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This post originally appeared on a yet to be named website.  Once we have a name, I’ll come back and put it in.

New Orleans, being the birth place of Jazz, is widely known for its music. The volume of extraordinary musicians this city produces is staggering. Being a recent transpant from Boston, I’m still in somewhat of a culture shock, but I am getting along just fine. My first time seeing Rebirth Brass Band was at Harpers Ferry in Boston, Massachusetts back in the spring of 2007. All I knew of them then was that they were fun to see and layed down a groove you didn’t have a choice but to dance to. The rumors were right! I couldn’t stop moving my feet! They are a brass band consisting of a tuba, bass drum, snare drum, saxophone, two trombones, and three trumpets. They are each talented, and they are as tight as clockwork. These guys have ben playing together for 25 years and made there start in the Treme neighborhood of New Orleans. The have a regular gig at the Maple Leaf Bar every Tuesday night and this Tuesday I went.

Who's playing on Tuesday?

Who's playing Tuesday?

The Maple Leaf has three areas inside. Upon entering there is a dimly lit, long, thin bar room that has a beautiful bartender (when I was there anyway), $2 PBR’s, and a comfortable pub atmosphere. A large dance hall room adjacent to the bar that had the stage, benches lining the wall and a small platform just big enough for someone to stand on with paint all over it. I found out what this was when the music started. Behind the dance hall there is another bar room, with a smaller bar, pool table, and garden seating. The garden seating was dark and full of glowing cigarettes and joints (I could smell it….mmmmm). Even though the showtime was 10pm, Rebirth started playing at about 11:30. That gave me plenty of time to throw back a few PBR’s and chit chat with some locals. When the band got on stage, an artist who signs “Frenchy” on his paintings, got on top of the platform with paint all over it. He brought a canvas and paints with him, and readied himself. Earlier I had seen a painting behind the bar of band playing on the Maple Leaf stage, so I suddenly realized what he was up to! Check out his progress at set break:

Set Break Progress

Set Break Progress

Turns out this guy is a local artist with a gallery next store! Rebirth was much different here. They were more comfortable on stage. They were greeting friends all over the place, and were just having a really relaxed time while pumping out tunes that were making everybody move. There was a group of dancers that looked like they dance there every Tuesday. They had routines for the different songs! I tried to get a video but it was too dark. The second set ended just before 2am. I was beat and headed home. I’ve heard that they sometime play right until the sun comes up. I’m not sure if they did this last Tuesday, but if they did, I’m sure people were dancing! This following picture says a lot about the New Orleans Music scene. I want to show it to you so you have an idea of the difference between whatever place your at right now. This is how it is all the time down in the French Quarter.

Busking on Royal Street

Busking on Royal Street

Some Rebirth Videos:

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For quite some time now I’ve been looking to buy gear for recording.  Since I just got a brand new MacBook, I felt now was the right time.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about MacBooks, and nothing but good things about Mac’s general performance for music applications.  In fact, many professional recording engineers use Mac Pro with Logic Studio software for recording, editing and mixing music.  When buying my MacBook I had them preinstall Logic Express which is basically a trimmed down version of Logic Studio.  Its a step up from the GarageBand software Mac is now including with their machines.  I also bought the MacBook with 2GB RAM, 2.4Ghz, and 160GB hard drive in order to have enough power and speed to do what I need to do.  I made sure to ask my more computer savy friends if it was worth going to the machine with more memory, and they basically screamed yes at me!  so I did.

The next step to building my home studio was doing some research.  One week ago I didn’t know much about home recording.  I have done recording at a friends home studio (check out Tim McGivern on MySpace), and I have played live music, but someone else is always running all the equipment.  I knew that there were different types of mics, and that mics are very important.  If you have a crap mic, then all the best software in the world isn’t going to make you sound nice.  I knew that I needed some sort of panel to plug into prior to the computer, and I knew I needed a good set of headphones in order to mix and master the recorded product.  To get me further along in knowledge, I visited the Pro Audio section of Guitar Center.  Some musicians out there don’t really like Guitar Center, and I can understand why.  I see it as a place to go try out instruments and talk to people who know way more about stuff than I do.  They also have excellent sales every now and then.

I learned all about preamps, interface’s, phantom power, condensor microphones, instrument microphones, microphone combos.  I learned about monitor headphones, monitor speakers, firewire vs USB, latency and on and on.  I hit the internet that night to find out more.  After a few hours researching I bought the following gear for $367 at Musicians Friend:

MXL 992 LARGE DIAPHRAGM CONDENSER MICROPHONE

MXL 992 Large Diaphragm Condensor Microphone

MXL 992 Large Diaphragm Condensor Microphone

I also got a mic stand for this.  Its a boom stand, so the placement should be very easy.  This mic has had fantastic reviews.  5 stars in a lot of cases.  Everyone from home studio recorders to professionals like this baby.  I know that microphones are the single most important thing when it comes to having a recording you can be proud of, so I spent some time looking into them and reading review after review.  The negative thing people said about this mic is that the shell is a little flimsy, so you have to handle it with care.  I’m going to treat it like my baby.

PRESONUS AUDIOBOX

PreSonus Audiobox

PreSonus Audiobox

So it seems that the preamps is another important piece.  This little guy is going to take the signal I give it from the microphone and turn it into something that the computer software can use.  This is what delivers the signal to the computer.  The higher quality the signal, the better your recording is going to sound.  This little puppy plugs into the USB port (which has more latency than Firewire) and again, has rave reviews among home recording artists out there.  PreSonus is widely known for the quality of their preamps.  The preamp is what creates the signal delivered to the computer.  Of course, I’m not being too technical here because I don’t really know much more than this.  I’m sure there are better explanations out there.

AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M40FS PRECISION STUDIOPHONES

Audio Technica ATH-M40fs Precision Studiophones

Audio Technica ATH-M40fs Precision Studiophones

These headphones, again, good reviews for mixing recordings.  The only negative is that after a few years the padding starts to chip away.  Oh well.  The price was great.

I’d love it if anyone reading has an suggestions on how to make the set up better.  I’m planning on setting the mic up for mono recording to get a live feel.  This will mean placement of the mic halfway up, and a bit above the fret board of the guitar.  I’ll experiment with distance from the mic.  I’m pumped!!!

Enjoy the Sounds,

Tim


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