Garbage's Kind Of Ribbon Mics

The band Garbage recorded its first album since 2005, "Not Your Kind of People," with numerous mics, including two Shure KSM313 and KSM353 ribbon microphones.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

Niles, IL (April 16, 2012)—The band Garbage recorded its first album since 2005, Not Your Kind of People, with numerous mics, including two Shure KSM313 and KSM353 ribbon microphones.

Image placeholder title

Engineer Billy Bush documented the writing process, recording the sessions and doing the rough mixes. The initial sessions took place at The Pass, a studio the band set up in North Hollywood, while most of the later recordings were done at Bush’s Atwater Village studio, Red Razor Sound.

“I really like the [KSM]313 on guitar cabinets,” says Bush. “Unlike a lot of ribbons, which seem to make things sound kind of dark, the [KSM]313 is full-range, but smooths out the high end in a way that’s really pleasant and natural. I also love the fact that the two sides have distinctly different tone. You put it in front of something and if it’s a little too bright, you spin it around. Or vice versa. It’s kind of like two mics in one.”

Bush’s miking technique for the sessions was less formal than usual. “The whole point was to keep things really loose,” he reports, “so we were looking for a mic that would sound good on a wide range of amps, everything from an 8-watt Fender Champ to an old Silvertone that sounded great in the room, but not if you miked it up close. I probably tried 10 mics on it before the [KSM]313. It was exactly what I wanted—all the transients, no muddiness, and a nice, pleasant high end that doesn’t sound like it’s been shelved.”

Bush also found some creative uses for the bidirectional pickup pattern of the Shure ribbon mics, notably on the drum kit. “One thing I really like about the 313 is that you can use the polar pattern in a way that makes miking a snare drum really fun,” he shares. “It’s small enough that you can position it with the hi-hat in the null and still get a ton of snare on the bright side. You can also position it between the kick and snare, with the low side picking up the kick and the high side picking up snare, which sounds fantastic.”

A Shure vocal mic also made its way into the final mix. “There’s one track called ‘Control’ where Shirley Manson’s scratch vocal, which was sung on a handheld Beta 58, actually ended up on the record,” Bush recalls. “She was just sitting on the couch and said, ‘I’ve got an idea here, let me put this down real quick.’ And when we were mixing the record, which was like a year later, we realized we had never recut the verses. Butch and I soloed it up and listened to it, and the Beta 58 just sounded cool, so it was like–done, awesome!”

Not Your Kind of People is set for a May 14 release on the band’s own Stunvolume Records. Garbage is also planning to tour extensively in 2012, with spring dates in the U.S. and much of June and July in Europe.

Shure Incorporated
www.shure.com