Aerosmith use an array of Shure microphones on new album
Aerosmith producer Jack Douglas recently took some time away from recording Aerosmith’s 14th studio album to give us a little insight into what equipment he is using and why. In addition to every band member using Shure headphones, below is a small summary of the Shure mics that are being employed…..
For guitars Jack Douglas had the following to say: “I had a KSM313 and a KSM353, and boy, did they get used! I absolutely love them. The 313 is interesting because it has a bright side and a brighter side, which is really cool. During the actual tracking session, that was on Brad Whitford’s guitar rig. I just used one of them inside the iso box, but because it’s a ribbon, it was hearing all four amps. So it’s multiple voicing in real time, and the sound is absolutely amazing.”
For Joe Perry’s rig, Douglas selected the KSM353 for a more neutral sound. “Same deal as Brad in terms of setup,” he notes. “It was just killer – big and fat and everything you want in a ribbon. Those mics lived in those iso boxes forever. I was knocked out by how great they sounded and how much sound pressure they could take. Both those mics are well worth the money. I want to try them on vocals, and I will be going back to them.”
In terms of recording drums for the new album, it is no suprise that a trusty Shure SM57 has been used on the snare.
“I have always used the 57 on snare and always will,” says Douglas. “For me, the SM57 has always been the absolute go-to mic for just about anything. If I was stuck on the moon and wanted to record, I know I could do everything with a 57 and still get a great sound. It just never fails you.”
Douglas also used a Beta 91A boundary mic as part of his kick drum setup, deployed on the floor right in front of the kick drum to capture the overall drum kit while augmenting the kick sound. The cardioid version of the Beta 181 side-address condenser handled ride cymbal. “That Beta 181 is a really nice mic. I positioned it about four inches above the ride. It had good rejection outside the pattern & gave me a clear, crisp ride sound.”
For hi-hat, Douglas employed a dual microphone setup recommended by engineer Warren Huart, with a KSM137 condenser and an SM7B. “It’s a neat trick. The KSM137 has a great sound, and I really like the SM7 on hi-hat because I don’t like it to be over-bright. I’m a big SM7 fan. In fact, I used three of them during the course of these sessions.”
The vocal mix of choice to capture Stephen Taylor was the Shure SM7B: “I used them on Steven Tyler’s reference vocals, which he sung in the main room at the piano,” Douglas explains. “With the rejection and accuracy of the mic, he could get real close and go as hard as he liked. The third SM7 was on Tom Hamilton’s backing vocals, which also have a great sound. There’s just something magical about that mic.”Last but not least, the Shure KSM44A’s were used to capture room ambience:
“For me, the ambient sound of the studio is one of the most important things in capturing the overall sound of the band,” says Douglas, “because I’m picking up the whole band with them, particularly the drums. And the one thing that never moved throughout these sessions was that pair of KSM44As as my high room mics. Physically, they were about 12 or 14 feet up in the air as a stereo pair, covering the whole cacophony that is Aerosmith.”
Songs were written during sessions at Pandora’s Box, the band’s studio complex in Boston. Final vocal tracks and overdubs will be done in Los Angeles after the holidays, working around Steven Tyler’s American Idol commitment. “It’s kind of a classic ‘70s approach, writing in the studio, everyone playing live and recording as we went,”