Los Angeles, CA (April 28, 2021)—After being Grammy-nominated in the best immersive audio album category for 2019’s The Savior, Michael Marquart employed Neumann and Sennheiser 3D technologies while tracking his follow-up, Lifelike.
Early in 2020, Marquart — who records as A Bad Think — entered L.A.’s Henson Studios with engineer Dave Way at the helm of an SSL 4072G+ series console to begin tracking Lifelike. “I thought, ‘How far can we push this, and what if on this album we start at the ground level in a 3D environment — using the Neumann KU 100 and the Ambeo mic?” says Marquart.
The basic tracks involved three drum sets, set up in a half-moon position. “Depending on which track we were recording, we would use one or two of the drum kits to meet the flavor of the song,” Marquart explains. Both a Neumann KU 100 binaural head and Sennheiser Ambeo VR mic were set up in the middle of the room, with the KU 100 pointed towards the primary drum set, located in the middle of the half-moon.
In addition to the KU 100, a Neumann U 47 FET large diaphragm condenser captured the kick drum with several Sennheiser MD 421 II dynamic microphones on the toms. Additionally, a matched pair of vintage U 47 tube mics were used flanking each ear microphone of the KU 100. “Neumann mics are the best, so we had them on practically everything,” Marquart enthuses.
By recording in 3D at the outset, Marquart’s team was able to create a spatially accurate aural rendering of each song as it was being tracked, rather than depending solely on mixing to create an immersive experience. “Back in the day, you could record stuff in a traditional way and then do an Atmos or Surround mix or something, but now we are recording this three-dimensional space — not just mixing,” says Marquart.
Bob Clearmountain handled the stereo and 5.1 mixes, while Steve Genewick and Dave Way handled the Dolby Atmos mixes at Los Angeles’ Capitol Studios. All the final mixes were mastered by Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering Studios. “Working with people I trust takes all the pressure off,” says Marquart. The Blu-ray release will include all these mixes, along with a 22-minute documentary highlighting the making of the record.
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