Beetroot Jam – live engineering and recording

Monday was the opening night of Beetroot Jam! Dave and Evan hosted a great night, with The Medicine (frontman Matt from Catweazle!) and The Elrics putting in great sets, then followed by an hour of jamming on stage! I endulged with a crazy go on the drums (though I’m not really a drummer, I sure had fun).

The Elrics set was recorded onto Tascam 8-track (and Zoom H4) and sounds really good – clearly a band who can sound that good live must be going somewhere big soon…

I think we’re all looking forward to the next night, do come along!

The Elrics

A great day recording this emerging Oxford rock band. They have a killer sound – a bit of Placebo, Oasis and Suede…


We recorded drums, bass and rhythm guitars LIVE for two tracks, and then overdubbed some more guitars and vocals. The Elrics had a clear vision of what they wanted to sound like, which made recording and mixing a dream.

I tried out the R1 ribbon mic, compressed to a paste, as a room mic for the live band sound. Sweeeeet. Everything else was pretty much the same as the Lazare recording! SM7b on vocals though, pushed quite heavily through the Pre73 preamp for as much character as possible. Snare was also crunched through the pre73, which I’d never tried before.

Piano and Vocals (David Simon)

On monday, David and I went to Summer Fields School to record the lovely Bechstein grand they have there. We got all 13 piano tracks recorded in one day! Well done David…

The piano had a naturally dull timbre, so I went for the brightest spot mics I had – Neumann KM184’s.  I also used a pair of Oktava MK012’s further back to capture the full piano and room sound. Loverly.

david simon piano2DS vocals

We spent a part of the next couple of days doing a few more vocal tracks with the new R1 ribbon microphone, as I didn’t feel the SM7b was the right sound for some of the songs. We also had Alana grace us with her fantastic backing vocals! By the time David had to leave, we’d finished all of the recording for the album and at last had rough mixes of all the tracks. Now we just need to finish the mixes!


After four days of intense rehearsals, Fabien’s new incarnation of Lazare were ready for a day of recording at the Hollow Way. We managed to record several songs in just a few hours.

Fabien’s stormy guitars, Charly’s ethereal rhodes piano, Jake’s rich bass tones and Whitey-D’s pounding drums combine for an incredibly powerful live sound – definitely a must-see for anyone in Oxford and London when they begin touring in January 2010.

The whole band was recorded in the live room at the same time – no overdubs, no autotune, no beat doctoring, just raw live energy. I’ll see if can post a song or two here. Mics were:

Vocals – Beyer M260.80 (ribbon with very good rejection)

Guitar – audix i5 + Avantone CR14

Keys – DI

Bass – DI and AKG D112

Snare – i5, Kick – d6+ SM7b, Toms – d2/d4, Overheads – MK012

Recording “Sixteenwires” string quartet

Today Dave and I travelled to London, got completely lost, but eventually arrived out our location for recording the Sixteenwires string quartet. They were a great group of girls, with fantastic repetoire for weddings and other events. We recorded two tracks for the upcoming David Simon album as well as one of their own.

The hall was perfect for strings – it was a largeish dance studio with wooden floors, with a few curtains that were pulled to control the acoustics slightly. We put up a pair of Neumann KM184s for the main ORTF pair – often perceived as being a little too bright for classical string recording, but in a pop mix the exaggerated high frequencies allow the strings to cut nicely above the piano, guitars and drums. Spot mics were thrown up on each of the players too (2 hypercardioid oktava MK012’s on violins, a TF27 on viola, and neumann TLM193 on the cello). For Sixteenwires’ own repertoire I used omni MK012’s as the main pair to get a more natural (“classical”) sound, although I have carefully mixed the spot mics in a little to give a tiny bit more edge.

Sixteenwires 1Sixteenwires 2

Thank you Sixteenwires!

G&D’s Ice Cream Gig

Today Boog played an acoustic set at G&D’s (Cowley Road Oxford), preceding incredible sets from Family Machine and Candle Thieves. We recorded the gig on a Zoom H4n (one of my favourite pieces of gear at the Holloway) taking a stereo “room mic” input and stereo input from the desk (4 simultaneous track in total). I then mixed the recording in ProTools, using the new iZotope Ozone 4. I must emphasise how impressive Ozone 4 is with its M/S function – so powerful if you know what you’re doing, lethal if you don’t…

Mighty Boosh documentary

We’ve been hired to mix another documentary for the Mighty Boosh, to be shown at Raindance festival this year… Great stuff, although we’ve only got about a day to mix it in (which is ridiculous for an 80 minute film)! There are some funny behind-the-scenes bits that a Boosh fan might enjoying seeing, so look out for it if that’s you.

As the budget is so low, we’re pretty much mixing it in one pass, with a second and third pass for tweaks, recording fader movements as automation and EQ’ing as we go.