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Sunday, 25 August 2013


Well, i'm back again with the second part of my work on 2012 Plan B's, Ill Manors.

"Lets get loud" and straight to sound craf. 

At the Edge Recording Studio, Plan B made a 5 day sessions before the release of the record. They were - as per Studio's blog entry - the final touches:

I've contacted Jon Delf and sent him a few questions about those sessions. Jon got me Mark Winterburn, one of the engineers who worked on the sessions to answer me. To both a big Thank You.
Bellow you can find some more stories behind this record creation and even one about using a different microphone  at one of the record finest tunes. Hope you like it :)

(Mark Winterburn - Sound Engineer)


Can you tell us where in time your work relation with Plan B started? How and when was the approach for the Ill Manors project?

I worked on ill Manors for 5 days at the start of June 2012, when Ben came to Edge Studios. The bulk of the album was already finished apart from vocals on 2 tracks and another track that was recorded and mixed from scratch.

As per your blog entry, it was a 5 session in your studio. How's Ben's method as a producer? Does he seeks for outside inputs or he has the hole thing planned and goes directly to his goal?


Ben works fast and is very precise about what he wants, relying on little input from others. He pays particular attention to vocals and there was a lot of comping takes to get the best possible results. The attention to detail was incredible, working right down to the smallest of edits and tiny uses of automation that, when done, made a huge difference to the feel of the vocal. Although he was just as comfortable leaving me to edit takes on my own and listened to other people's opinions.


I always ask a kind of tutorial question since this article is also about learning about a craft and what's behind a record like this one. So, as you were editing and recording at Edge, there were guitar parts that was recorded in London and sent online to you. How is that work sent? Is it downloaded from a server? Specifically, how do you keep the digital quality when dealing with those files, is it through a special software? Probably the readers think that some sound quality can be lost this way. Help us out learning how it's done.


In the case of ill Manors files were constantly being swapped between various studios in London and Edge. Everything we tracked was sent to the either Al Shux or Labrinth to hear and then, when approved, to Ben's engineers to mix into the original sessions. Obviously sending MP3s is out of the question so files are consolidated in Pro Tools and uploaded to an online file-sharing server. This method of sending files doesn't result in any loss of quality as the sample rate, BIT-depth and file format (WAV, AIFF etc.) remain the same.


Share with us an interesting moment that occurred on this sessions.


When recording the track 'Great Day For A Murder' which was recorded in full at Edge, Ben used an SM58 in the control room to record the vocals. On the other tracks he had been on a Neumann M147 in a vocal booth so seeing the performance close-up was a great experience, and seeing visually how much energy went into the takes was fantastic as he was really giving it his all, and I think you can hear that on the album.


One last question – a general one about running and studio and the craft within:
If you were at a school talking to kids that were about to decide their future careers what would you tell them why they should follow a sound engineer degree?


Having worked various jobs in a variety of industries I can say that the level of satisfaction and enjoyment that comes from engineering is something that can't be matched by any other profession. Whether it's working with unsigned bands or big artists I'm always learning something new and every session is different. Even if it is just for a hobby making music is hard to beat in terms of fun. My advice to people that want to pursue music or sound as a career is to give it all the effort you have and never stop trying. Perseverance and a little luck can lead to unexpected things.


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