David Bowie’s Creative Process

While cruising the internet, I came across this fascinating video from 1997, David Bowie’s “Inspirations.” (Hat tip to the always excellent website, openculture.com) Watching the video, we get a glimpse into Mr. Bowie’s creative process. What really impressed me was how he constantly pushed himself out of his comfort zone in order to grow as an artist. Whether you’re a Bowie fan or not, this 15 minute video about art and creativity is well worth watching. Enjoy!

Video: My Top 5 Christmas Songs

NOTE: This post was originally published last year. Moving it it to the top because of the time of year.

The holiday season is the time of year when I would normally  be talking about that “chill in the air.” However, with the reality of climate change,, that is not the case for many people.  One thing that is consistent with this time of year are classic Christmas songs.

There are an abundance of wonderful Christmas songs.   From the obscure to the over-played staples of popular culture, we all have our favorites.   As I stared working on this post, I realized that narrowing my choice down to five songs would be a difficult task.

Here is my list (with one Bonus Track.)   What are your favorites?

John Prine: Christmas in Prison


Jim White: Christmas Day


Bill Haley and the Comets: Jingle Bell Rock

Barking Dogs:  Jingle Bells

Elvis Presley: Blue Christmas

Bonus Track below the fold

Continue reading

Microphone Review: GLS Audio ES-57 and ES-58

GLS ES-57 & ES58


I am starting a new feature, highlighting some of my more popular posts for new visitors to this blog.  This article,  originally published in June of 2012, has been this blog’s most popular post.

Incidentally, I continue to use these microphones in my studio.   I have yet to have any issues with them.  They are solid work horse mics that do an excellent job.   Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.


I first heard about these microphones while browsing though the forums over at Gearslutz. These low cost Shure SM57 and SM58 knockoffs, available through Orange County Speaker, rated very well with people from the on-line recording community. Because they are so inexpensive – as of this writing, the mics sell for $29.99 (U.S.) each (You can get a slightly better deal if you buy them in quantity) – I decided to take the plunge and order one ES-57, (SM57 copy) and one ES-58-S (SM58 copy with an on and off switch). I would find out for myself if the internet hype on these mics was true.

Testing 1…2…3…

So how do these mics compare to their more expensive counterparts? The first mic I tested was a ES-58-S. Right out of the box, I noticed the weight of the microphone. This isn’t some lightweight mic that’s going to fall apart with ordinary use. In fact, it seems built like a tank and can obviously handle the normal wear and tear of both studio and live use.

My first test was to use it for a vocal recording. I have to say, the results were astonishing. The mic seemed to have more of a Beta 58 sound than that of a standard SM58. The mids and highs were clear and crisp.

After my promising start with the ES-58, I was anxious to crack open the ES-57 to see what it could do. Once again, I was impressed by the feel and the weight of the mic. My first test with the ES-57 was to see what kind of results I could get recording an acoustic guitar. I aimed the mic near the 12th fret of my trusty Guild D4 guitar, positioned it about 6 inches away and started playing. The results were excellent and in my opinion, just as good as an SM57.

To further test these mics, I recorded snare drum hits, with both sticks and brushes, and also tried them out on some hi-hats. Again the results were excellent and definitely comparable to the more expensive SM57 or SM58.


The bottom line – these mics are winners! I will definitely be utilizing them in future recordings. Since you can get three of these mics for less than the price of one of the higher priced Shure microphones, it’s obviously a great deal. If you are looking for new dynamic mics for your band or for your studio, you can’t go wrong with the GLS Audio mics.


Model Number: ES-57
Uni-Directional Dynamic Microphone
Designed for Musical Instruments & Drums
Sensitivity: -72dB at 1,000 Hz (Open Circuit Voltage)
Frequency Range: 40 Hz – 15,000 Hz
Lo-Z XLR 3 Pin Balanced
Impedance: 300 ohms at 1,000 Hz
Size: 6 3/8″ long x 1 3/8″ Head x 7/8″ End

Model Number: ES-58
Uni-Directional Dynamic Vocal Microphone
Frequency Response: 50 Hz – 15,000 Hz
Sensitivity: -72dB at 1,000 Hz (Open Circuit Voltage)
Dual Z Compatibility
(Lo-Z XLR 3 Pin Balanced & Hi-Z 1/4″)
Impedance: 300 ohms at 1,000 Hz
Size: 6 7/8″ long x 2″ Ball x 7/8″ End

Originally Published 02/12

JUNE 2012 UPDATE: Here’s a song I recorded with the GLS mics

Drum Recording Techniques

Let’s face it – Many budding recordists are intimidated by the prospect of recording drums. There are so many questions and variables. Does my room sound good? Will I have phase issues? Do I have the right microphones? There are a lot of opinions on this topic and here on this blog, we’ve talked about it before.

Here is an excellent article by recording engineer Barry Rudolph from Pro Sound Web. Don’t be intimidated by the specific microphone recommendations. Not everyone (including yours truly) has access to such great microphones. However, many of us do have acceptable microphones with similar polar patterns. Here is a taste of what Mr. Rudolph has to say:

I find that recording drums has very much to do with your monitor mixing as well as the actual sound you are getting on both the individual drums and the total drum kit.

Sure, if I place the drum mix well above the rest of the backing tracks, I can hype the listener into thinking the drum sound is big and muscular. Tilted monitor mixes can make you think you have a great kick drum sound merely because it is very loud.

Pulling the drum mix back into a more realistic mix perspective reveals the true size of the drum recording as it blends with the rest of the instruments and vocals.

When placed in mix perspective, I can assess the relative tonality and balance of the individual drums and judge the overall kit-ambience quality. Low and high frequencies as well as dynamic range are also better judged at this level.

Click here to read the entire article with excellent information: Pro Sound Web The Wonderful World of Microphone Techniques for Drums

Hat tip to the twitter feed of Women’s Audio Mission. An excellent source of information for people interested in recording.

Video: Joe Meek and his Bold Techniques

Here’s a video about the enigmatic and legendary producer/engineer Joe Meek. As you see in the video, Meek was an innovator of so many recording techniques that we take for granted. The video is a promotion for a book with the same title, JOE MEEK’S BOLD TECHNIQUES, 2nd EDITION
By Barry Cleveland. The book sounds fascinating and definitely worth a read.

Death Metal Version of “You’re the One that I Want” From Grease

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. Summer is the season of light blog posting. With that in mind, I thought I would post something a little different. Here is a video I found via the website, Dangerous Minds. It’s a “Death Metal” Version of the classic song from the movie, “Grease.”
I am not sure why this amuses me so much – but here you go:

Simple Drum Recording Techniques

Drum recording can be complex. There are many different philosophies about recording a drum kit. I am a believer of the “simplicity is best” school of thought. After all, most of my all-time favorite recordings were done with very minimalistic drum mic set ups. When I record drums at Tangled Wire Studio, I end up using anywhere from one to three microphones, with a room mic added for an extra sparkle. Because my room is small and the style of music I record is suited for a minimalist setup, I am content.

One of the most famous drum mic techniques is the Glyn Johns, 3 mic technique. Here’s a video with the man himself explaining how it works:

Here’s another interesting video with legendary recordist Bob Clearmountain using a 4 microphone technique. (The Glyn Johns method, plus an extra mic for the snare.

How to record drums with four microphones from Apogee Electronics on Vimeo.

Hat tip to the always excellent Bobby Owswinski blog. If you’re not reading it, your missing out on a lot of great information.