February 13, 2012


In my last post I explained the reasons behind recording without headphones and the science behind it. It seems amongst my peers that this is a very controversial approach. Kevin Gilday told me he didn’t understand how I could get into “the zone” (obviously used ironically) without being cut off from the rest of the world and isolating yourself in that personal space created by wearing headphones. This is true for listening to music but not for performing.

It seems there are some skeptical people out there and I don’t expect them all to understand. I spoke briefly to Dan Hopkinson of Light Parades and he shares my view and even recorded his vocals monitoring from loud speakers too, so I’m glad I’m not alone.

In this video I’m doing a take for the song February, the sound is a bit dodgy but I couldn’t monitor the sound from where I was… and it wasn’t my number one priority. In this set up we actually stuck up a 6ft Baffle in front of the mic to reduce spill even further, once we dialed down the kick and snare, added the room tone/spill track and reversed its phase the spill was basically inaudible.

I spent the whole day recording and hit my stride pretty much on the first take, I felt more comfortable pitching to the music than I am with headphones. With out the added weight and congested feeling I get from obstructing my earholes I was able to fully focus on the music and with the ambient light in the room, it also aided me to find that space in my head when I wrote the lyrics. All in all this technique has helped not only my performance and most importantly for me, my pitching. I’m still not perfect but hey, this is Katerwaul not XFactor!