Make Mine Music

Published in December 2003, this is Bruce's recounting of his long career, from his start in the 50's working with giants like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Woody Herman, to his current projects mixing Pop musicians like Michael Jackson and Jennifer Lopez. Along with the stories come a massive amount of technical knowledge such as micing, acoustic tweaking and Surround technique. Order a copy today for your reference library.

Some Excerpts

"I also always take my Studio Tube Traps with me to my recording sessions. I have the traps that are 4' high and 9" in diameter. The Studio Tube Trap is adjustable for height. Each trap actually has two sides with little marks to identify them; one side is reflective and the other is absorptive. In many recording situations, I don't pay too much attention to those little marks. In other words, I don't carefully organize them, aimed in one direction, or face them all in one neat little row, or something. I generally make a random Tube Trap set-up. I'll try to make the room sound as natural as I can."

"I usually put the Traps more towards the outside perimeter of the room and not between the sound source and the microphone."

"If the room has an area that might be perhaps too reverberant, or if I hear a reflection or a standing wave I don't like, or if the area I want to record or mix in is simply too sonically belligerent, I can use my Tube Traps to immediately modify the sound-field."

I find that Tube Traps make a dramatic difference. In this situation, I always pay attention to those marks that identify which side is reflective and which side is absorptive. You can experiment by starting out with a lot. Then just remove them two at a time - you will hear the sound liven up incredibly. They allow you the ultimate control of the room reflections mixed in with the direct sound. It's like having moveable walls.

I have used my Tube Traps in an array around Michael Jackson when I recorded every one of the vocal tracks on all of his albums since Bad. The acoustic space created by the Traps allows for consistency of sound at the mike, regardless of position shifts on the part of the performer. I find the Studio Traps particularly useful for recording an artist like Michael Jackson because Michael always dances as he sings, even when he's recording. This combination helps create at the mike a dense pattern of early reflections on both the vocal and the footstep sounds.

My plywood drum platform (when I use it for recording Michael's vocals), together with the Studio Traps, makes Michael's dancing footsteps a distinctive element of the rhythm track. In essence, I could say that I use the unpainted, plywood surface of the drum platform to reflect Michael's vocal sound source, surrounded by Tube Traps, back to the microphone. This also preserves the rhythmic effect of him dancing happily away while he sings. I think that is an important part of Michael's sonic character.

In fact, I have used them on all my projects since 1987. No matter where I go, I take these wonderful devices with me. I'm sure you have figured out by now that when I go from studio to studio all over the world with all of my equipment and microphones, it is a big deal to move all this stuff. Quincy Jones says that moving me from studio to studio is like moving the Fifth Army!"