Wednesday, August 8th

02007-08-08 | Music, Recording, Studio, Technology, Touring | 4 comments

Our rehearsal this morning was fun. Great to play with those guys again. We are leaving Santa Fe via bus this evening and I am (almost) packed…

Worked on one of Davo’s tunes yesterday. He has a wonderful way of smoothly and seamlessly moving from one rhythm to another and I like his pieces a lot. He recorded himself singing guide-melodies for me, which I learned to play on the guitar. Being a drummer, his phrasing is quite different from the way I might naturally phrase a melody, which I find very interesting. Anyway, more beautiful music coming your way sometime next year!

Introduced the band to Fritz and we discussed different recording options. At first we will make a straightforward “Live” recording. Then we will also experiment with overdubbing elements like electric guitar or synthesizer. It might be very cool to have the band play “holophonic” and then add simple stereo elements (electric guitar and synth). Another option is to use a real electric guitar amp (that’s so last century – I don’t eve own one anymore) and place it in the room with Fritz. One thing we will have to experiment with is how layering stereo tracks recorded with Fritz sound. What happens when we record the band playing a song via Fritz and then Dave does a percussion overdub with Fritz. Can we simply blend the two stereo pairs? I assume so, but we will have to see.

steve asks:
So … do microphones go in Fritz’s ears, or … hmmm … how exactly does Fritz work?

Good question, Steve. The microphones are inside the ears, placed as anatomically correct as possible.
Lovely Ear, Fritz!
The shape of the dummy’s ear affects how the soundwaves arrive at the microphone just the same as if they were arriving at your ear! And the nose is important as well as it “splits” the soundwaves in a specific way we are used to. That’s the secret to Binaural or Holophonic recording. See, when a movie studio produces surround sound, whether it is Dolby or DTS, 5.1 (Front-Left, Center, Front-Right, Rear-Left, Rear-Right and Sub-Woofer) or 7.1 (same PLUS Mid-Left and Mid-Right) – it is always a multi-channel recording that has been placed inside the speaker-matrix. That approximates space, but only very crudely. If somebody slowly moves around you while talking to you, you don’t just hear the sound come from 5.1 or 7.1 locations! No, you observe a fluid space – influenced by the shape of the room and the surfaces in the room – in which your mind can localize the voice (you hear with your ears, but you listen with your mind!). Trust me, you will all be blown away by the intimacy created by a binaural recording. It will sound as if you are sitting in the middle of my studio, surrounded by the musicians. The question that remains for me is how “pleasant” the recording will be. We are used to adding reverb to individual tracks, adding equalization and otherwise sweetening up the sound, but the nature of this kind of recording does not permit any of that.

After returning from this short California run we will start experimenting with Fritz next week. The official recording days are August 20-22. Alan will engineer and direct the recording since we have to “mix” the instruments by sitting closer or further away from the dummy…

related links:
Wikipedia: Surround Sound
Wikipedia: Binaural Recording
Wikipedia: Dummy Head Recording
and this: Wikipedia: Binaural Beats is something altogether different


  1. steve

    “:Trust me, you will all be blown away by the intimacy created by a binaural recording. It will sound as if you are sitting in the middle of my studio, surrounded by the musicians.”

    So, presumably the material that Fritz is made of has a a dynamic modulus as close as possible to human bone?

    This sounds REALLY REALLY HIP! Is there need for a special format (i.e., DTS, AC3, or some other multichannel scheme) to pick the aforementioned subtleties up? This is possible in a stereo format?

    Is this how you will release future recordings? I can hardly wait to hear one of these sessions.

    As Al Pacino would say, “HooAhhh!!!”

  2. dave

    Sounds like it will be perfect for headphones.

  3. Carol

    I like the way you all work together so well. Everyone contributes…not a dummy in the bunch….

  4. dave

    …except for Fritz, Carol.


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