Skip to Content

Category:Studio Diary

STUDIO SNAPSHOT : “Recording Guitars”

We’ve been lucky enough to work with some AWESOME guitarists. George Bikos from East Coast USA band Embers of a Dying Flame and ex-Cruxshadows needs no introduction. His absolute punk attitude and drive screams through in his guitar takes. His surgical precision allows scathing guitars to sit seamlessly in a mix with complex synth lines.

We’re using three techniques to record the guitars:

Straight Re-Amping:
We’ll record the guitarist’s raw signal. Cut it up, then go into the studio and play the edited guitars though Graeme’s big guitar stack. This is recorded with two mics to give a stereo sound.
Pros : It’s accurate and it’s easier to fix up mistakes in a “raw” guitar take than a distorted guitar track
Cons: It can sound a little flat and might lack energy. When a guitarist is recording a track live (with massive guitar amp plugged in) they play with more attitude.

“Bent” Re-Amping:
Ditto as above, but after the raw signal is recorded, we patch it through the modular and screw with it as we would any other synth sound. We’ll add Amplitude or Filter modulation to give it extra bite. We then record it through the guitar amp with 2 mics.
Pros: It gives you a wild and chaotic guitar sound
Cons: Because of all the modulating, the tonal output is “unstable” – frequencies are going everywhere and it take a little extra work to keep the guitars sitting in the mix.

Rock Guitars 101:
Mix equal parts:
1 * rock pig guitarist
1 * massive amp
2 * mics
1 * backing track
Stir vigorously!
Pros: Sounds MASSIVE. High energy. It’s pure ROCK!
Cons: It can be a pain to clean up the guitars and edit stuff out….but that’s a minor gripe.

Try and use all 3 (an more) on an album.
After you’ve recorded one track, re-position the mics to give a slightly different sound on the next track.
Try close mic’ing (putting the mic very close in the amp) and far mic’ing (putting the mic more than a metre away). This can give an awesome stereo result.
If possible, use different amp. Graeme uses a marshall stack, a Vox, plus a crappy Peavey Bandit practice amp…and the Peavey adds a fantastic top end definition to the guitars!

It comes down to Punk Vs Perfection. How much raw punk energy are you willing to sacrifice in the quest for perfection?

Studio Snapshot: Editing Guitars

Our new album is shaping up to be dark, raw and PUNK AS HELL. Guitars and synths battle it out whilst heavy metal drums, modular bleeps and industrial percussion go head to head in all-out WAR…it’s shaping up to be a killer!
A major feature in this album is the way BIG GUITARS and BIG SYNTHS co-exist…there’s only so much “sonic room” a sound can occupy, and when two massive “frequency hogging” sounds are playing the same riff, things can get complicated…

Read more »

Studio Snapshot : SCI Prophet 5

Brand: Sequential Circuits International
Model: Prophet 5

This synth is hailed as a classic. It is a stunning machine. It can make gentle pads, hollow whispering leads, thumping basses and screeching horrific noises. It’s sound is absolutely glorious! We have owned ours for about 8 years, in this time it’s dropped it’s memory several times, broken down, almost set itself on fire and breathed AWESOMENESS into every track it’s touched. The Prophet 5 is a very temperamental Diva, but when she works, Gods and Demons run for cover…!

Read more »

Studio Snapshot : Doepfer A-189-1 Bit F*cker

Brand: Doepfer
Model: A-189-1

It’s shiny! It’s new! It fucks up yer shit REAL good!
Doepfer finally make a bit-crusher and it’s AWESOME! it does a bunch of other stuff as well…no idea exactly WHAT it does, but it does them with that clinical precision we’ve come to expect from Doepfer.

You can control 2 functions via CV, and when it comes to BitCrushing…that equated to some lovely alien DOOOM!
When we first got this thing we put a random CV through it as you would a Sample’n’Hold to randomly open a Filter…but we were randomly controlling Bit Crushing – I’ve never heard anything like it – fantastic!

Read more »

Studio Snapshot : Doepfer A-129 – Vocoder’o’ROCK!

Doepfer A-129 : Vocoder’o’ROCK!

Brand: Doepfer
Model: A-129

BLURB: Vocoder = Awesome blah blah Cylons, Earth Wind and Fire blah blah blah afro stevie wonder hot juicy sex with a Synthi blah blah blah…

F*ckin’ awesome. everyone needs 2! We also have a WARP FACTORY which is great, but the Doepfer is seriously AWESOME!! It paints your voice in a thick layer of luscious “vocoder honey”. We only have the very basic set up. We would buy the complete set up, but we keep spending all our money on huge elaborate photoshoots…and whores and drugs and fast cars…

Read more »


…you need:

1 Demon Childe Guitarist
1 Demon Guitar, Pedal and Rig
Lashings of ROCK
Killer Riffs (to taste)
2 * condenser mics
2 * SM57s

Place guitar rig in the middle of the room. Position so the back of the amp is 3 feet from the back wall with the speakers facing the room.

Read more »

Studio Snapshot : Doepfer A-118 and A-148

Brand: Doepfer

Model: A-118 and A-148
Link: and

A-118 Random Noise.
You can have this making the basic sound source for 2 different drums sounds PLUS supplying the random voltage for a Sample&Hold.
One of the Noise O/Ps can be “tuned” – you can shape the hi/low colour – which is really helpful.

A-148 Duel Sample & Hold.
This has so many cool applications. If you think with an open mind you can really use it to make some inventive sounds.

Obviously they both work together to make a S&H – Sample and Hold…the thing that makes the resonant gurgle sound.
We often add a small random element to all our sounds – it makes them come alive.

Read more »

Studio Snapshot : Dark Energy

Brand: Doepfer

Model: Dark Energy

BLURB: This is an “all-in-one-semi-modular” synth similar to a Korg MS-10. It’s internally patched and allows you to do some basic patching. IT IS AWESOME!

This is a single oscillator PURE ANALOGUE synth with 1 EG, 2 LFOs, 1 VCF and heaps of knobs and switches. It also has a very impressive MIDI (and USB!) spec, plus an audio input.

There’s also CV inputs on the front for VCO pitch, Pulse Width, VCF, VCA, Gate.

Read more »

Studio Snapshot: STILL Building Analogue Controllers…!

OK, we’re now got most parts needed to build these things. The main controller face will be 9 units high and have seventy patch points on it, over a dozen knobs, 1 joystick, several sliders, switchers, multiples, randomiser, wave fuckers, a coffee grinder…and other STUFF.

The remote controller will have several sliders, one JoyStick, randomiser, random slide modulator thing…and MORE STUFF!

The objective is to build controllers that interface with synths in a way that is different to conventional keyboard controllers.

More updates coming…

Main Modular taking shape.


He’s helped me design and build this little puppy. It’s a controller and live Analogue switcher for the Doepfer Modular Synth.

Yes, it works. Yes, it ROCKS! It will be the main instrument for the USA tour.

Read more »