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Mike Viola – Awesome @ FUV

Power pop rock! Yielding only an electric guitar, bass and drums, Mike Viola and his 3-piece rely on solid songwriting, effective arrangements and a killer vocal delivery to get their message across. Here are a couple songs from the session – really strong performances – all from Mike’s new album Electro De Perfecto, recorded to RMG 911 1/4″ tape at 15ips, 355nW/m.

Perfect World

Here’s the Rub

Brian played his own drums for this session, and the resonant head of his kick drum is closed (doesn’t have a hole), so I miked it only with an RE-20 and the NS-10 subkick. The NS-10 subkick creates a lot more oomph in the low end around 60Hz compared to the other subkick I was using, and I’ve taken to using this combo almost 100% of the time. Here’s a clip of the drums in between takes, where its easier to hear the subkick, rather than just feel it.

I like when 3 piece bands come in because the sparser instrumentation allows more room to fill out the arrangement through miking and mix decisions. Mike played his electric through two amps, which I miked with 2 Fathead ribbons, an RE-15 and a Beyerdynamic M69. This allowed me to change relative tone and stereo positioning on the fly by setting up a base balance for the start of the song, then just change fader levels as they played.

Homemade NS-10 Subkick

For bass I used a DI and a Shure KMS-109 small diaphragm condenser, though there isn’t much of the DI in the mix. It seems like many choose to default to large dynamics for bass, but I’ve really gotten fond of the detail and clarity a small condenser can provide. Vocals were captured with an SM7 through an 1176 with light 4:1 compression.

Definitely check out Mike’s new album, and stay tuned for the full broadcast on WFUV!

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Mike Viola – Awesome @ FUV

  1. Dan,
    I have been really interested in diy subkick designs for awhile now but haven’t made time to dive into it… I notice you’ve attached a pair of leads to the driver, I assume it terminates to an xlr on the other end. Couple of questions if you have the time… what is the pin layout i.e +, -, shield? …and do you have to use any caps or resistors in line for filtering? Anyway, good work!
    -Harrison-

    Posted by harrisonefort | January 13, 2012, 16:22
    • Hey Harrison,

      Let me tell you about how an NS-10 subkick has changed my life! Or at least, it’s changed my drum sounds in a significant way. You’re correct – the lead is wired to a male XLR on the other end. Pin 2 to the driver’s positive terminal, pin 3 to its negative terminal. On the driver end, the shield is not connected to anything (just clipped off).

      On mine, I took the easy route and just plugged a pre-fab -10dB pad before the line hits our console, but baking in a pad is totally feasible. I haven’t found any filtering to be necessary; the signal coming out of mine is a whole lot of ~40 and 80 Hz, and not much else!

      Thanks, and let me know if you build one!

      Posted by dan | January 23, 2012, 22:38
  2. So I ended up making one of these bad boys… Thanks for the pointers btw. I ended up using a ten inch pioneer subwoofer I have been kicking around for ages (excessive I know but its what I had) and it sounds pretty awesome. Definitely adds substantial low end to the kick and allows me to get the kick mic in closer to the front head for more attack… I’m liking it a lot!

    Posted by harrisonefort | February 26, 2012, 20:15
    • Congratulations Harrison! That’s awesome… having them around adds a lot of versatility, and makes it easier to pull up a good kick sound quickly (to my ear, anyway).

      As an aside, I had thought of finding a way to strap my old, smaller subkick to the bottom of the floor tom… At first I thought it was crazy, but then I had a band come in who’s drum sound revolved around just that! Their name is Yellow Ostritch, and they used a prefabricated Yamaha Subkick (the proper one that Yamaha sells) placed about 4 inches below the resonant head.

      I’ll post something about it in a little bit. Would love to hear about how you use yours.

      Posted by dan | February 29, 2012, 11:02

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