Interview:Studio Stylings

Part 1

Part 2




Laurence Juber:

Studio Stylings


Guitar Miking Tips

Just like everyone else these days, Laurence Juber is migrating toward home studio recording. He recorded his recent LJ Plays the Beatles at home, and is increasingly moving toward hard disk recording. In this informative discussion, Juber shares his tips for miking an acoustic guitar, and offers a glimpse of his latest project - as producer for Al Stewart. When you record your own CDs these days, do you work in a home studio?


Juber: The Beatles album was done at home. That was actually done directly to DAT. The previous albums Altered Reality and Mosaic were done at Capitol, where I went to multi-track analog. Actually, no, on Altered Reality it was straight to a 50/90 F two-track, Dolby sound. And I really like the sound of analog but I like the detail that comes out of working digitally. And I sensed that we were able to strike a decent balance on the Beatles album between getting that kind of clarity and digital parity but with some of the analog warmth. I can attribute that pretty much to using some old mike tricks. That made a big difference. What kind of microphones?


Juber: Shemp's CMC5. Small diaphragm condensing mikes, a matching pair. They've got a little bit of a rise around 12K so they've got a nice presence, too. But they're pretty flat, accurate, fundamental. How do you place them on the guitar?


Juber: It's probably just pretty much straight X-Y - but a wide X-Y. Normally, an X-Y is like a 90-degree angle. We tend to go a little wider than that, kind of like 110 degrees. And generally, you run the mikes in sync 'cause I think that a classic X-Y is 90 degrees and outer faced. But we're just very careful to get the face relationship just right. Can you explain X, Y?


Juber: X, Y is just when you take two microphones and you probably count to 1093, on the guitar, so it basically forms kind of an X pattern. Pointed pretty much at the sound hole?


Juber: Yeah, the array is pointed at the sound hole but the mikes themselves don't point at the sound hole. One's pointing toward the fingerboard, one's pointing towards the back of the bridge. Oh, okay opposite each other.


Juber: Yeah, because it's 90 degrees. You tend to avoid pointing mikes directly at the sound hole because you get too much low end. There's a lot of air pressure when it comes down to that. And on bridge mikes, how far away from the guitar are they?


Juber: About a foot to 18 inches. If you get too close, you get what's called proximity affect where you've got bass build up. So, I just find a happy position registering soul work and some light compression. We put the reverb on live to take. Are you thinking about moving into hard disc recording?


Juber: Actually, that's what I'm doing now. All this stuff, the stuff that went to dat, I stringed off to the hard disc. It's my writing place but now what I'm doing is I'm going by a 24 bit straight to the hard disc, since I did the outbreak I separated it. But I'm still not really doing much in the way of multi-track condensing. I still got the 24-track for the multi-track recordings. "Cause I like analogues, I mean you have to do an album that's all analogue, than do anything digital in that. Just kept the analogue right down to the master. So, how does this all compare to some of the first recordings that you did?


Juber: I think there's definitely an increment improvement in the clarity and the focus. Remember the technology itself has improved dramatically over the last 10 years. And mastering has changed, also. One of the things we've learned over the years is not to do any digital EQ, if you can have it. So, I try to do as little EQ as possible. "Cause anytime you EQ, whether it's analogue or digital, you're introducing some kind of face distortion that's changing the fundamental sound. So, if you like the way something sounds, you don't wanna mess with it too much. So, I think my records sound better now than they did. No question about that. And I think I'm playing better, too. I think there's just a lot more live performance, and for me, the fuel form is just getting out and doing concerts because the more I play live the more I understand what I'm doing. You're working as a producer with Al Stewart. What are you hoping to pull out of Al?


Juber: A record. Actually, I've done two records with him now. The last one was called Between the Wars and that was a very guitar-oriented record. We would sit down with two guitars and I'd roll a multi-track and print a click and then open up everything else to that. The whole idea there is he and I were touring together as a duo and we wanted to be able to reproduce the record live, with kind of a stripped-down version, and that was very acoustic oriented. The most recent one Down in the Cellar, which is coming out in Europe but is inexplicably held up in America because of record company problems, is actually more keyboard oriented. A lot of stuff that Al wrote was very keyboard oriented. I arranged everything around those piano parts and then we basically went in the studio and cut stuff live in a couple of days. So, that actually turned out to be a pretty interesting album. I played a lot more electric guitars. But with Al, basically he's a songwriter, and you know a lot of it's arranging. And then just the production end of it is just to get the job done. You know a big part of the producer's job is to get the record made, get it done on schedule, all that stuff.


Part 1 | Part 2