This was the first recording I ever did with live piano and live drums.
Recording the Piano
I recorded the piano first with four mics, kind of like a drum kit. I brought my VS-840 and Behringer mixer up to the living room for this project. All four mics were fed into the Behringer mixer. the mixer has two output stereo busses, the Main mix output and an Alt mix output. I sent two mics through the main and two through Alt mix. This way, I could feed four independent outputs into the VS-840 and record four tracks simultaneously.
I recorded over a click track to try to keep the tempo right. (If you took the time to read this, you might have heard the click, or beep of the click track, which bled out of the headphones into the AT4040 Mic during the intro.)
I positioned the mics as follows:
- The AT4040 to the left, up above the closed top of the piano. Surprisingly, I found the closed top was a nicer, rounder tone than having the top open.
- The Shure BG 5.1 on the floor to the right to try to pick up the bass notes.
- The two CAD CM217s positioned as overheads to the left and right and spaced back about 5-6 feet.
Later, I used MTS Sync and the VS-840’s digital output to move the four piano tracks to Cubase.
Recording the Drums
The drums were recorded using the same four microphones, but recorded directly into Cubase, since the drum kit is near the computer.
- Two CAD CM217 Condenser mics to serve as overheads on either side of the drum kit
- A Shure BG 5.1 Microphone for the kick drum (it’s all I had at the time)
- An Audio Technica AT4040 on the snare
My PreSonus Firebox mixer has only two pre-amped Mic inputs and two regular 1/4″ inputs. To record the four microphones simultaneously, I the two overhead mics to the Behringer mixer and the two other mics directly into the Firebox.
I used one of the Cubase presets in the VST Connections dialog box to set up three stereo busses in Cubase Studio. Four of these channels mapped to the four inputs on the Firefox, so I was able to assign two overhead channels, one snare, and one kick drum channel to individual left and right channels on two of the stereo busses.
Recording the Vocals, Strings, and Bass
All the vocals were recorded on the AT4040 mic with a pop screen.
The strings were performed using my MIDI controller and the HAlionOne software synth that comes with Cubase Studio 5. I used the String Ensemble patch.
The bass line is also a HAlionOne sound, the SR Upright Bass sound, performed on the E-Mu XBoard MIDI Controller.