Math Bishop has amassed an enviable discography in just a relatively few years. Artists he’s done engineering and editing for include The Killers, Taylor Swift, Two Door Cinema Club and most recently U2, on their newest LP, Songs of Experience.
On the U2 sessions, Bishop employed the ISA 828 eight-channel microphone Preamp from Focusrite for capturing The Edge’s guitar and Adam Clayton’s bass.
Bishop, who works from his personal studio in Los Angeles but who finds himself traveling regularly as the artists and producers he works with move around the globe, was looking for a mic pre that was compact and portable, but which also had the kind of transparency and reliability he needs when working with artists whose sounds are already clearly defined and established.
“It really was a struggle to find a mic pre that fit all of those requirements,” he says. “I needed it to be portable, robust and transparent, because I’ll sometimes find myself working in studios that don’t have all of the gear that I need. It’s nice to know that you always have certain key items with you.”
That’s where the Focusrite ISA 828 came into the picture, earlier this year. Bishop began using it on the U2 sessions and quickly found how it fit in with The Edge’s and Clayton’s desires to push their guitar sound further.
“With The Edge I’d always have a Royer 121 and a [Shure] SM57 set up on the amp, and on these sessions I ran them through the Focusrite ISA 828. On Adam’s bass, we used a combination of a DI and an Electro-Voice RE20 microphone on the amp, which I also ran through the ISA 828. And the ISA 828 did everything I wanted it to.”
Bishop says that The Edge was experimenting with new guitar tones throughout the sessions, but he also kept signal elements of his well-known sound. The ISA 828 let everything through as Bishop recorded it and brought to it the kind of clarity and definition that Focusrite mic pre’s have been known for.
“The 828 didn’t color the tone, but rather it brought out the elements and sounds that The Edge was putting in,” he explains. “That’s what I’ve come to really like about the unit: I get back what I put in. I’ve learned I can trust the ISA 828 in any studio environment. And that’s why pretty much ever since I got one, I’ve used it on just about everything I do.”