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The stupidest great sounding thing you recorded?


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Probably a tangental goldmine disaster thread, those are fun.

 

2 things sparked it - the How Do YOU Record Drums thread has a consensus on GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out. Everyone agrees that you have to make the drums sound great first, then record.

 

As to what is great or garbage? That is a minefield, a place where stupid things can thrive and flourish, my kinda place!!!!

The other thing that sparked this is that while I was testing my humble accumulation of microphones (see my Mics You/I Own, What's Good? thread in Dr Mike's forum), I accidentally discovered that tapping on mic stands could transmit through the microphone and some of those tones were pretty cool.

 

I've been tempted to record some percussion parts just tapping on mic stands. I have a few different ones and can get a variety of tones by switching mics too.

 

So, what's the stupidest great sounding thing you made sound great?

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I recorded an album entitled "Old Time American Harmonica, Bones, and Hickory Leaf Playing by Sterling Kelly and Ralph Lee Smith. Troubadour TR-4 (stereo). One tune is an overdubbed duet on leaf, twice as, well . . .

 

It's really kind of a cool record - this was school yard music from the early part of the 20th century, tunes like Sailor's Hornpipe, Turkey In The Straw, and Golden Slippers, before 12 year old kids could afford Stratocasters.

 

One of these days I'll have to wind up the Victrola and put a tune up on Soundcloud or someplace. I think total sales was about 5 units, but the sound, of course, is great. The album notes include instructions on how to play the leaf, and a leaf to learn on, cut out by hand from plastic drain pipe.

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I recorded an album entitled "Old Time American Harmonica, Bones, and Hickory Leaf Playing by Sterling Kelly and Ralph Lee Smith. Troubadour TR-4 (stereo). One tune is an overdubbed duet on leaf, twice as, well . . .

 

It's really kind of a cool record - this was school yard music from the early part of the 20th century, tunes like Sailor's Hornpipe, Turkey In The Straw, and Golden Slippers, before 12 year old kids could afford Stratocasters.

 

One of these days I'll have to wind up the Victrola and put a tune up on Soundcloud or someplace. I think total sales was about 5 units, but the sound, of course, is great. The album notes include instructions on how to play the leaf, and a leaf to learn on, cut out by hand from plastic drain pipe.

 

 

Awesome!! Not sure if related but we used to put grass leaves between our thumbs, stretched tight and make tortured animal sounds with them by cupping our hands over it and changing the pitch by changing the "chamber". I never attempted a melody, I was quite satisfied with disturbing cacophony of tormented souls.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Back in the 1970s I was once tasked with recording a jingle for local radio. It was done with zero personnel budget and almost zero equipment, i.e., a two-track open reel recorder with sound-with-sound capability, and an SM-58.

 

Main backing track was an acoustic guitar. Vocals were (intentionally) sloppily doubled for a tight echo feeling.

 

Percussion comprised thumping the microphone with my finger (bass drum); quietly striking a two-liter glass coke bottle with a table knife (ride cymbal bell / triangle), hand claps (back beat), and a dry celluloid sponge (closed high hat), one track at a time.

 

Amazingly, the thing worked and was aired for a few weeks.

-Tom Williams

{First Name} {at} AirNetworking {dot} com

PC4-7, PX-5S, AX-Edge, PC361

 

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We used to cover Billy Joel's "Allentown", back when we had an excellent keys player in our band. I got a big heavy piece of scrap metal from my Dad's collection of stuff he never threw out. It weighed about 5 pounds, and produced a nice metallic ringing sound when struck with a second piece of scrap metal from my own collection. To add to the entertainment, I wore a construction safety helmet for this song. I did not sing or play any other part on this song - just whacked two pieces of scrap metal together at the appropriate times. The audio capture was from my vocal mic. There was no fame, just some fun in being able to entertain the bar crowd.
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Back in the 1970s I was once tasked with recording a jingle for local radio. It was done with zero personnel budget and almost zero equipment, i.e., a two-track open reel recorder with sound-with-sound capability, and an SM-58.

 

Main backing track was an acoustic guitar. Vocals were (intentionally) sloppily doubled for a tight echo feeling.

 

Percussion comprised thumping the microphone with my finger (bass drum); quietly striking a two-liter glass coke bottle with a table knife (ride cymbal bell / triangle), hand claps (back beat), and a dry celluloid sponge (closed high hat), one track at a time.

 

Amazingly, the thing worked and was aired for a few weeks.

 

Sweet! The sponge kills it!!!!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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We used to cover Billy Joel's "Allentown", back when we had an excellent keys player in our band. I got a big heavy piece of scrap metal from my Dad's collection of stuff he never threw out. It weighed about 5 pounds, and produced a nice metallic ringing sound when struck with a second piece of scrap metal from my own collection. To add to the entertainment, I wore a construction safety helmet for this song. I did not sing or play any other part on this song - just whacked two pieces of scrap metal together at the appropriate times. The audio capture was from my vocal mic. There was no fame, just some fun in being able to entertain the bar crowd.

 

Great stuff, ordinary objects can have some interesting tones. I was at our Habitat for Humanity store last week and there was a rough cut 4x6 about 8 feet long. I tapped it and it rang, a beautiful note.

There was nobody around so I tried tapping it in various places and there was music in it. You could base a song on it. It was $15 and I didn't really need it so I left it there.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I have an ancient Autoharp, that was marked as a throwaway at the Folk Music store where I worked many years ago, so I rescued it, pulled off the Chord bars and retuned the whole thing. At this point the strings are so old, I'm sure they'd snap if I tried re-tuning it.

 

I needed some kind of simple, melodic ambient sound for the middle of a very long track, and would up playing a pattern on some of the strings, with some added Reverb. The sound fit, so I kept it, and it's out there on my album Regrets Only . . .

"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

 

http://www.novparolo.com

 

https://thewinstonpsmithproject.bandcamp.com

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I have an ancient Autoharp, that was marked as a throwaway at the Folk Music store where I worked many years ago, so I rescued it, pulled off the Chord bars and retuned the whole thing. At this point the strings are so old, I'm sure they'd snap if I tried re-tuning it.

 

I needed some kind of simple, melodic ambient sound for the middle of a very long track, and would up playing a pattern on some of the strings, with some added Reverb. The sound fit, so I kept it, and it's out there on my album Regrets Only . . .

 

That sounds cool. I used to aim a small amp into the harp of an old upright at Mom and Dad's house and play guitar. It created a sonorous reverb, sympathetic vibration.

I had an autoharp recently and recorded fast and slow strums for each chord so I could drop them into a recording.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Suzuki Omnichord, for sure :)

 

Oh, no, Anderton! You can't top me when it comes to the Oscar Schmidt family of instruments. Everybody has a Ulelin in the attic (the Smithsonian has a nice letter that they send to people who write offering to donate it), but I'll see your Omnichord and raise you a Hawaiian Tremoloa.

 

Uh-oh! I just remembered that there was an Omnichord with MIDI. If you had once of those, I'll have to catch up. But, really, my specialty is string instruments, and the Omnichord didn't have any.

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Oooh oooh!!!!

This is getting serious!!! Anderton vs Rivers in the stupidest great sounding thing thread!!!! :laugh:

 

I have a Hohner Goliath harmonica, it's an Echo harp. There is a note somewhere in the middle of the harmonica that is a bit out of tune.

 

Well, maybe more than a bit. It makes me cringe when I try to play it. A dog was barking across the street once, I hooted on that harmonica and it died.

I guess I need to record it to be a contender.

 

Wish I still had my bottom of the line Casio MIDI "guitar" with the plastic strings and the partially blown speaker...

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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OK, I know you just couldn't wait to hear the leaf, bones, and harmonica recording. This is the leaf duet, twice as much for your money. Both are short segments, for your patience. My first SoundCloud. Hope it works.

 

When he's performing, he sets up a boom box with the melody track and plays the harmony track live.

 

Old Time American Harmonica, Bones, and Leaf (the music)

 

How to play the leaf (PDF)

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OK, I know you just couldn't wait to hear the leaf, bones, and harmonica recording. This is the leaf duet, twice as much for your money. Both are short segments, for your patience. My first SoundCloud. Hope it works.

 

When he's performing, he sets up a boom box with the melody track and plays the harmony track live.

 

Old Time American Harmonica, Bones, and Leaf (the music)

 

How to play the leaf (PDF)

 

Awesome, Sir Mike! The leaf is not played with the same technique that we used in grade school. Different sort of leaf, different embouchere and different deployment.

It seems to be much more versalite although admittedly, none of us were striving for a musical effect. We were satisfied to sound like tortured animals and pursued nothing further.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Another favorite was a malfunctioning escalator at the Minneapolis airport. It was stuck in a loop that sounded like a perfect 120 BPM, or close to it. Unfortunately it was never filed away properly so it's on a MiniDisc (remember those?!?) somewhere...maybe I'll find it someday, along with all my classic Las Vegas casino sound effects.
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Another favorite was a malfunctioning escalator at the Minneapolis airport. It was stuck in a loop that sounded like a perfect 120 BPM, or close to it. Unfortunately it was never filed away properly so it's on a MiniDisc (remember those?!?) somewhere...maybe I'll find it someday, along with all my classic Las Vegas casino sound effects.

 

Oh God, the "casino sounds"!!!!!

I was in a Motown cover band and we played the Silver Reef (Thief) often. For the most part, all the gambling machines play annoying machine melodies in C. We were not allowed to be very loud so we could hear them.

Needless to say, very few of our songs were in C and at least one of them was in B.

 

Not that there was dissonance or anything, it was all perfeclty fine... uhhh yikes!

 

I love some machinery noises and others make me want to run away. Both of those are good reactions.

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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I like to include at least one home-rolled sample in my tracks. I use a lot of dialog drops from movies, old TV shows, etc. to spice things up, but I really like to take objects around the house and make percussion instruments and sound effects out of them. With some gating, compression, and distortion you can generate some unique sounds.

 

One that comes to mind is an empty paper cup. The rigid lip at the bottom makes a nice sound when it hits a wood table. If you add some hall reverb, it sounds huge. You can also gate it for a pseudo Phil Collins effect.

 

Right now the track I'm working on needed the sound of a huge door slamming shut. So I recorded some door slams around the house and added reverb to increase their size. I also wanted the sound of a latch, so I bought two sections of jingly metal chain. I'm going to drop them onto various surfaces until I find the right match.

 

In terms of sampling other instruments, before I donated my first keyboard (a Yamaha PSR-32 portable from ~1986), I multisampled a few of the 4-op FM presets along with the drums. The drums are wonderfully lo-fi. And the vibes patch and a synth comp patch called "Cosmic" are great. Best of all, I can finally leverage velocity sensitivity, a damper pedal, and various effects to really make them expressive.

Sundown

 

Just finished: The Jupiter Bluff

Working on: Driven Away

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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Great stuff, Sundown!!!!

 

I think we stop listening to familiar objects and forget how weird they sound because we've grown accustomed to the sounds.

 

I am close to a freeway onramp. Whatcom county drivers are "famous" for attempting to merge at 40 mph.

We have lots of commercial traffic, Canadian truckers headed home are very common.

Canadian trucks can still legally have air brakes.

 

Whatcom county driver attempts to merge at 40 mph, Canadian trucker slams on his airbrake to prevent disaster. It's quite a sound!

I need to set up my Tascam recorder and just let it run until I get one of those. That's a "raises the hairs on your back" kind of sound.

 

Pots and pans, silverware, any sort of tube and on and on...

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Great stuff, Sundown!!!!

 

Hey KP!

 

I really only do about one or two physical samples per project. It's just a small way of making something unique or embedding a story.

 

When I was a teenager in the late eighties I always wanted a sampler and couldn't afford it. I thought that if I had one I would be sampling stuff all over the house, recording drops from TV, and recording drums from other records. I also thought I would enjoy editing loop points (there's an experience one can live without). Around that time the best I could hope for was a Roland S-330 or W-30. When I was in my early twenties I almost bought an Akai CD-3000. But fully optioned (including some sample CDs) it would have been a big spend as well. My first real sampler didn't occur until Speedsoft's V-Sampler (during the Gigasampler craze), but I really got into sampling with Steinberg's HALion. To this day I still use HALion 5/6. It's a really powerful tool (which includes synthesized oscillators) and it has great real-time control capabilities. I never could get into Kontakt though obviously it's an incredibly capable tool.

 

But when I look back, the samples I would have gotten with an S-330 (or equivalent) would have been disappointing. I wouldn't have had a good mic or mic preamp and I wouldn't have the ability to compress and process samples the way I do now. And back then, I certainly wouldn't have known that it's really hard to get good drops or isolated samples. Most sounds you hear on TV, on record, etc. have something else going on in the background that makes them almost useless. It's rare that you get something novel that's isolated. I've gotten pretty good with editing and plugins to minimize background interference, but it's still hard to find good material (and since I don't sell or share my work, I'm not touching on copyright issues, etc).

 

When VCRs were still a thing I would often keep one running while watching TV (and one in the studio for sampling purposes) to capture things on the fly. Other than some choice content from Iron Chef translations, it didn't actually result in much.

 

Todd

Sundown

 

Just finished: The Jupiter Bluff

Working on: Driven Away

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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Great stuff, Sundown!!!!

 

Hey KP!

 

I really only do about one or two physical samples per project. It's just a small way of making something unique or embedding a story.

 

When I was a teenager in the late eighties I always wanted a sampler and couldn't afford it. I thought that if I had one I would be sampling stuff all over the house, recording drops from TV, and recording drums from other records. I also thought I would enjoy editing loop points (there's an experience one can live without). Around that time the best I could hope for was a Roland S-330 or W-30. When I was in my early twenties I almost bought an Akai CD-3000. But fully optioned (including some sample CDs) it would have been a big spend as well. My first real sampler didn't occur until Speedsoft's V-Sampler (during the Gigasampler craze), but I really got into sampling with Steinberg's HALion. To this day I still use HALion 5/6. It's a really powerful tool (which includes synthesized oscillators) and it has great real-time control capabilities. I never could get into Kontakt though obviously it's an incredibly capable tool.

 

But when I look back, the samples I would have gotten with an S-330 (or equivalent) would have been disappointing. I wouldn't have had a good mic or mic preamp and I wouldn't have the ability to compress and process samples the way I do now. And back then, I certainly wouldn't have known that it's really hard to get good drops or isolated samples. Most sounds you hear on TV, on record, etc. have something else going on in the background that makes them almost useless. It's rare that you get something novel that's isolated. I've gotten pretty good with editing and plugins to minimize background interference, but it's still hard to find good material (and since I don't sell or share my work, I'm not touching on copyright issues, etc).

 

When VCRs were still a thing I would often keep one running while watching TV (and one in the studio for sampling purposes) to capture things on the fly. Other than some choice content from Iron Chef translations, it didn't actually result in much.

 

Todd

 

My favorite tool for capture now is a Tascam DR-40 - portable recorder with stereo mics. The condo I am living in has a huge underground parking area, probably 45 cars plus walkway and garbage recycle area.

I took the Tascam and a small tripod down there late one evening (lots of freeway noise in the garage) and slammed the hood, trunk and door of my car. The reverberation down there is pretty awesome, too long for music but great for effects. I've also sampled 4th of July out on Lake Whatom - some LONG stereo echoes there. In theory, I could just take it everywhere and record stuff. Sometimes at the laundromat a washer will go into spin cycle and be out of balance, that is a horrendous racket.

 

I don't worry about creating loops too much, I just stretch the sound to fit a "bar" at whatever tempo I am goofing around in. That changes the pitch, I don't care. It's all for fun!!!!

It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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My favorite tool for capture now is a Tascam DR-40 - portable recorder with stereo mics.

 

I've thought about the portable recorder route... I'll have to see what they go for nowadays.

 

Todd

Sundown

 

Just finished: The Jupiter Bluff

Working on: Driven Away

Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361

DAW Platform: Cubase

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But when I look back, the samples I would have gotten with an S-330 (or equivalent) would have been disappointing. I wouldn't have had a good mic or mic preamp and I wouldn't have the ability to compress and process samples the way I do now. And back then, I certainly wouldn't have known that it's really hard to get good drops or isolated samples.

 

But this is the stuff that people had to work with back then. But they didn't use samples because they didn't have great mics for a set of drums with a drummer playing what went with the song. They invented new genres, used crappy sounding samples from scratchy old records and put them together in ways that hadn't been done before.

 

What kind of music were you making when the S-330 was around? Or better (?) yet, the $100 Casio SK-1? Lots of records were sold using samples and loops created with tools like that.

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