A little bit about Steve’s arsenal of choice.
Trident/Oram 8T mixing console – Trident is well known in recording-engineer circles for its classic 80B console through which many great 70’s rock albums were committed to tape. John Oram’s 8T is a modern re-imagining of that classic British 80B sound in a smaller form-factor. Each channel’s pre-amp adds warm, clean and transparent tone to every single track, making drums bigger, basses meatier, guitars lusher and vocals more crisp and powerful. The EQ section adds the coveted British EQ tone-control to each channel. During tracking, the signal can be monitored back directly without passing through the computer for zero-latency monitoring (recording just the way it used to be, when it was more organic and rock and roll). During mixing, each of the 8T’s 24 channels can be doubled to allow an extra signal path to come from the multitrack, digital effects, and extra busses for truly analog track summing. What’s more, while I still use the computer for certain advantages (unlimited plugin power, automation, and editing capabilities) I am a big advocate of what studio geeks call mixing “out-of-the-box” which is to say I still move faders personally and mixdown in real-time. As an artist, mixing “out of the box” is a more natural and honest way to mix and the Trident 8T provides an amazing canvas with which to capture amazing recordings.
ALESIS HD24 XR – AD/DA Conversion (Analog to Digital, Digital to Analog Conversion) is the intermediary step between your recording hardware and your recording software. The quality of your analog to digital conversion effects what information gets “captured” to your digital recording. It’s the difference between capturing a stunning vista of the grand canyon on your cell phone’s built-in camera or capturing the same image through a professional camera one might use with intention to put the same image into an art gallery. Good AD conversion ensures that your sound does not change or degrade from it’s original quality. The Alesis HD24 XR is actually a stand-alone 24 track hard disk recorder (which can be taken on location) which can be paired with a computer recording rig for its valuable converters. I did my homework on this one; many gear geeks hail the HD24 XR’s AKM converters as better than the MOTU 192, and better sounding than than Digidesign’s HD192 (Pro Tools) box – the standard equipment on all Pro Tools HD setups…and you can use it with or without a computer. I use the HD24 to get audio in and out from the Trident to Sonar. I have also tracked entire records just on the HD24. Sessions can be exported as .wav or .aiff files via the built-in Ethernet port or bounce digitally via 3 banks of ADAT optical.
MOTU 2408 mk3 – I use the 2408’s 3 banks of ADAT optical to interface between my PC and my Alesis HD24 XR. This 2408 also has 8 modded analog ins and outs with hot-rodded circuitry by Black Lion Audio which sound thick and clean. I typically use these extra inputs to bounce the stereo mixdown back to digital.
Universal Audio M610 Tube Preamplifier – The UA610 is a high-end microphone pre-amp that is for your vocals like the switching from drinking dirty tap-water to clear mountain spring water. Vocals become silky-smooth through the UA’s pristine analog circuitry. Also sounds great on bass guitar too. The M610 is based on a vintage design because good things tend to last.
MJE K47h – Michael Joly takes old Russian Oktava microphones and applies his strange and wonderful brand of electronic alchemy to remake each microphone into a work of art. The K47h takes this a step farther. Michael painstakingly reproduced the capsule from the vintage Neumann U47 and U67 microphones (which are timeless classics and sound utterly amazing) down to the last detail and created his own head-unit that connects to a modded MK-012 pencil mic making a magical Franken-mic that is uniquely good-looking and sounds like you wouldn’t believe! The specs measure up to the EQ curve of a U67 but all you need to know is that it sounds spectacular on vocals. You know that “brittle” midrange that some budget mics get? None of that! This mic sounds like a $10,000 mic. But its not. I’m gushing… really I need to move on. Just come over and hear it.
BLUE Baby Bottle – BLUE stands for Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics. This company has been getting a lot of attention in the last 5 years for their high-quality, yet affordable large diaphragm condenser microphones (English: the kind you use in the studio on vocals). This mic sounds great on anything you want big and clear with a little edge… vocals, violin/fiddle, acoustic guitar. The Baby Bottle has a clear, accurate sound that is very pleasant when used in conjunction with my UA M610.
Shure Dynamic Microphones – For some reason (good design I guess) these haven’t changed in 30 years. Dynamic mics are great on anything from guitars to drums to vocals because they have the ability to tolerate high sound levels with ease. They are also excellent live mics because of their easy to please tone and great feedback rejection. I currently own mics of the SM57, SM58, and Beta 58 lines as well as an SM7-B.
Rode NT4 – Rode is another innovator in new mics. The NT4 is a single bodied dual small-diaphragm X-Y pattern stereo microphone. What that means is with one mic clip you get a perfect stereo image for your drum overheads, room sound, closeup on guitars or anywhere else you can imagine a perfectly matched pair of ears. Quick high-frequency response makes this an ideal instrument mic.
Sennheiser Dynamic Microphones – I own all the way up the line. The e602 is great on Kick Drum and Bass Guitar. The e604s are small and quickly mount on toms. The e835s sound great on toms and are a simple solution for voiceovers. The e609 sounds great on guitar cabs.
Alesis AM 30 – I bought this small capsule condenser mic used at Guitar Center because I needed a bottom snare mic for a drum session at another studio. At first I thought it was a Groove Tubes and then was confounded when it said Alesis on it. I quickly fell in love with the way this mic sounds! So far it has been a great hi-hat mic.
AKG C1000 – Workhorse condenser mic for instruments that can sound good or bad depending on how you use it. Great for live. I have also used it with great success on records with a little bit of British EQ (because I was using all the other mics).
Rode M3 – I have two of these. They look just like the C1000, and sound good on the same things.
Pro Tools 12
Pro Tools 9
Logic Studio 9
Slate VCC (Virtual Console Collection)
Yamaha MG16/4 mixing board
2 Yamaha 112V mains speakers
QSC RMX 850 amplifier
2 Yamaha SM12V monitor speakers
DBX 231 graphic equalizer
DBX Project 1 compressor
100 Ft. 20 Channel snake
Synths Keyboards and Drum Machines
Korg O1/W fd Wave Shaping Synthesizer
Yamaha DX-7 FM Synthesizer
Casio Privia 88 key weigthed controller
Studio Electronics SE-1
Korg Wavestation Rack
Roland Vintage Keys
All Logic/Mainstage synths
Other Studio Gear
DBX 266 XL Compressor/Gate
DBX 166 XL Compressor/Limiter/Gate
Meyer-Sound CP-10 parametric EQ
2 Alesis Wedge multi-fx
Alesis Monitor One Nearfield monitors