This is my general information. For specific songs, check out the "Read More" links on my blog's
My humble recording gear:
- (2) AKG C-414 mics - These are my workhorses. Most vocals and guitars are done through these.
- (2) Neumann KM-184 mics - Beautiful mics for drum overheads, acoustic guitars, and surprisingly sometimes vocals.
- (2) Shure SM-57 mics - I use these for toms and snare.
- (1) Sennheiser MD-421 II mic - Used for snare and guitar amp.
- (1) AKG D112 mic - I only use this for the bass drum.
- Portico 5012-H preamp - (2009-2014) Awesome vintage tone, very focused midrange.
- Universal Audio LA-610 - (2014-present) Fat, fat, fat. This is my workhorse that processes most of my signals these days. I don't usually use the EQ or compressor, but I'll use the gain stage to add some drive sometimes.
- ART Tube Opto 8 - (2014-present) I use this for extra drum inputs. Great value.
- Audiofire Pre8 - A beautiful little interface, though it's on its last legs.
- Roland DS-50A Monitors - Near-field monitors used for mixing down.
I also use my ATH-M50 headphones for an embarassing amount of mixing and recording.
I use a PC recording rig with Reaper (although everything from Ashes back
was done in Sonar). My favorite plugins:
- Native Instruments Komplete 8 - My go-to collection of synths and
virtual instruments. For synths, I like Massive and Absynth, plus the Retro
Synths collection. Abbey Road 60s drums are great for songwriting. The
pianos are alright, but the electric pianos are great.
- Waves REQ is on pretty much every track, though I've been digging
Reaper's built in EQ lately.
- Waves RVerb is the usual reverb I use, but I don't use much at all. I like delay for "stretching out" a sound, and stereo mics for widening them.
- Waves RComp is my go-to track compressor, but I use Waves RVox
for stupid-easy vocal compression.
- Waves L3 is all I use for mastering. I fix EQ on the track/bus level,
and keep this running from day 1 when I'm writing, recording and mixing so
I can get a good feel for how it will really sound.
- Waves Kramer Master Tape is my favorite delay plugin. It sounds
really natural, and the low-pass keeps it from getting cluttered. I almost
always use this on vocals.
Every instrument is played by me, thanks to the wonders of overdubbing.
My usual bag of tricks:
- On my first CDs, acoustic guitar was usually recorded in stereo, usually with mics in XY configuration, panned 50-75%. These days I usually do mono, though for sparse mixes, I'll throw my KM-184s up in stereo. I usually need to do a fairly big low cut, usually in the form of a high-pass filter. It usually gets some compression using Waves RComp to tame out the transients.
- Vocals are usually miced about a foot back, with a pop screen near my mouth. I use RVox for compression, and I almost always add the amazing Waves Kramer Master Tape plugin for a delay plugin. I think heavy reverb sounds cheesy, so I use this to add space.
- Drums are usually the snare mic (SM-57 or MD-421), the bass drum mic (D-112), toms (SM57s or MD-421), and two overheads (414s, or KM184s lately). I used to use either X/Y or spaced cardiods for the overhead configuration. Most of my albums were recorded with my PDP kit, but in 2016 I replaced it with a Tama Starclassic Maple kit.
- For sequenced drums, I like EZDrummer. You can get anything from hip-hop to very real-sounding drums. I haven't done any sequenced drums for my recent albums, though.
- Electric guitars are usually run direct in, and then through Amplitube, Waves GTR or Guitar Rig 3 for an amp emulator. Laugh at me all you want - I love the way it sounds. :)
All electric on "Only Whispering"
and before was with a Fender Fat Strat, then I used a lot of Telecaster, and from "Ashes" on, I've been in love with my Les Paul. Since 2016, I've pared down to the Les Paul and a new American Standard Telecaster.
The amp mic is a MD-421 (Only Whispering mostly), a 414 (Dirty Wings/Not Quite Connected/The Simple Life) or the Apex ribbon mic (The Simple Life).
- Bass guitars are direct in, sometimes through an amp emulator. Around "Only Whispering", I went from a crappy cheap generic to a Fender Deluxe Jazz active bass. In 2016, I added a Lakland 44-64 P-Bass clone with flatwound strings.
- Piano and orchestra instruments are done using Soundfonts (early CDs), The Grand (middle-early CDs), Akoustik Piano / others (middle-later CDs), and NI Grandeur (later CDs).
- All Hammond organ sounds come from Sonic Implants' impossibly good B4 software. The Wurly/Rhodes pianos are their Elektrik Piano, until The Wake and after (Komplete).
- Crazy synth sounds on earlier albums are either using the powerful z3ta+, or the old-school MiniMoog emulator. Now I use Komplete synths and Massive.
- On roughly "Only Whispering" on back, the snare drum mic was a straight
SM-57. But I hate 57s, so I've been using an MD-421 on the new stuff.
- "Here Today" was recorded with a standalone VS-1680 recorder, using MIDI
drums, and internal guitar amp simulation.
- "Crawford Street" is mostly done with a computer rig running Sonar 3 and 4.
The interface was a mega-crappy Roland VM-3100 mixer. Electric guitars
were mostly done through Amplitube.
- "Only Whispering" was started with the VM-3100, but most of the parts were
re-recorded using a Tascam FW-1840 interface. Electric guitars
were mostly done through Amplitube.
- "Dirty Wings", "Not Quite Connected" and "The Simple Life" were recorded with
my new Onyx 400F, which I'm very happy with. The Telecaster was my main
electric guitar, usually through the Tube Screamer into the Blackface,
recoreded with a low volume into a 414.
- "Breadcrumbs" is still with the Onyx 400F interface, using Sonar 8.
I'm back to using mostly guitar amp emulators. I've also discovered the joys
of Melodyne. The last three songs on the CD were recorded mostly with my
new Portico 5012-H preamp.
- "Ashes" was the last CD using Sonar. I'm using Reaper going forward. I'm also using an Audiofire Pre8 interface, since my Onyx finally crapped out.