Before the Christmas break I was lucky enough to record, mix and master a cover of Band Aid: Do they know it’s Christmas using a pro Tools HD 3 rig and D Command 40 fader console!
The main recording setup labelled “Group vocal recording” shows the utilisation of two AKG c414 XLS’s in a spaced pair for close micing and a pair of AKG C451b’s in a Coincident-XY position to add ambience to the small ensemble recordings. The aim was to record vocals of as many students as possible to contribute to the Christmas project and ended up using 97 audio tracks, 3 auxiliary tracks, a click track and a master fader.
Standard “solo” arrangements for the song shown in “Double tracking eq compression” made use of Waves C1 compression and 4/7 band EQ to control the vocals tonally. The D Commands central control section allowed for easy and quick maipulation of these controls as displayed in picture “D Command EQ and Compression controls”. The rotary encoders for EQ and compression and subsequent paging controls allowed for full control of the plugins and easy adaptation to individual channels.
The solo sections we’re typically double tracked to add depth to the vocal sound often utalising extra send attenuation via D Command flip controls to parallel compression and reverb buses. The picture entitled “Pro Tools HD Edit Window” displays the use of multiple takes via the room mics (Stereo XY AKG C451b’s) to give the vocals that large choir effect towards the end of the song.
Photos :Submaster Reverb and Para Comp Auxs”, “Pro Tools HD Plugins 2” , “Bus setup window” display the extensive use of auxilary effect processing in the track. Using the D Command flip control the channel sends could be adjusted from the main fader controls to allow quick assignment of channel levels into parallel compression and reverb sends. Avid/Digidesign’s Impact bus compression plugin was used for parallel compression to the vocals and in particular to double tracked elements to allow great control of the effect in the whole mix. Similarly “Revibe” was used for the reverb send with detail representations of a warm church utilised to add a more live feel and blend the performance of seperatly recorded takes together in natural sounding and controllable ambience.
Finally “Pro Tools HD System Useage” and “Pro Tools HD Plugins 1” show the massive amount of TDM’s used to create the mix and was even such a high usage as to not allow HEAT (Avid’s Neve channel emulation) to be added to the mix in the mastering stage. Reel Tape Saturation and Waves V Comp we’re used to add additional analogue realism and light control of the mix and to take strain off the Waves L3LL Ultramaximiser to bring the levels up to a steady K12 mastering volume. Air stereo width was added while monitoring the Phasescope to allow for a full stereo field. Blue Cat FreqAnalyst was used for frequency analysis, Waves C4 Multiband for multiband compression and Blue Cat Peak Meter to allow the mix to be monitored to a K12 volume (-12dBfs RMS average).
To conclude the project was a great success and was even filmed whilst being produced! Please see below for some audio snippets. The plan is to utilise the recording/video in BOA marketing!