Was really lucky and fortunate to get to play a session at the famed Fantasy studios in Berkeley CA with the Orbital Quintet.
I thought I’d make notes of the session to remember.
I don’t remember which room we were in, Studio A, maybe? Anyway it was a large mostly wood room with some fabric section and with nice acoustics. Drums were recorded in here with I believe 2 room mics and the kit mic’d as well. I was also in this room, my amps were in boxed off in the corner in enclosures. There was a little bleed from the amp’s into the room mic’s.
Ben (Upright Bass) was in a soundproof room off to the left of this main space. John (Trumpet) and Dave (Tenor Sax) were also in glass door soundproofed rooms off the main room, we could all see each other.
Here are details of my setup.
Guitar: Eastman T386
Strings: Martin Electric SP Nickel Wound Medium .011’s.
Amp1: Ibanez TSA15 Combo (Eminence Cannabis Rex speaker+new tubes; my gigging amp)
Amp2: VHT Special 6 Head (New Power Tubes) with cabinet: Panama 2×10 Cabinet (never played)
Pedalboard: see image (some new additions: Copilot FX Android Ring Mod, Rockett WTF Fuzz, Demeter Compulator Removed: J Rockett Archer IKON – space reasons) – Yes, I did use every single pedal during the session.
The amps were put into boxed enclosures in the drum room and close mic’d, I didn’t notice the mic make/model.
Lately I’ve been trying to get a very dirty rhoads (organ-ish, whatever) type sound and just got a new ring mod pedal which I like but is on the dark side. I also added a compressor and removed my trusty Archer (Klon klone) from my board for the session, which probably isn’t the best idea. I’ve also never used the VHT/Panama amp set or gone stereo before and in retrospect the studio is not the best place to try new stuff like this.
On our first recording (Vol.1) I used a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III which was at the studio and thought I got good sounds, additionally I had a different pedalboard configuration, this was the first time recording with this specific set up.
I felt we got great sounds from everybody coming off the board but I didn’t think the guitar sound was good, before the amp got boxed up, I thought it was sounding ok, so I wasn’t sure what was going on, I just assumed it would clear up as we went along… but it didn’t. Honestly I thought it was my issue with the new pedals, or other of the new factors I had introduced, also, I didn’t want to dwell or “waste time” so I didn’t really speak up. (Note to self regardless, next time speak up!)
Anyway, this was a great experience and super fun time. I think we got a shaky start (common in the studio) but then I think we gelled and laid down some quality music and got some nice takes, I think everything “went to tape” well, so I believe (really hope) the guitar sounds can be shaped in the mix.
* use the highest quality gear you can find when in the studio
* (use gear you know)? – except I’ve had good experience just following the first point…
* don’t change your setup last minute
* know what your going for
* speak up for yourself
* don’t be intimidated, it’s your money/time