Question: I’m a solo artist looking to record, and I’m wanting to know
what kind of microphones Regina Spektor uses.
They sound amazingly clear and warm and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Gordon: Hi! I only worked with Regina on her stunning collection entitled Soviet Kitsch,
not anything after or before that. My idea was to make all the sounds a bit edgy and
aggressive, like the attitude of the rock music that I enjoy frequently,
yet infuse some of that feeling onto very excellently played piano and
Regina’s gorgeous singing.
Most of Soviet Kitsch– except for Your Honor was recorded with the piano played
and the vocals sung live at the same time. This allowed the microphones of the voice
to have some of the piano sound in it and the piano microphones had the voice in it
(partly) and the room microphones had both the piano and voice in it. So you see it
was a lovely 3 dimensional configuration of mics that created that strange, cool sound.
Other than the mics (I believe I used a Neumann U-87 on her voice directly) the choice
of pre-amps and how they were set, as well as how I played around with compressors
made a huge difference in the overall sound. We recorded to two inch tape,
not Pro Tools directly, through later we transferred it to PT for the mixing stage.
The pre-amps, compressors and tape helped make the music very crisp, intimate and
present, yet with a warm feel at the same time.
I used many vintage Neve pre-amps, and ran them a bit hot so that a crunchy, highly
coloured sound came out on all the mics, especially room mics, vocal mic and
piano mic. I also put an aggressive compressor, probably a Distressor on the
piano and voice as well, which added some chaos and intensity to the sound.
To make matters even wierder– I ran some songs into Fender Twin guitar amps and
Leslie speakers while they were being recorded (voice, piano room and all!!)
and added that crazy signal warping to the overall mix, contrasting the crystal clear
performances Regina so wonderfully gave.
So to answer your question directly– Neumann U-87 and in some cases a vintage
Neumann U-67. But there were other things influencing the sounds on
that record. Soviet Kitsch is one of my top favorite recording experiences
I ever had, to be honest!
Cheers from Berlin–
“Our reason to be here”-Jon Anderson