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March 30, 2003

SPENT THE AFTERNOON IN THE RECORDING STUDIO — the real one, not the computer-based one at my house. Doug “InstaLawyer” Weinstein has been working on a demo tape for his band, The Verdicts, and wanted some help and another set of ears. Various triumphs ensued:

1. Unaccountable difference in levels between left channel and right channel tracked down to loose jack in patchbay; tightened and fixed. Finding this in the time it took was a triumph — even in our little studio, there are so many wires and connections that tracking down a bad one is a real job.

2. Flabby sounding kick drum tightened up with EQ. Not “more bass” which is what you might think, but a boost at 350 hz, which captures the crack of the beater striking the drumhead. Most of the sound of a kick drum is at low frequencies, but the beater-sound is what gives it definition and helps it cut through the mix.

3. Somewhat lonely sounding lead vocal on “Wonderful Tonight” brightened up by using a combination of delay and pitch-shifting to generate the illusion of female singers in the background. There are gadgets you can buy that do this, but I just reprogrammed a general-purpose effects box. It worked surprisingly well: subtle, but effective.

4. Request to give a trumpet solo “more shimmer” met by putting a very slight Leslie (rotating-speaker, somewhat akin to a tremolo) effect on the trumpet, and feeding that into its own reverb.

Okay, “triumph” is too strong a word, but still a very successful afternoon. I haven’t done that sort of thing in a while, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoy it. And, unlike computer music (or blogging) it doesn’t contribute as much to RSI.

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