Re: [Harp-L] Recording for "Copper" with the Digitech RP255

That's an awesome report and thank you for the detailed reporting. You're a
tremendous teacher. Like many of us, I was thrilled to come across the Jazz
Chromatic book years and years ago. Your dedication to helping us be better
players is appreciated. Nice for you to record for such a show too. I watch
this show anyway, and I will be listening very closely when that episode

Dave McCurry

On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 7:18 PM, Richard Hunter <turtlehill@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> I got a call Friday night from Brian Keane, a composer and producer that
> I've done a number of sessions for.  Brian wanted me to record acoustic
> harmonica for a scene in a BBC series he's scoring called "Copper", which
> is directed by Barry Levinson.  I went over to Brian's studio that night to
> get the concept right, and we set a studio date for today.  Over the
> weekend I recorded three takes in my kitchen using an Audix Fireball V mic,
> a Digitech RP255 (connected to the computer via USB) for the audio
> interface, and my laptop computer, which is running Cakewalk Sonar 8.5.  I
> exported the takes from Sonar and emailed them to Brian, and when I went to
> the studio today to do a few more takes on parts of the cue, I found that
> he'd already put together a composite track with the best bits from the
> tracks I recorded in my kitchen.
> I've done a fair amount of recording using the RP as the audio interface,
> but this was the first time I've recorded acoustic harmonica tracks with
> it.  The usual setup for recording acoustic harmonica in Brian's studio is
> a large-diaphragm condenser or ribbon (read: expensive) mic feeding a
> high-end preamp (usually a Grace model 201), with the harmonica positioned
> a foot or more away from the mic. In this case I was using a handheld
> dynamic mic (the Fireball) that costs about a twentieth of one of the mics
> that Brian usually puts up, into a device (the 255) that costs about a
> tenth of what the Grace 201 costs.  I was concerned that hand-holding the
> mic in particular would cut too many highs from the tone, but it was no
> problem.  I set up the RP with a direct box amp model, took off all the EQ
> and FX, and let it rip.  And it worked.
> The harmonica functions as the lead instrument in this scene; there's
> virtually no dialogue, and the harmonica is thoroughly exposed. I was
> really pleased that the RP255 and Fireball combination functioned so well
> for this application.  A Fireball V mic and an RP255 together cost less
> than $300, and while I wouldn't claim that it sounds the same as a Neumann
> U47 with a high-end preamp, I'm confident now that it sounds plenty good
> enough, even for exposed acoustic tracks.  And even better from the point
> of view of the musician recording at home is the fact that a handheld
> Fireball mic completely ignores the sound of the room you're recording in.
>  My kitchen is not designed for recording harmonica, but with this setup,
> it's as good as any other location.
> You can hear the sound for yourself when "Copper" episode 19 airs (on BBC
> in the UK, and PBS in the USA) later this year.  In the meantime, if you've
> got an RP and you haven't recorded with it yet, give it a go.  And don't
> forget the Fireball V; I'm amazed at how much this $125 mic can do.
> Regards, Richard Hunter
> author, "Jazz Harp"
> latest mp3s and harmonica blog at
> Myspace
> Vids at
> more mp3s at
> Twitter: lightninrick

David S McCurry, EdD

DS McCurry Fine Arts Studio
Jacaranda Educational Development, LLC

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