Thanks for the helpful advice, Jet.
I will do some work on the drums and bass. In terms of punch, they are already individually compressed considerably – bass, snare, kick, all at around 4:1, with varying attacks (snare about 30 ms) to let the transient through. I adjust the threshold to taste, but generally I let it hit dips around 4dB. I can’t say I really know what I’m doing but it’s fun to play with it. (Bass amp also has a built-in compressor.) There are no LA2A’s or Fairchilds; I’m using the plugins from Cubase. At this stage I haven’t compressed the overheads or the percussion. Then, I put a compressor on the master bus as first insert attempting to get a mild compression overall (hitting 2 or 3 db at most). That’s again the Cubase plugin. Next is a saturation emulator, which does a little more compression. And next, the whole thing goes through the multiband compression that Ozone gives you, and the maximizer therin, which in truth is hitting it hard.
Over the years, so many on this forum have complained about too much compression that I have always been worried about overdoing it! But as you can see on this track (and the other live one), I’m really squeezing it. However, if I look at the waveform vs. a pro recording, it has a lot more variation. The pro recordings always look like solid blocks!
Interested in your remark that I should experiment with drum miking. Right now I’m using four; kick, snare, and two overheads. The overheads are definitely low-budget mics. Kick and snare are “the standards”. I could allocate maybe two more tracks if I wanted, but I think I’m hearing all the source I need. e.g., if I put another mic over the toms, it would just introduce phasing issues. Never tried a bottom snare, if that’s important! We spend some time to ensure that the two overheads are equidistant to the center of the snare, and hopefully balanced across the toms and the hihat, but that’s it. I’m putting the left and right overheads all the way to left and right, but I think about bringing them back in toward center. How did you set up drums/mics in your living room?
Isolation… I think we could do more of that, but we’re not using a monitor feed… that is, we’re not wearing headphones. We just hear what we all hear. Maybe some cotton in the ears! So we are balancing the mix in our playing. Maybe it would help if we put some isolation between the instruments, but it’s a balance against whether we’d get lost. How did you handle that situation? This is probably the main reason the bass player wants to go to the studio.
Noise (60 cycle hum here) - we sometimes get an issue, but we found if we turn off a certain dimmer in the next room, we’re pretty quiet. Even with single coils, we’re fine. We didn’t do anything else.
Happy to learn from your experiences. I’m enjoying the stuff we’re getting especially with this new drummer, and who knows how long we’ll be able to keep him. He doesn’t get hardly any edits. The rest of us get edits where I can get away with it, considering you can hear the original playing in the overheads (as well as kick, snare and guitar mics). Piano on this number came in with too much reverb, because the keyboard player’s Yamaha box had a broken knob and he couldn’t adjust it. Oh well! Not much I can do with it.