From Shapenotes To Rings On Saturn

After being introduced to the Blumlein pair mic technique, I wanted to try it with a certain hobby of mine. Fortunately, my group mates were willing to give it a go.
Shapenote singing is an American tradition of sacred choral music sung in four sections sitting in a square with a leader in the middle. One of the long standing complaints I’ve heard with recorded Shapenote is that it never does the actual thing justice, largely because the full effect only comes from being in the center of the square.


Using the Cascade Fatheads, we gave it a try with a quartet we got together. I ended up standing in as tenor for someone who couldn’t make it, so it was an interesting experience being on the other side of the glass for once. A major challenge with this music was standing still while singing, not hitting cords or mic stands and for one of us, not stomping your foot as is sometimes traditionally done. In the end, we got a good sounding product – especially after a verb impulse was applied that mimicked the effect of the echo from the hardwood floored rooms we usually sing these songs in. I still wish we could have gotten a larger group.


Next, Nathalie – our Alto from the shapenote quartet brought in her band for us to record her song “Lightyears Away”. Her catchy refrain of ‘You’re on my mind like rings on Saturn’ will be stuck in my head for days now. Unfortunately, I had to leave for another class before this one really got underway. The attached final mix was done by my classmate, Aaron Kish.

For Nathalie’s vocals, we used a Chameleon Labs TS-2 and a Shure SM7B on vocals
On Andrew, we had a Electrovoice RE-25 for his vocals, and his keyboard went into a pair of direct boxes.

IMG_0011 IMG_0012


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