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Music Production

Dream Theater Records Next Album in a Barn

Ready to record a month early, the eminent prog band brought the studio to itself.

New York, NY (September 27, 2018)—Prog metal band Dream Theater has long relied on vintage Rupert Neve consoles to achieve its sound, so when the band decided to record its new album in a barn, a slew of Rupert Neve Designs mic preamps and sE/Rupert Neve microphones came along for the ride.

While writing and pre-producing the upcoming fourteenth album in a barn in upstate New York this summer, the band found itself ready to record a full month ahead of schedule. To keep the momentum going, they decided to record the album right there and tasked engineer James Meslin and production manager Maddi Schieferstein with getting the space and gear prepared for recording—in just one week. They opted for a portable rig utilizing 24 channels of Rupert Neve Designs’ new RMP-D8 Dante-connected mic preamplifiers, a Portico 5024 quad mic preamp, four Shelford Channels and a full complement of Rupert Neve Signature Series microphones from sE Electronics.

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Meslin says his initial task was to find recording gear that wouldn’t compromise their dedication to sound quality but could also travel with them. “We wanted to invest in equipment that would have longevity with this band—our eyes lit up thinking of how we could use the RMP-D8 on the road with Dante. Being able to take these on tour, and not only have the convenience of Dante, but have it sound like the record, is really exciting.”

According to Meslin, “The Rupert Neve Designs gear has been the backbone of this whole recording process. Having recorded on vintage Rupert Neve consoles throughout my career, working with the Shelfords and RMP-D8s has been a very familiar experience. The RMP-D8 sounds and feels like a classic Rupert Neve console to me.”

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The sE Electronics microphones were the focal point of the drum sound, says Meslin. “A pair of RN17s [small-diaphragm condensers] in X-Y over the drummer’s head capture the immediate experience from the drummer’s perspective and kit, two RNR1s [active ribbons] are out in front of the kit in Blumlein to capture the entirety of the kit and the room, and two RNTs [large-diaphragm tube condensers] are split in omni to pick up all the excitement in the room. Those RNTs are really pleasing to the ear—very natural and easy to fit into the mix. So far, we haven’t even needed to use EQ on them.”

Rupert Neve Designs •