In this free video tutorial for Pro Tools Expert, with the support of Universal Audio, Technical Editor James Ivey gets back to an old school way of working using the Universal Audio Apollo Twin MK2 and with the help of Singer-Songwriter Richard James Poll, James tries to record and mix a song in one take committing everything you are hearing to "tape" in just one pass with no overdubs and no mixing.
James chooses the processing for both the guitar and vocal along with two different reverbs and sticks to those choices, just like recording engineers of old.
I start by listening to Richard play and sing. I know it sounds ridiculous but you would be surprised how many engineers and producers don't know how their artist sounds when there are no microphones and technology involved. Having heard Richards guitar and voice I chose two microphones for this session. For the vocal, I selected a Sontronics Aria cardioid valve condenser mic which I know will help add depth and warmth to Richards' voice.
For the guitar, I chose the Audio Technica 4081 ribbon mic which I have found to work very well on small body acoustic guitars. The figure of 8 polar patterns of the 4081 will also help reject the vocal sound spilling onto the guitar track.
While Richard warms up and gets comfortable I set up a plate reverb for the guitar using the UAD-2 EMT140 plate and adds an AMS RMX16 as a Vocal reverb and delay. The reverb is used in this case to set the performance in an acoustic space and to help the sound and feel more "real".
For EQ and Compression need to chosen carefully for both the acoustic guitar and vocal to both enhance and control the signals as this is going to be a direct-to-2-track mix. There will be no mix process. So it's a case of getting it right on the way in and committing to one's choices.
This kind of recording practice is not often used these days. It has become fashionable to keep our options open as long as possible, however, sometimes when you take away the ability to "fix it in the mix" and commit to, and stand by your choices you can produce a great sounding track. Yes, if mixed it later James may have decided that the vocal reverb was a little on the heavy side but at that time and place it worked and still does work.
This video demonstrates that you don't need all the gear in the world to make a great recording. With tools like the Universal Audio Apollo Twin at your side and the UAD-2 plug-ins, commitment and faith in your abilities are enough.
You can watch and listen to the entire track in the video below.
You can also check out James' review of the Apollo Twin Mk2 below.