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Amplified Blues Harmonica BBS

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Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 09:36:07 -0500
From: Dave Morris
Subject: Re:recording tips wanted

Hey there,

I saw a reply to your post on harp-l, and I thought I'd add my two cents.
I have a bit of studio recording experience, though almost all of it with
amplified harp, so that's all I feel qualified to offer my opions about.

I think it's important to figure out what kind of sound you're looking for,
and not just from the harmonica, but from the whole band. One thing that
will really help the engineer give you what you're looking for, both during
the recording and the mixing processes, would be for your band to come up
with a few recordings that you like the sound of and would like to emulate.
A Chess-sounding recording would require a very different setup than
would, say, a recording that sounded more like a Sugar Blue record. If
you're looking for a drier, more compressed sound from your harp, and for
more options with effects during the mix, I'd say an isolation booth would
be a good idea. If you want a roomier sound, I'd advise against it.
Digital reverb and delay sound great, but they don't quite equal the
ambiance of a real room. If you're recording live, you may be limited to
whatever is required to isolate the various band instruments from each
other, and that may necessitat putting your amp in another room. If you'll
be overdubbing, I'd suggest playing around with various amp, room and
mic'ing combinations. Be creative. Try putting your amp in the hall, in
the bathroom, in the studio office, etc, and see how it sounds. I've had
the best success with both close mic'ing and room micing my amp. If you
have enough tracks to devote two to the harp, that might be a good way to
go, since the close mic will pick up more of the full amp tone, while the
room mic(s), depending upon placement, can give you a variety of options
for room sound during mixing. If you're going for that room sound, though,
I'd probably suggest using an amp that would give you a little more "oomph"
than a champ, like a bassman or vibroverb. If you're close mic'ing your
amp in an isolated room, even the smallest of amps can sound great - and
big - in the mixdown. Best of luck to you, and have fun!

Dave Morris