For our drum recording session I had the role of Engineer.
Studio engineers operate the audio console, and basically take care of the technical-side of recording. They also alter the sound signal as it passes through the desk using EQ, for example.
Well-known audio engineers would be folks such as:
Glyn Johns (The Who, Eric Clapton, The Faces), Andy Johns (The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull), Bill Porter (Elvis, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers), Bill Putnam (Count Basie, Duke Ellington), Steve Albini (just too many to mention), Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Traffic), Alan Parsons (Pink Floyd, The Hollies, The Beatles), Geoff Emerick (The Beatles), James Guthrie (Pink Floyd), Bob Clearmountain (David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones), Tom Dowd (Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Dusty Springfield), Phil Ramone (Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan), and I'd say one of the best known, and personal favourite, George Martin.
Glyn Johns (looking stressed)
Wear a tie to work George Martin.
For the drum-tracking session, I was to be in charge of the processes of the console (not including headphone sends, as that was another team member’s role), as seperate to the DAW operation (again, another student's role).
My job mainly included setting the gain for each channel (12 used in all) - both through the console and through pre-amps - and adjusting them throughout the session as required.
This was my first time using the Audient ASP8024, but I had previously learnt on and used the 16 channel Audient ASP4816, so (basically being just a larger version) it was mostly just a matter of transferring that knowledge to the 8024 (which was thankfully not too complicated a task).
I was confident in all fronts bar the use of the preamps, as I hadn’t used them before, but that was simple enough to pick up.
Anyway, I was glad that the area I was in charge of for the day I knew how to do, so I could assuredly take part in the session.
I also had organisational responsibilities for the day; making a list of the microphone Inputs and Outputs (to ensure consistency and smooth-sailing throughout the session) and helping to choose mics and mic positioning for the kit.
For the kit micing, we had a Rode NT5 on the hit-hats, and one on the ride cymbal, two AKG C414s as overhead mics as well as -
There was a lot of communication necessary between myself and other team members, especially the Pro Tools operator and the 'Runners' - in needing to keep communication with our drummer (where and what to play to set the levels, and in discussion about microphone placement), and setting channel gains.
I aimed to have clear and helpful communication on my part at all times - and communicate openly and constantly with my group. I think this helped the session run smoother and more effectively, as open communication always provides greater awareness of processes and work necessary to focus on.
I also was there as an extra hand for whatever needed doing at any given time - we were running short on time, so if help was necessary I made sure to jump in.
For the round-up of the session I was in charge of closing down the console, turning phantom power off before any microphone unplugging, and making sure the console was normalised for the next user.
I also helped pack up the microphones and do a general clean-up of the space.
In terms of production, I was to revise the editing (only timing as of yet) of the drums (started by another student) and finish the Elastic Audio editing.
In general there are a few aspects of the recording process I know I need to work on - the main one being to become more competent in using patch bays! I also want to have better understanding of the frequency spectrum, and be able to more knowingly apply EQ parameters.
Overall I really enjoyed being the engineer for the session - I like using analogue desks and manoeuvring through them!
Engineering is the area in audio I want to pursue (as well as producing and DAW operation) so I like having opportunities to partake in the processes involved, under the helpful guidance of my teachers and collaboration of peers.
Here is the recorded drum track (after being edited in time with the original track) -