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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Monday, 13 August 2007

drums, vans and bakeries

I'm currently recovering from one of the most sustained busy weekends of the past few years; there's no doubt that Mondays off work are of use in that respect!

Mic'd up drumkit in the studioSaturday was entirely set aside for recording some drums down in London. I had been very apprehensive about this, since the standard microphone arrangement for percussion is amongst the most complicated for a single instrument. In the event, we used ten microphones - one for each of the pieces of kit, and two room mics to add some of the reflected sound energy.

While the drummer set up (and tuned, which I wasn't expecting... just shows what I know about drums!) his kit, I busied myself with working out how to get the powerful digital mixing desk to do what I wanted; there was an 8-track recording PC at the back of the studio, and it was my intention to be able to record each drum and cymbal on an individual track. The first attempt - using direct outs - wasn't quite what I had in mind, because it was picking up the instruments before the EQ, dynamics and fader. So I assigned each input to a fader channel, then assigned the fader channel to one or other side of the main stereo groups (so ch1 was Gp1L, ch2 was Gp1R and so on), and then set each input of the recorder to monitor the corresponding group. This seemed to work fine, and I then tweaked the EQ and compression settings 'by ear', based on some really useful information I read on the Record-Producer.com website. They sounded completely wonderful - not least because of the amazing expertise with which Simon played them. I'm hoping I have done them justice - we'll certainly hear once all 5GB of audio data is sorted and re-assembled as separate takes.

We finally packed up shortly before 1am; considering we'd met up for a rehearsal at 10am, it was certainly a long day!

There was no let up on Sunday, though: Nik, one of my great friends from our days in commercial radio, was moving out of a flat in Haywards Heath, and I offered my assistance with the removal of the furniture, and the trip around the M25 and up the A1M. It all went mostly smoothly, though - we even managed to fit in picking up some table for his mother.

As one might imagine, today has been something of a day of respite! We've had a lovely family day, with the children playing quietly for much of the day (Christopher loves his Lego Mindstorms - thank you to everyone who helped him save up for it!) and Beth attending a successful midwife's appointment.

On other - culinary -matters, Beth bought a delicious Lemon Crumble Sponge made by Hoppers Farmhouse Bakery, and it was so delicious I was moved to search for Hoppers on Google. Distressingly, it seems that the original company - based in Herne Bay, in Kent - has closed down, although the products are now being made by Inter Link foods (which doesn't seem to have a website). It's a bit of a shame, because I would have liked to have emailed the company to say how much I enjoyed it. Yum.

Finally, my lovely friend Tamara emailed me today to let me know that some of her stunning photography has been selected for exhibition; in fact, the gallery at Calumet will be showing some of her pictures tomorrow. Congratulations are definitely in order!

So the working week begins - the last one before I have two weeks off, though!

Posted by james at August 13, 2007 9:31 PM

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