Engineer Dylan Dresdow, who was nominated for three Grammys and two TEC Awards for his work on the Black Eyed Peas’ Elephunk, recently wrapped up new albums for R&B artist Tweet and San Francisco-based trio The Lovemakers using an arsenal of mics and A Designs mic pre’s and EQs.
At the start of a project, Dresdow typically lines up a minimum of five microphones, he says, including models from Sony, Neumann and AKG, and asks the vocalist to sing through each of them. “A lot of people don’t understand that different microphones can affect mic pre’s in different ways. The mic itself is a load on the pre and influences the character of the mic pre.”
Dresdow used the A Designs MP-2 tube preamp for all of the vocals on the Tweet and Lovemakers projects. “You can overdrive it very slightly and it’s got this really good, milky distortion that you can get out of it on certain vocal tracks. A lot of the tube pre’s that are out there have a good coloration, but there’s a lot of noise that you get along with that.
“By overdriving the MP-2, you can dial in the amount of distortion that you want, and that’s where the A Designs ATTY comes in,” he continues. “One of the tricks that you can do with the MP-2 is adding the ATTY unit before or after the pre. You can drive the input really, really loud, and then attenuate the level down so that when you’re recording to tape or a DAW, your levels aren’t crazy.”
Dresdow also uses the A Designs REDDI tube direct box and EQ-1 tube equalizer on a regular basis. “For a long time, I didn’t really understand how important a DI was,” he reveals, “Then I noticed a lot of stuff getting lost when I used whatever DI was just lying around. I wasn’t getting the deep tone of my sustain. With a tube DI, I get the pluck and a nice punchy attack, and when the notes hang out, they sound very musical.”
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