Introducing Dylan Warren

An old friend/bandmate recently brought his son, Dylan, by the studio so I could hear him sing and record a quick demo. It was Dylan’s first time in the studio and there were some hiccups, but raw talent got him through the session and the results speak for themselves. Well done, Dylan! I hope to work with you again soon.

Since I thought we were just recording a demo and to take some of the pressure off Dylan (no overdubs), I set up just one mic to capture both his guitar and vocal. We got the best performance when he could play and sing at the same time and performance is everything.

Long story short, the demo sounded so good that I decided to see if I could turn it into a full production without having to get Dylan back into the studio (he had already gone back to Cape Town). Yes, it was a little limiting to have the guitar and vocal on the same track when it came to the mix, but I think it turned out really well.

So, for the studio nerds who want the details …

I used my AKG 414 in omni for the recording. I placed it in front of Dylan, chest high and pointing at his mouth. Yes, the mic was in omni, but you still get better high end from the front of the mic, so pointing it at his mouth would help the vocal stand out above the guitar. The mic was plugged into my Universal Audio Solo 610 valve preamp. Great mic, great preamp, great performance. Beautiful.

One final thought: There’s something about one-mic recordings that just works, even if the balance isn’t ideal. You get no phase issues and pure, natural ambience. I encourage young engineers to experiment with a less is more approach. For example, even if you use 12 mics to record a drum kit, maybe you just need the overheads and the kick. Start simple, and add elements only when necessary, not just because you have them.