As I get nearer and nearer to completing my next big original album project, I was thinking through what has become some of my favorite studio equipment. If you’re curious, I also did a blog post on some of my favorite plug-ins here.
AKG Perception 420 Microphone
This is the mic that I used to record all of my vocals, and some of the harmony vocals on the album. There are virtually endless options when it comes to studio mics, and I happened to have a lucky find when I came across the AKG 420. I think it has a very nicely balanced sound, with just the right amount of fullness and openness, without being to harsh or “nasal” in the upper-mid-range. I also use a pop filter and attach a sound absorber to the mic stand arm to further isolate the vocals.
Taylor Grand Symphony Mini
This is the first acoustic guitar that I purchased myself, since the Seagull that I own was a Christmas present that I’ve had for about fifteen years. I really like the contrast in sound between the two guitars. The Seagull is a bit warmer and fuller because of the larger dreadnaught-shaped body, and the Taylor has a brighter and more upfront sound, while also holding it’s own in terms of fullness. I have actually used both guitars on the recording, depending on which tone is most fitting for the song. It has been great to be able to choose between the two, and I’ve been really satisfied with the results.
Electric Guitar Rig: Fender Telecaster Thinline ’72 Reissue and Jet City PicoValve Amplifier
I probably spend way too much time tweaking my electric guitar rig, but I think the tweaking has paid off since there are some great tones and effects that will be on the album. There is some Stratocaster on the album, but I more-often went with the Tele because the body type and pickups provide a slightly richer sound, which was a better fit for most of the songs on the album. The “PicoValve” amp is a low-wattage tube amp that records really nicely with an SM57 mic on the cabinet and/or a small diaphragm condenser mic (see the next section). I’ve had the speaker cabinet for quite a few years, and have been really pleased with it. The cab is an open back pine enclosure with two 10″ Jensen Neo speakers.
Lastly, I am continuously tweaking my pedalboard to find certain effects that fit my needs for the sound that I am seeking for the album. Some of the most used effects that are heard on the album include the Line 6 Verbzilla reverb, classic Ibanez Tubescreamer overdrive, TC Electronic Flashback X4 analog modeling delay, and Electro-Harmonix “Knockout” equalizer. Admittedly, I sometimes also used virtual guitar simulators in Logic Pro X, which helps to provide even more options for sonic character.
Small Diaphragm Condenser Microphones
Throughout the recording of this project, I’ve used a number of different brands of this type of mic, including AKG (Perception 170) and Audio-Technica (AT 4041). I especially like them for recording acoustic instruments because they are very sensitive and accurate. For instance, I use a stereo pair every time that I record acoustic guitar. They also can work well on electric guitar amps and as overhead mics for drums.
More details are soon to come as I finally come close to wrapping up the album!