San Francisco, CA (August 23, 2016)—Metallica lit up the internet last week with the surprise release of “Hardwired,” the first single from the upcoming Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, the band’s first album of new material since 2008. While working on the project, producer Greg Fidelman expanded his input channel count with the addition of 19 BAE Audio mic preamps.
According to Fidelman, “[Metallica] are really busy guys, so we wanted to have all of our sounds for drums, bass and guitar set up all at once and leave them that way. That way they can get in there and cut a few takes without having to spend time dialing in sounds or breaking down mics each time.”
The 30 channels of vintage preamps that the band already had in the studio would not be enough for multi-mic drum sound and detailed guitar miking setups he was planning, so Fidelman procured 11 channels of the BAE Audio 1073 and eight channels of the 1028 in a mix of module and standalone rack formats. He reportedly opted for the mix of vintage and “new vintage” inputs over the studio’s built-in modern console because of the unique qualities of BAE’s vintage circuit design.
“With the 1073, the way you can manipulate the bottom end is pretty unique, with the low-end boost and the filter working together,” he says. “There’s also a quality to the top end that’s always musical. If you need a little extra you can really dig into it without it becoming harsh. And not just the high frequency boost/cut, but also the higher frequencies in the midrange band.”
Fidelman notes that the midrange band is particularly key for articulating the top end of kick and snare drums. “It’s pleasing with drums, you can boost what you want without the other garbage,” he says. “To get the core guitar sounds for Metallica I’m sometimes routing a mic into the 1073 and then out into the direct input of another 1073 or 1028 to get access to another midrange or low end band for extra control.”