2 Aug 2010

The 3rd album studio diary Part IV: 1.7. - 27.7.2010

After our short summer tour, it was time to concentrate on the forthcoming album preparations, which meant that I had to dive deep in to the swamp of guitar recording mysteries! And that was a deep swamp, I can tell you...

By the second half of the July I managed to clear out somehow how to manage guitar recording creditably in our little home studio called church boat (ask for the translation and real meaning of the word from any Finnish person). We had done some electric guitars there already with the last album, but they were just short breaks and solo kind of things. Last time, the big problem was that we did not want to make our neighbours angry and that's why we could not crank out the amplifiers loud enough & long enough. With acoustic guitars we obviously did not have this problem.

I already have a quite nice and compact system in the studio, which includes a control surface with faders and audio interface. With this system it is possible to record audio directly into Pro Tools.

So, I had to learn and decide how to manage the loudness problem first. (Warning: expect here messy technical explanations in the few next chapters). The answer came in the form of an guitar isolation box, which I managed to purchase from its' first owner as a good buy! But this was not the one and only solution, as the guitar signal had to be split up so that the same signal would go first in to the audio interface and then also in to the tube amp (Koch, as on the last album) and from there in to the isolation box and from there in to audio interface. It's a long way to the ears! Before the audio interface, I located also an impedance converter, which clearly enhanced the sound from the isolation box.

So, the signal from the actual guitar had to be channeled also straight in to the audio interface. In here, I put a brand new DI-box, which did the job along with splitting the signals.

Jasse, the studio messiah.

In the end (after talking and consulting with the only real professional here, Jasse from D-studio) the signal was decided to run also through Boss GT-10, which with certain adjustments produced a crispier sound than Koch itself. These two sounds, let's call them dark and sunny, could be later then combined in the mixing sessions. At the same time, two different DI-sounds will be also recorded. This makes it possible to reamp (= run the dry signal back to the amp, adjust the amp settings and record the sound from the best cabinet spot without re-playing the guitar -> no guitarist needed, no frustration/stress, no excessive consumption of beer etc.) the dry signal through whatever is needed and mix these sounds together with the already recorded amp sounds.

Setting up tubes etc.

Naturally, along with this technical hassle, all gear used for the recording had to be checked, strings and cables changed etc. This proved to be useful, as the first recrded DI-signals seemed to lack unwanted sounds like buzzing and snaps. The only thing I was told by Jasse to be avoid in the recordings was clipping in DI, which would make those parts unusable for reamping.

Ok, I think we're ready to shred...