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Waves “Studio Classics Collection Experience” with Eddie Kramer

April 7, 2009
Metropolis Studios, Chiswick

Metropolis Studios, Chiswick

I went along to Metropolis Studios today to hear what Eddie Kramer had to say about some of Waves’ vintage emulation plugins.  As it turned out, he talked more about his experiences engineering for Jimi Hendrix than the plugins themselves, which was obviously still very interesting nonetheless.

The main substance of the talk centred around a track called “Super Hand” by The Black Hand, which he’d recorded at Abbey Road.  Isolating each instrument one by one, he talked through which mics he’d used and then added EQ and compression where appropriate using the Waves plugins.  You can watch a very similar presentation by Kramer, and many other interesting clips about him, here on YouTube or read a transcript of one here (the content, including the jokes, are almost identical in his many other Waves tour dates).

For me, the most impressive part of this was that there seems to be barely a single mic that Kramer has not tried and formed an opinion about.  Most of these were obviously top end Neumanns and the like (I already have a pointless yet extensive wishlist of Brauners, Royers et al  that I’m not likely to get my hands on anytime soon so I’m not in any great hurry to keep adding to it) but I was interested to hear how complimentary he was about Shure mics which, although much more accessible price-wise, I’ve never really tried to get hold of for some reason.

In particular, he mentioned a Shure mini-condenser (must be the Beta 98S, I think) which I’d love to try out but, having looked into their range a bit deeper, I’m also interested in giving the Beta 52A and their boundary mic, the Beta 91, a go on various impacts, and bass-heavy, ear-splittingly loud sound FX  I’ve been planning to record for an upcoming action movie I’m working on.  To quote the Shure website, “The Beta 91 combines superior “attack” and “punch” for studio quality sound, even at the extremely high sound pressure levels encountered inside a kick drum. Its boundary effect design produces a strong, solid low-end response that has been specifically tailored for heavy bass applications.”

My hope is that these mics will function equally well outside of their intended musical context so long as the ‘real world’ sounds that I try to record have dynamic characteristics (and obviously frequencies) similar to  those of the instruments they were originally designed for.

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