Professional Sound - December 2017 - Page 64

SOUND ADVICE Talking Recording & Mixing with Donal Hodgson W hile at DPA’s Microphone Mas- terclass event at McMaster Uni- versity’s LIVELab in Hamilton, ON, which was hosted by Gerr- Audio Distribution, Professional Sound caught up with British sound engineer, mixer, and Pro Tools expert Donal Hodgson. Over the last 25-plus years, Hodgson has worked with a wide range of artists, from Tina Turner and Brian Wilson to Arctic Monkeys and Richard Ashcroft, as well as on film and TV productions; however, he is best known for his work with Sting, having recorded his last six albums plus other projects. PS: Obviously Sting is one of the world’s most famous bassists. How do you capture his bass sound in the studio? Donal Hodgson: We DI most of his bass work. Obviously he uses Ampeg [amplifiers] onstage live, but in the studio, he just likes clean sounds. I’ve used some amp simulators with him, but his whole vibe is about doing stuff quickly, so setting up amps, he’s not interested. So I usually end up using an instrument input into a Manley or a Neve and then just record it clean. PS: When you’re recording drums, is there a standard microphone set-up you typically use? DH: I do sort of have a standard set-up. What I try to do is mic so that I’ve got three or four different sounds I can get out of that one set-up. Working with top-end drummers like Vinnie Colaiuta and Manu Katché, they just sit down and play and their kit sounds good already, so you’re not fighting to make the kit sound good, which I have done with other drummers in the past. So I tend to double-mic all the toms – that’s always a standard – double-mic the snare, and then room mics and overhead mics. I’ll back-mic the kit as well. I end up recording around 16 to 18 different mics and 64 PROFESSIONAL SOUND then when I know what the sound of the song is going to be – because with Sting, on the last album, they would jam all day and I didn’t know what the sound of the song was going to be because they were still writing it – so I recorded all the different mics and then after we started just deleting or muting tracks in Pro Tools and then the sound would evolve from that. connected and I [can look at a piece of paper and] trace back in case there is a problem. PS: Over the last 12 years working with Sting in the studio and live, what have you learned over that time that has found its way into your general workflow? DH: I think, off the top of the head, the one that in- stantly comes to mind is don’t fuck up the creative process. Don’t get in the way of it as a technical person trying to make that happen. Preparation is key – being organized, being ready, and trying to cover as many possibilities as possible that could arise so it’s just a few button presses or a quick patch just to make something happen. That’s always stood me in good stead, and it’s nice to look around and see some smiling faces because no one is waiting. PS: You’ve also done a lot of broadcast work with Sting. How significantly does your broadcast mix differ from a studio mix? PS: What prep work are you doing before any music ́ѕȁѡՑ) Q٥́́ѕѕ́AɼQ̰)ͼٕѡ́ѡɔɕ䁅ӊéɽѕ)mQɔɔᅵ́ѡ)ݡɕt'eɕɑѡݥ͠$ձɔ)Ѽ䁽ȁɸɕٕɈ$e)mɕɕtаͼѕѕ́ɔ䁙ȁ᥹)ȁɕɑͼɕɅѥͼЁ̸)$܁ѡЁ́ɽѡٔݽɱЁ$ѡ)܁ȁٕ͕ͥ$ѡՑ$)ЁЁٔЁЁ)ݡɔٕѡ́$ٔɽ)ȁɕѥ٥丁$ٔɔ͔́ݔ)݅ЁѼɥЁݥѠͽѡ$ٕe)ѡ՝ЁЁѡͥ́ɔٕɕӊe) $Ѽ䁉ɽЁ́ɔ)ՑఁݡͻeЁݸݕݥѠ)хɅЁ$ѡѡЁ́ݡ)ɔɔȁݥѠȁ)ɽЁѽٔͽչݥѡ)ѡ٥ՅѼٔԁѡչхѡ)ѡЁѡeɔЁͽչ́ɽM$݅)Ѽѽ݅ɑ́ɕɑกMЁ)̰ЁѡݽɭѡЁ͕͔ѡ)'e͠ѡɽ́ЁѼ͕͔ٔ)ѡѡЁѡeɔ$܁Ʌ)́ݡݥЁѡѡȁ݅䁅ɽչ)ͼѡeЁѡЁ́Ёѡ)ЁЁѡ䁵̰$eЁͽ)ѡЁͽչQЁͻeЁЁɽ쁥ӊe)Ёɕ