Before you read Justin's Top Ten, we just wanted to remind you all that on 05/04 Hydra Head will be releasing a new Austerity Program Cdep/12." The title of the Cdep is: "Backsliders and Apostates Will Burn." Also available for purchase on release date is a data DVD containing all of the recordings that make up the songs on the release... Ready to be remixed, and or the like.
Justin Foley's Top Ten of 2009:
Ten recording improvements we did on the new record compared to the old record
WARNING – GEEKY AS ALL HELL
(If Hell was a place where people get physically excited looking at pictures of analog tape machines)(which is probably what my wife thinks it is)
Using a mid/side configuration for the ambient sound. Provided a dramatically wide stereo image. Especially satisfying on drums (or, in our case, the drum machine).
Running the drum machine through an FMR-RNP preamp. Actually, any quality preamp would be good. That thing didn’t have enough gain to print well to tape and we used our board’s gain. Much better this way.
Recording drums to tape, then doing guitar and bass live while playing the drum machine through the PA. This created some tricky punch-ins, but allowed us to be more flexible on the relative direct/ambient sound.
Bring the room sound way up. While we were mixing it, it sounded like we were pushing it too far. Having listened to it about 60 times since then, it’s the right amount. Live sounding, but not hollow.
Mastering the vinyl to 45 rpm. We haven’t done any 12” vinyl before, but the lacquer refs from Golden sound like (as T Midgett from Silkworm/Bottomless Pit has told me) the ‘archival format’. And black vinyl only because we care what the fucking thing sounds like.
Using the Trongraphic Rusty Box for the bass preamp. More hi/mid aggression than the Ampeg we’d been using before.
Placing two ribbon mics on the guitar cabinet. Actually, three mics as we bi-amp the guitar and had an Earthworks omni on the low cabinet. But most of the signal information happens on the high end and blending the brighter beyer M160 with the kind-of-scary Royer 121 was really a treat to hear. Hope you like it because we’ll be doing the guitar with that until we die.
Comping vocal demos to nail the phrasing. It made me feel like Billy “Bozo the Clown” Corgan to be this clinical, but it definitely helped when it came time to actually sing the songs. Record a line, play back, record it again, play back, etc. until the line was finally right.
Bike commuting through Manhattan on a fixed gear. Ok, this probably had nothing to do with the recording but it’s made such an improvement in my life that it’s gotta play into it somehow. Geez is it fun – I get to be in a human video game twice a day.