Brad Stratton is an audio producer/editor/mixer working in Brooklyn, NYC, and won in numerous award-winning commercial projects including AICP, Cannes Lions, One Show and CLIO.
With AMBEO VR Mic, many producers have expanded their playground of immersive audio recording. To create unique binaural podcasts, I chose AMBEO VR Mic for my documentary podcast series entitled “It’s a Pixies Podcast” which is available on Spotify, about the making of the soon to be released Pixies album, “Beneath the Eyrie”.
The series is unique in that during the 3-week process of creating the album, the band allowed us to capture every single moment of their creative process in the studio. This verité audio, along with interviews, narration and live in-studio performances, form the foundation of the series.
The sessions for “Beneath the Eyrie” took place at Dreamland, near Kingston, NY. In our pre-production meetings prior to installing our recording gear at Dreamland, the Pixies management team made 2 things very clear; 1) They wanted the most complete, high quality capture possible of the band's activity and interactions while creating “Beneath the Eyrie”, and 2) they wanted the whole setup to be as minimalist as possible. The capture process had to be invisible to the band so that it did not distract them from the making of the album, and also so that we captured their natural creative process without them feeling like they needed to be "on".
„The most impressive thing about it was certainly the signal to noise ratio. By applying clip gain in Pro Tools and using a small amount of noise reduction, I have been able to use conversations which happened at least 20 feet from the mic, with no problems in terms of clarity or understandability.“
Because we had no idea where the band members would physically be at any moment, we needed a capture mic in the main room which was truly omnidirectional. Also, because the dynamic levels would be all over the place - from very loud drums to very quiet conversations, we needed a high-quality mic with excellent signal to noise ratio. I had read about how the AMBEO VR Mic was used for dialogue recording on the Wolverine podcast, and this gave me the idea to use it as the main capture mic in the main recording space at Dreamland.
I positioned the mic in the center of the main room, oriented toward the drum kit. We used another mic as the main recorder. The gain was set so that when the drummer was playing live, the levels would be in the yellow, but never peaking. This was the best happy medium between the high SPLs of his drums and the quiet band conversations we needed to capture. In the end, the mic performed beautifully. The most impressive thing about it was certainly the signal to noise ratio. By applying clip gain in Pro Tools and using a small amount of noise reduction, I have been able to use conversations which happened at least 20 feet from the mic, with no problems in terms of clarity or understandability.
Since the podcast is delivered as a stereo master, we are not currently using the complete ambisonic capability of the audio we captured using the AMBEO VR Mic. However, the stereo image is excellent, and provides the perfect "live" feel when added to our mixes of the band performing in the studio. Thanks to the excellent performance of the AMBEO VR Mic, the sense of position, proximity, reality, location, as well as music and voice placement can all be truly presented in this unique immersive podcast.
About Brad Stratton
Brad Stratton is a media professional with a wide range of experience in music and audio production in Brooklyn, NYC. During his career, has worked for some of the city’s finest music and audio post production companies, including Fluid (now Butter Music + Sound), Sound Lounge and BANG Music + Audio post. He won in numerous award-winning commercial projects including AICP, Cannes Lions, One Show and CLIO. His strength is his ability to find creative production solutions which lead to quality results. Discover more about him here: https://www.bradleyjstratton.com/