As readers of my blog know, just before the end of 2014, I did a couple of recording sessions for an ESPN documentary called â€œKeepers of the Streak.â€ To my surprise, the show, which I watched last night from start to finish, turned out to be a very cool piece about four very accomplished photographers who’ve collectively photographed every Superbowl from the start. The music included a lot of nice stuff that I didn’t know about when I recorded my own parts, and most of my favorite harmonica cues from the sessions ended up in the final cut, with the harp positioned nicely up front in the mix. I enjoyed every minute of it, which is saying a lot, because I’m not really a bigtime football fan. (Beyonce won the SuperBowl last year, right? I wish I’d seen that…)
I used three different rigs to record my parts for this movie. The first was a Digitech RP360XP running the GA40 patch from my latest patch set for RP360XP, coupled with a Shure 545SD mic equipped with a Bulletizer from Greg Heumann’s Blowsmeaway Productions; that’s the rig for the amped-up sounds, which you hear over the closing credits, and it was recorded from the RP’s output jack to the board via a direct box. The second, used for some of the acoustic harp tracks, was the studio’s rig: a large diaphragm Neumann condenser mic and a Grace model 201 preamp. You can tell which cue used that rig by the big hand vibrato, which is something you can only really do when you’re standing in front of a mic. (Note: it’s the cue at the top of the second act.) Finally, I recorded a couple of cues in my kitchen in Idaho using a handheld Audix Fireball V mic and a Digitech RP355 running a patch I created for the session that uses a Direct amp model (which basically passes the signal straight from the RP’s input to the outputs) and a little bit of EQ to reduce the lowest and highest frequencies, no other FX involved. That’s the rig I used on the 32 bar Western Swing number that you hear at the start of the first act, as well as the next cue in that act, a slow bluesy piece with harmonica backed by guitar.
I was really pleased with every one of these setups and the sounds they produced, and I’m grateful that the mix made it all easy to hear, and that my work was part of this excellent documentary. Check out “Keepers of the Streak” when you get the chance.