009 — MixCoach Minute – the ritual of recording

Have you ever wondered why some people insist on using old vintage microphones… Even though you know that new microphones sound just about as good?

I will try to tackle this question with my “theory of the ritual”.

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Raw Transcript:

Hey guys. It’s Kevin with MixCoach and I’m driving down the road. Please
don’t be mad at me. I’m looking right over the camera in the traffic so
there’s no danger here. Unless you see me wreck and then there will have
been danger. This is episode nine I think of the MixCoach Minute. And I
didn’t have a question fresh on my mind but I was talking to my friend,
Graham Cochrane, over at Recording Revolution the other day. Actually we
were sitting around a fire and talking about gear and all this kind of
stuff. And I was sharing a story with him about an analogy of a baseball
player and a batter and what that had to do with vocalists and their need
for the old vintage microphones. And he said, “That’s the kind of stories
you need to be telling on MixCoach.” So Graham, this one’s for you. I’m
telling the story.

I had a client the other day, so this is not necessarily a question as it
is a thought, but it is a MixCoach Minute, hopefully. It’s already been a
minute. But anyway, I had a client, a group I was doing and I ended up
going and buying a very, very expensive microphone because I thought that
that’s what they wanted to be able to do vocals in my studio because we
were traveling around in different studios and doing vocals and the studios
that we were picking had vintage microphones. And I said, “If I bought an
expensive microphone would you come and do your vocals here at my place?”
And they said, “Sure.”

Well, I bought the very expensive microphone. It was a U47 and it was not a
vintage U47 but anyway. That’s here nor there. It was a very good sounding
microphone and it was very expensive, very expensive, for me, anyway.
Anyway, they still didn’t end up doing their vocals at my place and it made
me start thinking, “What is it about vocalists and about people in general
who are recording? Why do they have to have all this vintage gear or they
think their stuff doesn’t sound as good?” I mean, and I’m the same way so
I’m not really pointing any fingers. I’m just trying to analyze what’s
going on in our brains, the creative brains that we have here.

Here’s what I came up with. Have you ever noticed, if you live in America
this is baseball season. It’s springtime in Nashville and baseball season’s
out. I’ve been watching the Braves a little bit. And have you ever noticed
when a baseball pitcher is on the mound and he does his wind-up? But before
he does his wind-up even he looks a certain way over to the side. He takes
his hat off, he wipes his brow maybe, and puts his hat on.

He wipes his face and he puts his face in his glove and maybe he spits. And
maybe he holds the ball, twirls it a certain way or something like that. Or
maybe they’re on a winning streak and they wear the same hat or maybe the
same shirt or dirty uniforms or something like that. And you kind of think
it’s superstition or whatever. Why wouldn’t they change a certain thing if
they’ve got a streak going on?

And here’s what I’ve deducted it to. I hope that’s a word. They’re the same
way as singers. After that pitcher winds up, after he does his ritual thing
and he winds up and he pitches, he has no control over that ball anymore.
He has no control of whether it’s really going, I mean, he may be good but
he has no control of whether that ball is going to go right across the
plate or right across the edge of the plate. Even whether it’s going to be
a strike or a ball. Some pitchers are better than others, but most of the
time, they have no control of that. And they have even less control of how
good the batter is and how if the batter’s going to be able to connect with
the ball and knock it out of the park and get a homerun and make them look
bad.

So you’re wondering what that has to do with mics. I think a lot of singers
and a lot of players they have a ritual of, not just like the pitcher but a
lot like the pitcher. They want a certain studio, they want a certain
microphone, maybe they want a certain preamp, or maybe a certain engineer
or producer.

It’s because it’s their ritual and it’s the only thing they can control
because they don’t have a lot of control. Just like the pitcher doesn’t
have a lot of control after he throws the ball, he doesn’t have a whole lot
of control of what happens after it leaves his hand so he does everything
he can to control what he can control before he pitches the ball.

Same thing with a vocalist. They pick out a certain studio, maybe they want
a certain drink in the studio or maybe they like to record at a certain
time of the day or maybe they like to listen to a certain song before they
sing or maybe a musician. Maybe a mixer even. Maybe some of you guys have a
certain ritual that you have before you actually do your thing because,
especially if you’re a singer or a player, even though you may be really
good at your craft, you really don’t have a whole lot of control of if
you’re allergies are going to be acting up or if your ears are going to be
ringing or if you’re going to be in the mood to mix or whatever.

So anyway, that’s my theory of why some singers and why I had to buy a
$6,000 mic only to not use it. Whoops. I said how much it was. So that’s my
theory of why singers have to have certain things in a certain way, maybe
sing in a certain day. It’s ritual. And if you think about, we all have
rituals.

So let me ask you a question since this is not necessarily a question
you’ve asked me and please answer on the Facebook wall if you don’t mind.
And I will put a link under this video if you’re watching on YouTube, if
you’re watching on MixCoach. Let’s either answer on MixCoach or Facebook
and let me know what are some of your rituals or even better yet, what are
some of the silliest rituals you’ve ever seen?

So anyway, check out MixCoach Member because that’s why one of the reasons
I wanted to answer some questions from some of my members and I think that
you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not knowing some of those guys
on MixCoach. Look us up at mixcoachmember.com and let me know what some of
your rituals are or some of the silliest rituals you’ve ever seen an artist
have, okay? Thanks for watching today. I’m really honored that you would
watch these videos every day. And keep the questions coming, okay? See you
soon. Bye.

Click HERE to watch the next episode of the MixCoach Minute!

MixCoach,Vintage Microphones, Ritual

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