Tips for recording Dub

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No-Fi
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Tips for recording Dub

Post by No-Fi » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:40 pm

Watching Adrian Sherwood live on dubspot doing a workshop (http://blog.dubspot.com/adrian-sherwood ... -workshop/) and was wondering what are some of your favorite dub techniques and gear?


Here are some good articles with some tips:

http://blag.proaudioeurope.com/index.ph ... &catId=161

http://www.interruptor.ch/dub_fx.shtml

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EasyGo
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Post by EasyGo » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:52 pm

It might be obvious for recording engineers, but I think with regards to tracking a live band, that achieving some measure of separation is key if you are going to make dub. So when you pull down the bass and drum fader(s) you get that wonderful disorienting effect that happens when you only hear the guitar and keyboards, often with a 3/16th note echo. And when you pull the keys and guitars down, you get that tuff drum and bass sound without the guitar and keyboards bleeding in. A little bit of bleed can add to the vibe but can make mixing dub more difficult. Obviously if the music is all overdubbed or sequenced, this is not an issue.

Using dynamic mics such as SM57s tends to reject the other sounds and allows an instrument to nearly disappear when its faders are pulled down. Minimal miking on a drum kit, such as a single dynamic or a dynamic on kick and one for the snare/hi hat gets close to the sound and helps reject the other instruments. At places like Studio One, they had a totally separate drum booth that would keep the drums out of the other instruments and vice versa.

Using a DI box like Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes did on his killer Wackies label recordings keeps the bass completely separated. That said, creative bass cabinet miking helps nail the reggae bass sound. In the Studio One documentary DVD, engineer Sylvan Morris said he'd often mike the open back speaker cabinets of the time from the back, in order to get a deeper sound.

In terms of the production, spring reverb is the sound, and the boinkier the better. I'm also a big fan of jucing up the reverb sends with some distortion and or limiting to exacerbate the splash effect. Whatever abuse it takes to make the verb really explode. Along those lines, using the fader to bring the verb up only on selected snare hits like they did on old Channel One productions really helps illustrate the verb sound and make it more effective, vs. having it on all the time. A mixer like Scientist would keep the drums dry until the snare on the 4 count, then bring up the BX20 for that patented splashing sound.

And with vocals, the old King Tubby trick of muting the instro track with the vocal comes in and then applying loads of echo to the end of the phrase before bringing the instro back is a big convention.

Also EQ is a factor. Normally the dry sounds wouldn't have too much treble, but the mixer would be screwing around with the parametric EQ constantly throughout the mix. I could go on about this all day...

Here's an interesting live dub video, with producer Don Corleone dubbing it up Protools style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zohLYV6n ... lf=mh_lolz
Last edited by EasyGo on Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:53 pm

If you're doing an old school dub thing it's really all about the mix.
For tracking try a minimal drum mic set-up (2-3 mics) and track to tape (if possible). For mix-down you can get pretty much everything you need out of a tape delay (with verispeed), spring reverb, board eq and a phaser. Mixing on a board in real time helps you remember that a dub mix is a performance. Take chances and have fun.

If you click on the link below my sig and go to the music page there are clips from a dub record I did last year (Matt Foy's Micromoog Dub EP). It was tracked and mixed analog in a couple of days. We did 4 or 5 dub mixes of every tune and then I edited the best bits together.

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Gregg Juke
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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:35 pm

>>>>We did 4 or 5 dub mixes of every tune and then I edited the best bits together.<<<<

Teo Macero-style-ee!

GJ

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:59 am

don't get me started on teo macero's editing.

i don't have much to add here....there's some good really long reverbs on the old alesis midiverb 2, i like those for dub stuff. space echo obviously. mutron biphase is a pretty classic sound.

since i mix ITB i haven't done a proper dub mix on a board since clinton was president. the way i cheat now is i'll run a send from the computer to a board, with whatever fx on auxes, with the returns going back to the computer. so i can still sorta play the fx, and have the added luxury of being able to edit them out after the fact if necessary.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:17 am

>>>>don't get me started on teo macero's editing.<<<<

Meaning you're a fan, or a non-fan?

(I know, that's getting you started, but you can't dangle a participle like that one without a rejoinder to the party of the first part...)

GJ

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Post by Z-Plane » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:45 am

Turn up at your own doorstep with a few boxes of tape, haggle with yourself and swap one for half a day in the studio. Burn studio afterwards and become a legend.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:23 am

Surely you must be talking about scrobitayah, rohbitaya, drobeetayah Lee Scratch Perry?

GJ

(PS--I still don't know what he's saying in "Roast Fish and Cornbread;" other than "Roast Fish and Cornbread.")

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Post by Aquaman » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:25 pm

Live dub mixer here. These are a few of my favorite pro tips for live dub:

Send a quick snare shot to the spring verb, then quickly hand-gate the verb send up and down for a tremolo dub snare effect.

Flash the vocal fader up and down real into a long delay patch for a stuttered vocal dub trip out.

Send the output of a short delay with a short foldback into a longer delay with a long foldback, then send it back. Be careful with your send levels!

Run the hats into a super-short delay (like a quick echo), ride the foldback up to the breaking point, then simultaneously turn down the delay time as you back off the foldback. Your dub magically swoops into the bowels of the earth!

Flash a quick shot of bass guitar into an analog delay unit right before you mute the bass. Send it hot so the unit distorts, then ride the return and the foldback for a super low-end 'wub wub wub' effect. Drives the dance floor crazy.

Good luck!

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Post by MoreSpaceEcho » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:12 pm

Gregg Juke wrote:Meaning you're a fan, or a non-fan?
i'm not a fan of his uhhh...rather blunt editing style on those miles records.

*tune's going along all nicely*

CUT

*something else*

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EasyGo
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Post by EasyGo » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:39 pm

Z-Plane wrote:Turn up at your own doorstep with a few boxes of tape, haggle with yourself and swap one for half a day in the studio. Burn studio afterwards and become a legend.
I take it this is a reference to Lee 'Scratch' Perry?

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Post by Gregg Juke » Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:02 pm

"Peanut, and Dreadnut too, ya'll..."

Hey Space, maybe he was working with a lot of fragments of this, that and the other thing, and without any input and guidance from Miles, had to make some curt decisions about what would make some sort of formed tune and what could and could not fit on an LP?

Just a guess; I've heard that Miles would just come in with the guys and noodle for hours during that "Brew" period and after, and then just leave Teo with thousands of feet of tape and say something like "make an album." Then off to vacation with Cecily or Betty or whomever...

GJ

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Post by cutsnake » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:09 am

EasyGo wrote:It might be obvious for recording engineers, but I think with regards to tracking a live band, that achieving some measure of separation is key if you are going to make dub.

Just a short comment on this, based on experiences mixing a not-very-separated recording of drums, bass and pedal steel in dub style. Trying to eq or gate out the unwanted bleed (e.g. drums on steel track) led to some unusual sounds and effects that seem true to the sonic experimentation that is dub.
Just saying that a creative approach to bleed might work in your favour in a style where anything goes.

Some great ideas in this thread! Thanks.

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EasyGo
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Post by EasyGo » Sat Sep 10, 2011 3:54 pm

Sure, I get it. But as someone who listens to a lot of old reggae and dub, i'll tell you tracks were recorded with separation in mind since they would tend to be dubbed and re-used over and over again. As much as surprise is part of the style, there is a certain familiarity to dub as well, and having the instruments disappear almost entirely when muted out of the mix is part of the sound and convention of dub. Kind of like hearing gated reverb on 80s snare drums ? it's part of the sound.

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Post by ricey » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:57 pm

EasyGo brings up the really good point!
i ask the musicians to play very minimally too, leave me space for later...

dub is the mix engineer's performance. i try to do live at all times(no edits), but sometimes the band wants to use two parts...
in those cases, i can't show video like this http://youtube.com/bassie417

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