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Jacquire King Mixes Kings of Leon’s ‘Come Around Sundown’

Producer/engineer discusses specific equipment that he used in his mixes.

Producer/engineer Jacquire King in his personal studio with an Eventide Model H3000-D/SE Ultra-Harmonizer, Retro Instruments 176 limiting amplifier, and units from Sontec, Shadow Hills and Standard Audio.

Photo courtesy of Off Central PR

Nashville-based producer/engineer Jacquire King—who shared in a 2009 Grammy Award for Record of the Year with producer Angelo Petraglia for the Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” from the band’s release Only By the Night—recently offered some details about his mixes for the band’s newest release, Come Around Sundown. King worked on mixes in his personal studio and he cites a few pieces of equipment that he regards as critically important in shaping the album’s sound.

King used his Retro Instruments 176 limiting amplifier throughout the session and says that it swiftly became a staple for lead singer Caleb Followill’s vocals while mixing. “With Come Around Sundown, I was able to use the 176 about a week in for rough mixes,” he says. “I first put it on Caleb’s voice to figure it out as a vocal compressor. I was very curious about the asymmetry feature and it proved to be incredibly useful on Caleb’s voice. The 176 stayed present for recording all the way through; I was able to leave it in the vocal monitor chain basically the entire time.”

Retro Instruments 176 limiting amplifier is based on the design of Bill Putnam’s tube-based Universal Audio 176 limiting amplifier. “It’s hard to find people making gear that are correctly emulating classic recording equipment and Phil [Moore of Retro Instruments] has done just that. There’s no way I’d part with the 176 or the Retro Instruments Sta-Level.” King also used a Standard Audio Level-Or API 500 Series format limiter.

King is pictured in his personal studio in front of his Dangerous Music Monitor ST controller.

Photo courtesy of Paul J. de Benedictis

King says he also relied heavily on the Dangerous Music 2-Bus analog summing amp and Dangerous Monitor ST monitor controller during this project. “I can hear things very accurately with the Dangerous Music gear. It’s not a colored, tricky sound; it’s transparent and true, and I can use it during any stage of the process. Obviously it’s critical in mixing, but as I can get the gear involved in any part of the process, it gives me a better listen to what’s going on, and understanding how I need to shape, correct or enhance something along the way to get the final mix to be in the best possible place—a place that feels good, sounds good, and is rewarding for everyone.

“With the advent of the Dangerous 2-Bus, being able to bypass the summing in the computer, plus [having] the option of creating a hybrid setup where I can use a lot of the really fine analog outboard pieces that I have, I find that it’s absolutely comparable to mixing on a great analog console.” Of the Dangerous Monitor ST controller, King says, “I have used an outboard volume control for more than 10 years—even when I was working on consoles—because I’ve always been a believer that you should try to listen through as much of your final signal chain as possible. The things I like about using the Dangerous Monitor ST are that the remote is very convenient, it has a lot of features, and it has a very transparent and true sound. I don’t feel tricked when I suddenly hear something played back on a different system, like I haven’t heard it that way before. The music all fits together the same way.”

For more about King’s work on the Kings of Leon’s Only By the Night, watch the video “Anatomy of a Hit: The Raconteurs and Kings of Leon,” with King and Vance Powell from Mix Nashville 2009.

Find out more about Jacquire King at

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