The recording control room, featuring Audient ASP 8024 36-input analogue console with 20 channels of Class A Neve 1073 and 1066 microphone amplifiers
Although Cenzo’s mix studio is right next door to the rest of the rooms, in terms of equipment they are entirely separate. For recording there is a 64-input Pro Tools HD3 system, with an iZ Radar II acting as a front end, and the channels come up on an Audient ASP 8024 36-input analogue console with 20 channels of Class A Neve 1073 and 1066 microphone amplifiers.
“The Audient has 12 auxiliary sends and three speaker circuits,” says Cenzo. “We’ve got some Tannoys, which we love for tracking, some PMCs, and some Yamaha NS10s.
“We’ve also got an old iZ Radar 2 which Stephen Street and I used to use. Their sound is exceptional. iZ are fanatical about their clock and their converters and the only down side is iZ equipment is expensive. We used to record on Radar, then transfer to Pro Tools to edit, then put it back. We’ve refined the process now so we record into Pro Tools via the front end of Radar. So the signal comes from the microphone to the preamp, compressor, EQ, or whatever you want to use, into the Radar input, and then digitally out of the Radar into Pro Tools. So nothing is recorded on Radar.
“At the moment when I record through the Radar we are listening to it back through Avid converters so what I want is to have another Radar so when we come to mix I can then play back through the Radar and we can hear the Radar D-As if we want to.
“I use lots of Telefunken V76 and V72 microphone amplifiers, Amek PM01 EQs, various Pultecs, DBX 160s, Audio Designs, Summit Audio, SSL, LA2As, Empirical Labs EL8 Distressors, Neve 33609s, Dyna-mites which are fantastic, Valley People compressors, Lexicon PCM reverbs, Eventide H3000s, then the older stuff we’ve got old tape echos, like Maestro, Klemt, Fulltone, Roland Chorus Echos and lots of old spring reverbs.”
“The main instruments we have here includes my 1967 Ludwig drum kit with Zildjian K Custom Session cymbals designed by Steve Gadd. We have a 1970s Fender Rhodes, an Ampeg B15 bass amp, which is beautiful, a Fender Twin, some old Marshall heads, a Marshall Bluesbreaker and Fender Champ. Some newer stuff we have include Audio Kitchen amplifiers and a Palmer 50 Watt amplifier which are amazing and I’m a big Hiwatt fan too.
“We have a mixture of old 70s microphones. My favourites are Neumann U47 FET mics, and I have four of those. I’ve also got a U67 valve, which I love, and I like ribbon mics a lot. Coles ball and biscuit mics are hardwired in the room, and then we use the normal Coles 4038s for overheads. I have Shure SM57s in abundance, and I’ve also got a very old AKG414. I’m not a fan of 414s, but this is one of the first and sounds incredible. I don’t know why. And I have a Telefunken ELAM 251 copy made by Soundelux, called the ELUX 251, which is amazing. We bought it for Bernard Sumner’s voice when we recorded New Order and we’ve had it ever since.”
“Plus we have the usual array of cheaper mics, including some SEs which are really good, Sennheiser 421s and Neumann KM84s which are also one of my favourite Neumanns. At Trident and Townhouse we used to have buckets full of these microphones, and if we wanted a pair two we’d just pick two up.”