August 16, 2006: Not even 115º temperatures could keep us and hundreds of other recording industry folk from attending this year’s 5th annual Tape Op Conference held in Tucson, AZ. The conference consists of workshops and panel discussions that are filled with invaluable knowledge for those in our industry. I personally get the feeling that Tape Op Con (as it’s often referred to) is much like I would imagine the very first AES conventions were like. There is a real sense of community surrounding the event- stories and recording techniques are openly shared amongst colleagues, and I always seem to leave the conference with something technical to think about…something that changes the way I operate in my recording environment- for the better. This year a “studio potluck” was running constantly during the event weekend.
Manufacturers donated gear, and WAM (Women’s Audio Mission) painstakingly set up, wired, and integrated a fully functioning recording studio in a banquet room in the hotel. One highlight was Andy Hong’s (producer/ engineer and about a dozen other entrepreneurial things) demonstration of his “virtual drum booth” technique. He demonstrated a way to get minimal “bleed” into drum room mics, with the entire band all playing in one room. It was “mind – blowing” to almost everyone that witnessed it. The gist of the technique goes like this:
1. Record the band while taking a direct signal from the guitar players, and loop that signal through your recorder and into the respective guitar amps.
2. After the “take” is down, re-amp and re-record the drum room and amp mics onto new tracks.
3. Subtract the new room tracks from the old room tracks, by mixing each original room track with its corresponding new room tracks with the polarity reversed. The result is useable drum room tracks! I’ve attached a diagram penned by Andy himself if you’re interested in finding out more details.
Well it’s no surprise to me that this journalistic story ended up being technical. If you would like more info on the conference, please feel free to visit www.tapeop.com. Also, I feel the need to thank Craig Schumacher, Larry Crane, John Baccigaluppi (at least) for the incredible job they did this year and years past planning this event.