• Musa Henderson

A day in the life, engineer edition...

We have spoken about admin, which I'm not in love with, recording and mixing, however, this is a love story.

At Yelmo I am the primary recording engineer, Dom and myself split mixing and mastering duties (we do not master what we mix). Being the primary engineer means I have to book any studio time to record drums as an example, ensure the equipment is working and free of noise (a constant battle), ensuring that all the in house recordings are done correctly with good gain staging and mic positioning. There are a lot of inputs for a small single room project studio, with separate midi and audio interfaces, ADAT expansion units and a small format analogue mixing console for live monitoring when making demos. I have to know where everything is connected and why it has magically stopped working.

Earthworks SR25 and Yamaha Sub Kick micing up our drum kit.

We record mainly into Logic and ProTools and I will generally run the session to allow George space to concentrate on creating the sounds to the best of his ability.

At our project studio in South London, we record piano, acoustic and electric guitar, re-amp synths and do bass guitar recording. Plus a lot of vocals. A lot of vocals. A newer developing trend has been to record a very small drum kit (snare and hi-hat) to add groove to our more digital instrument based songs.

My favourite times though are drum recording. I am a bit of a nerd and love getting the drum sound and the phase as tight as possible. We have a nice microphone locker and I find the EarthWorks omni microphones are great for the type of drums we generally record. We are also very lucky to work with a very talented drummer who has a beautiful Ludwig kit.

My mixing duties are very standard. The project will be edited after production by Dom I will then mix (preference is a top-down method). I am fortunate to mix in a hybrid fashion using analogue summing (all of our preamps are very flat in their frequency curves, so this adds some colour), a Pultec style EQ and classic VCA bus compression. My preference is to mix in ProTools but have been doing more work in Logic Pro X recently. All the client file delivery and revisions are handled through a web-based software called Filepass which can protect the mixes behind a paywall and only allow download once the sum has been paid in full. They can pay through the site securely as well.

I am not a Mastering Engineer and I do not not have an environment suitable for critical mastering, however, budget dictates that I am Mastering Engineer a lot of the time. I Mainly use the Ozone 9 suite mixed with Fabfilter plugins and try to mix outside of the normal DAW and use the Ozone standalone. If this trend continues I will consider using Wavelab. One blessing is that I do not have to master my own mixes.

We are responsible, at Yelmo when it comes to the clients satisfaction, I will normally have the final conversations about their song, and try and bring the project home as Dom and George start production with the next client.

Keep making music see you on the next post!