This project has been a few months in the making and so much fun to do. It’s a big progressive epic in the style of Pink Floyd. It’s based on a story called There Will Be Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury. It’s a poignant story about the last day in the life of an automated house that has outlived it’s owners due to nuclear war. Cheery stuff, but still beautiful. I only hope my song does the story justice. I decided to let the house tell the story instead of singing it with my own voice.
If you are interested in the production of it, here are some details of what I used. I record all of my audio through a Universal Audio Apollo 16 into Logic Pro X. I have just a handful of preamps that I can use if I’m not recording at line level. For this project, I only actually recorded my vocal for the vocoder. I used an SM-58 into a Focusrite ISA Two. I limited the crap out of the vocal so the vocoder would take on the more monotone, constant level that you would expect from an automated voice. I know text to speech is much better now, but I really wanted a vintagy vibe to the house as I was trying to take on some of that 50’s era vibe.
Drums are all Superior Drummer plus some loops from Damage and Evolve in the Komplete Ultimate library. I also added a few instruments from the orchestral percussion to get the gong and clavas. There are quite a few other synth loops or synths droning the basslines. They are from Omnisphere and Massive. The bass is a Fender Jazz V Elite played into a Sansamp RBI.
Guitar is all a Fender USA Strat into either a KSR Ares into a Two-Notes Torpedo Live for the dirty, and a Fractal AxeFX2 for cleans. There are multiple solos all with unique tones, some droning parts and the big chorus guitars. Actually a small amount of guitar for me.
I figured out doing the vocoder part with the built in Logic plugin but wasn’t at all happy with it’s synth abilities, so I bought Izotope’s VocalSynth plugin which worked very well.
There is surprisingly little overall effects going on. Here’s a photo of the session:
Starting with the master buss, it’s pretty simple actually. NLS is there since I’m using it on all the tracks. Waves SSL Buss Compressor for a little glue, Slate Virtual Tape Machine for some vibe, Waves L3 for some limiting and Universal Audio’s Manley Massive Massive EQ to tweak a little.
I’ll go through what I did to various tracks, but assume Waves NLS is first on every track. Drums got Waves C4 to squash the buss a bit and I used the Logic EQ to cut off the extreme lows and highs. I’ve also done that in Superior Drummer for the kick and toms. The kit just had so much bass, I had to get rid of a lot of it.
The Bass got some compression via the LA2A from Universal Audio and some sweetening with the Manley Massive Passive EQ. You’ll see almost all the synth stuff got severely shelved. That Bass just adds up so I started cutting it at the source. That cleaned up the mix a ton.
The guitars got lots of subtle tweaks, but nearly all of them got Waves X-Noise. The Strat hum was just too much for me, I’ve now replaced the pickups to solve that problem, but these tracks were recorded before that, so I used a plugin to remove some noise.
Reverb is all from Waves R-Verb.
Oh, and TONS of automation.