. This would not be the finished article but something to listen back to.
I would start out with an acoustic guitar, (Taylor big baby) or on the Piano (Clav CLP220).I will start the final recording by jamming to a click track the main rough guitar part. Then I will record the drums (final version) I use the Yamaha DTXpressII which is renowned for having a fake plastic feel.
Bearing in mind I do not end up with 8 tracks to merge and caress, the DTXpress outputs a stereo image. So I treat it harshly, I raise the 40-50Hz to give the kick some punch and lift the high end EQ at 12,500Hz to give some air. The 3000Hz band is dropped on every track to make room for the vocals, along with a harsh cut below the 40Hz. I tried making duplicate copies and dedicating each track to a different EQ setting but you just end up with a big Flanger session.
I completely cut anything from all tracks that will compete with the Bass Guitar, so from almost 400 – 500 Hz and below I get rid of completely using a filter. Then I record the Bass and it now has plenty of room to move around. Once I have my drums and bass I delete the guide guitar track, leaving me with my pump track.
We attempt to write vocal led songs so the next thing I like to do is go for a vocal take, maybe not the final one but you never know. I use the AT3035 condensor through a TUBE ART pro preamp. I use very little input and strain as much as I can out of the output. That goes straight into Protools and is tweaked using Melodyne if needed (pretty much always)
I use Izotope Ozone for Reverb on a BUS along with a harsh compressor, typically the Protools Com/Lim is good enough, I set a sharp knee and slow release. I want it to breath and pump to feel warm. By this time I will need some, “thins” and the mistake I often make is to try and get a full gutsy guitar sound, all this does is sublet the bass space ending in a mushy mix. So I like to keep the guitar sounds thin and crispy. For example Billy Idol “White Wedding” stays in your imagination as a full gutsy guitar, but in reality it’s very thin. Our minds, kind of makes the rest up.
Then after we are happy I master it to a stereo image and then put it back through Izotope Ozone, with some exciter harmonics and loudness. If anything goes wrong it’s normally because of EQ, This track “Therapy” has way too much delay on the vocals and that is on purpose. The track is about going crazy and I wanted to do something zany on it.
On most tracks I will use the Spectrum analyzer to find where the harmonics are, sometimes there’s a battle for space at a certain frequency, it this happens I will either complimentary EQ those sections or cut the offending frequency and boost one of it’s closest harmonic.
My mission statement is...Keep the reverb to a minimum, Use EFX sparingly, EQ cut anything unecessary to provide room. However this Therapy track just didnt want to behave. So sometimes I am forced to throw away the rule book and trust my ears.
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