I wanted to record some of the delicious sounds of my modified Hammond B-2 organ a few weeks ago. Given the fact that the studio is in the basement but the organ is not, I had to come up with some way to control Pro Tools remotely, as well as a way to hear playback of the song while recording. And I needed to figure out how to mic up the Leslie speaker.
Controlling Pro Tools was the easy part: I have a Frontier Tranzport, which is an RF remote control that I can use for all kinds of PT functionality. It has been ultra-handy for tracking vocals as I stand at the mic, and it works upstairs as well, so that part of my setup was handled.
Monitoring playback and the track being recorded was a little bit trickier. I had intended to use my “in-ear” monitors, which are earbuds connected to a wireless receiver. I planned to plug the headphone output of my PT interface into the wireless transmitter for the in-ears and monitor playback.
Unfortunately the wireless receiver and earbuds were in my gig case. My gig case was in someone’s truck. Several hours from my house. Crap.
I was not to be stopped, however. I have a long cable that has a 1/4-inch stereo connector on one end and two mono 1/4-inch connectors on the other. It came with my Parker Fly guitar, which has magnetic pickups and a piezo pickup in the bridge. The cable was designed to allow you to have one output for the magnetic pickups and a separate output for the piezo.
In this case I used it like a big stereo splitter. I plugged the stereo part into the output of my PT interface, then routed the wires upstairs (through a tiny space beside a heating duct – got to love old houses). I brought the wireless transmitter rack upstairs and plugged the two mono ends of the cable into the left and right inputs on the transmitter.
But wait – I don’t have the earbuds or the receiver, so why would I do that? Turns out the transmitter has a headphone output on the front panel. Aha! I plugged in a pair of headphones and I was ready to hear playback.
Setting up a microphone for the Leslie proved to be the biggest challenge. Well, not the setting up of the microphone, necessarily, but finding a good mic position and setting levels. Since I was tracking by myself it was a little bit of a headache. I’ll get into the details in my next post.