Assisting Mike Senior on Zwiepack session

Last September I had the honour to assist Mike Senior during a session in Aalen. We spent two days recording standards played by Zwiepack duo – Christian Bolts (saxophone) and Markus Braun (bass). It has been a very inspiring experience and one of last years highlights for me.

Zwiepack Summertime

Through a book, the reader always grasps a sense of writers personality. In his writing, Mike is allways accurate and clear about the technical side. But he also treats his readers with great respect; at least I had the feeling, he welcomes me to receive his knowledge. I thought, he could become my mentor Continue reading

Sebastian Block – Der Mond ist schuld

This summer I produced vocals for several songs of the new album by the berliner songwriter Sebastian BlockDer Mond ist schuld (The title means in English “The moon is to blame”;)

As usual with Sebastian, the record has a lot of great songs and a couple of huge hits. Especially the ballads Feder und Wenn du niemand mehr bist reveal Sebastians unique ability to express emotional depth with very simple means.

MS stereo – James Bay “Hold Back The River” (Acoustic)

This one has been filmed by Dennis Dirksen and recorded by me in the beautiful Ballhaus Berlin. It was my first experiment with MS stereo technique. Usually used for classic recordings, sometimes for film ambiences and effects, it provides a very natural sound. This is what I was going after.

James Bay – Hold Back The River (Acoustic + Lyric Untertitel)

 

MS stereo array

My mobile recording unit is very simple: a Mac runnig Logic, an RME Fireface400 and Audient ASP880 preamp. I used a C414 as S (pattern of 8), and on top of it – a modded Oktava MK319 as M (cardioid), about 1 m away from the singer pointing at his throat. With this setup, choosing the right distance to the source is critical. Within distances less then 1 meter, the voice moved immediately from middle to the sides with every head movement. On the other side, with greater distances, the amount of room sound increased, making the overall sound pretty thin. Read how I solved this problem…

Testing Audient ASP880 during an “Auf den Dächern” session for tape.tv

I was intrigued by the Audient ASP880 and asked Simon Horn from Audient Germany to test it during the tape.tv “Auf den Dächern” session with Selig and Lary.

Audient ASP880 – "Auf den Dächern" für tape.tv in Berlin (DE) (English Subs)

As you’ll see, the session has been recorded during a “british weather” day in Berlin in the end of October this year, it was raining almost all the time and the temperature was something like 11°C. The filming team prepared the set on the roof while being pretty sure, the bands will cancel. Knowing ASP880 hasn’t been designed to work outdoors, I was chewing off my fingernails. Finally, the rain stopped, we quickly set up the first band Selig, they did a short soundcheck and nailed three songs in a few takes. During the first take I felt already totally relieved, because the band was rocking and the sound was exactly what I wanted. Props to ASP880!

Selig were done, the rain started again. We had to wait a couple of hours till it stopped to set up the next band – Lary. An XLR cable gave up due to the high humidity – you can see me in the video walking to the vocal mike to check it. We had to cover the drums with towels to protect them from getting wet. The band did a couple of takes. Larys vocal has a huge dynamic range, I had to do some gain riding with the ASP880.

I noticed, I could react much quicker with 880 than with field recorders I used normally for the “Auf den Dächern” sessions. The preamps of ASP880 are designed to record music (not film dialogue like preamps of field recorders) and sound very similar to those of an analog console. The ASP880 turned out to be highly reliable also under outdoor conditions it wasn’t actually designed for. It was a pleasure to work with it and am looking forward to use the ASP880 for “Auf den Dächern” sessions next year!