The Blacktop Symphony – Down The Road
The Blacktop Symphony – Down The Road.
Recorded 19 februari 2016.
Hammond rock – Mixed, mastered in februari 2016.
Bandlinks : http://www.theblacktopsymphony.com/, youtube, Facebook
The Blacktop Symphony, formerly known as The Big Bang Theory, is a hammond and drums duo who plays Hammond Rock. After being a trio for a while, in which they recorded a few songs in the White Noise Studio, they returned into being a duo. we asked them to come over and do some demo recording for them during an open day of the studio which helped them give an idea how they would sound with just the 2 of them.
After a few months The Blacktop Symphony returned into the studio to record 2 songs.
At first we planned 1 song with audio and video and 1 audio only but we ended up doing both songs with audio and video. These tracks, Down The Road and Saturday Night, are both uploaded to the band’s youtube account.
The blog is about the first song, down the road.
The band uses a real, analogue, all tube, heavy as hell Hammond of the type E100.
Hammond is mostly known for their B3 organ, but they built lot’s of other types some of which will sound really close when modded. The E100 series is one of those.
Organ player Frank uses a Leslie rotating speaker cabinet and modded the E100 to have a seperate jack output for the footpedal tone wheel. We plugged this into the studio’s SWR Basic Black bass amp and recorded the DI out of the amp.
On how to mic a Leslie there are different opinions. We decided to use the 90 degree version. On mic on the side and one on the front. This gives a good representation of the rotating Leslie horn and a very good stereo spread.
We mic’d the Leslie cabinet with 4 mics: md441 at the top horn, at 3525’s at the bottom.
Drummer Arjan uses Rogers drums with a Tama Artstar Snare and Zildjian cymbals.
I went for a Glyn Johns setup with addional close mics. The Glyn Johns setup sounds bigger then for instance an AB setup and is not as detailed. The close mics were used mostly for extra body and attack of the toms, snare and bassdrum.
We used md421’s on toms, e602 on bassdrum, akg dm1000c on snare. The Glyn Johns setup was Neumann TLM above the snare and Rode nt1 at the floortom side.
The BPM CR76 was used as mono roommic to capture both drums and hammond.
The vocals were recorded with a sm58 and sm57, although we decided to redo them later on.
We recorded both vocals in the mixing room with an sm58 and played the music over the speakers. An sm58 was fine, since we went for a distorted sound on the vocals.
The Blacktop Symphony Mix:
The drumsound was intended to be saturated and compressed.
The overheads were the basis of the drumsound. Pretty heavily compressed to have a bigger, roomy sound and less attack. The attack came mostly from the close mics, with eq to reduce boomyness and add some attack. All drum mics are routed to a drumbuss, where a bus compressor ( elysia alpha compresor) and an instance of bx_saturator v2 provided the right amount of saturation and overall compression.
The hammond recording didn’t need saturation with it all being tubes. A multiband envelope filter was used to reduce some drum attack bleed in the mics and the lower mics were lowpassed and the high mics were highpassed for mud removal. Some eq was done to add some mid frequencies to bring the leslie a bit more forward.
The bass di was left completely clean and was only levelled to fit in the mix.
Both vocals were compressed and distorted with either VST Amp rack or Ohmicide for some different flavours. Both drums and vocals had a touch of the same room reverb for space.
The masterbus had an alphacompressor for glue, multiband compression to smooth out the high frequencies and an eq dip around 190hz to remove some mud. It was then limited to achieve a loudness of -13 Lufs to fit the youtube standard.
The video is recorded with the same setup as used with the White Noise Sessions. 3 webcams, live recorded and switched in xsplit. Then color corrected with some grain added in Adobe Premiere.