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Rattlesnakes Drummer Perfects Home Studio Setup with Audient Mic Pres
UK – Professional percussionist and drum teacher, Gareth Grover described the addition of Audient’s eight-channel mic preamp, ASP880 to his set-up as “honestly like night and day; way more impressive than the simple expansion of channels I was originally focused on.”
Whilst his role as drummer for Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes takes up much of his time, the pandemic forced him to get his tiny converted garage studio up and running sooner than he was anticipating. “The focus of the space was originally for personal instrumental practice and for teaching one to one lessons when I’m not away touring,” he explains. “We then hit the first lockdown and I was thrown into the potential situation of no work at all unless I started teaching remotely. It was all a bit of a scramble with a few technical headaches along the way, but it became a life-saver mentally and financially throughout those long lockdowns.”
With the basic setup for teaching organised, he started exploring recording for other purposes: making content for his social media and starting some creative work for himself. No stranger to working in the studio, he has enjoyed using the knowledge he has picked up over the course of his career and honing it in his own space.
“Tech-wise, the set up began as iMac and interface with only eight channels available, enough to get a very basic kit working for the remote teaching set up, but was restricted to only in-box processing which is a challenge when you have so many mics to work with and phase issues to get right.
“I'm now running the same eight-channel interface with the Audient ASP880 eight-channel mic-pres tied in by ADAT and doing most of the heavy lifting with its amazing preamps, leaving the onboard interface preamps to take up a few of the less important channels.”
He explains how it worked before: “Prior to the ASP880, monitoring was a bit of a headache, not particularly transparent or true, and meant lots of back-and-forth slow progress between recording, assessing, changing things, recording again etc, etc. Thanks to the ASP880's functions I now know I'm monitoring the most accurate representation I can of the raw sounds in the room and my headphone mix is all in phase on the way in, meaning I can make adjustments on the spot and instantly experience the effects rather than having to record, listen back, adjust and go again.
“What I wasn't expecting was the massive difference in clarity and warmth in just the basic signals, as well as the interesting tonal changes you can achieve with the impedance switching feature. The unit instantly made a massive difference.”
It’s the more simple features that he appreciates. “Having phase-flip buttons and the high-pass filters on each channel opened up a new world for me in terms of monitoring. I could achieve instantly what was previously taking a good chunk of time to replicate in my DAW after tracking (flipping-phase to get the signals working nicely with each other, and basic EQ tweaks to focus the low end information). Once those elements were cleaned up on the spot in terms of live monitoring, I could really hear the interesting tonal changes possible when using the impedance switch.”
The fourth Rattlesnakes record, Sticky was written during lockdown, fully utilising his home studio setup. “I was able to go deeply into tuning and treating the acoustic drums differently and individually for each track, experimenting with ambient and close mic blends, and generally making audio chaos to shake up the percussive timbre of the record as a whole. We honed that whole approach in pre-production and it helped make the final tracking sessions a lot more focused.”
12th October 2021
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