For the LO3 I will focus on 3 different techniques that are reverb, vocal EQ and compression.
Artist: Earth, Wind & Fire
Nominations: CMT Music Award for CMT Performance of the Year
Genres: Disco, R&B/Soul
On 26th of November we recorded vocals for the song “Give” and our aim was to to get the 70s aesthetic mix sound to suit the genre. The reference track was September by Earth,Wind,Fire. The track has elements of funk, jazzy, blues harmonic characteristics and a combination of brass sax section, piano, bass and drums. The beauty of the track is that all instruments give each other some breathing space which I find very creative and sweet to listen to. The use of automation made it very easy for the instruments to give each other some breathing space allowing the performance to be exciting for the ears. Several instruments blended well and some clashed and therefore those that clashed I made sure there had some automation set on them.
We used the Audio technica AT2020 in my home studio as all studios at uni were booked out and so I had to do my research in order to achieve our goal.
The recording went pretty smooth and easy and we did a couple of tracks and we discussed the sound that we wanted to replicate. It’s all about doubling vocals to get a precise attack of the verse and chorus and with some reverb with compression on the vocals. The compression helped to bring down the dynamic parts that are higher than the others so that we have all dynamics be the same. With critical listening to the acapella version of the the reference track I was able to make judgement of the amount of reverb that could have been added with a bit of delay in the vocal. I then pulled out a couple of different methods together to add during mixing. I had to choose the best take of the main vocal then duplicated it into into 2 and group 2 and separate the 3rd one which I would add compression. As for the vocalist it is her first time to record so there was a bit of fear in her but with encouragement she did her best. Most definitely vocals need to be on point and there is much need of professionalism required. I mean amateurs do well when they find a mentor, but if I need to take these projects seriously its best I engage with professional singers who will give me what I want during recordings.
The chorus had some harmonies in it and I panned them close to make stereo image just to add excitement in the record. Added a bit of delay and reverb in the harmonies making reference to the reference track which has lots of reverb in it. Listening back to the reference track made me think that it needs to be a large reverbs larger than plate reverb. So I chose the Church reverb which has a longer tail and reduced it to 50%. The verse on the reference track is quite rockin and the chorus is much smoother which is similar to the recorded track and the contrast of the two does give the song a lift with added reverb and a different EQ.
The reference track has a couple of guitars that have been overdubbed and panned whether far wide right or left which I found to be very exciting and rejuvenating therefore I intended to have the same kind of feel and had the guitarist come in by my house to add more guitars then added EQ, reverb and compression then panning the some left but living the rhythm guitar on the centre of the mix to give a balance in the song. When mixing we then discovered that the rhythm guitars were all over the place and they were not complimenting each other. Therefore we decided to stick to the one rhythm guitar that holds the rhythm section. The aesthetics of the track I would say the guitars and brass were recorded with high quality microphones of that era and the dynamics and frequency content are high enough with low ends with more emphasis on the mids.
If only we had taken time to listen to the reference track before jumping into recording we would probably would have a better take. However this I take as learning in progress as I try to emulate production techniques used in the reference track. Most definitely high end microphones were used in the reference track but just to get my knowledge skills and trying to come up with similar techniques has increased my understanding and how to demonstrate.