It was May 25th. The hour drive was pleasant and calm and had made me think of Dr. Gary Bird's house in general with the large living room with wood construction, which gave me the sense of being in a nice cozy place. I was very glad that we got to record in that same room. That room was absolutely incredible to work with in setting up the microphones, and getting my laptop situated for an amazing recording of these two amazing tuba players.
I had prepped all my gear in the car in heading out to the home of Dr. Bird to record him and his son Christopher perform Conrad De Jong's "Music for Two Tubas." Dr. Bird was on his Yamaha YFB-822 F Tuba in a silver plate, while Christopher Bird was on his dad's Miraphone 186 CC Tuba, which was an unlacquered brass tuba with a silver garnish on the bell. For this session, I knew that we were going to need to capture the sound of the tubas with the best fidelity at my disposal at the time. Hence, I brought my Zoom F8n field recorder, a couple microphone stands, a pair of MXL 603S pencil condenser microphones, and an MXL4000 to capture the room's response, along with a power conditioner.
With the microphone choices, I knew that the room had to be met with a microphone that not only captures the warmth of the room, but enhance that same warmth as well. The MXL 603S pencil condenser microphones were amazing in that the response out of the microphone was very even, which then treated to overall tuba sound with fairness, as some condenser microphones can color the sound either low frequency heavy or high frequency heavy depending on the overall design of the microphone in use.
The sound recorder itself, the F8n, had a really low self-noise floor and had pretty good analog to digital conversion. It functioned purely as an interface, which this interface had up to 8 inputs. Moreover, it was very easy to control the recording levels with the F8n.
This recording was initially done with Logic Pro X, and finished production in the new Universal Audio Luna Recording System. With tubas, it's easy to capture the low end and very easy to capture a good sound out of the two instruments.
With the in-person session with Dr. Bird, it was really amazing to hear his ideas as we went through all the recorded materials and handled the mix of the 3 movements from there. With the Luna Recording System, it was a very powerful tool at my disposal, as I was able to have full integration with my Apollo interface with the software, which treated the recordings with extra warmth with the Oxide tape built into Luna. All in all, it was a wonderful time getting to work with Dr. Bird in producing this amazing production for his friend, Conrad de Jong.