Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy


Studio Pass: Sylvia Massy


Lesson Info

Re-Recording Chorus

I listened to the tracks and I found that there's some over-recording going on on one of the rack toms. It's a little bit ugly, so much so that I think that we need to rerecord, we need to readjust the levels on that rack tom mic. The top mic on the rack tom. And while we're doing it, we're gonna do kind of retweak the snare tuning. I think we can make it a little better, and I think the guitars needs to be in tune, also. So, you guys check your tuning. In the meantime, we'll check the drum tuning and drum mic levels, and we'll do it again. We're gonna have to do at least the front half. We might as well do both halves again. Okay. Alright. So, you guys tune, and you and I will work, let's see. Let's see, how do we wanna do this? If you could play the chorus part where you're doing boom bum ba da boom boom ba da ba do do do, that beat, that would help me to dial down the mic pres on those toms. The part with the bell? Yes, it's the, I believe it's the chorus. Yeah, we're kinda hi...

ttin' both toms, yeah. Yeah, okay. Awesome. Come on. I'll double check the position of the mics. Okay. So, I wonder if this isn't a setup thing with the guitar, because I've been checking the tuning like pretty religiously every time and since I'm playing open chords high on the neck, it's a little sketchy. You know what I mean? I have some recommendations that would help right away. Please. Go ahead and tune it to the tuner. K. And when you're playing, don't dig in. Don't dig into the fret board, don't hit too hard here. Play lightly, but with as much, as light as you can play and still get the feeling. Lighter. You know what? That should help keep it in tune, at least for this, and the first couple takes, no problems, but that last take I did hear tuning issues, so I think-- I wonder if you remember if I was like bending it a little. Could've been. I think it was in a strum chord, though, that I heard the tuning. See, it's all strum chords, you know? (laughing) So, yeah, like, it's hard to not do that. That, yeah. That's exactly what it is. Okay. Great. I'll double check the top mic here, looks good. Okay, so if you wouldn't mind, just with your headphones on playing that chorus beat over and over again, and I'll just dial back the mic pre on that. (doors close) Okay. Do you want a solo direct on here? Nope. Okay. Alright, would you go ahead and play, Ruby? (calming drum solo) Yeah. Bring the pre down a little? Yeah On the top, and then I'll push the fader up a little bit. How's that? Still not good. That's better. How's our level now? How's the snare? Is the snare okay? I see the snare bottom's kinda blowin' up a little bit too. Yeah. It's okay. Alright. Thank you. I think we're good. I'm gonna go out and work on the snare tuning now. Okay. So, hang on you guys. I'll be right out. Yeah. (doors open) Okay, let me get back there, and I'm gonna work on that snare a little bit. Thank you. (drum beating) Alright. (steady low drum beating) Well, that one, dead. That's a problem tension rod, here. This one went flat before, too. I think this snare has a bit of a loosening problem on one of the tension rods and we started with this one really loose, when we started working with this snare yesterday, so something to keep track of. (drum beating) That's better Still low. This'll make the drum sound so much better. (steady low drum beating) Right here, this is loosened up, too. I'm trying to match all the tension rod pitches. This one was really low, and now it's brought up into the same pitch. (drum beating) Bring that one down. Pretty close. (forcefully drum beating) I think that's gonna be better for us. Alright. And here's your key. Oh, thanks. Okay, all the mics lookin' good, lookin' good, lookin' good, boom, boom, okay? Alright. Alright, we're back. And you're in tune? Everyone in tune? Yes. Okay, here we go. (imitating instrument noises) Okay, you ready, Scott? Just about. About 20 seconds. K, you guys ready? 10, nine-- Alright. And we're back at our slower tempo for the first half. Four, three, two, and it's good to go. And he's recording, great. Here we go. (smooth rock music) Alright. Okay, hang out there for a moment. I'm gonna listen to these toms, make sure we're good. Okay, I'm just gonna grab this little bit right here, and take a listen. (smooth rock music) Much better. Much better. Okay. Alright. Much better, so I think we're good to go for the second half. Okay? Dropping the tempo at 1:58 here. Yes, thank you. And, we should be ready to go. Great. Here we go. (smooth rock music) (moves into heavy rock music) Alright. Hold on, hold on, whoa, whoa, whoa. Try that again. A little bit rushing going into that. Let's try it again. We'll save that little chunk. Here we go again. (smooth rock music) (moves into heavier rock music) Okay. Alright. How'd that feel? I thought it felt good. Did it sound like it felt good? It sounded like it felt good. I think we've got somethin' to work with. Come on in. Alright, I think it's editing time. We'll put those two pieces together and see what we have.

Class Description

Over the last 30+ years, Sylvia Massy has built a career as one of the gutsiest and most innovative recording engineers and producers. She has worked with legends like Prince and Johnny Cash, and won awards for her work with bands like Tool, System of a Down and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. In this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will get a peek inside the recording process of one of rock’s legendary engineers. 

While she is a proficient master of vintage gear, Sylvia stresses that great records come not from having the right gear, but from capturing great performances. Join Sylvia as she records a song in the studio with Seattle alt-rock band Thunderpussy, and learn how to work with an artist to capture that magical take in your own work.

Pulling from her years of experience and sharing stories from her newly published book Recording UnHinged, Sylvia will show you:

  • How to get interesting and vibrant drum sounds, using the room and the drummer to your advantage
  • Capturing great sounding guitars at the source, without editing and reamping
  • Pushing vocalists to deliver their best vocal takes 
  • Mixing both in the box and through a console using outboard gear

Sylvia is also known as a prolific educator, speaking and teaching at some of the best recording schools around the world. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from one of the industry’s most celebrated A-list producers.