Session Notes: The Pinheads

Friday, August 29th, 2014

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The Pinheads tore in from Pittsburgh ready to rock’n’roll.  They were well rehearsed, had set realistic goals, and (mostly) sober. If you are paying for studio time BE THESE THINGS. You’re gonna get a lot more done.

pinheads band

I took our new Chameleon Labs TS1 MKIIs out for a spin on the drums, using the large diaphragm, cardioid mode. I also experimented with the heater voltage control, cranking it all the way up on both. I found the the sound to be rich and detailed, needing little EQ in the mix. Next time I’d like to get some more room sound, so I’ll either increase the distance from the drums or use an omni capsule. I double mic’d both the kick and snare. For the kick I used a AKG D112 on the inside and a 8″ speaker on the outside. For the snare I used a EV 421 on top and a Shure SM57 on the bottom. Each of these mics definitely added a lot to the total drum sound. I’ve been experimenting with my snare top mic, but I keep coming back to the 421. I’ve been doing a mid-side room micing across the room with our Neumann KM84 and KM86s for a while, but for this session I stole an Albini trick and delayed the room signal around 15ms, which was pretty awesome. Really made the drums huge.

pinheads drum mics

I knew the instrumentation was going to be pretty minimal so I elected to double mic the guitar amp and pan out the signals. I used a EV RE20 and an Altec 175a (tube small-diaphragm condenser), they had quite different sounds so it added a lot of interest.  Also, did I mention the band used all studio instruments?

pinheads amp mics

The mixes were done hybrid, utilizing digital and analog processing before summing analog (and a little EQ) on the Electrodyne console. We had some fun with the analog delays, getting a crazy sound out of the Ibanez UE405, and jamming out on the venerable Echoplex.

pinheads mike and andy

The Pinheads elected to have our very own Ephriam Nagler master their work. I love having Ephriam master my mixes, they consistently come back sounding stellar. Plus I’ve learned so much from this guy, I’m always excited for him to hear my latest work.

pinheads playing

Working with the Pinheads was a great experience. A lovely bunch of folks making good music. It was a privilege to work on their first studio effort. I hope we can work together again!


pinheads sam




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