Inspiration for Techniques and Microphone Choice

These Sound On Sound articles were very useful for ideas on how to get a similar sound as Arctic Monkeys’. They were used in the tracking process and will probably be used for reference in the mixing stage. The articles are from three previous producers of Arctic Monkeys’ albums:

Jim Abbiss

James Ford

Josh Homme



Recording Session 3: Bass Guitar -10/3/15

We recorded the bass guitar at E.F.S. in the Echo studio. We used a DI Box to connect the bass to the mixing desk and recorded it into ProTools.

We recorded four takes and decided that certain parts of the last two takes would work perfectly together. After we had listened and decided on the parts we wanted, we edited the track two create one solid bass part.

We recorded the bass quickly without any problems with the DI box as we already had experience using DI methods with the guitar.

Improvements for next time: Put a microphone in the live room with the bassist so we can communicate easier.


Recording Session 2: Guitars -27/2/15

We used two different recording techniques for the guitars; our first guitarist was in the control room with us and we used a Direct Input (DI) to record the amp, our second guitarist played in the live room. We also recorded the amplifiers in two different rooms to create a unique sound for each guitar.
We decided to experiment with the rooms and started off by placing an Orange Tiny Terror amplifier in the big live room. The sound was too hollow and empty so we placed it inside the vocal booth and experimented with the amp and microphone placement, also opening and closing the door to see the difference. We found that placing the amp to one side of the room with the microphones placed in front and above it and the door open gave us a strong, almost boomy sound.
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We then moved on to finding an ambient, lighter sound which is a key feature of the chorus of Old Yellow Bricks. We moved back into the big live room and used a Marshall AVT100X. We close miked the amp and also added two ambient room mics to capture the natural reverb of the room.
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  • Luke Guitar Amp – SM57
  • Luke Guitar Amp – U87
  • Luke Guitar Room Left -Sontronics STC1S
  • Luke Guitar Room Right – Sontroncis STC1S
  • Jonny Guitar Room Left – DPA 4090
  • Jonny Guitar Room Right – DPA 4090
  • Jonny Guitar Amp – U87
  • Jonny Guitar Amp – Shure Beta 57A
We experimented with different techniques in this session and were more creative with our ideas. We used our research for initial help, but found that changing and moving the microphones gave us more of an idea of how to produce a suitable sound and to use our ears, not just rely on basic methods. Our knowledge of the desk has also improved and we are able to solve and understand our own problems.
We need to work on using DI units in the studio so we do not spend as much time trying to get it working.

Recording Session 1: Drums -27/2/15

We started with recording drums as we wanted to get the timing of the track perfect. This makes it easier for our other musicians to play/sing in time at a later stage.

The microphones we used were:
  • Kick Drum – Neumann U87, AKG D112, Orpheus
  • Snare Top – SM57
  • Snare Bottom – SM57
  • Rack Tom – Sennheiser 421
  • Floor Tom – Sennheiser 421
  • Snare Side Over head (Right)- AKG C414
  • Floor Tom Overhead (Left) – AKG C414
  • Ambient Drums – AKG C480B
  • Tambourine – U87
We tried many techniques to get a clean kick drum sound; changing the distance between the kick and the microphones, moving them left and right and changing the polar pattern. We decided on the set up as shown below.
The kick tracks played together give a bright, but heavy sound. This is because the AKG D112 created a dull bassy sound, whereas the U87 and Orpheus picked up higher frequencies, they were also placed further away from the kick so they have more space.
We used the Glyn Johns Drum Recording method for the overhead microphones. We were both really pleased with the overhead tracks as they capture a clear hi hat and cymbal sound, as well as a more ambient sound of the room. We included an ambient microphone to add some natural reverberation to out drums.
Overall, I think recording the drums went well as we created an appropriate tone to start off our recording and we tested out many microphones before making our final decisions.
Improvements for next time: Use masking tape on the desk for labelling, experiment with microphone placement more.
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Research Used for Recording Guitars

We used ideas from these websites to guide us when we recorded our guitars on Friday:

SAE: Recording Stringed Instruments 

SOS: Guitar Amp Recording 

We tried many of the techniques suggested on both websites, however we also wanted to experiment and find a unique sound. For example, we recorded guitars by having one guitarist in the control room and one in the live room.

We also experimented with the amp placement, using both the vocal booth and main live room to record different guitar parts. (This will be explained more on our next post)

Rosie & Joe

An Interview With James Ford

An interesting article in which James Ford, producer of many Arctic Monkeys albums, explains how he created the right sound for the band’s albums:

“I don’t think we had a hat mic, or if we did, we didn’t use it. We had Neumann U67s out in the room and we tried PZMs on the floor, but we didn’t end using those either.” -James Ford

Ford also suggests that he used the famous ‘Glyn Johns Method’ for recording drums on some of Arctic Monkeys’ tracks.


Glyn Johns Drum Recording