Recording Uriah Heep's 2014 album, Outsider + Jack Savoretti
Whats amazing for me now is being in the studio with some of these guys that have been doing this longer than I’ve been alive. Its amazing how much you can learn just from sitting on the sofa all day at the back of the room, just watching and listening. I’m still not great at playing it cool and sometimes I think I’m way too honest but the guys know this is my 1st gig and are very supportive of it. Producer Mike Paxman keeps giving me killer advice and its these words of wisdom that I think takes an aspiring engineer or producer to the next level. People like Mike can sum up situations you’ve taken a year to work out in just over a sentence. Things the books don’t really push across, even when its written down in front of you. You can be the best at Pro Tools or at using a particular analogue desk but if you can’t relate to the music or the project, it’s just not going to happen.
The gear is obviously top notch stuff with these guys. For bass, we run an Ampeg SVT-2 through a cab with an MD41 mic. The bass really sounds good, makes such a difference when you spend a lot of money on the back line, as oppose to just relying on a DI and some emulation software.
Something thats surprising is the drum mics aren’t what I’m used to, thanks to Bucks Uni having a tremendous range of well known brands. We are using brands like Audix which I’ve never used before but heard great things about. It’s always refreshing when it still sounds great as originally I wasn’t sure what it would sound like. I think it all reverts back to that ‘recording chain’. It starts with the musicians and the instruments first of all and Russ is such a great great drummer that it almost doesn’t matter.
I think overall, Neve 1066 and 1073 Preamps make a great difference. I’ve also hardly come across them before but had a quick practice with them recording a session for Jack Savoretti. You play with the EQ until it sounds good, boosting obviously. Once your used to it, if you bypass it, you suddenly make a horrible face and quickly switch it back on again. It's amazing the difference, you can put any mic anywhere with these Pre’s and I bet you wouldn’t be able to tell what mic it was.
Jack Savoretti's session was great fun. I hope it leads to other things, it might not but that doesn’t matter. Its amazing who is saying yes to me now compared to 1-2 years ago today. It’s not like a lot has changed, It doesn’t feel like I’ve got much better than when I was 23 just out of Uni but It’s just the names you can use in your emails to the management or record companies. It’s turning into a game for me now.
On another note, I’m surprised the difference Analogue summing has made to the overall sound. We are only using an old DDA desk or something I’ve never heard of before but, sending the drums down a stereo pair of faders and then everything else through the rest makes a big big big difference. Summing was never anything that came up at Uni, It doesn’t surprise me because not a lot of people feel the need to do it. Now though, I’m eyeing up Neve 5060’s when a few months ago I didn’t even know why anyone would bother. Interesting.