COVID19

In the LSRR control room, late at night
By Mick Hargreaves

As soon as our area went into COVID-19 lockdown, I began contemplating our recording studio strategy for the near future.

I've spoken with the artists that we work with here, and I've spoken with my peers in the business. I'm sure that we can still do what we do here at the LSRR, and we'll accomplish that by doing things safely, and smartly.

This virus isn't going to stop the Lantern Sound Recording Rig from being an organic, friendly, and healthy home for the creation of recorded music, and more.

The one thing we're pushing the [PAUSE] button on, for the time being, is a group of musicians sweating out take after take together, in the same exact space, at the same time, as we record. We're now separating all participants into individual spaces.
 

 

PRIORITIES.

 

At the LSRR, health safety guidance will be followed at all times.

Recordings-in-progress at the LSRR will be fully finished to artist's satisfaction.

LSRR will field new business smartly, in keeping with latest expert health guidance.

LSRR will embrace new workflows and tech solutions, and we will empower the artist.

 

Strategy 1:
Recording Studio Divided in Two.

 
In addition to everyone at this studio adhering to proper health safety policy, performers and I will not be in the same room together.

One side for the performer.  One side for engineering.


On the floor plan of the studio facility below, the red line drawn right through the center of the house divides the recording facility in two. This division keeps performers and I totally separated, each of us with our own dedicated entryways, bathrooms, and studio spaces. Artist-only areas, including the dedicated bathroom, and will be cleaned before and after every session.
 
 
Performer side:
Vocal microphones, guitar & bass amps, baby grand piano, instrument inputs, headphone monitoring gear, DI boxes, compression, tuners, anything else the performer may want.

Engineering side: 

That's where I'll be, in the control room, doing normal knob-twiddling, running the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), and generating the headphone monitoring mix for the performer with my talkback communication.  The "Big Room" is also on this side of the demarcation line, and that's where drum tracking will be done when needed.


 

Side Note:
Podcasts.

 
We've been recording them here, and now that we need to be super health-conscious, remote phone interviews are more important than ever.

Hosts can be here at the studio, isolated in the Artist's Salon, and the interview subjects can call in from anywhere. Our dedicated land line and telephone interfaces ensure a clean recorded sound with zero dropped calls or cell phone interference.

Dedicated landline and telephone interfaces
for recording remote podcast interviews.

Strategy 2:
Remote Mixing / Overdubbing


  We've been doing remote mixing for quite a while, and we'll proceed with doing that for every song. Before mixing starts, the artist and I will discuss overall desired sound, mood, where the vocal should sit in the mix, how drum heavy it should be, effects, panning, solos, etc. I always shoot to get a mix done in three hours or so, and it usually does wind up being that amount of time. When the mix is done I'll share the mix files for approval, comment, and revision.


When we're overdubbing, select types of tracks can be recorded at the artist's location.
 
Then we "fly" those parts via file transfer into the master session here on the studio system. Keyboard parts are one easy example. I always contact the artist one-on-one to work out technical concerns involved with this method.

There are many ways to do online file transfers these days, whether cloud-based or direct-send. Here's a webpage with links to the file transfer tools we use. 
 
 

Strategy 3:
Studio Hygiene

 

Shure SM7B mic & windscreens
The Shure SM7B, one of our favorite microphones here for a lot of things, is an ideal piece of gear for the enabling of proper "microphone hygiene". The integrated foam microphone windscreen is super-easily interchangeable - off and on swap-out! We've purchased additional windscreens so there will always be a sterilized one on the microphone. Adding in an additional hoop-shaped pop filter adds another layer that we will also be changing out for every session.

Shure SM7B w/ windscreen & pop filter

Of course, artists can bring their own microphones.

Singers like Mick Jagger, Bono et al have often cut vocals with quite ordinary dynamic microphones; Bruno Mars did an "Uptown Funk" scratch lead vocal using an SM57 at five o'clock in the morning, then he got on a plane. It wound up on the record!




 

SOLUTION 4: Free Tech Assistance.


Oh NOOOOOOOOOooooo


Almost every musical artist with a DAW setup at home will eventually encounter some sort of technical "speed bump", or something that grinds things to a halt!








The horror... THE HORROR.
Often times, I'm familiar with these challenges.

I am here for you - Let's get you through that moment, and back to digging in on the creative process - you've got stuff to do!  If I don't have the answer or solution, we'll someone who does. We'll investigate, and solve your problem. Empowering the recording artist to create at THEIR location means the artist becomes more enabled to participate in the recording process at ALL locations. Everyone wins.


Thanks for reading, everyone.
We'll be in touch!
m.h.
The last time I was on a stage, Pre-COVID19. Bass with Pete Mancini & Hillside Airmen.


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