I actually did an episode back in early July but… well, it was just an exercise in Futility. Then, of course, my entire summer and half the fall were swallowed up by several projects and, well… you know how the story goes.
Picking up right around where we left off: I did some vocal sessions with blessing Offor, a singer/songwriter signed to a development deal with EMI through Steven Ivy Music out of Nashville. blessing relocated from Nashville to New York and, fortuitously ended up about a 10-minute walk from the studio. It was the first series of sessions on which I used the DVA DR747 on vocals. What mic is this, you ask? Well, I’m sure I’ll have to include the story in another episode but, briefly, it’s a tube LDC based on a U 47. It was made by David Royer before he started Royer Labs. I’m still trying to get some nice photos of it so I can upload it to the microphone database at Recording Hacks. Soon…
One of my favorite projects this year was an original cast recording for an off-Broadway production of a show by the award-winning Chip Deffaa called “One Night with fanny Brice.” I had the pleasure of recording Kimberly Faye-Greenberg (vocals), Mark Goodman (piano) and Jonathan Russell (violin). It was an intense project because we needed to get it done within a tight budget. Everyone brought their best. Can’t wait to see it on stage.
Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga will will be using a song I arranged and produced for an upcoming film called “Higher Ground” scheduled for release in 2011. It was from an album I produced for Ukrainian-American singer Olya Fryz. It’s a children’s song whose title translates as “I’ll Plant a Pear Tree.” It just so happens that Ms. farmiga is a fellow Ukrainian-American—we all know each other, didn’t you know?
It just so happens that this year, I did another production for Olya. This time, it’s a Ukrainian Christmas album. The project took up several months of my time this summer and fall. Normally, a production might not have taken so long but, as it turns out, I did most of the playing on the album so, needless to say, it was fairly linear. I did get george Hrab to lay down some drums on several tunes. All in all, I’m really happy with everything. I wish Olya had room within her budget for having someone else master the album just for a different set of ears and all. I ended up doing everything from arranging through mastering. Oh, it’s a lonely job…
Thanks to Dave chick of Inside Home Recording for putting together some cymbal roll samples for the production. Guess what? After all that, I ended up using the real thing. hey, can you blame me? I mean, I was trying to avoid going out and buying several expensive cymbals. Lucky for me, George Hrab was generous enough to jump into his car with his cymbal bag and make the 90-minute trek to NYC to lay down the real McCoy.
Also, Jon Tidey from the Home Recording Show was kind enough to remove a couple of noises in Andriy Milavsky’s clarinet part on one of the tracks. What did we do before RX? I’ll tell you what: we lived with the bench squeaks and the floor creeks. Man, how things have changed…
I bought a few instruments at Mandolin Brothers for Olya’s production: a wonderful 1910 Gibson “black face Plain A” mandolin, a beautiful Yamaha classical guitar and a Deering banjo. They were a source of much inspiration for many of the arrangements. Yeah, I love buying mics and preamps and all, but buying a musical instrument—well, that’s just a whole different animal. I love these additions to my collection.
On the gear front, I had rented a Universal Audio 2-610 dual channel tube mic pre from DreamHire for the Fanny Brice project and really loved it. I ended up getting one for the studio and pretty much used it exclusively on Olya’s Christmas album. It’s a fantastic pre/DI—not the quietest piece of gear but, hey, it’s tube and that’s to be expected.
I’ve been looking for a pair of Neumann KM 84s for some time. Finding a stereo pair is even more difficult. While keeping my eye on message boards, I saw a post for a Neumann U 47 FET—another mic for which I’ve been on the lookout. Well, I jumped on the FET 47. I was thrilled to have landed a marvelous specimen. Of course, only hours after having purchased it, a post on the same message board revealed a stereo pair of KM 84s! Just my luck, eh? Well, fortunately, I managed to catch those before anyone else. I neglected to mention another addition to the mic closet this summer but I’ll save that for another show.
The other day I revisited the mic list at Bennett Studios. Two things struck me: 1. I thought it was funny that, among the Neumann and AKG mics, there was the apex 460—not even mentioning the fact that it was modified. Modified or not, it’s still, shall we say, incongruous, at least to many people. With the right modifications, I still think it’s a brilliant mic. My fingers are in my ears, “La-la-la-la…”
2. Bennett has a wonderful collection of mics but when it comes to U47/48s, ELA M 250/251s and such, it’s only through rental rather than straight from the mic closet. Hmm… If a huge studio like bennett chooses to have their clients rent that caliber of microphone, why should BeSharp struggle to acquire better and better additions to the mic closet—especially when DreamHire is literally right down the street? Hmm…
I’m really looking forward to catching up with a bunch of manufacturers and friends at AES in San Francisco and I’m sure it’ll be the subject of the next installment here.
(In addition to the tracks featured by Blessing Offor, the cast of “One Night with Fanny Brice” and Olya Fryz, the last tune featured was Joel Weiskopf entitled “Lonely Evening,” recorded at Sear Sound and mastered at BeSharp.