FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you sing so together when it's just you singing all the parts?
By recording the keyboard instuments and strings playing each part separately, I can vocally sync up with that instrumental part and then gradually "build" the tracks in almost perfect sync.
2. You record a lot of ladies Learning Trax. How can you sing those really high tenor notes?
I can sing up to about high Eb(on a good day). Any higher than that, and I use my computer software to tranpose notes up to the correct pitch, sometimes up as much as a 4th or 5th interval. Currently, my very talented daughter Ashley is singing all my ladies trax. She's as good as it gets!
3. Why do you mix drums in the background of the uptempo songs?
Barbershoppers really have a tendency to not sing good rhythm nor do they hold tempo very well. A light drum track in the background is a great "learning tool" in helping you keep notes rhythmically where they belong!
4. Is that a piano (in the background) also playing the part?
Yes,... well, actually it's a "stacking" of various keyboard sounds (piano, electric pianos, and sampled strings sounds).
5. What kind of equipment do you use to record your Learning Trax?
Over the past 25 years, I've probably accumulated about $100,000 worth of recording equipment in my recording studio. Right now, I use a pro audio/midi software called Logic Pro 9. Everything is recorded in the computer (Mac G-5). I use very expensive mic's (Neumann U87-$3200/C12-$5000) and mic-preamps (Neve/Avalon/Manley). I have two "rack towers" (about 4 foot high each) of various signal processing gear, although most current signal processing is done in the computer via Logic Pro 9's native plug-in's and lots of other 3rd party plug-ins.
6. What's the largest number of vocal parts that you've recorded for a Learning Trax?
Probably that one goes to Renee Craig's Coronet Club Chorus arrmts with the Queens Men Chorus also joining in... up to 12 or 13 parts singing at one time.
7. Why do you record keyboard instruments also playing each part?
It helps me when I have to sync up all the vocal parts. I listen to the keyboard part of the current part I'm going to record and then sing along with it.
8. How can you sing all those parts so accurately and not make one mistake?
I do make mistakes! The neat thing is, with my pretty sophisticated equipment, I can "punch-in" sometimes right in the middle of a word and make a correction. I can,... and do look at the finished audio wave files and tune-up any notes that still aren't perfectly in tune or in vertical sync using Melodyne software. It's a very time-consuming process, but it's just the way I like to do things.