A Pair of Machine Head and Whitechapel In-Studio Videos Are the Polar Ends of Modern Recording *UPDATED

I recently caught these two in-studio clips from Machine Head and Whitechapel, and while the latter one wasn’t particularly interesting to me in and of itself, I realized that taken together they sketch a decent picture of the extremely different recording styles available to bands nowadays.


Obviously the Machine Head album will ultimately end up with the higher price tag. Damn, Jingletown is a fine looking studio. Nice drum room. Neve console. Drumbrella. Yeah, drumbrella. It’s that diffuser above the drum kit that I snapped a screen grab of for the photo above. (Is anyone else mentally picturing it as a pneumatic tube that’s about to suck Dave McClain up?)

I’m really going to have to look into that Clasp interface that they mentioned. It brings the analog tape into Pro Tools, but it’s not a simple SMPTE sync. Looks like it’s investigation time.

Now it’s not like Whitechapel weren’t at a pricey location for their own drum tracking. They headed down to Audiohammer again. But the guitars and vocals were done at home on a Pro Tools rig with a Digi 002 as the interface. It looks like all the guitars were recorded using a Kemper Profiling Amplifier, although maybe they reamped later.

Correction: the recording interface used for Whitechapel’s guitar tracking was an Apogee Symphony, not an Avid Digi 002.

I know Whitechapel has 3 guitar players, but I swear there’s at least 7 or 8 guitarists in that video. Definitely the singer and I think the bassist took turns, and maybe producer Mark Lewis or the milkman or pizza guy I’m not sure. It also seems like the band tracks guitars to a click only and not the drums, which I’ll personally never understand. But I guess if you want your music as mechanical as possible it’ll do that.

There’s only a quick glimpse at Whitechapel’s vocal tracking but vocalist Phil Bozeman seems to be using an SM7. Unlike last time though he seems to have lost his weird squat… thing. Good for him.

Source (Machine Head): The PRP

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • I’m never impressed when they brag about how many mics they used… I’m actually more impressed if they use less mics. And does it really matter how big the drums sounds or the great room sound any drums gets? It almost always gets flattened out with heavy handed mastering anyways.

    • Totally agreed! There’s so many great records these days ruined by OTT mastering.

    • yes it does, you can’t polish a turd. well you can, but everyone will think you’re shit. like whitechapel lololol

  • I love watching these kinds of videos, it’s nice to get a bit of insight. The Machine Head videos reek with product placement and back-slapping though.
    BTW – Bozemans squats (I assume) are to tense the muscles. Pushing your arms back increases tension on the chest and the diaphragm, it’s an interesting way to achieve the tones that he does. If I try and go as low-pitched as he does, I start to retch. ;)

  • Why don’t “deathcore” bands use barritones more? You’d thik it’d be obvious

    • Inorite? Sounds WAY tighter

  • Whitechapel is shit, yes we all know.

  • Hopefully the next Machine Head album will not sound like total shit like Unto the Locust was.

    • I always read that as “Undo The Locust.” I’ve hit ctl-z when the swarms come near but nothing happens.

    • Not as good as The Blackening but i still liked it

  • When tracking guitars, whether or not the drum tracks are ON while tracking guitars simply doesn’t matter. It probably helps to have drum tracks OFF while they listen for noise, etc.

    • It depends on if you want to go for pure mechanical perfection or feel. Personally I don’t like tracking to a click EVEN IF the drums are on. I want to play to the drums only (and some or all of the other instruments, of course) if possible. Then again if the drum tracks to an album are quantized (and to be fair I have no idea if they are on the new Whitechapel- I haven’t heard it), then it matters less.

      But at least in the video it’s not a “listening back for errors” thing. It’s how they’re (usually) tracking.

  • “It also seems like the band tracks guitars to a click only and not the drums”

    Go to 4:01 in the video, you can hear the click & drums

    • That’s the exception. For most of the tracking clips it’s just click. At least that’s what I remember from last week. I’ve slept at least twice since then so who knows, maybe they track to the sound of wild boards getting it on. But that’s what I think I recall anyway.

  • Green Day got the sound they liked, while no one else did.

  • i like that whitechapel makes a point of how they took forever to get the right guitar tone and it still sounds like shit.

  • Guitar click tracks are often done in preproduction so the drummer has something musical to track his parts and later the real guitar tracks are recorded with the drums in place.

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