I stepped out of my comfort zone into one of the more interesting events at the AMA Conference, a home recording seminar given by veteran producer/engineer Dusty Wakeman, who I met at his Mojave Audio booth. Even though I was one of the few who didn’t raise a hand to Wakeman’s question, “How many of you are recording at home?,” I gained a working knowledge of basic recording, including the pros and cons of bathroom and bedroom studios, and learned how to get around common obstacles to home studio production, such as windows and rectangular rooms.
Using a variety of mic preamps provided by Vintage King Nashville, Wakeman recorded the session on Pro Tools using a UA Apollo interface, mics by Mojave Audio and Royer Labs and Focal monitor speakers. I knew only about Pro Tools before I entered that room, and now I know when to use a figure-8 mic, how six inches left or right can affect the mix and when to put the drummer in the hall. Wakeman was engagingly forthcoming about equipment prices and where you should or shouldn’t cut corners, a helpful bonus.
Aussie singer/songwriter Anne McCue and her band (including an accordionist) laid down tracks, and Wakeman played the SRO audience treatment options. Tracks were soloed and adjustments were made. McCue left the session with a solid recording, and the rest of us squeezed out with a pretty good idea of how to do it ourselves. Hell, it worked for the Stones at Nellcôte and the Band in Big Pink’s basement—and with much less sophisticated equipment. Turn it up!
– Suzanne Cadgene