Sponsored by

Shure Microphones Utilized Extensively In Recording New Aerosmith Album

"During almost four months of tracking, there were a lot of Shure microphones that never moved from their spots." - Jack Douglas

By Nigel Redmon December 15, 2011

Jack Douglas in the studio with one of the Shure KSM44A microphones utilized during the recording of the new Aerosmith album. (Photo courtesy of Jack Douglas)

Producer Jack Douglas notes that numerous Shure microphones were utilized in recording basic tracks for the 14th Aerosmith album, scheduled for release in April 2012.

“I like to use different mics in different situations. But during almost four months of tracking, there were a lot of Shure microphones that never moved from their spots,” Douglas notes. “That includes classics like the SM57, but also some of the new mics like the KSM condensers and ribbons. We also used Shure headphones throughout the sessions.”

For a guitar-driven band like Aerosmith, Douglas pays particular attention to that aspect of the sound. He designed and built isolation chambers for Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s amplifiers – each chamber houses four 4×12 speaker cabinets with external plugs for the amp heads and microphone outputs, and within each iso chamber was a Shure ribbon microphone.

“I had a KSM313 and a KSM353, and boy, did they get used,” he adds. “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.”

Joey Kramer’s drum sound started with an SM57 on snare top, augmented by a Shure SM81 underneath. “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 and gave me a nice 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.” This included for Steven Tyler’s reference vocals, sung in the main room at the piano.

“With the rejection and accuracy of the mic, he could get real close and go as hard as he liked,” he says. “The third SM7 was on Tom Hamilton’s backing vocals, which also have a great sound. There’s just something magical about that mic.”

Two KSM44A studio condensers were also deployed to capture the sound of the room itself. “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.”

Douglas and the band all also utilized Shure headphones for monitoring throughout the sessions. All five band members used the SRH840 model, while Douglas worked with the SRH940. “Shure was nice enough to let us try these new headphones and they are just amazing,” he notes. “Every member of the band used them. In fact, they took them for the South American tour after we finished. I had an SRH940 and they were just dead-on accurate for my listening. When we move to Los Angeles in January, they’ll be with me.”

Final vocal tracks and overdubs for the new album will be done in Los Angeles after the holidays, working around 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,” says Douglas. “This will be a big, hard, very heavy rock album with the usual tongue-in-cheek – very basic but kind of clever, which I guess is classic Aerosmith. We weren’t thinking singles. When we sat down, we said, ‘What the hell, let’s make some art.’”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GlassMan says

this is so exciting and informative for me really…I have been always a fan of innovation and new things in life so doin these kind of courses like CCNA, MCSE and other certifications which can not only help you for your future but also makes you unique in this field as well .. so by trying i am very happy to be part of this and want you guys to also have a look at them because once you will join it and have a study on these, you surely gona like it and appreciate the effort…this is all what I can say, rest of you will decide. thanks!!!
testking mcitp
testking security+
testking microsoft
testking ccent

testking oracle
testking CISSP
testking a+
testking network+

Tagged with:

Subscribe to Live Sound International

Subscribe to Live Sound International magazine. Stay up-to-date, get the latest pro audio news, products and resources each month with Live Sound.

Latest in Uncategorized