OIART Student Blog – Gabriel – Week 4

Oct.11 / 2011
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Believing (rather naively) that things couldn’t get any better, week 4 at OIART brought us face to face with an amazing batch of gorgeous condenser mics and the opportunity to mic up amplifiers.  Some groups even had the pleasure of firing up the organ in Studio 2 through a Leslie cab.  Hats off to Will and Sam for being a couple of the awesome players who made this possible!

This week I had the pleasure of playing my guitar for crew 13. Here is one of our wise interns, Scott, demonstrating the age old ORTF stereo technique. Ragwinder and Claudio are trying to guess what 17 centimetres and 110 degrees look like without a ruler or a protractor. That, my friends, is perseverance and dedication.

Imagine how nervous this amp feels at this moment.  Not only does it have to deal with my rigorous demands for tone and volume, but it now has to perform for a bunch of microphones that are crowding around and staring at it.  I imagine the conversation went something like this:

AKG 535: “Do you see where we’re standing?  Would you be a doll and make sure each of us gets a sound that creates the perfect mix without the need for EQ or us being repositioned?  We’ve had a long day…”
Amp: “Ummm, I’ll try.”
Peluso R14: “Do you know any Rush?  Like, ‘YYZ’ Rush?”
Amp: “…”

As Christoph says, be nice and hug your equipment.  You have no idea what they go through on a daily basis.

Our soldering skills are also steadily improving.  This week we tried our steady (or shaking) hands at making an RCA to 1/4″ mono cable.  Why, you ask?  Just because we can.  And to satisfy the audio nerd’s compulsion to hack things up and put them back together in different ways.  I bet Frankenstein had the same burning need.  What is that big blue thing in Shawn’s hand?  It’s called a Solder Sucker.  What does it do?  Well, it sucks solder.  Can it prevent burns?  No, no it can’t.

If this whole audio engineer thing doesn’t work out, the Night Owls (here in all their glory) will start up a boy band a la 90s.  Shawn wants to bring back the smooth, R&B flavour of Boyz II Men.  Ian on the other hand, wants more of an LFO vibe.  (Look them up if you’ve never heard of them – pure awesomeness)  I think he just digs the thought of being called the “Low Frequency Oscillators.”  And then there’s Brian…  we didn’t have the heart to tell him that the name “All-4-One” had already been taken by another 90’s boy band.  He was so proud of incorporating the famous Musketeers slogan with the number of singers in our group.  Oh yeah, that’s an AKG 414 microphone.  I think they’re singing into the wrong side.  How embarrassing…

Madison was nice enough to play his gorgeous Telly for us while we practiced some stereo miking techniques.  Here is the beautiful Blumlein array made up of two AKG 414s.  Yes, I know what you’re wondering.  Without a doubt, this stereo mic technique is the most fun to set up.