How about guitar miking?
Will you put up several mics at different distances from the amps?
If Im doing a rock band, theres generally two guitars. Ill
try to listen to how they interact while were doing basics, and
when we go to do overdubs, I can then accentuate the difference between
them. Weve got the 4038s and the M160s, both of which are great-sounding
ribbon mics for guitars. I usually use one of the ribbons on each amp,
and then Ill enhance it with a 57, which I really like.
Ive used that lavaliere on guitar amps, and its an interesting
sound if the amp isnt too loud. It wont take a high SPL. Ill
usually do the off-axis thing, sort of out at the edge of the cone, more
or less pointing toward the center. Kind of close, maybe four inches off
the cone. We have a collection of old, crappy garage sale mics, all of
which have their own charm.
Sometimes Ill use an M160 and a 57 the same distance away from two
different cones on the cabinet. That usually makes for good sound with
no phase problems.
Do you ever put another mic in back of the cabinet
and reverse the phase?
I used to do that all the time at Idful. You ever see the old Altec ribbon
mic that also had a crystal element in it? It has a screwdriver-set switch
that set the way the two were matrixed together. That sounded great in
the back of a Fender amp. I havent done that kind of thing lately;
I should probably get back to that. I guess most of the people Ive
worked with lately have had closed-back cabinets.
It makes for a great, unreal sound when you pan
the two signals hard left and right.
Almost any pair of mics can be used to introduce some kind of phase problem
and produce a great effect. You might have a really cohesive mix going,
but you want something to really snap the listener out of it. You throw
in something like that, and it really calls attention to itself.
The Moon and Antarctica has a lot of production
touches that are a far cry from earlier Modest Mouse recordings. Had the
band worked with synths or MIDI, or done heavy-duty production much before?
Not muchit was
a bass-guitar-drums, analog-tape, quick-overdub-and-mix kind of a band.
But the band members were definitely interested in production, and Isaac
in particular really gained a handle on the possibilities. By the end of
making the record, he was able to mastermind some cool maneuvers with plug-ins
and Pro Tools. Shifting things back and forth, flipping parts around backwards;
he was getting good at knowing what he wanted to hear and knowing how to
express it. It wasnt so much that he was mixing, but he could look
at a song, understand the musical event that he wanted to make happen, understand
the tools at his disposal, relate it in a way that I could understand, and
make it happen pretty quickly. That helps you to get a good working rhythm.
Mouse guitarist-vocalist Isaac Brock (foreground), Deck (middle),
and drummer Jeremiah Green (background) work on a typical late-night
mixing session. Next to Green are the anvil cases for Deck’s Amek
console and outboard gear—remnants from Clava’s mobile recording
We didnt use much MIDI at all for this record. There were parts where
we wanted to sprinkle a little piano onto a track. Id hook up the
Kurzweil K2500 and record a MIDI track in Pro Tools, just in case we wanted
to edit it. But in the end we just used the original recorded track.
Actually, most of the technologically tricky stuff that we did was in editing.
Once any band I work with finishes recording on tape, we bounce the basics
into the computer. What Ill frequently doalmost by default at
this pointis to make a tempo map in Pro Tools. You just set your cursor
wherever you want and hit Command + I. A dialog box comes up, and you can
say this is bar-whatever, beat-whatever, and the time signature is thus
and so. Itll take that and calculate a beat map for however many different
markers need to be in there.
Magazine, January, 2001
© 2001, Intertec Publishing, A Primedia Company All Rights Reserved