RECORD­ING TECH­NIQUES WITH JIMI LLOYD-WY­ATT

FIRE SAFETY EQUIP­MENT? PVC PIPE? IS THIS A PLUMB­ING STORE? NO, THEY’RE JUST ITEMS IN THE EF­FECTS COL­LEC­TION AT GIN­GER STU­DIOS. BY PETER ZALUZNY

Australian Guitar - - Producer Profile -

When Jimi Lloyd-Wy­att de­cided to es­tab­lish Gin­ger Stu­dios in Mel­bourne, he im­me­di­ately threw him­self into the deep end. He hadn’t run a stu­dio be­fore, but a stint with Jonathan Burnside – fa­mous for his work on Grin­spoon, Sleepy Jack­son and Dan Sul­tan records – left Wy­att hun­gry for a space to call his own. He even­tu­ally found the ideal lo­ca­tion in 2012 and thus, Gin­ger Stu­dios was born. Since then, artists from ev­ery genre un­der the sun – in­clud­ing The McQueens, Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers – have passed through Gin­ger’s doors. It may be one of the newer stu­dios on the block, but Wy­att has al­ready de­vel­oped the kind of unique ear that helps him find gui­tar tones where oth­ers won’t... Like in a fire ex­tin­guisher, for ex­am­ple.

Why did you de­cide to put an SSL Du­al­ity Delta at the heart of your stu­dio?

It was the only choice. They sound the best and have a re­ally in­tu­itive work­flow, the sig­nal chain through the con­sole of EQ and com­pres­sion is all ana­logue, and the DAW con­trol in­te­grates seam­lessly with ProTools.

How does it ben­e­fit the var­i­ous gui­tar-based gen­res that you work with?

The preamps have a ‘drive’ switch, so the board kind of has three dif­fer­ent flavours of mic pre. It means you don’t need a bunch of out­board tak­ing up space and draw­ing ex­tra power, and you can quickly switch to find one that’s right for the source. For gui­tars, I like to use the drive switch in, turned all the way to third or­der har­mon­ics. It’s magic. It isn’t dis­tor­tion like a stomp box, though – it’s more of a char­ac­ter change that you can make to suit the mu­sic.

Any other bits of es­sen­tial gear that com­ple­ment the SSL?

The most im­por­tant thing for record­ing any­thing is the en­vi­ron­ment. That said, I do love my Tele­funken mics for acous­tics and my SM57s and MD421s for electrics. But the bright or­ange Augspurger mon­i­tors – which were cus­tom de­signed for the stu­dio – are pos­si­bly the most im­por­tant piece of gear I own. They’re truth­ful in all fre­quency ranges, at all vol­umes and on all kinds of mu­sic, and they’re par­tic­u­larly re­veal­ing for gui­tars and any is­sues that might be lurk­ing about.

And are you cap­tur­ing your record­ings to tape or dig­i­tal?

I’m a dig­i­tal guy these days. I don’t have time for tape nor the has­sles of it. Who wants to hear, “Hang on to that great idea, Mr. Gui­tar Man, I just need to spend 30 min­utes ad­just­ing the bias on this tape deck to get it per­fect for your next take.” I have used plenty of tape in my time, and I re­ally like some of the lim­i­ta­tions it im­poses on the cre­ative process, but I also like the ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the mod­ern stu­dio for­mats. I want stu­dios to be in­clu­sive places where young play­ers who have new and in­spir­ing ideas can play on their records, so that their cre­ative ex­pres­sion can live in record­ings.

When you’re deal­ing with heav­ier gen­res, rock, metal and so on, how do you bring out that punch with­out over­load­ing the mix?

Thank­fully, the loud­ness wars are over! All ma­jor stream­ing ser­vices have im­ple­mented loud­ness management so there is no point in mak­ing louder and louder records. Punch comes from dy­nam­ics, with­out quiet there can be no loud! When it comes to di­men­sion and space in mixes, I like to use the full width of pan­ning avail­able with plenty of par­al­lel com­pres­sion. It al­lows me to bring heaps of body to a mix whilst main­tain­ing clar­ity and depth in the record­ing so that the song doesn’t get lost in a sea of noise.

Are there any EQ tricks that can help as well?

Giv­ing ev­ery­thing its place in a mix is key. You can’t just chop the bot­tom oc­taves off ev­ery sound in a mix, turn it up and think you’ll have a great sound­ing record. That just makes it sound tinny. Em­pha­sise the part that makes it killer. Clean­ing up the bot­tom end so there isn’t any su­per­flu­ous rum­ble is im­por­tant, but if a gui­tar is work­ing for a track be­cause of its low fre­quency en­ergy, don’t rob it of that.

How do you go about mic­ing up for a rock ses­sion like that?

I love print­ing room mics – as it can re­ally help to fill in a sonic pic­ture and glue stuff to­gether – but it’s all about Shure SM57s and Sennheiser MD421s for me. I tend to use less mics on a jazz track than a rock track, mainly be­cause I can get a lot of ag­gres­sion and en­ergy out of the room mics for drums. I’ve done a bunch of Jazz things where I’ve had the pi­ano in the drum booth and the drums in the big room, so I could get the char­ac­ter or vibe the artist needed for their mu­sic.

Any other sim­i­larly mem­o­rable mic set­ups?

There’s a fire ex­tin­guisher in the noise lock where I some­times stick gui­tar amps. When you mic it up, you get a re­ally zingy sound that no amount of EQ, plugin or re­verb can match. Like­wise, a long piece of steel or PVC tub­ing in front of an amp with a mic at the end can give a re­ally cool sound.

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