Last week I’ve given you a little intro to the performance by Charlie Andrew at the Universal Audio Producer’s Corner at Musikmesse Frankfurt. While Part 1 was only to the idea of his person and general information about his work, we’re going to put things into practical terms today. In the second part you will learn about the handling of drums, bass and vocals of the song ‚Hunger of the Pine‘ by Alt-J.
Drum recording + electronic drums
In this track the e-drums are in the front. In addition there is an acoustic set added. Only this combination of both makes it sound that special. I really fell in love with this sound. Charlie told us that the snare was even less expensive. He couldn’t even know which snare exactly was used. A well-known manufacturer was not behind it. He remembered that it was a 10” snare. After listening to the raw material in solo it became clear that the drums was played by a drummer who spent time on optimizing his sound and style. In this track he played with his sticks back to front to create exactly that sound. The kit was also played pretty tight so a lot of overtones arose. I also like Charlies strategy, cause he is a fan of drum recording in bigger rooms and attaches great importance to hear that room on the record. Therefore he didn’t use close micing in this case, but used just a single room mic. This requires a good recording room of course.
UAD-Plugins creates ‘drums right in your face’
Of course the UA-Plugins have been focused on the UA stand. If you ask me most of them are among the best on the market. I already use some of them, but I met some of them for the first time at this performance. Such as the Thermionic Culture Volture Plugin which has been applied on the acoustic drums. I wish I could give you a before and after comparison. The difference was amazing, cause the Plug-In produced a significant distortion. This is not always recommended, but in this context it was great! ‘Drums right in your face’ has been said in this connection. I could not express it better myself.
The reverb on the drums is theOcean Way Studios Plugin which I am already familiar with. Actually I always test this one drums together with the Spring Reverb. This reverb makes an excellent impression on the e-drums – especially in this case, combined with the acoustic kit.
’End oft the world’ bass with the Twin Tube Processor
The bass has been produced with the Roland Juno 60. I’ve already told you in the previous blog what I think about it. I’m not an expert in synth, but to me this one is just amazing! My favorite synth ever! It already sounds very good itself which has been confirmed by the raw session. But Charlie improved it once again. First he sent the signal to an AUX and then put 2 plugins on that, namely the EMT 250 Classic Electronic Reverb (very nice handling – makes you feel a bit like a pilot) and the SPL Twin Tube Processor. Latter gives the bass a really hard and dirty character. This brings so much emotion into the track – incredible. ‘Sounds like end of the world’ has been said. Again I couldn’t find better words to describe it. In my opinion this is an excellent, creative and innovative work by Charlie Andrew. Hats off! By the way, Alt-J was present at the whole sound design process. For him, it was a matter of course, because the bass gives a song so much feeling. For me this is exemplary.
Das EMT 250 Reverb sticks the vocals to the track
First the emphasis was placed on the throw-ins of the song. In this case on ‘I’m a female rebel’. Here again the very good structure and recording was demonstrated. The sound has been already amazing without the effects. Charlie added a delay which increased the vibe a bit more. It also had a good effect on the timing. Seemed to be a bit more sluggish. Sounded amazing in the context. In addition to that he used the EMT® 250 Classic Electronic Reverb Plug-In which sticked the vocals perfectly into the mix.
On the main vocals he used a AKG BX 20 Spring Reverb. Also this track was very good recorded and very good performed. The difference between the track with and without the effect was not clearly to identify at the first time. At least not by listening to it in solo. But as we listened to in in the context we realized the perfect fit. Fundamentally Charlie is not a big fan of using reverbs in a way that you can hear it consciously. With the Spring Reverb he made it exactly like that. It ensures that the vocals come with a greater presence in the mix (almost impossible to here in solo) and results in an extremely pleasant sound. Especially when you listen to the ‘S’ parts. In this track it was a clear difference on words like ‘realization’.
So all in all this was a very informative performance with a great engineer using great plugins. Nice!
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