Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview with Mark Endert

Hey everyone -- next Monday the 16th, I'll be interviewing producer, engineer, and mixer Mark Endert. You may not think you know his work, but yes you do! He's mixed some great albums like Gavin Degraw's Chariot, Train's award winning album Save Me, San Francisco with the hot single "Hey Soul Sister," as well as albums and songs from Kate Voegele, Maroon 5, Phantom Planet, Vertical Horizon, Madonna, the Fray, Dave Barnes, Chris Tomlin, and more! This guy is a monster mixing engineer, so if you have any questions for him, please leave them in the comments or email them to me at recordingloungepodcast@gmail.com

I have a slew of my own questions, but I'll try to answer others you may have! Look forward to the show being posted on iTunes next week.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recording with EQ / FX?

We've been talking about recording/mixing drums, and especially the big topic of the last few shows has been "the chain" meaning source > room > mic > pre. We've been talking about using EQ to tape (or...to disk) and the decisions you have to make on the fly. I thought I'd expound upon that point I was talking about in the podcast...

Why is everyone so afraid to record with EQ? It's a great thing. If you're in the studio, there's no time to be sitting around on your butt hating the way things sound. If you're using a console, tweak the EQ a bit, add a delay, add a chorus, whatever, and if you like it, keep it, record it that way. A prime example of this is kick drum. Even though we don't like it, almost every kick drum in rock music will need some serious EQ to get it to sound how we want it. Not all the time, but most of the time we need some real surgery, you know? Taking out mids, boosting lows or accentuating highs or whatever. If you had a couple of Neve modules (or...if you're not using that, maybe Vintech, maybe Toft...maybe just Mackie! that's not the point!!!) you could cut out some of that junk and get the song sounding a bit more exciting. It keeps the mood up in the studio, it keeps people loving the punch, without having to sit and EQ a bunch in the box to try to impress them. Record it that way and keep it! Make a decision and own up to it.

Another reason (this is primarily what we talked about in the episode on the Chain - I believe ep.12) if you EQ beforehand, it can really help your processing. For example, using high pass filters and or low shelving EQ can tighten up your low end before hitting compressors (a GOOD THING) so you're actually compressing the part of the signal that you want. Think about an acoustic guitar--if you're mic'ing it up and you want a lot of the warmth out of it and not a lot of the room ambience yet still having a very dynamic acoustic, you might have to make some compromises with the mic choice and placement. Of course you could use an Omni or perhaps mic it up different ways for different parts of the song, but you also could roll off some of the air conditioner/room rumble/etc. below 70hz or so (that you don't really even need in the rock mix anyway with the Acoustic) and then tighten up the lows with the EQ, take out what you don't need (even with a bandpass at 350hz, dipped a bit, who knows!) and then go to your comp, it's going to be looking at the STRUMS, which is what you're wanting. You don't want it to be sensitive to the flub...you want it to compress the right thing.

EQ to tape / to disc can really save you a lot of time later. It also makes things more exciting during the tracking process and also can keep the band digging the song. It's also just good as an engineer to train your ear to use EQ on the fly and know what "bad parts" of the sound to CUT rather than what "good parts" you want to boost. Think about it!