Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Music From Plum Alley (& Highway 61)

"Aerial" view of the Boss workstation
A happy Wednesday & a happy February to you.  Not being a fan of snow & cold weather, I can’t say I’m sad to see January in the rearview mirror, tho it’s true that at least around these parts we easily have another four weeks plus of sketchy weather on the horizon.

On the other hand, one thing I can say for this winter: it’s gotten me recording like I’ve never recorded before as a soloist.  Since recording is a major activity right now, I thought you folks might like a look at the little home recording studio we have set up
—Plum Alley Music.  We use a Boss BR 1200 workstation which, without getting into esoterica such as “virtual tracks,” gives us the capacity to record 12 tracks on any given song.   Truth is, tho, I like live sound, & I never do any over-dubbing.  I play a full guitar style as it is & I like recording songs as I perform them. 
Recording set up, with the 3 instruments I'm using: L-R: Regal Resonator, Gold Tone Resonator, Windsor Banjo

So my set-up involves two mikes, a Shure 57 Beta for the guitar or banjo & an AKG D880 for the voice.  We also have a nice Shure KSM27 condensor, & I’ve experimented with a one-mike set-up, but I like using two since it gives some flexibility in adjusting the sound after the recording is done—the voice & guitar are on separate tracks & can be adjusted (mostly) independently of each other—there’s some spill over from one track to the other simply because the mikes are close together.  After the volume is adjusted or “EQ’d,” reverb added, etc., the tracks are “bounced” to a mixed stereo track.  Why is this called “bouncing?”—no idea, tho I know it dates back to the days of analog tape recording, because you could “bounce” with a four-track machine.  At any rate, all this is done on the Boss.

I could do the rest of the work on the Boss, but I’m used to a program called Cool Edit 2000.  As the software name suggests, this is not a state of the art program, but it is a very good one, & it can do far more than I’d ever need.  So I complete the editing process on the computer.  Besides my familiarity with the program, I like the visual interface, which is much more clear than on the small Boss screen. 

"Highway 61" in graphic form
The photo of the Cool Edit interface shows the song “Highway 61” by Mississippi Fred McDowell.  It’s a great slide tune, & one of the 15 songs I currently have in the can.  You can hear my take at the end of the post.



  1. I love the pictures of your recording set-up as much as I love the music. Maybe it's my interest in the creative process or maybe I'm just a voyeur.

  2. Hi Caroline: I'm glad you enjoyed the look at the process--thanks!

  3. I'm intrigued by the painting/picture hung above your work station! :)

    Is that of you and your wife??

  4. Hi Ginger: Yes, a painting, done directly on the wall by an old friend of Eberle's. I think I've written about the painting somewhere in the past on the blog, but I can't remember where or when (as the old song goes). The upper border says "Plum Alley"--that got cut off in this pic. Thanks!


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