Woes : Stephen and Stacie Johnson

teppo guitarThe inspiration for this song came to Stephen a couple of Monday’s ago when he was feeling particularly directionless. A bit melancholy due to not knowing what was going on with his life; but ultimately hopeful knowing that all would be okay. When asked what the name of the song should be he said, “Woes. That or ‘Jazz Panther.'” Clearly he was feeling much goofier when we recorded the song than the moment of initial inspiration.

Initial tracked by Stephen in Garage Band, using stock loops. Guitars were recorded at camp Goulet. An M-Audio FastTrack Pro was used as the mic pre & A/D/A. Believe it or not, Stephen used two $10 Sony Karaoke microphones to record the rhythm guitar tracks. Bass was recorded direct.

The whole project was brought over to the CollabMusic Studio and imported into Logic Pro. The lead guitar was then recorded through a Digitech 2120 –> PreSonus FireStudio Project.

Stacie Johnson - Piano

Stacie Johnson - Piano

All keyboards played by Stacie Johnson on the Roland XV-88.

Rough mix by Stephen Johnson and Lieb Johnson through Mackie 824 monitors.

Woes : Stephen and Stacie Johnson


Photo’s by Surrah

CRemix: Week 2.

Jim Wood, Shannon McMahon and i got together at the church around 1:00. We weren’t super happy with the results from the last session. The HVAC equipment in the room was a bit loud, and the tone we were getting wasn’t quite what we had hoped. So we Googled for “record acoustic guitar” and came across this article. We listened to the embedded .mp3 files and liked the stereo image of the second option. Also, it seemed reasonable that it was the best option for a dissimilar pair of microphones.Spaced Pair, Version B

We wanted to use the large diaphragm R0DE NTK to capture low end, and one of the church’s condenser mics.

Week 2 Jim

So we set Jim up with the NTK pointed at the 12th fret, and angled in slightly towards the sound hole for a bit more low end. The AudioTechnica was placed over Jim’s shoulder pointing towards the bridge. We were pretty pleased with the sound. [No.. we haven’t posted anything yet. Patience grasshopper.] The acoustic guitar parts were captured for Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The first was more fingerstyle picking, where the second was strumming. “Hark” will likely be more of an electric guitar song; but good to get some acoustic and scratch vox down.

Week 2 lieb

On a completely different note, my wife has expressed concern about my life being largely undocumented from a picture perspective. So here is an obligatory picture. Shannon McMahon took the pictures with the iPhone. He has now been asked to document the project in pictures (in addition to his audio engineering duties). It seems reasonable to me that this effort will be a good memory for those involved with the effort. Now we just need to make sure he makes it in front of the lens as well.

April is almost upon us. With that we’ll have the new audio interface and start pulling the other musicians in. Really looking forward to it.

CRemix: First Weekend of Recording

We spent some time laying down reference tracks. W00t!

The HVAC noise was a bit much on stage, so we decided to record down in the carpeted area. Here is the grand-ax-master Jim Wood, and some audio geek in his natural environment.

Stay tuned. We’ll be calling the other musicians in a few weeks.

The setup Guitar Hero Ah… recording

CRemix: A slow start.. but starting none the less

Last Christmas (2007) our fellowship put on a production that included some really decent music. For years the idea of a Christmas recording project has been kicked around. This year we decided to do something about it. Considering the requirements of the project, it quickly became apparent that my old recording system (single-processor G4/800) just wasn’t going to cut it. So after much internal debate i decided to go ahead and invest in a new system.

Over the last several years many folks have been invited to come over and record. Very few have taken us up on it. I realized that there are a lot of people interested in recording; But making time to do it is a different thing entirely. Add to that the commitment of going into somebody else’s facility, and you’re left with series of good intentions and little else. Knowing this i decided to spec the new recording system to be mobile.

Months ago my good buddy Shannon McMahon mentioned an impending product line refresh in the MacBook Pro. I still wince from the sting of buying my last Mac a month to early. (Had i waited that month i could actually use Leopard on that system today rather than being a version before). So i decided to wait for the new models. Also, recent price drops in Apple’s flagship recording software Logic Studio made it too good of a deal to pass up. Both were ordered directly from the Apple store using my employer’s generous employee discount program. Both arrived before due date in great condition. The additional 4GB of RAM also arrived. The system has been up and running for a week or so. My old OSX laptop and gaming PC have both been powered down and await re-assignment / eBay. Needless to say, the new audio interface will arrive in an atmosphere laden with anticipation.

Knowing that the project was to wait for the MacBook Pro refresh, the decision was made to consider products that were newly announced at the winter NAMM show. Having really enjoyed the quality of the M-Audio Delta-1010s, it’s successor seemed like a logical choice. So when M-Audio finally announced their new flagship model the ProFire 2626, i placed my preorder with Sweetwater and got in queue for an April 4 ship date.

The danger with all this waiting is that interest in the project will cool. Add to that and the pressure of a Thanksgiving release, i was concerned about shipping slip dates. So yesterday i called Sweetwater to see if the ship dates had slipped. They hadn’t. So i then followed up with a few questions. Was there anything else that was comparable already on the market for about the same price? The rep on the phone (name withheld to protect the frankly opinionated) suggested that he felt that the quality of PreSonus products was every bit as good (if not better) than M-Audio. Having read reviews about PreSonus gear for years, i have recommended them as an option to people seeking gear advice; But i’ve never actually owned a piece of their gear. So my browser was pointed to the Sweetwater site once again. There i found this little honey.

PreSonus FireStudio Tube

It too was announced this past NAMM. Weighing out the pros and cons, i found this about the ProFire Studio Tube:

  • less resolution (96k rather than 192k max sample rate)
  • less overall channels (16×10 vs. 26×26)

Having 192k capable gear has provided a couple of comfort points for me. First, it usually meant better quality filters and A/D/As.. even if recording at 24-bit/96k. Secondly: i’d be ready when that major record label wanted a high-resolution recording made. Yeah.. what are the odds of that happening? 😉 Besides.. there is always the trade-in. However, there is an upside:

  • 16 actual inputs vs. 8 actual expandable to 26
  • 2 of the channels are tube-preamps
  • the potential for even better quality than M-Audio gear

My primary sales rep returned my call and confirmed the opinion of the jr. sales associate: That the PreSonus gear was indeed uber.So now we wait. The gear is still going to ship April 4th. But now i can record 16 simultaneous channels. This is very nice. In the mean-time, we are going to limp by getting some basic acoustic guitar tracks into Logic via the worship pastor’s Digidesign MBox. But here in April we should be in full swing. Can’t wait. :)