Procedure for recording Third Option “Monkey Set” CD Mix Set

Basic Setup:
  • Initial Recording Format: 8 Track Emu Darwin
  • Mix Destination Format: DAT/CD
  • Final Format: CD Master and Duplicated CD-Rs
  • Mixer: Behringer DDX3216 32 Channel Automated Digital Mixer
  • Outboard Processing: Internal to the Behringer mixer
  • Synths: Alesis S4, Boss DR660 Drum Machine
  • Software: Propellerhead’s Rebirth, Cakewalk
  • Mics: Shure 55SH (50’s style mic)
  • Mastering: Behringer Ultrafex
  • Tracking:This 20 minute mix set was pretty much a one day project. I sat in my home, not in the studio, and played with the settings on Propellerhead’s Rebirth in realtime for around 20 minutes and let that be the basic foundation. Because it was brand new to me, I didn’t even KNOW that you could simply export things as a .wav file, so I brought the 8 track harddisk recorder Darwin (by EMU) upstairs and took the 1/8th inch stereo out from the computer’s normal soundcard into 2 tracks of Darwin with a Y cable. Then I just played back the Rebirth song to Darwin, and took Darwin downstairs. I lined the Darwin tracks up to where they’d be in sync with Cakewalk. Then I set up a single sequence, and where there were relatively major changes in the sections on the Rebirth song, I created a new drum pattern, which I recorded in stereo on two tracks of Darwin, to sort of spice up the drums. Then I’d do the same with a synth track. In the beginning it was some airy thing, I played improv’d stuff, made sure it was all in time in Cakewalk, and then recorded it to Darwin. There was an organ solo of some kind in there, various little spice ups, not too crazy.Then I spent a little while coming up with various little poems and a little rhyme and even a little melody in that section, about a metaphorical monkey, who I pictured as a sort of cracked-out Curious George, and set up the Shure mic, and just winged it. I tried to just have some various voices and experiment with saying things like I’d never said them. Recorded that and a couple of backing vocals onto Darwin (mostly in the beginning), and then mixed down. 
  • Mixing:Pretty easy mix. The Rebirth song was pretty well balanced, the vocals didn’t seem CRUCIAL anyway *laugh*, so I went through a couple passes, did weird things to most of the vocals like telephoning or using metallic effects, just experimenting with the Behringer’s effects, really, automating the drum channels to sort of move a little bit so they’d sit, and the same thing with the vocals, and ran it. It probably took an hour or two to do the whole 20 minute mix.
  • Mastering/Editing:There wasn’t really a mastering or editing stage, other than, once I’d set up my mix, I took the Behringer Ultrafex and tweaked the overall sound like I like to do. Later when I dubbed the thing to disc to send to get a few copies made, I did a little compression via the Behringer’s compressor, and left it alone otherwise.
  • Notes:

    This was an experiment project, basically. I made some copies because what I came up with was fun, if not ultra songwriterish and crafted to ultimate perfection. The mix actually sounded pretty dang clean, especially for how fast everything was done. The point of the project was the whole thing of taking Rebirth tracks and integrating them with some more stuff. This was my first venture into using any sort of soft synth. It was fun, although Rebirth is certainly a different tool, and hard to get used to really making it do something unique. I wouldn’t call this project groundbreaking when it comes to the use of Rebirth! 🙂 My favorite part of the thing is the metaphoric monkey, frankly, and nobody seems to understand that whole trip.

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