More than meets the ear

The song More Than Just a Friend on the new Saint Benjamin EP has a coffee house vibe complete with the hustle-and-bustle sounds of a busy venue.

How did we record the song?  Let us show you the secret!


Well, all is not as it seems 🙂  Here is the recording setup for More Than Just a Friend:

Friend-SetupThat’s right, music lovers, the coffee house is all a mirage…However, “keeping it real” in other aspects was a goal of this recording.  Ben wanted the song to be a single take, and the setup above allowed us to capture the guitar and vocal each clearly within a single performance.


A Telefunken U48 large diaphragm tube condenser was set in cardioid mode aimed at Ben to capture the vocals.  The Neumann TLM67 large diaphragm condenser was aimed at the 12th fret of the acoustic guitar to capture the acoustic sound, with a DI taken from the piezo as well. An AEA R44C ribbon microphone was placed a few feet away from Ben to capture a roomy feel. This sounded great but ultimately did not make it to the final recording.  Instead, we opted for the Studio C program in our Bricasti M7 to provide space around the guitar and vocal. As you’ve probably guessed by now, the coffee shop sound is a “room tone” that we blended in with the recording.


A big challenge with multi-mic recording is keeping everything in phase.  In this case, this includes keeping the guitar DI recording in phase with the microphones.We used a neat plugin called Auto Align from Sound Radix to manage the slight delays between the microphones.  Setting the DI as the reference, we calculated and corrected for the offsets in the other microphones.


We ran the DI guitar signal through Fractal Audio’s Cab Lab cabinet simulator, using impulse responses of an acoustic guitar from 3Sigma Audio. This greatly improves the sound of the DI signal and helps it blend in with the TLM 67 much better.


From there it was a pretty straight forward mixing and mastering process.  So, there you have it, a single-take studio recording blended with some ambient “room tone” created, we hope, a convincing live performance feel.