A Writer's Room Recording Studio

Recording for the Rest of Us

Mics

(MP = multi-pattern mic, C = fixed cardioid pattern, F8 = fixed figure 8 pattern)


Tube Large Diaphragm Condensers

Charter Oaks 538 (MP) - features a C-12 style capsule. Perfect for vocals that need to cut through a mix.

JJ Audio modded Apex 460* (MP) - retro sounding midrange and highs ala the Neumann U-67. 

Stellar CM6 (MP) - Rich highs and lows for larger-than-life vocals


Large Diaphragm Condensers

Neumann TLM102 (C) - bright, but not edgy, for natural sounding vocals or instruments, but with a touch of added pizazz.

Gefell MT71s (C) - (designed by a former Neumann engineer) gentle peak at 7k, low cut at 200hz - presence without brightness.

AKG 414 EB circa ‘80 (MP) - big low end, scooped mids, mellow high end can soften a female voice.

AKG 414b-uls (MP) - Jim Williams mod for clean flat response - acoustic instruments and natural sounding vocals.

ADK Vienna IIau (C) - C-12 style mic, thick lows, sweet high end boost for added vocal presence.

JJ Audio SP C-1 mod* (C) - ADK Hamburg capsule for big low end.

MXL V67g modded* (C) - U87ai clone.

3u Audio Warbler MKId - (MP) vintage U87 clone (less highs than the newer U87ai.)

3u Audio GZ12fet - (MP) C12 clone with controlled high end.

Joly K47H* (C) - flat with midrange presence and slight high end sizzle - nylon string guitar, banjo, acoustic instruments.

AT4047 (C) - low mid bump, fat, present, roll off after 8k

Rode NT2A/K7 mod* (MP) - slight peak at 4k, really sweet rolled off high end. Violin or cello.

Oktava MK319 mod* (C) - pushed midrange, 5k cut - mellows bright, boomy guitars.

Oktava MK105 mod* (C) - 3k boost, brighten classical guitar, sax.

ADK S-7b (C) - big lows, subdued highs - trumpet or other bright source.



Dynamics (all fixed cardiod)

Shure SM7b - the announcer mic - midrange presence for rock vocals

Heil PR20 - 200hz proximity affect, present but smooth highs

Beta 52 - kick,

D112 - kick, low tom

Audix F14 - kick, low tom

sm57, beta57, Audix i5 - snare and electric guitar 

Audix D2, D3 & D4 - toms


Ribbons

Beyer M160 (C) - ball mic 5k peak, rolled off highs

AEA R-92 (F8) - 2k boost, big lows, articulate highs

Shinybox 46L (F8) - natural sounding, warm with smooth highs


Small Diaphragm Condensers (all fixed cardioid)

Peluso P28 tube - bright, good for thinning out a guitar

KM184 - bright with big low end

Crown CM700 (pair) - medium bright

AT 4051a (pair) - natural

ATM 450 - side address, medium bright

Oktava MK-011 mod* - flat

AKG C535eb (pair) - vocal mics, bright, scooped

Crown PZM (pair) - room mic, super clean

Shure Beta-98A - percussion clip-on mic


* Modded mics are off-the-shelf mics that have been customized with improved electronics and/or a diaphragm replacement. This process can turn a budget mic into a viable alternative to the very expensive classic mics of the past.


(At this point, mic afficiandos may be asking “where are the Neumanns? Isn’t the Neumann the standard by which all other mics are judged?” Neumanns are, indeed, standard in big studios. The U87 is probably used on more productions than any other mic, not because the U87 is better than any other mic, but because everyone has one, which makes everyone else think they need one. (Think Microsoft Windows.) In reality, the U87 has a sort of harsh, beefy sound that works on some things but is marginal on others. For the price of one U87, a budget-minded studio can buy 3 or four comparable, high quality mics, all with different sonic attributes, giving the recording engineer more options for matching the mic to the sound source.)


Preamps


Forssell SMP0500a - clean and sweet

api 500 series EM Blue - bright sparkly

api 500 series Eisen Red - clean scooped mids

api 500 series Eisen Silver - St Ives inside for the Neve sound

api 500 series Eisen Green - api op amp circa '65

api 500 series OSA L3 - phat!

Phoenix Audio DRS-1 - analog sounding magic, slight slizzle, great for drawing attention to a vocal

Sytek MPX-4A - solid state, two clean channels, two channels with Burr Brown op amps for a "colored" sound.

DAV BG-1 - two channel preamp derived from the Decca circuits popular in the late '70's.

AEA TRP - two channel preamp with 83db of gain designed for ribbon mics.

Blue Robbi - tube preamp with a big luscious sound.

6 channels of Rane, Focusrite and Presonus clean preamps.


Compressors


(2) Safesound P1, 3 stages of compression, arguably the best transparent compressor for vocals and bass.

Drawmer MX30 stereo or dual mono

DBX 160x - legendary over easy compression


UAD plugin compressors - at A Writer's Room we strive for pristine audio, preferring to treat tracks with plugins rather than distressing the audio as it's being recorded. With the UAD expansion card, we have access to software versions of classic gear for use on multiple tracks.