Marco Migliari - insists on the sound of sE

Monday 15th February 2010

Marco Migliari spent 12 years honing his production skills at Peter Gabriel's legendary Real World Studios. Marco may had some of the greatest equipment available to him whilst helming the world-famous facility as Chief Engineer, but now he's pursuing the freelance life he's using his extensive knowledge of recording, mixing and mastering to keep his studio compact and straightforward.

Years of experience both using and building gear has galvanised Marco's ability to focus on the essential gear needed to move quickly and capture great recordings. Central to Marco's operation is a small Pro Tools HD rig with an even smaller collection of mics and preamps…

"when it comes to microphones, I use a stereo pair of sE 4400a [studio condenser]s and a single sE T2 [hybrid percussion] mic, as well as a Telefunken AK47 and a Shure SM58."

But whatever the mic, Marco takes the signals through either a custom Sutera Quadrapre 4-channel mic amp or a UA1176 Anniversary Edition - "arguably one of the best compressors for vocals ever made."

"I use my sE4400a stereo pair all the time. The incredible flexibility of these mics makes them suitable for almost any situation. I also like my T2 - it's a killer mic for electric guitar combos. The extra sheen of the titanium capsule can really help to rescue some lost top end, and it works well on drums, too."

"But my pair of sE4400a mics is probably one of the best deals on the market. And I just love all the options. Having -10dB and -20dB pad is vital for any studio work, the choice of four polar patterns is equally essential and the roll-off filter is also useful. I mean, this is basic stuff, but I'm often surprised that many so-called pro audio mics don't even have a filter!"

"So far I've had them as stereo drum overheads, stereo room mics, percussion spots, and even as a close pair on the piano. Combined with my infallible Sutera preamp, they always provide crystal-clear sound, extended and accurate bottom end and a detailed top end - detailed but never hyped. And I've only had them for a few weeks! Can't wait to try them on more acoustic instruments and on vocals, too."

"I also own an sE Stand1, which is nice and sturdy, as well as an sE pop shield. I use both all the time for vocal takes in my studio."

"A word of praise should also go to sE and Rupert Neve for their RNR1 [Rupert Neve-designed ribbon] mic, which I love. I've tried quite a few ribbon mics over the years, and I can say that this is the best sounding ribbon mic I've ever used. I used it on a brass section recently with some trimming courtesy of the Reflexion Filter, and I simply got the best sound I've heard in a long time."

"sE gear has changed the way I work. These microphones are helpful because they're easy to use, they come with a sturdy case and all the necessary attachments."

"These days I'm worrying less about getting a great close-up sound, and more about capturing the air around it. Mics with higher sensitivity and - crucially - phase stability can help a great deal to create tridimensional soundscapes. In a world where a lot of recordings are not done in the studio anymore, capturing the character and imperfections of the environment has become as important as the music if you want the end product to stand out from the crowd of computer-generated music."

"But ultimately sE mics do just do what they're supposed to do - faithfully capture a performance"

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From 2009 into 2010…

The last 12 months have seen Marco working on a diverse range of projects - be it producing, recording, mixing and mastered the latest album for UK jazz trio The Swiss, recorded, mixed and mastered Irish folk band Guidewires' new album, mastered Clare Teal's live album 'Live at Ebenezer's Chapel', mixed Dutch artist Aestrid's forthcoming album, produced and recorded both UK band Nylo and Italian band Fonderia, an experimental 5-piece from Rome.

"2010 will hopefully see the release of all my productions from last year, which I'm currently mixing. I have another folk record in the pipeline, shortly followed by more pop / rock orientated projects. Hopefully I will also resume some of my writing, which I shamefully neglected to allocate more time to music production. Lastly, I'd love to finish off some more technical projects I started years ago. I do have a passion for self-built gear and there are a couple of things I'd love to get finished in time for my next recording session."