Procedure for recording M.C. Murph’s “Artistic Apocalypse” CD

Basic Setup:
  • Initial Recording Format: 8 Track Darwin (harddisk), 16 Track ADAT
  • Mix Destination Format: DAT
  • Final Format: CD Master and Duplicated CD’s
  • Mixer: Mackie 24×8
  • Outboard Processing: Ensoniq DP4 effects, BBE Sonic Maximizer, Dual Tube Pre-Amp,
    DBX Compressor, Furman Compressors.
  • Synths: Alesis S4, Yamaha TG100, Boss DR660, Ensoniq Mirage, Kurzweil K2000
  • Mics: AKG D1000E, AKG 414
  • Turntables: One very crusty Realistic stereo system turntable.
  • Mastering: TC Electronics Finalizer
  • Editing: Sound Designer 2, Masterlist
  • Tracking: Most instrument tracks were tracked to Darwin through an Art tube-preamp.
    Tracks were separated for mixing flexibility, so the sequencer had to be synced to
    the ADAT. I used Darwin’s MIDI out to generate MIDI Time Code and sync the sequencer to that.
    Sequences were run multiple times while synced, with 1 to 8 tracks selected and all others
    muted (to track more than one sequencer track at once, I used panning and aux outputs to
    separate tracks – although most were done one at a time because I was running them through the tube). Mirage provided some movie samples and drum sampling…for some drums, I sampled the other synths with Mirage and layered the two sounds (Mirage can change a sound quite a bit). Also Mirage provided some synth tracks (like the piano on “Rule Rope”). Vocals were tracked using the D1000E, no compression to tape. All tracks went to tape dry and flat. Some samples were edited directly inside Darwin. Some vocals were edited, chopped up, cut and pasted, etc. inside Darwin, especially the Artistic Apocalypse remix, which was rearranged by cutting and pasting the vocals to different spots in time. The exact time they needed to be pasted from and to was determined by checking the time code on the sequencer corresponding to the correct measure. Using multiple versions within Darwin allowed for more than 8 tracks. Tracks were transferred to ADAT digitally for mixdown. On “Whinerz”, vocals were run through a variety of settings on a Yamaha practice guitar amp with distortion, and cut and pasted to different tracks of Darwin for stereo effects, etc. A real snare (recorded by the D1000E) was used along with synth snares on “Magnetic Poetry” and “Quietly Manic”. The K2000 was used for the “One In A Million Chance” interlude and for an extra snare on “Magnetic Poetry”. The Yamaha guitar was used as a bass and as the distorted guitar on “You Took Something Away From Me”. For the distorted guitar, it was tracked twice, each channel panned hard left or right, for a stereo effect. For the intro beat to “You Took Something Away From Me”, the entire mix was run through headphones, which were mic’d. Only the intro vocals for “Rule Rope” were done with the AKG 414. The breakbeat on Disappear was recorded to Darwin from a .wav file and pasted carefully to loop it. The crusty turntable produced scratches on “Magnetic Poetry” and “Steam”. The breakbeat from interlude one was recorded to Darwin off CD and edited and pasted to loop and vary it. The record noise on “Banetai” was sampled to Mirage from a cassette and looped. The kicks and snares on “Banetai” were sampled to Darwin from CD and triggered via MIDI.
  • Mixing: All mixes were done with 16 tracks ADAT and the Mackie 24×8.
    The main mix inserts were routed through a dual tube preamp, light compression and then the BBE Sonic Maximizer.
    Some kicks and snares and basses were compressed. Most vocals were compressed at mixdown. Extreme “telephone” style eq and an old radio type effect were used on the vocals for “Majority Of Men”. Multi layered snares and kicks and synth patches were buss mixed to single (or double, if stereo) tracks before being transferred to ADAT for mixdown. “The Pair” was buss mixed into 8 tracks from over 24 before being transferred to ADAT.
  • Editing: Mixes were transferred digitally through the Finalizer then into Sound Designer 2, trimmed, and
    some gain lowering was done (where there were only a few 0dB readings, I knocked them
    down 1dB, so that they could be boosted in Masterlist)
    Fade outs were added and songs were imported into Masterlist, where they were ordered, gain
    corrected and transferred to a running master DAT for backup. The masterlist audio was burned to a CD, which is the master to be sent to the plant
  • Notes:  Only 8 tracks (Darwin) were available for tracking.
    This didn’t matter much because the sequencer was synced to ADAT. The whole sequence
    could always be heard from the sequencer, even if all ADAT tracks couldn’t be
    monitored at once.
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