Autor: lorenzstanze

3 Typische Probleme Bei LIVE-Aufnahmen

3 Typische Probleme Bei LIVE-Aufnahmen

1:01 Gesang manuell separieren und alles andere wegschneiden für weniger Übersprechungen („Bleed“) im Mix. 3:30 Pro Tools „Clip-Gain“. Kopfbewegungen des Sängers erzeugen starke Lautstärkeunterschiede auf der Aufnahme. Mit Clip-Gain können wir einzelne Phrasen, Wörte oder Silben so lauter oder leiser machen, dass wir einen einheitlicheren Klang erhalten. 7:01 Pro Tools „Strip-Silence“. Toms werden in einem Song machmal nur zehn mal angeschlagen und der Rest der Aufnahmespur ist eigentlich überflüssig. Anstatt die Toms manuell auszuschneiden kannst du mit „Strip-Silence“ jeden einzelnen Schlag bestimmen und mit nur einem Klick separieren. Natürlich lässt sich diese Technik auch auf andere Instrumente übertragen. 13:38 Pro Tools „Normalize“. Wieder können wir mit einem Klick mehrere Clips auf die gleiche Lautstärke bringen, um es dem Kompressor einfacher zu machen, einen einheitlicheren druckvollen Sound zu erreichen. 15:50 Warum du Übersprechungen manchmal behalten solltest und wie du sie zu deinem Vorteil nutzen kannst.

RECORDING | Choir & Grand Piano

RECORDING | Choir & Grand Piano

A little Making-Of about a project I did a few weeks ago, where I recorded a choir and grand-piano. I talk a little bit about the background of the whole idea, about microphones, equipment and techniques and I let you listen to some raw material. At the end you can watch and listen to the mastered version of „Adiemus“.

Hope you enjoy it!

A Real Audience-Room-Mic Vs. Artificial Reverb

A Real Audience-Room-Mic Vs. Artificial Reverb

From July 5th to 7th 2019, I was invited by my friends and musicians THE EARLY TAPES to join them on a weekend-tour to a play three concerts in Thüngersheim in southern Germany as their front-of-house engineer and provide them and the audience with a superb live- and monitor-sound.

One of the two guitarists, Olli, plays with in-ear-headphones and said he always lacks the atmosphere and input of the audience in this very closed-up listening situation. That’s why he brought an extra microphone to point to the audience and he asked me to blend the signal into his in-ears giving him the opportunity to communicate with the crowd better.

Since I recorded all other instruments and microphones, I added this one to the session and it turned out to be the major source for room and ambience in the mix of  their live-recording. No other reverb needed afterwards.

With the help of WAVES‘ SSL E-Channel Strip I removed most of the bass and low-mids resulting from the bass amp, kick-drum and stage rumble revealing more of the high-mids and highs of the snare, guitars, vocals, cymbals and the room itself. I only had to add a bit of mids and high-shelf.

A limiter compressor with the fastest release and attack settings helped to push back the loud snare hits while bringing up the depth of the room, even adding more excitement through a fair amount of gain-reduction.

A second eq helped to weaken some very high resonances and the warmer, more analogue sound made the track more pleasant to listen to.

Blending in this audience-track at about 50% and automating it with the arrangement of the song served well as a glue between all those close mics and this kind of authentic reverb gave the recording the desired atmosphere we all enjoyed during the shows.

Advancing Live-Overheads With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

Advancing Live-Overheads With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

On November 2nd 2018 I released my debut-album „Lorenz“ celebrating my personal milestone with a concert in the Junction Bar Berlin.

After mixing, mastering and publishing the live-recordings of that evening as a live-record I got a request of showing how I achieved the powerful drum-sound.

Let’s start with the overheads in this video.

Apply EQ For Loosing Weight And Letting The Cymbals Fly

With the help of ProTools EQ3 I like to remove some high resonances that always hurt my ears or teeth…

You could also apply some slight saturation or overdrive, which does a similar thing. I like to find the exact spot of the problem and get rid of it.

This move results in a slightly darker overhead/high-hat sound, which I like, but you could compensate by adding some highs with another eq or…

 

Take Out Bass And Rumble That Cover Up The Overheads

The aim of treating the overhead-track is to get the cymbals and high-hat ring as clear, open and transparent as possible.

You can achieve this by removing lots of bass and stage rumble with a high-pass filter and a bit of low shelf filter. The track will feel much lighter!

Adding some high top end will lift them even more in the mix above the rest of the band.

 

Compression For Ducking The Snare

After improving the sound of the overhead recording we are only left with a volume issue. 

Since the overhead microphones point directly towards the drum-set from above they also capture a lot of snare, which is the loudest part of the drums.

Setting a compressor to the fastest attack will catch the transients of the snare, controlling them and we perceive more ringing cymbals by being less distracted from the loud snare hits. 

The high-hat, which is played very dynamically here by Antonio, also profits from the compressor a little bit as it gets more consistent. 

Improving Live Kick And Snare Recordings With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

Improving Live Kick And Snare Recordings With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

On November 2nd 2018 I released my debut-album „Lorenz“ celebrating my personal milestone with a concert in the Junction Bar Berlin.

After mixing, mastering and publishing the live-recordings of that evening as a live-record I got a request of showing how I achieved the powerful drum-sound.

Let’s treat the kick and snare in this video.

We gain transparency and separation of individual tracks by separating them in different ways. Here is the first one.

Enjoy The Silence With A Gate

Both, kick and snare, profited from reasonable gating. We only hear their short hits and not other instruments bleeding into the microphone in between, like the high-hat into the snare drum mic or the snare into the kick drum mic.

But first of all Antonio’s drum set is a very good one and tuned finely as well, so the source sounds very good to start with. 

We used a pressure zone microphone (PZM, Beyerdynamic TG D71) which isn’t very directional but records the whole inside space of the kick drum instead. (I love it, because you don’t need a mic stand and simply through it on the middle of the bottom if the kick drum.)

A fairly slow release of the gate therefore emphasised the musical performance of the beat, resulting in more movement, a pumping effect, which is fun to listen to and moves the listener even more.

Adding Power And Persistence With Compression

In contrast to the overhead track, our kick drum compressor profits from a slow attack, making it more audible in the mix and on smaller speakers by accentuating the transients. 

The overall sound gets stronger, fatter, and more consistent through lots of gain reduction (which is very much invisible on the SSL E-channel strip).

In terms of EQ we darkened the kick drum with a low pass filter for the highs which are bleeding into the relatively open mic pattern.

A boost in the high mids guarantees the kicks‘ audability on different speakers and against the other brighter instruments in the mix. You only find the perfect amount while listening in context of the whole song!

As with most drums, some honkyness in the low mids cover up what we want to hear more, the lows and highs.

Depending on the tuning of the drum a slight boost in the very low end gives the kick drum weight, heaviness and strength. But also the snare benefits from lows, just a bit higher up and also depending on the tuning of the drum itself. 

 All the steps above also apply for the snare in a similar way, but since the snare microphone is very close to the high-hat we eqed it slightly differently.

Namely, a low pass filter helps to darken the track resulting in a less perceived high-hat in the snare track.

(low) top end boost for brightness, but be careful with the high-hat frequencies again and check the amount in context of the whole mix. Another wide boost a bit further below.

Removing honkyness in the low mids, distracting from what we want to hear, we loose some warmth but gain clarity. We can get it back from other instruments/tracks or compensate by a slight boost below this extreme cut.

The secret of separation and transparency is removing most of the frequency we don’t need from a track, therefore creating space to be boosted on other tracks.

Then, the three tracks of overheads, kick and snare feel more like one instrument, by getting them closer to each other in tone and dynamics, compensating for different microphone types and the distance to the kit and position in the room.

Next Level Live Toms With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

Next Level Live Toms With Waves’ SSL E-Channel Strip

On November 2nd 2018 I released my debut-album „Lorenz“ celebrating my personal milestone with a concert in the Junction Bar Berlin.

After mixing, mastering and publishing the live-recordings of that evening as a live-record I got a request of showing how I achieved the powerful drum-sound.

Let’s have a look at the toms now.

The recordings ended up fairly dark in sound and toms not rarely need quite an amount of mids to cut through the mix and to keep up with the presence of the snare and kick drum.

The biggest problem of the floor tom was its long sustain and even the snare hits let it ring endlessly. The gate helps to shorten the tom hits, although not perfectly, but if overdone (range/threshold) the gate won’t open at all. So we have to live with the right cymbal triggering the gate as well, as the tom microphone was very close, possibly underneath, the cymbal.

As with kick and snare, a normal compression setting with a slow attack helps to control it and giving weight to the sound of the stick on the skin.

As mentioned above, boosting a lot in the mids makes the toms brighter and more present. 

A high pass and low pass filter narrow down the frequency spectrum to only the most significant area of the toms.

 

Cutting quite a bit in the low mids removes the mud in the sound and reveals the brighter and darker sonics of the drum.

Depending on the tuning you want to compensate for the big cut in the low end.

The gate of the high tom works perfectly and since it is a high tom and the overall sound is very good we don’t need to boost extra low end. Otherwise it is being treated similarly to the low tom.

Enhancing A Live Vocal Recording With ProTools’ Stock EQ3

Enhancing A Live Vocal Recording With ProTools’ Stock EQ3

 

DenManTau is bohemian dance rock band from Hamburg in Germany. I was allowed to work with them in Berlin while they were giving a concert in the Junction Bar here. As their front of house engineer I provided them with the stage and monitor sound and recorded their show secretly as a gift for them. Of course I got the tracks for myself and yourself to teach you some interesting takeaways. 😉

Paul, the singer, has a pedalboard, for his vocals! He often manually creates special effects and plays with delay and modulation effects. That’s how his vocals got my attention in the first place.

Listening to the recording we notice a few things. There is a lot of bass, windy resonances plosives, side-effects from the pedals and snare-bleed into his microphone. So the aim is to separate the noise from his vocals by removing the issues to reveal the good sonic qualities without having to add anything.

A high pass filter removes bleed from the bass and stage rumble. If you move to far up his voice starts to sound „telephonie“, which we avoid. Now we use all the bands from left to right (red to blue) to get rid of bad neighbours. In the low mids we find a wider area of muddiness and weaken it with a wide Q. Moving up the frequency bands searching for problems, there are two unpleasant low resonances, which may have resulted from somewhere in the signal chain (quality of microphone/cable/pedals/stage-box/mixer etc.). Getting rid of those also weakened the snare-bleed. Instead of a De-esser I often prefer to remove high frequency resonances like on a cymbal overhead track (see this article), but sometimes, like in this mix, the ss of the vocal didn’t annoy me, so I left the final band. More than often, mixing means doing nothing and leaving the track as it is.

Reverse Problem Finding Strategy

Commonly you can find problems by simply boosting a band, sweep around and listen to what sounds bad and then cut it.

By using and „analogue“ EQ, where I can’t see the boost or cut, like the SSL E-Channel Strip, I naturally developed the opposite approach, you could say, and I listen to when the track sounds better, by cutting first and then sweeping around. Comparing by turning the plugin on and off lets you be sure you’ve found a bad spot.

Become A Comparison Master

Cutting frequencies simply means making them quieter. Since we cut a lot the track became a lot quieter! To compare fairly to hear the difference before and after the EQ changes we have to lift the level after the EQ with the output knob. Now we are not being fooled and might think the raw recording before the EQ sounds better simply because it is louder. (And we like louder, as our ears like the lows and highs which are being boosted in this case.)

De-Harshing An Electric Guitar Recording

De-Harshing An Electric Guitar Recording

Needles hurt, especially in your ears and sometimes electric guitar recordings can give you that pleasure.

If your ears get tired of listening to a song, even more on higher volumes, it might those high harsh frequencies (resonances) you can’t hear at the first glance but perceive subconsciously none the less.

Those noises can result from or depend on the quality of all parts of the signal chain, guitar, cables, amp, pedals etc.

We use a simple equalizer to extract those pinches. To work faster, loop the area (note), where you suspect the issue, solo a band and sweep around until you find the exact spot. Boost the band to make sure you there and then cut as little as possible but as much as is needed.

Bad neighbours, similar problems, might occur right next it each other, so make sure to check the frequency area with at least one other band.

Since we make areas in the higher mids quieter this way the overall guitar sound gets darker. In this case case it helps the mood of the whole song. Furthermore, the solo is being played in a very high position on the guitar-neck making it audible quite well anyway. But you should check if the guitar cuts through the others guitar while listen in context of the whole mix. 

De-Noising High-Hat And Cymbals In A Drum-Overhead Recording

De-Noising High-Hat And Cymbals In A Drum-Overhead Recording

There are two ways to mix and enhance a drum-overhead recording. Since overheads are positioned right over the kit they record every single drum. So one way is to leave it as that and also get some bass and low end from the kick drum and lot’s of power from the snare.

I personally usually take a different approach. I like to put the overhead mics very close to the cymbals and high-hat in the recording phase to capture mostly cymbals and high-hat and not so much bass.

But if the track is recorded as described above we can remove most of the bass and kick-drum with an equalizer. This gives us a lot of control when automising the overhead track to dramatic effects. (Also, we usually have recorded the kick drum on a separate track anyway.)

The aim is now to remove as much bleed without changing the overall sound of the cymbals and high-hat. Even they can become to thin…

As always, a high pass filter helps to remove most of the bass, kick, and snare. A low pass filter can take away the harshness of the top-end and make it sound warmer and more analogue. But you know that I like to take the hurting resonance out directly with very tight Q-value of a band.

We find more honkyness and „wind“ in the low mids and make a bigger area quieter with a broad cut. Here we loose more of the snare sound and let our ears focus more on the high-hat and cymbals which will be received louder as before.

Another tight cut in the mids cleans up the track even more by removing this resonance.


If you can’t hear problems – go hunting! Solo a frequency band and sweep around until you encounter noises you would prefer not to be there.

Since we take out a lot of material this way the track will be considerably quieter after the eq than before. So make sure to level match and compare before and after a band/the plugin.

In this scenario there is a drastic difference in sound and we perceive the cymbals and high-hat way more without even boosting frequencies! This approach is also often called subtractive EQ and can be compared to cut a statue out of wood. We don’t add anything – we only take away and reveal the beauty.