2015 was a remarkable year for Vintage King clients involved in the music industry, as we had over 30 artists, producers and engineers we work with nominated for Grammy awards. While we all know how secretive sonic creators can be about their work process, we asked a few of our favorite studio workhorses to divulge the secrets of their Grammy-nominated vocal chains.
While Chris Stapleton may be a new face for many music fans, producer Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson/Jason Isbell) and engineer Vance Powell (Jack White / JEFF the Brotherhood) are no strangers to creating amazing records. When deciding what gear to use during the recording of Stapleton's Grammy-nominated album, Traveller, Cobb asked Powell to select what would be used in the vocal chain. The end results saw Vance opting to use a vintage U47 and running them through vintage Neve 1073 and an Esoteric Audio Research 660 for compression/limiting. The vocals were all cut live with the rest of the band playing in the same room at RCA Victor Studios. The only exceptions were two albums tracks that were recorded outside the front of The Castle studio, thus the sound of passing cars and crickets.
Jim James' musical evolution has seen him move from just fronting his band, My Morning Jacket, to a much more production-based role on their latest Grammy-nominated release. Sharing a co-producer credit with Tucker Martine on The Waterfall, the band's seventh studio album, James looked to use a combination of vintage gear and faithful reproductions from Retro Instruments. For the recording of "Believe (Nobody Knows)," Martine and James utilized two different vocal chains as the song employs doubled up vocals. For the first vocal, the duo used an RCA BK-5, which was plugged into a Retro Instruments OP-6 (a modern recreation of the storied RCA OP-6) and then run through a Retro Instruments 176. The second vocal was recorded by a vintage Neumann U-67, run through a Telefunken V76 mic pre and another Retro Instruments 176.
Vocal Chain #1
Vocal Chain #2
We're celebrating Jim James use of Retro Instruments gear and teaming up with the vintage reproduction brand for a special seven day deal. When you buy either a Retro Instruments OP-6 or a 176, you'll receive a free BeyerDynamic 160. Hurry, as this offer only lasts until Midnight on February 26th, 2016.