I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Spectre Sound Studios’ recording engineer Glenn Fricker isn’t a big fan of amp simulators. The point isn’t that they sound band- it’s that they are homogenizing our guitar tones. Yes, I can hear your retort already forming, that a 5150 into a Mesa cabinet, mic’d by an SM57 and sent through an API 512c… well, isn’t that the most ubiquitous signal chain in metal? What’s unique about that? Well the answer is that your choices, your ownership, is what makes all the difference. Those are your speakers and your SM57s, and each of them has a distinctive sound. In the video below he shows how he meticulously, scientifically, puts every option in the signal chain through its paces until he’s found the tone he’s searching for. Because that’s what makes a good recording: a series of small choices that ultimately add up to a more majestic whole.
Oh, and by the way, the video implies that the API preamp is the one that Glenn recorded with, but that other black and yellow one under the amp? That’s a Great River MP-2NV, and it absolutely rules. I just ordered the 500-series one for myself this week. So let’s get a conversation going, while we’re here. What are your favorite heavy guitar recording tricks, your favorite preamps and mics. What do you think of how Glenn tests each speaker and mic? Do you have another method you prefer?