Grammy Winner Guzauski Talks Recording Gear for Daft Punk

I listed the gear Mick Guzauski used for Daft Punk below

Featured Mixing board photo credit: via photopin (license)

Before reading this, I want you to know that I have added some affiliate link below.  They are mostly of the gear Mick has talked about in this audio interview but some are similar models if I couldn’t find the exact model.  Click this button below to learn more.

  • I do earn a commission if you click on one of the affiliate links below and buy something.  This is of no extra charge to you.  I don’t expect a lot of people to buy these items because most of them cost more than a used car, but it is really cool to appreciate them and see what they are. I added these products because when I was at the audio bloggers conference I honestly didn’t know what a lot of these models were and I wanted to see them.  I thought it would be of value to the readers to also be able to see the items he talks about

Mick Guzauski and Graham Cochrane Audio Interview

From the Audio Bloggers Conference in Santa Monica, CA March 6th, 2016

 

 

In this live audio interview, Mick Guzauski discusses the gear and techniques he used to record and mix the award winning Daft Punk album “Random Access Memories”.  Grammy winner Mick Guzauski has mixed many greats, including Prince, Eric Clapton, Snoop Dogg.  In this interview, Mick is being asked questions by one of my favorite audio blogger Graham Cochrane from the Recording Revolution.

I was able to record this interview at the Audio Bloggers Live charity event in Santa Monica California on March 6th, 2016.   It was such and incredible event and I am so happy I went. I learned so much, but it wasn’t until I wrote this blog post that certain techniques and equipment really stuck.   If it wasn’t for you reading this, or the aspiration of having readers read this, I wouldn’t have learned as much.  So thank you!

 

 

Phoenix House Helps Teens Overcome addiction with Music

This charity was put on by Ronan Chris Murphy from Recording Boot Camp to help support on to help Phoenix House. Phoenix House is a organization that helps teens overcome addiction by using music.  Its a great cause and all of the Audio Bloggers Live proceeds went to help Phoenix House carry on its work.   You can check out the stories of how the Pheonix House has helped so many here.

Here are the Gear and Goodies he used for Daft Punk

Kick Drum

  • 4 mics on kick
    • Sony c-500 condenser for the beater click, handles high spl, has a very extended top end, discontinued
    • Sennheiser MD421 for low mid punch (I think he put this inside the kick)
    • Neumann U47 FET for the outside for waves to develop into
    • Drum subkick with yamaha speaker (uses a yamaha speaker inside a drum shell wired like a microphone to capture the low end).  I couldn’t find a yamaha one of these but here is a different brand to give you the idea of what he was talking about – Solomon Drum Sub

 

Snare
  • Shure SM57 on the top head (always eq the top)
  • AKG 451 on the bottom head
  • Tried to position the mics so the phase was good, didn’t have to use sharp eqs, didn’t want them to sound too filtered.

 

 

Overheads

  • It was hard to hear but I think he mentioned Schoeps 5c or Schoeps 5u mics for overheads (The 5u is a shotgun mic, so I could be mistakened, but mabye it is used at an angle to not get toms other bleeds. Please leave a comment if you can fill me in on these).   Thanks Les!  For letting me know that he might be talking about the Schoeps CMC 5.  These have the removable capsules.  I couldn’t find any to show you as links, but I did find some Schoeps CMC6 you can check out below.  These are very similar.

 

 

 

 

Grammy Winner Mick Guzauski’s tips for Home Studio Owners Below 

At the bottom of this post, I made a list of Grammy winner Mick Guzauski’s advice for the home studios owner.  He sheds some light on some cool tricks and gear that I put into bullet points for easy reading.

Pre Amps (He Used for Daft Punk)

  • API 312 for kick and snare nice punchy sound.  I am not sure if he used the original old ones or one of the new ones API 3124+
  • Console preamps and EQs from the Neve 88R for toms console
  • Neve 1073 overheads pre amps I couldn’t find that but here is a Neve 1073 CV

Baffled drums real tight but had some Room mics

 

 

 

How he Achieve a Massive Low end Without Sacrificing Clarity Below

After the conference I was so AMPED to create more music but it wasn’t until I wrote this post that I really took in some things I missed.  Grammy winner Mick Guzauski talks about a cool drum editing technique to help drum fills fit in the mix.   I hit on below  –  in the How to have a massive low end but clarity in the mix section.

Tracking  (How they tracked it)

  • Tracking pro tools 96k
  • 15 ips and 30 ips
  • Some songs tracked to a Studer A827  15 ips with dolby sr,  two sr racks running in repro
  • The digital signal had higher transients because the peaks were not compressed to avoid clipping recording at lower levels
  • Tape was punchy,  didn’t have the transient detail, smoother warmer, analog 15 ips bottom end was big because anolog 15  ips headbump around 15 to 30 hz.

 

 

Mixing

  • Was not hard but a long process because did it all on an analog console, spent whole summer mixing,

His experience with Daft Punk recording “Random Access Memories”

He talks about how they wanted to go real natural on the acoustic recordings.  He wanted to avoid too much filtering and was wanting to get a warm sound with minimum EQ.  A 70s sound.  He tried to achieve the sound he wanted in the begining by using different mics and mic placements. He wanted try to get the recorded sound so it would sound real close to how it would sound when it was done without processing.

Grammy winner Mick mentioned how this project was one of the funnest he has done.  He felt like he had the Vintage Kings entire show room in the studio.  Sounds like a blast!

 


 

Grammy Winner Mick Guzauski’s tips for Home Studio Owners

  • Have a few varied types of microphones
    • Some good small and large diphram condesers
    • Some dynamics
  • Have some preamps
    • couple transformerless preamps with fast electronics for thing that you want to be real accurate
    • Some transformer preamps (fat in the low end)
  • Most Important
    • Instruments are sounding good
    • Mics in good postition
      • Not picking up leakage from other mics
      • Not to short of distance from one mic to the other so there are no phase problems
      • Watch out for comb filter from phase problems
      • Use the cardioid pattern to help reduce phase problems

How he got Massive Low End but Clarity on the Rest of the Mix

  • Make sure there isn’t any interference from other instruments going close to the fundamental of the low end
  • Thin out alot of the other instruments
  • Make sure everything is nicely in tune so there are no beat frequencies
  • Carving out frequencies so there are not conflicts in one frequency range
    • gentle high pass filters on guitar an vocals to keep it out of the range of the bass and kick
  • Make sure that some of the things that resonate like toms and stuff were edited and the ring was taken out.  This is one trick he uses on the toms in drum fills
    • The mics on the toms pick up a lot of ringing when the snare, kick and cymbals are hit.  This following procedure lowers the ringing down -10db throughout the song except when the toms are hit in the song or the drummer uses them in a fill.  Then they are at the full 0DB volume.
      1.  He would take his tom tracks and turn their audio clip gain down -10 db or so.   (Clip being the audio blob inside the track. Usually in DAWs, you can change the gain of the audio clip without chaining track volume level on the mixer. The tracks slider level on the mixer would still be at 0DB, but the audio clip (audio blob) itself would be -10DB).
      2. He now slices the audio clips (audio blob inside the track) around the tom fills. He raises those sliced fills back up to 0DB.   So let’s say there is a fill 1 measure long on measure 50. He slices the audio clip (audio blob) right before the fill (around the end of measure 49) and after the fill around measure 51 or 52.
      3. He now raises that sliced fill back up to 0DB.
      4. He then crossfades these fills so it doesn’t jump from -10DB to 0DB and vice versa.
    • He may use this technique on each individual tom hit or sometimes he may use it around the whole fill. It’s hard to tell for sure from this interview and he probably does both depending on how it sounds. If it was a fast fill, he may just slice around the whole fill instead of each tom hit.
  • Didn’t go for a lot of volume and didn’t compress to much.
    • The peaks remained peaks not crunched down.
    • Gentle compression a couple DB 4 at most
    • Not extremely fast attack on compression so that it lets some transients through
  • Good arrangements
  • Mix to keep everything articulate

How does the Grammy winner know when the mix is done

  • Listen to it a couple times without cringing

His Sercret Weapons

How does he share the mix with clients

  • We Transfer
  • Nicecast
  • Skype

Mics and Preamps He uses for Vocals

  • Listen to singer
  • Pic a couple mics thinks would work well and try them
  • Run through Neve class A preamp in the 1073
  • GML preamp sometimes for crystal clearness
  • Mics
  • A Universal Audio LA 2A compressor in the chain.  I couldn’t find one to show but here is a Teletronix LA-2A

 

 

How hot does the Grammy winner send a mix to Mastering

  • Print a mix totally slammed for A & R
  • Back off so limiter gain might hit a DB or occasional peak to mastering
  • The mix bus is set but the limiter is set so its ceiling a 10th db below 0 DB
  • Limiter average input -10 to -8
  • Uses Fab Filter Pro L for limiting
  • Send both to mastering if the client likes the loud mix
  • Always mixes with limiter on mix bus

 

Thank You for Reading

Thank you for reading this and if you have any comments or extra info about some of these tools please comment below.