Having worked with UK rockers Def Leppard in the studio and as concert front-of-house engineer for well over a decade, Ronan McHugh has had ample opportunity to try out lots of different gear with the band. McHugh has been using the new PreSonus ADL 700 tube channel strip to record the band’s first studio album since 2008’s Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, and he gives the channel strip high marks all around.
“Before we started working on the album, I did a record with Joe [Elliott, lead vocalist for Def Leppard],” McHugh reports. “He has another project called Down ‘n’ Outz. We recorded most of the vocals through a Shure SM7, directly into the ADL 700. I found that with the impedance control at just the right setting, it really brings the vocal to life.”
McHugh was impressed enough with the ADL 700 on the Down ‘n’ Outz project to add two more of the channel strips to his kit, deploying all three units when recording tracks for the new album.
“We brought the band into the studio and jammed; the whole band playing and writing together,” he notes. “We hadn’t done that in a long time. I had the two guitars going through the ADL 700s, and the boys [guitarists Phil Collen and Vivian Campbell] really loved how it sounded. They were asking ‘what is this’? So when we started laying down tracks, they both said not to change a thing.”
For the album, McHugh close-miked both guitar cabinets, using a combination of Sennheiser MD 409, Shure SM7, and Electro-Voice RE-20 microphones into the ADL 700s. He ran Rick Savage’s bass directly into the third unit.
“They all sounded really, really good,” says McHugh. “I’ve been very impressed with them. And I can see that they’ll become a staple for this kind of stuff.”
McHugh plans on taking all three ADL 700s on the road, using them on the band’s upcoming North American summer tour with KISS. The tour kicks off on June 25.