Happy Dragon Music is an invitation only recording and video production studio located in the Canton area, north of the Atlanta perimeter. A loose collection of creatives who no longer play for a living, we make music and videos because that's what we love.
With only the occasional deer and bunnies to disturb us, it's a haven for those who have day jobs and a moderately normal existence but still need the joy of creativity in their lives.
The complexion of our studio naturally changes as we take on different projects. Here's a peek behind the curtain for those who enjoy such things.
Our main tracking room is 30 by 20 with an 11 foot ceiling. Hardwood floors are offset by an insulated drop ceiling and the walls have been acoustically treated to create a room with an ambience that's expansive but not overpowering.
We optimized this space for tracking acoustic instruments such as drums and guitar. We also record bass and electric guitars here. While they're typically close miked, the room also provides options for natural reverb when desired.
Like most studios, the complexion of our live room changes based on need. For band rehearsal scenarios we've transitioned from our JBL PA and monitor speakers to running headphones and in ear monitors exclusively, as they give the best possible mix whether tracking or rehearsing.
Our Yamaha console also provides mobile apps for personal monitor mixing. Simply connect to your specified monitor bus and every track is available to you, allowing you to tweak your headphone or in ear mix to taste without having to wait for an engineer to assist you.
Our booth is large enough for three vocalists or performers at once (more if they really like each other). This comes in handy when we're doing voice over work or recording radio programs such as our work on The Composer Channel a few years back.
It also serves as an isolation booth and is designed to be as dead as possible. The sound, that is. We've found through trial and error that people tend to give their best possible performances when alive.
Our latest redesign has moved us almost completely into the digital realm. The tracking workflow is centered on our Yamaha TF5 32 track console, which presents itself directly to our DAW software as 32 channels of inputs and outputs.
We put our analog gear on the signal chain before it reaches the mixer. While Yamaha is known for its high quality mic preamps, we also have 12 channels of SSL pres in addition to a couple of Neves. Additionally, we employ a pair of Distressors on vocals, bass and other such applications.
The mix process is enhanced by the addition of a Mackie MCU control surface. As much as we like twiddling our mouse, sometimes there's just no substitute for grabbing the hardware. Our NS-10 speakers have retired, leaving the task of moving air to our HR824s. The addition of a DBX DriveRack allows us to fine tune the mix position for acoustics we can trust in any playback environment.
Our mic cabinet focuses on quality rather than ego, so we don't care what label they're wearing as long as they sound good. This allows our Neumann, Sennheiser, Shure, Rode and other mics, whether solid state or tube, to peacefully coexist with each other without any bumps, bruises or dented grilles.
Having been through the wars and worked with every major brand of recording software on the market, we've settled in with Cubase as our central focus point. This is augmented with a healthy collection of plugins from Waves and other such companies.
While most musicians prefer to bring their own equipment, for guitarists we do have a fully loaded Kemper with profiles ranging from warm and fuzzy to melt your face. There's also a small but well behaved collection of pedals and effects.
Our sporadic musings can be found on Twitter at HappyDragonATL.
We're very inconsistent about it.