04 October 2009

Captain Dan Danblasten

This is a bit of an oddball story for Hodgson, and not one of his more famous works. It's a romance. Sort of. It involves a pirate, a buried treasure, and a long-lost love -- and some gutter French (apologies in advance for my atrocious pronunciation) and a few dirty jokes. It's a long story, and not his best, but I really love the character he created in this one.

The text I'm using comes from the long-awaited fifth volume of The Collected Fiction of William Hope Hodgson. This story has also appeared in a slightly different version elsewhere in the series.

I wanted to record a short story now, although I'm planning some longer works, because I'm trying out a new microphone. It's an Electro-Harmonix EH-R1 ribbon mic, which is really a rebranded Oktava ML-52, a Russian-made ribbon mic. I am new to ribbon mics, but I was just not satisfied with the sound I was getting out of my Neumann BCM-705. It was too "spitty," too unforgiving of little bits of sibilance and mouth and lip noise. So, I sold it on eBay, and bought this one.

So far, I'm liking the way this ribbon mic works on my voice and in my recording space, which is untreated, in the same room as my computer. It's a darker microphone, with a lot of bass response, which helps my somewhat nasal voice, and seems less sensitive to proximity and direction than the dynamic mics. The raw recording seems to need a lot less compression and EQ.

This may not be my ultimate vocal mic, but I think I'm on the right track. I am hoping to buy myself an Oktava ML-53, modified by Michael Joly of OktavaMod, maybe for Christmas. I 'd like to save up for an AEA ribbon microphone preamp, and while there isn't a whole lot of acoustic treatment I can do in this cluttered corner of my upstairs office, I could at least get some foam up on the wall behind the mic, and maybe a foam barrier to cut down some sound from my computer's fan.

There is one more new piece of technology I'm using -- after the new mic hits my Apogee Ensemble, and gets 60 dB of gain, it is getting fed into the RX Denoiser plug-in, and then to the brand-new Alloy plug-in from Izotope. I just bought it today. It is set up with the "Upfront and Crisp" vocal preset, with a few tweaks. Consider this mention to be a plug for the Izotope plug-ins in general, and Alloy in particular -- I'm just getting started with it, but I'm pleased so far.

Then on the ouput, I'm adding a little bit of room reverb from the Ozone plug-in, and that's about it.

I'd be happy go hear any feedback. Just please don't criticize my French -- I KNOW, I KNOW! It's even worse than gutter French spoken by a drunken Irish pirate.

MP3 File