Recording Bluegrass Part 2 – Studio Recording

This semester I’ll be doing a project on recording techniques. I’ll be recording three Bluegrass songs in three different ways and compare how the environment and recording technique affects the results.

This post is about the second recording: Studio Recording. The song is Man of Constant Sorrow.
Alongside with the recording project Im also making a video documentary about the project and the process which you’ll find below.

Our studio recording took place during four different sessions in October. Below is a video documentary about the process and a music video with the result.

Session 1: Acoustic Guitar and Banjo
Session 2: Rebeckas lead vocals
Session 3: Stand-up bass
Session 4: Violin, Dobro, the rest of the lead vocals and the harmonies

Below are pictures of all the mic setups (except for the bass and the lead vocals)

Dobro mic

For the dobro I used a stereo pair of AKGc214, they are panned hard left and hard right in the mix.

Banjo mic

For the banjo I used one AKGc214 by the neck and a shotgun mic called TSMmt18 closer to the stable.

Guitar mic
Same as banjo.

Vocals mic
We stood in a square so that we would be able to communicate well. I used one AT4033a, two AKGc214 and lastly one SEx1.

Violin mic
Same as dobro

Mandolin mic
The SMmt18 by the neck and a shotgun condensor by the stable.

The bass was miced with an AKG410 by the stable.

I worked a lot with panning to fit all the instruments into the audiopicture during the mixing. For the guitarsolo I ended up using two takes and panned one hard left and the other hard right since the takes were so tight. The acapella part in the last verse is an afterconstruction. We added this when we played the song live one month later and it added a lot so I worked it into the mix. All the instruments have track automation for the volume and are pulled back and lifted throughout the song. The song has a very repetative form so it was needed to keep it interesting, we also switched lead vocalists for the same reason.

The arrangement:
Verse 1: Joakim lead vocal, Dobro fills
Dobro solo
Verse 2: Anton lead vocal, Violin fills
Banjo solo (adding mandolin and violin chops)
Verse 3: Jonas lead vocal, Mandolin fills (no banjo)
Violin solo
Verse 4: Rebecka lead vocals, Dobro fills (no bass, violin or mandolin and new guitar pattern)
Guitar solo
Verse 5: fourpart harmonies

Swedish:

English subtitles: