No Input Sound Samples

Here are some samples for people to listen to on Soundcloud from our No Input mixing session (as described here):

No Input, No Idea

Too many mixers to be healthy

Too many mixers to be healthy.

Last week Andrew Mooney and I set up a bunch of gear to have a crack at some no input mixing. We’d each had a basic play with no input stuff on our own, but wanted to push things a little further with additional gear and effects and collaborating to have someone else to “jam” with. The gear we used including a couple Soundcraft mixers, a Yamaha 02R, a little Behringer mixer and a few boxes for effects.

No input mixing is a noise technique where you connect outputs to inputs on a mixer to intentionally create feedback. This feedback is the basis for playing around. In our case we included some effects so that we had plenty of scope for messing with sounds. Here is a video showing some basic no input mixing:

 

No input arguably falls into the category of gear abuse, but it can be a lot of fun. Part of the fun is that it is quite hard to control and know what you are going to get. At least for us newbies. The following video shows a guy who knows what he is doing who has tuned his feedback so that he can play more standard compositions:

 

‘Fratres’ pour console no-input (extrait) from Christian Carrière on Vimeo.

 

We recorded over an hour of our no input jamming, and will post some samples up soon.

 

Piano Reverbonance

I was trawling through some old photos and found this little gem from a session back in 2007 that Cam and I worked on for the very excellent Alex Clarke.

Alex's Vox amp stuck in the exposed back of the piano.The idea was to use a piano as a tuned reverb / resonator. I had done similar things done with drums, as a way to re-trigger/re-sample drum sounds, and acoustic guitars in the past (drums sound pretty different when “mic’d up” using an acoustic guitar), but never a piano.

The piano pictured is my old CP-60. A full ‘hammers and strings’ upright piano that has a pick-up in it for use on stage. Don Walker from Cold Chisel famously used the bigger CP-70 and CP-80 models. All the CP pianos have a trademark sound owing to design requirements (such as dramatically shorter than usual strings) in order to make them ‘portable’.

The back off the CP-60 was taken off and we stuck a guitar amp in nice and close, put a brick on the sustain pedal and played music through the amp. We fed whatever sound came out of the piano DI back into the mix.

It was quite a while ago now and can’t I remember just how much of it we actually used in the end. It did sound kinda spooky and I’m pretty sure it got a look in for at least one or two of the songs we were working on.

TSP & The Speaker-Mic Recording

Quite a long while ago Tim blew up one of the speakers in his home stereo. Instead of throwing out the remaining good speaker with the broken one he decided to put it to work. He ripped the 8″ driver out of the enclosure, soldered a cable and cannon plug to the terminals and mounted it in an old disused snare stand.

Photo by Luchpup images

It is lucky for us that he did. The day he brought it in to give it a try we were tracking electric guitars and looking for an older fashioned sound. The speaker mic was tried and turned out to be the exactly the sound we were looking for – no other mic was used on the guitar amp that day.

The speaker mic has since become our go-to bass amp mic as well as being used to fatten kick drums and even tried on vocals, with varying degrees of success.

Tim, being the kind of person that he is, simply couldn’t leave it there. His band – Teen Skank Parade – were going their seperate ways at the time and there was a bunch of songs that they didn’t have a recording of.

He came up with a plan and got Cam and I to help him with it.

There were rules:

  1. No microphones allowed, only speakers.
  2. Nothing digital was allowed to be used.
  3. The band had to play live, no overdubs.
  4. We had to record a live mix straight to 1/4″ 2 track tape.

Cam and I managed to negotiate a slight modification to the rules and were allowed to take a multitrack analogue recording along with the live stereo mix.

On the day Tim arrived with a box of broken and/or discarded speakers and headphones. Cam, Tim and I got to work with the soldering iron while the band setup. Tim had an apple eyeball computer speaker for the snare mic and a pair of headphones that he wore inside out – tied onto his head – for his drum overheads (pardon the terrible pun).

10 and 12 inch speakers were simply gaffered stright onto the face of guitar and bass amps and Sully sang into a 6″ speaker cone.

Cam and I took the “all analogue” rule to heart and supplemented our spring reverb with a couple of other homemade effects. The front recreation room was turned into a reverb chamber – signal was sent to the stereo system and a couple of speaker=mics were used to return the sound of the room back to the mixer. The Studer 1/4″ machine was threaded up, slowed down to 3.75 ips and used as a tape delay.

We had to eq in a decent amount of highs to compensate for the natural rolloff that the speakers had. The overall sound was thick, fat and dirty. Very dirty.

Which suited the band quite well as they are dirty boys with dirty minds and dirty mouths. You can hear a sample of the recording here but be warned, you may be able to hear some bad language through the noise.

Tim made a movie of the whole process which you can find here. And he has a lot more information about the project on his website here.