Radial

Week 31, Old and Close

YouTube link for iPhone

As promised, here’s a nice long song with a nice little post. “Old and Close” was written in standard tuning and features the same amp and miking configurations as last week. I really like how everything ended up sounding, and the guitars in particular. You can really hear them shine at the end of the song where the drums drop out. It’s cool enough that I’m able to capture all of these great sounds with my iPhone, but it’s even cooler that I’m getting such great guitar and even bass sounds out of a practice amp. I have to give a ton of credit to the folks at Orange Amps for making such a great sounding, versatile, and surprisingly powerful little practice amp. I’ve used the Orange Crush 30r on just about every weekly song so far, as well as using it as a studio amp for some production work that I’ve done. I love that the amp has very little frills; you have bass, mid, and treble, distortion/gain, and spring reverb in a closed cab. The distortion is really smooth, and both the clean and distorted tones are some of the best that I’ve ever heard from a solid-state amp.

A good guitar sound isn’t made by amp alone. For this track I was using the ToneBone tube distortion pedal made by Radial. It’s a classic-sounding tube distortion with a wide range, adjustable voicing, and plenty of crunch when called on. The instrument of choice was my Fender Telecaster ‘72 Thinline, which really sounds great in that mildly distorted zone, as you can hear in this song. I used the same amount of drive for the entire song with both the bridge and neck pickups switched on; the only difference between the quiet beginning and the loudest parts is me fingerpicking instead of strumming. 

As I mentioned earlier, the recording configuration for this week is identical to last. Everything except drums was recorded onto the iPhone using the MultiTrack app. Vocals were recorded using my iPhone’s built in mic, and I used Reaper for the drums and the final mix.

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Sunday, April 11th, 2010 Uncategorized 3 Comments

Week 12, On the Rise

This week’s song is called On the Rise

You’ll notice above that I’m finally making good on a request – to make the songs listenable from an iPhone. I know that it’s been a long time coming, and I appreciate your patience. I have the four most recent songs up now, and I’ll keep trying to add older songs as I have time. I would highly recommend listening while your phone is on a wifi connection – the quality of the audio gets pretty low otherwise.

I’m really happy about this one. It’s a good old rock song. The guitar is tuned to drop-D and the amps are turned to 11… well not really. I actually had to keep the amp pretty quiet because my kid was sleeping. How’s that for the rock n’ roll lifestyle? The mean guitar tone that you hear is a result of running my Dean Evo guitar through the Tonebone tube distortion pedal which is made by Radial, and then through the Orange Crush 30R. I initially wrote the song with just the verse and chorus parts, but once I dialed up that crunchy guitar sound, I couldn’t help fooling around with it until I came up with the riff for the bridge/solo part that the song opens and ends with.

I recorded the two guitar tracks and the bass track in one sitting using an Audix dynamic mic into the custom break-out cable for the iPhone, and tracked into Harmonicdog’s  MultiTrack iPhone app. I’m working around MultiTrack’s lack of a metronome (I’ve been assured that it’s in an update just around the corner) by settling on a speed before I start recording a song, and then I make a simple dummy drum track in Propellerhead’s Reason software and then upload it into MultiTrack. That’s a little bit more involved than just setting up a metronome in the app, but it’s worked well enough so far.

The drums and vocals were recorded directly into Reaper on my laptop. This was the first time that I recorded the vocals using anything other than the iPhone. I used my Rode NTK tube mic. Of the mics that I own, it’s my favorite for vocals. The vocals are pretty up front in this mix. I think you can get a good sense of the Rode’s character. The drums were recorded with the same four-mic setup that I’ve used in previous weeks.

I ended up not using the iPhone for vocals and drums on this track for no other reason than convenience. That’s really been the reason I’ve used the iPhone so often on songs – because it’s quick to set up and easy to use. I’ve been spending a lot of time in my little studio room this week frantically trying to make deadlines for a video game soundtrack that my friend David Bernabo and I have been working on. We’ve been slowly putting together a production studio called Woolslayer and Main, where to-date we’ve composed a soundtrack for a Wii Ware game called Critter Round-up and a song for a Delaware TV commercial spoofing the Ghost Busters theme song, called Couch Busters. Right now we’re working on songs for a game by Epicenter Studios – the same folks who were kind enough to hire us for Critter Round-up. I think it’s going to be an awesome game, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to tell you a thing about it. You’ll have to stay tuned. It would’ve been silly for me to ditch the studio in favor of the iPhone when the studio was already up and running, and I was all up in it.

I hope you enjoy the song. There’s not much more to say about it. It’s rock.

I have another short week ahead of me – I’ll be traveling back out to Philly for Thanksgiving with the in-laws. It’s going to be really tight getting songs up on time over the holidays, so I may revert to acoustic guitar and vocals for a couple weeks. I have to make sure to give myself plenty of time to work on the video game because, well, they’re paying us. I’m sure you understand. Thanks for all of the comments. I’m glad to hear from you. Feel free to keep sending in questions about iPhone recording. I’m happy to talk shop.

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Monday, November 23rd, 2009 Uncategorized 1 Comment

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