Old 09-01-2017, 05:04 PM   #1
karbomusic
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Default Project "God Candy"

I've been working on this record/project since this past January - God Candy is the album name. I thought I might document some of the tracking etc. Mostly for me LOL in case I need to refer back to it but also in the rare event is of interest to others who write/record etc.

The first 7 months were working in a new drummer, tightening up arrangements for existing songs and writing the remaining songs, which is 12 songs total. While this was going on I was recording each rehearsal, taking notes, rinse & repeat. The last couple of months have been prepping for drum tracks. To accomplish that and to simplify, we decided to record scratch tracks to a click minus drums.

I did most of that tracking during the first week of August, then had a couple members fill in a few blanks so that we had just enough so the drummer could play along (also with a click). I did work harder than normal when I did scratch tracks because I wanted them to raise/maintain the bar and to hopefully inspire all of us to meet that bar.

We did the drum tracking this past Sat/Sun, I carried three racks + stands + mics + cables + snake over on Friday and spent the day micing everything up. The control room is the bass players bedroom which gave me complete isolation from the rehearsal building which is about 75 feet away in the back yard.

So I'll start with the equipment setup, then possible in later posts (assuming I continue), I'll document other steps as we go and/or a potential sample or two of the resulting drum tracks followed by the full release sometime before Christmas hopefully.

The routing sheet... I spent a good amount of time with all the logistics and routing long before tracking day. The goal was to be able to unload, setup, mic up, wire up and everything just work. Amazingly, except for a single mic being out of phase, it all worked first try. Yay. I had planned to be able to track the entire band as you can see in the routing sheet, but that need didn't arise.

The sound card setup is:

FFUFX, FF800, UA 4-710D where the FF800 and 4-710D are linked to the FFUFX via ADAT1 and ADAT2 - I ended up with about ~26 available simultaneous inputs with a mixture of clean and colored preamps. Radial J48 to get the bass from the room to the control room, then into the UA tube pre with it's 1176 compressor circuit set to fast in order to smooth and round the tone a little on the way in.

One other thing I did was to name the inputs to match the instrument from end-to-end. IOW, Kick In is channel 3 and it's named Kick In in TotalMix and also aliased in Reaper. I then saved both Reaper and Total Mix routings and naming as templates making it more difficult to plug the wrong thing in the wrong channel.


Bedroom temporarily converted to a control room. I basically lived in this spot for 10 hours a day Sat/Sun.



Drum setup, It's a 20 or so foot room with 12 foot ceilings or so - I was a little concerned about the squareness but due to size and the amount of gear and stuff all around the walls, it turned out to be a non-issue. I ran headphone mixes through the sends on the 24x8 snake and plugged those into CMOY headphone amps so the drummer and bass player had their own stereo mixes coming from RME TotalMix.

Roughly, 14 mics for drums - much of that choice was because it was a one-shot opportunity and it's easier to mute later than wish I had something I didn't. In the past I've always recorded drums with 4-6 mics so this was a treat.





Initial thoughts after recording drums drums, they turned out great. I placed the overheads 46" from the snare and made sure all three were exactly the same distance from snare. Also both sets of room mics were measured and placed so that each pair (L/R) were also exactly the same distance as their L/R counterpart. This surely paid off since the only polarity switch I had to throw was for the one miswired cable on one of the room mics. I spaced the top/bottom snare mics well enough that they did NOT need their polarity reversed.

As of today, I've completed any needed drum edits and the bass player is now overdubbing any tracks he doesn't feel are keepers from the tracking session. Then we'll begin replacing the original scratch tracks (as needed) with the final tracks, then any fluff/creative stuff, then mixing.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:39 PM   #2
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Heh heh, I can tell this is a project of love Karbo. I don't think I've ever seen a project like this done this way. Definitely a passion of love.

So you had no individual mics on the toms?

You really planned this in a big time way, and since it's a group project and everybody is willing, I think it's a great way to do this. Your attention to detail is pretty rabid, which I think can only be done under these circumstances.

Incidentally, what's under the rug, cement, a wood floor on joists, or something else?

You might have mentioned it, but I missed it, are these original tunes.

Humm, it's looks like maybe one of the guys has hemorrhoids. Oops, sorry about that.

I'm really looking forward to hearing this Karbo.

I'm also very jealous.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:32 PM   #3
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Looks awesome! Thanks for sharing. I'll be following this thread as it progresses.
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Old 09-01-2017, 07:45 PM   #4
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I don't think I've ever seen a project like this done this way.
I've done it this way since I lost the ability to record drums at my place. It's the best I've been able to come up with.

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So you had no individual mics on the toms?
Just on the floor tom, the TLM is picking up most of the rack toms but as far as adjusting individual toms track wise, no, didn't do that.

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You really planned this in a big time way, and since it's a group project and everybody is willing, I think it's a great way to do this. Your attention to detail is pretty rabid, which I think can only be done under these circumstances.
Since I basically had to pack a chunk of my home studio up and take it there, and since keeping five of us in the same place at the same time for any worthwhile length of time can be like herding cats, I knew I could not miss anything where I'd have to drive back home for something I forgot, have to troubleshoot for more than 2 minutes LOL or worse, dork a track up and not realize it until I'm back in my studio.

I will say this is the cleanest, quietest, trouble-free "guerilla drum sound" I've gotten, that was a nice surprise after all the worry something might go wrong.

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Incidentally, what's under the rug, cement, a wood floor on joists, or something else?
It's a cement floor which I'm used to.

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You might have mentioned it, but I missed it, are these original tunes.
They are, fairly equally spread between three of us where each of us mostly wrote/sing 4 songs or so each.

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Humm, it's looks like maybe one of the guys has hemorrhoids. Oops, sorry about that.
And he said it was his back!

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I'm really looking forward to hearing this Karbo.

I'm also very jealous.
I'm glad to be able to but things can change so quickly I know I shouldn't fart around; I'm no spring chicken either. Everyone says we sound like every 70s rock band all at the same time but more modern. Not sure I know how to take that but I kind of liked it.
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Old 09-01-2017, 08:18 PM   #5
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Thanks Insub! If I suddenly disappear, you'll know they didn't come out well.

Here is a snip from one tune of drums. It's all the tracks including both sets room mics as recorded so no processing except I knocked a couple of dB off the top with a limiter and I think I panned the high hat a little, otherwise straight tracks, faders at zero.

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Old 09-02-2017, 02:39 AM   #6
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Love it!

Why 2 mic's for the hats?
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Old 09-02-2017, 03:22 AM   #7
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VERY ambitious, industrious, intelligent, and awesome.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:21 AM   #8
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Thanks brothas

Re: Hat mics...

I had seen the dynamic/condenser technique awhile back and that combining the two created a more natural sounding hat (Warren Huart maybe?). I did align the capsules fairly precisely to prevent phase issues. It's good I did that because the first two songs.... I had the compressor on the preamp cranked on one of those by accident (it should have been off entirely). So I at least have a backup on the other channel!

Something to add... When we set up on Friday, got basic levels and had the drummer play for 5 min while I recorded. I took those tracks back to my studio that night for review and found these issues:

1. The HH mic with compression
2. One R121 was electronically flipped polarity wise - still not sure how that happened, maybe one of the cables or snake. Flipped polarity on the preamp to fix.
3. Snare bottom crapping out terribly (it was actually a SM58, was out of 57s, swapped for a beta 58, problem solved). That 58 was bad.
4. Floor tom a little low in mix, so I added the floor tom mic the next day.
5. Kick In sounded like a basketball. Fixed that by moving the mic away from the middle and tossing a single little microfiber hand towel inside to give a tiny amount of damping.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:26 AM   #9
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I've had great luck with ribbons on hihats.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:28 AM   #10
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Thanks brothas

Re: Hat mics...

I had seen the dynamic/condenser technique awhile back and that combining the two created a more natural sounding hat (Warren Huart maybe?). I did align the capsules fairly precisely to prevent phase issues. I haven't mixed them to see how well that works yet but it's good I did that because the first two songs.... I had the compressor on the preamp cranked on one of those by accident (it should have been off entirely). So at least I have a backup on the other channel!
Interesting stuff! Can't wait to hear these tunes!
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:40 AM   #11
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I've had great luck with ribbons on hihats.
Great point. I probably should have tried a ribbon but didn't have much wiggle room for experimentation. I'd have used the 121s but I put them where I did as close room mics due to fig-8 and that room is fairly tight sounding and needed the extra ambience and... being that close I didn't want the highs from the cymbals to be too prominent in room mics.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:11 AM   #12
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Great point. I probably should have tried a ribbon but didn't have much wiggle room for experimentation. I'd have used the 121s but I put them where I did as close room mics due to fig-8 and that room is fairly tight sounding and needed the extra ambience and... being that close I didn't want the highs from the cymbals to be too prominent in room mics.
Good choice.


I just tend to try some sort of ribbon on most things before anything else....I'm a ribbon geek.
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Old 09-02-2017, 07:16 AM   #13
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Fascinating and impressive - even the paperwork and planning! I agree the only way to deal with cats...

As a matter of interest what is gained by the middle OH? I would have expected it to make little difference in the mix but could be way wrong on that assumption. I see it's a different mic from the other two OH's - was that significant?
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:50 AM   #14
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As a matter of interest what is gained by the middle OH? I would have expected it to make little difference in the mix but could be way wrong on that assumption. I see it's a different mic from the other two OH's - was that significant?
Hi Martin - the stereo overheads are rough clones of a UA87 and the middle is a TLM 103, both of which are flat and natural sounding enough for the purpose. They sound close enough to each other as OHs that just those three and soloed between they sound very much alike.

I used the middle one to overcome not having mics for all three of those rack toms. Works out fine so far, may post soloed versions later.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:20 PM   #15
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Here is a snip from one tune of drums. It's all the tracks including both sets room mics as recorded so no processing except I knocked a couple of dB off the top with a limiter and I think I panned the high hat a little, otherwise straight tracks, faders at zero.
Heh heh, that sounds pretty good Karbo, actually it sounded great on my monitors.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:15 PM   #16
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Thanks Tod!

A short geek diversion.... I had a question as to whether there had been any unexpected latency when tracking. I assumed that since I didn't do a loopback test before the session began, I could never really know.... but I can!

I have really clean tracks (no click bleed) but it dawned on me that if I took an overhead track, split out a silent section then normalized I might see evidence of the click that I don't hear, which turned out to be correct. Below is that click bleed compared with the original click source post normalization:



That delay turns out to be about 180 samples which seems bad (3-4 ms @ 48k) but it isn't bad because that is what the mic heard, *not* what the drummer heard. If we remove the time it took for that click sound to exit the headphones and hit that mic (which is 3-4 feet away from his head), we can deduce that there was no appreciable latency that didn't get accounted for.

Why did I do this? Basically, examining tracks and wanted to confirm I had not introduced latency and didn't realize it, but the above shows I didn't so that's good and a feelgood more than anything and just a sanity check before we start laying all the other tracks on top. May have more updates on the project in the next few days/week, tracking bass at the moment.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:51 PM   #17
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Why did I do this? Basically, examining tracks and wanted to confirm I had not introduced latency and didn't realize it, but the above shows I didn't so that's good and a feelgood more than anything and just a sanity check before we start laying all the other tracks on top. May have more updates on the project in the next few days/week, tracking bass at the moment.
Hi again Karbo, so if you had a click, then you must also have your grid all laid out don't you?

If so, are you going to pull everything forward so that the click you see lines up with the grid? I would think that would put everything right in line with the grid where it should be for your overdubbing.
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:52 PM   #18
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Thanks Insub! If I suddenly disappear, you'll know they didn't come out well.

Here is a snip from one tune of drums. It's all the tracks including both sets room mics as recorded so no processing except I knocked a couple of dB off the top with a limiter and I think I panned the high hat a little, otherwise straight tracks, faders at zero.

Sounding good!

I'm still wondering where my new band project is going to track drums at. I'm hoping to find a better space than our rehearsal room which is in my buddy's basement. All concrete floor and walls, about 20' x 12' x 7' tall. Plus, we're short on mics. I only have a pair of SDC left that could be used for room mics. So, unless we go to a studio we'll be making do with what we've got.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 09-05-2017, 01:59 PM   #19
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Hi again Karbo, so if you had a click, then you must also have your grid all laid out don't you?

If so, are you going to pull everything forward so that the click you see lines up with the grid? I would think that would put everything right in line with the grid where it should be for your overdubbing.
To make sure I wasn't being confusing, that latency as pictured doesn't actually exist, since it's from an OH mic, we need to remove the time it took to travel from the headphones to that mic - that was part of my detective work. IOW, that proves there isn't a latency problem. Had it been real latency I'd have bulk moved everything over 180 samples.

Beyond that, I'm not slip editing 'that much' as far as the drummer being out, the band would notice the stiffness immediately and give me grief - I'm obviously fixing any timing inconsistencies but not aligning every beat to the grid. That being said, the playing timing could have been better but he was nervous and I'm patient so I'll fix what I can (or rather have already) before the overdubs go down.

Also, at this point, we'll be playing with the drums for overdubs so the click will become irrelevant soon. There is a tradeoff there between future edits and retaining feel, we'll see how that goes.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:02 PM   #20
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Sounding good!
Thanks!

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So, unless we go to a studio we'll be making do with what we've got.
I trust you. Do ^that and live it! It is truly my life story, always making do with what I have, I have more than I used to but 99% of what I do know came from recording with almost none of the conditions/gear I actually needed. If you are short on mics, and the drummer is steady dynamically, the recorderman method works really well and in smaller rooms, I used it for years, this is actually my first diversion from that method in a long time.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:14 PM   #21
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Beyond that, I'm not slip editing 'that much' as far as the drummer being out, the band would notice the stiffness immediately and give me grief - I'm obviously fixing any timing inconsistencies but not aligning every beat to the grid. That being said, the playing timing could have been better but he was nervous and I'm patient so I'll fix what I can (or rather have already) before the overdubs go down.

Also, at this point, we'll be playing with the drums for overdubs so the click will become irrelevant soon. There is a tradeoff there between future edits and retaining feel, we'll see how that goes.
Oh yeah, I wasn't talking about lining everything up to the grid, I'm just talking about getting the drummer set up to the grid, relative to the click that he heard.

Of course it will make no difference as far as how the band plays with the drums, but if you add any midi it will make that much easier. Heh heh, then if there's no midi it's not relevant.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:18 PM   #22
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Oh yeah, I wasn't talking about lining everything up to the grid, I'm just talking about getting the drummer set up to the grid, relative to the click that he heard.

Of course it will make no difference as far as how the band plays with the drums, but if you add any midi it will make that much easier. Heh heh, then if there's no midi it's not relevant.
Gotcha, yea, I was worried I wasn't clear about the latency in the picture. I "should" have done a proper looback when I was there but forgot. Then earlier today, I realized if I could find some click bleed then subtract the travel time from the headphones to whichever mic I found the bleed in, that was in effect a loopback test after the fact.

After doing that I concluded it was pretty much dead on like it normally is at home but was initially concerned since I moved everything etc. and didn't formally check while I was there. There will be some MIDI but it will be performed not programmed as I will likely grab a MIDI version of the audio the keyboard player performs when we do his tracks - a number of keys tracks will just be his keyboards, not VSTi. I'm just doing that in the event whatever sound he uses becomes a mix problem later and/or we want to change it.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:53 PM   #23
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I recon no need to explain which phase of the project we're in...





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Old 09-27-2017, 12:28 AM   #24
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+1 for color-coded XLR cables. Nice pictures, thanks for sharing!
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:38 AM   #25
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I recon no need to explain which phase of the project we're in...


Yeah, looks lile you're having a break while waiting for the 5 string banjos to arrive

Nice pics.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:07 AM   #26
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Well done setting that up Karbo, those drums sound A1. The whole project looks like a meticulously well planned operation.
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Old 09-27-2017, 05:09 AM   #27
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Well done setting that up Karbo, those drums sound A1. The whole project looks like a meticulously well planned operation.
Some of the playing doesn't seem too well planned. jk, not that bad but a little bit of work. Most of the planning was just so I didn't miss anything on drum tracks since I couldn't go back and redo those after drum recording day.

@Visco: If I had a banjo, I'd find a track to put it. But otherwise been doing gtr tracks for the other player, not much of mine yet because when we mic up for a song, we can't really change anything until we're done with that track for that song.
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:12 PM   #28
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I'm sorry Karbo, but according to the GHA (Gear Hoarders Anonymous), which every musician is a member of whether they want to or not, you are in violation of Rule #285, Paragraph 29 Sub-Paragraph 117, Line 213, Sub-Line 20187. You're going to have to send some of that gear to the other members of this forum.

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Old 09-27-2017, 04:15 PM   #29
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I'm sorry Karbo, but according to the GHA (Gear Hoarders Anonymous), which every musician is a member of whether they want to or not, you are in violation of Rule #285, Paragraph 29 Sub-Paragraph 117, Line 213, Sub-Line 20187. You're going to have to send some of that gear to the other members of this forum.

Busted! The orange amp isn't mine though, the other singer/guitarist brought it, but it might stay because that cab is farking heavy and no one wants to carry it back down 4 flights of stairs.
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:00 PM   #30
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Busted! The orange amp isn't mine though, the other singer/guitarist brought it, but it might stay because that cab is farking heavy and no one wants to carry it back down 4 flights of stairs.
Tell me about the Marshall... the head looks like a Marshall but can't really tell and the one under it is a cab? Or a combo?
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Old 09-27-2017, 09:41 PM   #31
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Tell me about the Marshall...
It's a head, an Oldfield JC50 (builder is a friend of mine). It's much like an old plexi. Under that is a marshal 2x12, then under that 2 Egnater 1x12s and a Fender Blues Jr. in the floor.
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:56 PM   #32
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It's a head, an Oldfield JC50 (builder is a friend of mine). It's much like an old plexi. Under that is a marshal 2x12, then under that 2 Egnater 1x12s and a Fender Blues Jr. in the floor.
I'd love to have a Plexi that was about 30 watts or maybe even a bit less. That sound is just awesome! I've thought about picking up a small wattage Egnater for the studio but haven't had time to check into them. There's a few other small amps I want to check on when I get time.

Is the Marshall 2x12 just a cab or a combo amp?
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:00 PM   #33
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I'd love to have a Plexi that was about 30 watts or maybe even a bit less. That sound is just awesome! I've thought about picking up a small wattage Egnater for the studio but haven't had time to check into them. There's a few other small amps I want to check on when I get time.

Is the Marshall 2x12 just a cab or a combo amp?
The Oldfield does have a 1/2 power switch on the back and series/parallel switch for the bright/normal channels. And a few other bells and whistles like the phase inverter is on the other side of the master which gives it's own special type of breakup.

The Marshall is a 1936 2x12 cab that I've had since the 90s, but I just recently replaced the stock speakers with 2 Eminence Swamp Thangs. The egnater cabs go with my Rebel 30 (not pictured as it's still sitting at the rehearsal space).
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:00 PM   #34
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Did you intonate all those guitars with each other or just rolling with how they were previously intonated?
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:02 PM   #35
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Question:

Did you intonate all those guitars with each other or just rolling with how they were previously intonated?
All are intoned to themselves.
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Old 09-30-2017, 05:51 PM   #36
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He has no idea I'm running my cell phone camera...

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Old 09-30-2017, 06:19 PM   #37
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He has no idea I'm running my cell phone camera...

Heh heh, well now I'm anxious more than ever to hear some finished mixes my friend.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:00 PM   #38
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He has no idea I'm running my cell phone camera...

Cool stuff. I am intrigued......more please.
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Old 09-30-2017, 09:15 PM   #39
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He has no idea I'm running my cell phone camera...

Yes! More! MORE!
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Old 10-01-2017, 06:07 AM   #40
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Thanks guys, I was hoping to post various 'somethings' as the project moves along then finished full tunes when the project is complete. Thank you for understanding the difference between mostly raw and partially unedited tracks and a finished mix. In fact the above has a stereo track of the original scratch track guide mixed in with everything else so there are doubles of doubles for some instruments that were recorded a couple months apart.
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