Late last year at the House of Blues in Chicago, Shure took over the venue by having three of its endorsers hit the stage for a sold-out evening. On the bill was Atlas Genius, Family Of The Year and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. We came into the venue a little earlier than the masses lining up outside to conduct a couple of interviews with Family Of The Year and Atlas Genius… The Atlas Genius video interview is up on the YouTube channel now, check it out after we’re finished here (http://bit.ly/1k7g9jd). Anyway, it was great catching up with everyone, and the show was a perfect blend of musical talents.
After the show was over, I found myself hanging near the merch area as the “biggest fans” lined up to meet and greet the bands and grab a piece of swag. One of the bands working their own merch table was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. I reintroduced myself, as it had been some time since we last spoke. We talked music for a little while… what sort of current stuff they like and the stuff they didn’t care for. That information will have to remain between me and the band, but they did share some pretty interesting information regarding the recording of their latest album, The Speed Of Things… LOTS of Shure mics were used to get the sounds they were looking for.
I had asked them to send me some details about what mic was used on what instrument and what track, pretty basic info I could hopefully share with all of you. A few months went by, and then one day, out of the blue I got this detailed journal from the studio sessions for The Speed Of Things. I’ve pared it down to focus on the Shure mics, but it’s still pretty insightful and a great little read-along piece for the next time you listen to the band’s latest recording.
DALE EARNHARDT JR JR – THE SPEED OF THINGS SHURE MIC LIST
Beautiful Dream– Went for a more rhythmic acoustic sound so we used an SM57 on the acoustic guitar. For the electrics we used a 545SD.
Run– We used the 545SD to capture the reverb guitar. Used the KSM313 ribbon mic for the room sound on the drums.
Knock Louder– 545SD for the main rhythm guitar and lead guitar. KSM313 ribbon for part of the drum sound as well.
If You Didn’t See Me– Put a 545SD and SM57 on the guitars for this one.
I Can’t Help It– Took a warmer approach with the acoustics and background vocals on this one. For both we used the KSM313 ribbon mic. For one of the Horn mics we used the KSM313. The group vocal at the choruses is just the KSM313 in a stairway.
Hiding– Acoustic guitar loop was captured by an SM57. Used the KSM313 ribbon mic from a distance in my living room on the Horns. Electric guitar at the chorus was a 545SD.
Beautiful Dream (Reprise)– used the SM7B on the vocals and vocal samples.
Mesopotamia– Guitar was captured by a 545SD. Put an SM57 over the drum kit to get part of the thin skipping beat sound.
Dark Water– The drum beat is partly made up of samples which we made by hitting stuff in my house and putting a Beta 181 nearby. Used a vintage Beta 57A on the snare.
Don’t Tell Me– To get a more rhythmic acoustic we used an SM57 super close. Put a 545SD on the electric guitar in the choruses. The real drums were captured by an SM57 used as a room mic behind the electronic drums.
Gloria– One of the mics on the main guitar was a 545SD. For the thin and distorted piano sound we used the 520DX (green bullet).
A Haunting– KSM313 as part of the room drum sound. The reverb guitar was captured by a 545SD. We put an SM57 on the acoustics and then processed them and reversed them. 520DX (green bullet) on the piano again.
War Zone– Paul Simon suggested we sample the neighborhood street so we took an SM81 and Beta 181 and put it in my gutter to capture street noise and walking. Real piano and all the percussion (congas, bongos, other weird instruments) were captured by the KSM313. We put an SM57 on the dry electric guitar. KSM313 was also used on the Horns. All ooh and ahh vocals were captured by an SM7B.
GENERAL LIST: KSM313, SM7B, SM57, 520DX, BETA 181, 545SD, KSM44A, BETA 52A, BETA 57A, and SM81 seemed to be our favorites. Every drum sound had some combination of these. PG56 and BETA 56A were used on some TOMS. A vintage Shure 300 ribbon mic was used on some room sounds.