Musical Man Cave (But she likes it, too.)

Hi, everyone.  This has been a crazy busy, and mostly wonderful time for Kathy and me. 

  • Over the Memorial Day weekend we went to Oshkosh to celebrate the marriage of Justin Behnke to Samantha Kosmer.  Justin is step-son to…

A Peek Inside

For many years we traveled around in our fifth wheel and recording along the way.  Each year when we left Wisconsin in the fall, we had a new idea for "the studio."  The first year out, we used our…

Recording on the Road

On our way back from Phoenix this spring, we stopped in Fort Worth, TX for a short visit with our RV friends, Brad and Sharon Bradley.  It was great to see them, and share a couple of meals and recalling some…

Springtime in Wisconsin

We finished our vocal recording session in Missouri with Joyce Groom a day earlier than anticipated, back (more on our time with Joyce in the next blog post) and headed to Wisconsin to reunite with family and friends.  We had heard…

Starting the Trip Home

When most people think about returning from a trip, a 2-3 hour flight or a 6 hour drive comes to mind.  For a full-time RVer the mindset is quite different.  Gone are the days of loading the family into the motor home and driving 24 hours straight through to Florida for a week on the beach or visits to the home of our favorite M-O-U-S-E.  As retirees, when we leave Palm Springs to head for home, it will take close to a month to get there.  Our first stop on the way back is Lake Havasu City, AZ for four days, then two weeks in Mesa, AZ, followed by a couple of days in the Ft. Worth, Texas area. Our last stop before Wisconsin will be 4-5 days in Kirksville, MO.  As we travel, we seldom drive more than 300 miles in a day, so there are a number of one-night stays along the way home as well.

With the RV, the longer the stay, the more stuff we set up.  For every stop along the way four things are done: hook up to electric, (RVers call this shore power) level the unit, pop out the slides, and set up the satellite dish.  For longer stays we would hook up our water and sewer lines, put out stabilizer jacks, set up lawn chairs, hang pictures of family,  get out guitars to rehearse, and set up our mini recording studio. 

On the way to Havasu we saw a couple of burros on the side of the road.  Next time we go through that area we'll have carrots along in case any strangers poke their head in the truck window.

Our short stay in Lake Havasu City was too short.  Next year we are hoping to stay a little longer.  A special hello to Pastor Jon Maki and the congregation at Havasu Alliance Church.  We so enjoyed our time with you.  Another special hello goes out to the Browns, Bob and Dawn, for inviting us to see their beautiful winter home in Havasu Heights.  During the summer, they attend the same church in Wisconsin as us.

A trip to Lake Havasu City wouldn't be complete without a visit to the London Bridge, and a tour on the Lake.  We went on a 4 hour tour in a RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) with Rubba Duck Safari.  Our tour guide, Pablo, was informative and funny.  He had a microphone that broadcast to to the radios in our boats, so we could hear everything.  If You ever get to Lake Havasu City, check out the Rubba Duck Safari.  Keeping with the spirit of the London Bridge, we ended the day with a tasty meal of fish and chips.

I've put some more Lake Havasu City pics at the bottom of this article.  You may have to hit "Read More" to get to all the pictures.

We are taking our time re-mixing our first CD.  There's no sense of urgency, like with a new CD.  It's more a labor of love.  We have gone through and recorded  extra harmony vocals where we thought they would add to a song.  We have also pitch corrected some vocals, and completely re-recorded vocals we thought were beyond saving.  All of the instruments are being re-worked as well.  I could safely say that we are mixing, but it might be more accurate to say we are fixing.

I'm going to get a little techy here for a minute, and talk about things we know now, but were clueless about when we recorded our first CD.

  • When performing live, a vocalist gets as close to a mic as possible, usually touching it to their lips, except for loud passages where the vocalist backs off of the mic.  In the studio you use a completely different type of microphone that works best if you are 8-12 inches away.  Not knowing any better, we sang into the studio mic like we were preforming live.  The result was a lot of pops, clicks, other noises, and bass frequencies that had to be dealt with.
  • Another thing about recording vocals are sound reflections.  Sound bounces all over the room you are recording in.  Walls soak up some frequencies and reflect others.  The louder you sing, the more reflections--and Kathy and I are not quiet.  These reflections introduce or reinforce frequencies that are often not very pleasant, and sometimes downright painful.  We knew nothing of this when we recorded the first CD. We have since learned how to minimize these unwanted reflections.  We have also learned techniques for removing or minimizing the impact of unwanted frequencies. 
  • Lastly, after the first CD was completed, we learned that a delicate balance that needs to maintained in a singer's headphones.  Generally, in the headphone mix, if the music is too soft in relation to a singer's voice the singer may sing flat.  Also, if the music is too loud the singer may sing sharp.  Either way, if the music-to-vocal mix isn't right in the headset, the vocalist will often sing off key.

That leads us in to our download for this week.  We did a cover of a song called The Faithful One.  It was a song from our first CD that we were sort of disappointed with.  At the time, we were advised by people who knew more about recording than us, that listeners would not notice an occasional flat note--but we did.  We loved performing that song, and have not had the heart to sing it since shortly after we released the CD.  I'm putting them up side by side--the old from 2009 and the re-mix.  Once again, this is not a finished re-mix.  We are waiting until we get home to our acoustically treated studio and larger speakers before finalizing the mix and then mastering is.

Listen to The Faithful One

Feel free to leave your comments below.

One Last Look at Palm Springs

Well, we went all touristy before we left
the Palm Springs area and took a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.  www.pstramway.com  A ride with breathtaking views that travels 2.5 miles and climbs 6000 feet in 10 minutes.  Elevation at the…

Enjoying So Cal and Palm Springs

Hi, and thanks for coming along on our journey.  As some of you may know we used to have a blog called Cat Tales.  The story of our travels as told by our cats, Tasha and Mikey.  They both…

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Greetings From Southern California

We are  in southern California until mid-March.  The weather is great and we are enjoying our time here.  We are already missing the new friends we made in Phoenix, Yuma and Jamul. 

***As many of you know, Kathy and…