Rarefied Recording, a San Diego Recording Studio

Hanukkah/Christmas 2015 Gear Update

We hope you had a great Holiday season! This year the studio scored some pretty cool stuff.

Here’s a list and a little about what each one does:

1.

JHS Crayon: this is a distortion/tone pedal for guitar. The Crayon is the little cousin to the JHS Colour Box. Both pedals employ circuits similar to the front end of a Neve console. Some of the earliest ways that extreme distortion was put to tape was by running guitars straight into a console and distorting the mic pre in the console. The Crayon gives you that sound in a convenient little box. Think Beatles “Revolution”.

2.

JHS Little Black Buffer: this simple little box is just a buffer for your guitar. When you’re recording in the studio it’s not uncommon to setup your pedals and so forth in the control room, and then run a cable through a special wall jack into the live room where the amp sits. Between the cables required for the pedals and the runs to and from the wall jacks/amps there can be quite a bit of signal quality degradation just due to all the cables. The Little Black Buffer can help you overcome that loss. It’s designed to be able to drive the type of high capacitance in your signal chain that is typical for a multi-pedal, long cable run setup.

3.

Voodoo Labs Big Shot ABY: this pedal lets you send your guitar or keyboard signal to two different outputs or even both at the same time. It has a full compliment of features that help overcome common issues when working with two amplifiers. You’ve got a ground lift on the B output which can sometimes solve those nasty buzzing issues. There is also an “ISO” switch which inserts an isolation transformer into the B signal path. This is another way to stop ground buzz in its tracks. And there’s a phase reverse switch in case the signal out of amp B is phase inverted from the signal out of amp A. If you want to record out of two amps to get a massive sound or just sonic diversity, the Big Shot is going to get the job done no matter what.

4.

Moog Minifooger MF Flange: this pedal is an all analog flanger from the analog synth kings at Moog. Rarefied already has the MF Trem tremolo pedal, which sounds amazing. Now with the MF Flange we’ll have that iconic flanger sound in spades. The MF Flange actually has a stereo output as well as an expression pedal input which lets you modulate the flanger effect in real time with the flick of your foot. And yes, we do have a Moog expression pedal ready to go for it.

5.

Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter: this simple box provides a gain boost for dynamic and ribbon mics. Dynamics like the Shure SM7B and ribbons like the AEA R84 are amazing, but their output is a bit lower than your average mic. This means you often have to use a lot of gain at the mic pre amp and if the mic pre amp’s self noise isn’t so great or if some noise is coupling into the line prior to the mic pre, the signal to noise ratio may not be so good. Enter the CL-1. You place it right near the mic itself and get a quick boost in gain before ever even hitting the mic pre. This should make great mics like the ones mentioned even more useful.

6.

Electroharmonix V256 Vocoder: this pedal has several classic vocoder sounds and many other amazing features built right in. The vocoder bands can be adjusted from retro (8 bands, think Kraftwerk) to modern (256 bands, think Daft Punk). The Gender Bender knob and the Pitch knob can really let you dial in the effect even more. And there’s also a Blend and Tone control. Without an instrument attached you can still get basic single note, major, and minor chord drones going, but via the 1/4″ input or the MIDI in, a keyboard (typically) can really let your inner robot sing. But the V256 doesn’t stop there! It also has a feature called Reflex-Tune which is essentially a real-time Autotune. While we do have Autotune 8 at the studio, it’s always nice to just plug something in sometimes and get what you need with the turn of a few knobs. From the videos I’ve seen on YouTube, you can definitely get that obvious Autotuned sound or a more subtle correction.

7.

Voodoo Labs Micro Vibe: this pedal is a recreation of the classic 60’s Univibe effect. This effect was supposed to be like the sound of a Leslie rotating speaker amp, but it really never sounded much like one. None-the-less, artist’s like Jimi Hendrix put it to great use. Think of the Micro Vibe like a unique chorus pedal.

8.

Granelli Audio Labs right angled modified SM57: the Shure SM57 is the most ubiquitous microphone ever to be found on the stage or in the studio. Nearly every electric guitar and snare drum you hear on records was done with a 57. How can you improve on the classic? Make it even more useful by giving it a right angle bend so it can fit into tighter spaces. This is especially useful on drum kits where some drummers really don’t leave a lot of room between drums, hardware, and cymbals. And hell, it can never hurt to have another SM57 lying around. The way in which Granelli Audio Labs does their mod, the sound of the original 57 is unaltered. Brilliant!

Happy New Year!!!

Xmas 2015 gear

Xmas 2015 gear


New to the Racks: ADR Compex Compressor/Expander/Gate

New to the racks over here at Rarefied is this ADR Compex Compressor/Expander/Gate by Q2 Audio.

This is a re-issue of a classic unit known for its sound on drums as well as other things.

Supposedly, it was used as part of the acclaimed drum sound for Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”.

But I think you’d need a stairwell and John Bonham to fully recreate that sound!

We’re excited to be able to offer another stereo compressor option. This will sit well next to our Neve 33609.

It’s seen some action already on room mics for the drums recorded recently for The Paper Thins.