Posts Tagged ‘Audio Technica AT4033’

Recording Firedaze “Another One Like That”

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We’ve just finished mixing a new track for Leamington based band Firedaze. This track is following on from their 2014 album, “Never After Land” which was also recorded at Dmusic/dVoicebox.

Logo of Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey teamFiredaze singer Steff has a massive passion for ice hockey and is a regular supporter of the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey team. She recently decided to write and record a song that could be used by supporters of the team to cheer the team on.

“Another One Like That” is a song that started life as another song by the band with a similar title – “Another One Like This”. In fact the original song is still in the Firedaze live set – but Steff felt the reggae style laid-back folky vibe of the original was not right for a song to cheer the ice hockey team on. She knew the song needed to be more up tempo and rocky with an easy to pick up and sing along hook line.  The band took the lyrics of the original song but set the words in a much more rocky setting.

Firedaze normally use samples, foot percussion and drum loops when performing live but for this song it was decided that the sound needed to be the much more straightforward sound of a band with a live drummer.

Steff - guitarist and singer - FiredazeOnce the song structure was fixed the band recorded a guide track that could be used to track the drums. The choice of drummer was a former Firedaze and Rack and Ruin sticksman Duncan Arrow. I recorded the drum track in Dunk’s home studio using his Roland V drums recorded into Logic and then imported the drum audio files into the song project back in the dVoicebox studio.

Bass, guitar and fiddle were then re-recorded to replace the guide versions. I usually record fiddle player Jen’s violin in another room here at the studio to get the natural sound of the instrument. However for this song we decided to DI using just the feed from the AT Pro-35 fiddle-mounted mic she uses live.
The bass was also recorded on a DI via the TLA5051 channel strip to take advantage of the unit’s warm valve drive and slight compression.

Steff had recorded the original main vocal part during a rehearsal session wearing the AKG headset mic she uses live. While this mic works fine for live performance it sounds very nasal and slightly fuzzy when recorded. The final (and much clearer) version was recorded using an AT4033. I generally use this mic or sometimes a Rode NT1 for Steff in preference to the studio Neumann U87 as they just seem to suit her voice best.

VU meter on a TLA5051 channel stripWe had several reference tracks we were using for the general attitude and vibe of the track in particular some songs from the Drop Kick Murphys and Chumbwumba. One key element was the sound of a live crowd sound signing along – to achieve this kind of feeling we recorded all the band members and then got anyone male who came in during the recording session to record several passes of the main hook line. I then layered up these many voices and used some panning and reverb to spread them across the stereo picture.

Steff was pleased with the result. Her dream now is to hear the crowd at the Skydome singing this song every time the team stick the puck in the net.

“Another One Like That” by Firedaze is now on Soundcloud:

Chris Radley – dVoiceBox

AT4033 Shockmount repair revelation

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What do you do when the elastic breaks on the shockmount of an AT4033 microphone?
That was question that formed in my mind this week when, at the end of a studio session, I discovered that the elastic in one of my AT shockmounts was rather “slack”. Closer inspection revealed that it had broken on one place and was worn and about to break in another.
I’ve used this shockmount for many years as it’s the one that came with my very first AT4033 – right back when I first started getting into voiceover work.
I quickly discovered on a variety of on-line forums that other AT users where quite rude about the AT shockmount and the elastic – but in all the years I’ve had mine (more than 15) it’s never broken before.
Which is why I didn’t know what to do.

The particular shock mount in question is the AT8441 that came with the original AT4033 (it’s got 4 “legs” that stick up and down) – the current mic is the AT4033a and the current shockmount is the AT8449 (which has a metal “O” rather than the “legs”) – it looks different overall but the elasticated middle part of the mechanism that holds the mic is the same.
The trouble is a new shock mount is more than £70.

So I wondered about a DIY approach. There’s loads of ideas on different forums about how you could go to the pharmacy and get some scrunci hair ties, or maybe you could get quite fine elasticated cord from a ship’s supplier’s, or the rubber bands out of certain vacuum cleaners. Others suggest buying some document binders and somehow using the elasticated cords that hold them closed.

Many, many intriguing ideas…. and I was entertaining at least some of them because I was scared of the price or a new shockmount – and all because the elastic on my current one was gone.

In the end I did what I probably should have done in the first place and went onto the Audio Technica website – in fact I’d done a search on-line using “How do I repair my AT mic shockmount?” and found just the page. Not only was there a sequence of photos showing me how to re-thread the elastic but it also linked to the page on their webstore where I could buy the elastic.

In the end I fixed my AT4033 shockmount for less than a tenner and they sent the parts within 2 days. It took some time researching on the internet to sort it but it was worth the effort.

One tip though – if you do have to do this yourself – make sure you’ve got scissors handy to trim the cord because it frays every time you push it through a hole in the mount. If you don’t trim it then you can’t get it through the next hole!

Chris Radley
dVoiceBox Studio