The Instrument and Depth

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Recording is a delicate process and a tango of "give and take", where you should know your “partner”. For a Recording Engineer, the “partner” is the artist and their instrument.

It is always a good idea to initiate a conversation with the Artist before the session, regarding the instrument, why they chose that particular make and model, how it became a part of their lives, etc.

Information like this will put you on a quest to explore more about the instrument like its origin, which will open up new alleys of possibilities. This gets us closer to that culture, its diversity, the opportunities, and moreover, the immaculate emotion of those people. More than any technical knowhow, if you can infuse the emotional root of that culture with the terrain of the song through sound, it lends authenticity to your work.

It takes two to Tango!

Talk to the Room

Analyze the Room Response of each instrument with respect to the weather conditions and room temperature. In case of a skin instrument, observe the skin’s response; if the instrument is made of wood, know about the dia, the type of wood and how that is related to the pitch, the frequency, and timbre along with the dynamics of the player.

Adding Depth to your Recording

Depth is an illusion that tricks your brain. This can be achieved by introducing time-based effects like reverbs, delays or tweaking some frequencies or even by volume automation while mixing.

When it comes to recording, the micing approach and how we define a stereo field, designs the depth.

The Depth In Real Time (The Z-Axis)

When you place the mics a little away from the source, we are delaying the source-to-mic time. Since time is relative to space, the mic that is closer to the source sounds more upfront because of the earlier capture of the signal. In other words, the second set of mics receives the sound with a front-to-back delay (Be wary of Phase issues when you introduce multiple mics). This introduces a time-based relation. As a result, a space develops b/w these two sets of mics, which creates the depth in the Recording.

This is a basic approach for achieving depth and dimension in your recording. Keeping this as a blueprint, you can devise your own methods.

The hunt for a beautiful sound will take time. Explore different possibilities till you are sure that the tone and depth you have achieved is good enough and does justice to the song.

Live the culture, Read the Emotion, Feel the Pain – The sound will embrace you.

Grantha Tips:

• Initiate a conversation with the artist

• Learn more about the instrument .

• Connect with the culture

• Infuse the emotion it evokes.

• Analyze how the room and the ambience interact with the instrument.

• Mic placements and defining a stereo field can achieve depth.

• Placing mics a little away from source achieves front-to-back balance.

• Be Patient, the beautiful sound comes with perseverance,

The Grantha has much more to reveal. See you in the next chapter!!!

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