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August 2017

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Summertime is full of opportunities for the recording musician, and our August issue looks at a topic that’s relevant year-round but especially interesting during festival season: miking and recording bands!

When we talk about “recording a band”, it can mean capturing a performance live from a stage, or setting up a studio to make the most of a special vibe that comes from bands interacting and enjoying the moment rather than doing endless overdubs. In this issue, we’re bringing our readers a bit of both.

In a fascinating pair of interviews, producer Dave Cobb and engineer Vance Powell discuss the recording of Chris Stapleton's From A Room: Volume 1, recorded with the band playing all at once in the studio, describing techniques for getting the best sound. Bruce Kaphan returns to our pages with a session report on blues legend Wee Willie Walker, whose insistence on all-at-once recording leads to music with amazing energy and heart.

If you show up at a venue with an eye toward recording a band, the Front Of House engineer will either be your staunchest ally or your worst enemy. Guess which one produces the best recordings? We’ll walk you through nine great strategies to keep the FOH engineer on your side as you try to nail down a great live recording.

This issue’s reviews cover everything from live recording tools to hot new gear that will serve you well in any recording situation. On the live recording side, we bring you in-depth reports on Aston’s new Starlight instrument mic, Mackie’s powerful DL32R rackmount mixer, the unique SoundTap live monitor control system from Ultimate Ears, and Zoom’s affordable Q2n video/audio field recorder.

This issue also features reviews of Fluid Audio’s F5 monitors, the MD300 dynamic mic from Microtech Gefell (great on stage as well as in the studio!), Focusrite’s OctoPre Dynamic rack preamp/compressor, the new Westminster Abbey preamp from Cathedral Pipes, Output's Movement effects plug-in, and a triple-threat report comparing Manley’s Nu Mu stereo compressor to its famous elder sibling the Variable Mu and to Universal Audio’s Variable Mu plug-in.

We also feature reports on Sweetwater’s GearFest 2017, which grows bigger and adds more seminars, demonstrations, and sales every year, as well as the Northside Festival in New York. There's also Readers’ Tracks with Marty Peters, our usual monthly features, and more. If you’ve got an interesting capturing the essence of a live band at its best... or if you just want to make the best recordings possible regardless of where you are or whom you’re working with... you won’t want to miss the August RECORDING!

Pick it up now on the newsstand... and so you get your next issue early (and save on cost), why not hit the big red SUBSCRIBE NOW button on this page and have RECORDING delivered to your door each month?


Aston Starlight   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This pencil condenser mic offers a unique grille design, exceptional sonics, multiple voicings... and a targeting laser?

Mackie DL32R 32-Channel Digital Mixer   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Removing all of this mixer’s controls in favor of an iPad app allows it to pack a pro feature set into a small and affordable format.

Manley Labs Nu Mu and Universal Audio Variable Mu for UAD-2 and Apollo   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

The Manley Variable Mu compressor is a modern legend. We compare it to its plug-in equivalent, and to a new compressor that offers a unique and lovely sound of its own.

Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre Dynamic   |   Reviewed by Allen Goodman

Add eight channels of latest-generation mic preamps to any interface or audio system, and you can throw in beautiful compression on every input while you’re at it...

Fluid Audio F5 Active Monitors   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

These diminutive 2-way speakers deliver punch and clarity beyond their weight class, and are ideally suited for the home studio/listening environment.

Plug-In Outlet: Output Movement   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Just like it says, this plug-in adds movement to any static audio source, creating rhythm and excitement with ease.

Cathedral Pipes Westminster Abbey Tube Microphone Preamp   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

Elegant sound and flexible tube architecture in a package that’s simply eye-popping.

Zoom Q2n Handy Video Recorder   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

Great stereo recording and widely flexible video options combine with ease of use in this portable entry-level “video camera for us musicians”.

Ultimate Ears Pro Sound Tap Personal Monitoring DI Box   |   Reviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

This deceptively simple device lets you literally “tap into” floor monitors and use in-ears with no fuss or hassle.

Once Over—Reviews In Brief   |   Reviewed by Mike Metlay

The Simply Sound Company SS-1 Microphone Preamp; Focusrite iTrack One Pre.

Gefell MD 300 Announcer Microphone   |   Reviewed by Scott Dorsey

This dynamic mic has a unique voicing with lots of uses, whether on stage or in the studio.


Chris Stapleton: Live from Studio A   |   Interviewed by Paul Vnuk Jr.

From A Room: Volume 1 is the new album from country star Chris Stapleton, and it takes its name from how and where it was recorded—RCA Studio A in Nashville, with the whole band playing takes at once. Producer/musician Dave Cobb and engineer Vance......Expand


Fast Forward: Three Events, Three Reports   |   Written by Marc Urselli, Mike Metlay, and Paul Vnuk Jr.

We bring you the latest on New York’s Northside Festival, Sweetwater GearFest in Fort Wayne, and Sylvia Massy’s visit to CRAS in Arizona.

After A While—Right Away!   |   Written by Bruce Kaphan

The Anthony Poule Soul Orchestra, fronted by bluesman Wee Willie Walker, creates magic in a live-in-the-studio session. Here’s how it was done.

Nine Rules For Recording Live Gigs   |   Written by Mike Metlay

From start to finish, here are tips on preparing and executing a live recording for the best possible quality, all while dodging the dreaded Suck Knob.

Fade Out   |   Written by Scott Dorsey

The Legacy Of The Tapers.

Kef America LS50 Wireless

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