Empire Recording Studios' Sam Burden Chooses sE Microphones

Thursday 21st February 2013

Sam Burden is a British record producer, engineer and musician and owner of Empire Recording Studios in Surrey, UK. He has also spent time working in the iconic Abbey Road Studios and world famous Pinewood Studios. Sam has worked with such artists as Bring Me The Horizon, Russell Watson, Out Like Wolves, Paul Daley (Leftfield) and Only Men Aloud for companies including Sony, Universal, Decca and Island Def Jam. Sam also lent his musical skills to Jasmine Al Fayed for her Jasmine Di Milo label at the 2012 Paris Fashion Show.

"I fell in love with music at an early age and began playing drums in various bands. My studio career started out as the standard ‘tea boy’ role before working my way through the ranks to engineering. I now own a studio with a team of engineers along with freelance producing and song writing. I believe the most rewarding thing about making a great record is the way it effects people. Music really can change peoples lives."

Sam began his sE love affair as he “was originally attracted to sE products because of the build and sound quality, and the incredible value for money.” When asked what models he prefers, he says, I use the sE Gemini, Titan, T2, and R1 regularly. I always like to try out a few mics on every source so I can find the best option to suit each track rather than having a list of ‘go-to’ mics. This means I’m constantly comparing my collection of sE mics with some of the most famous vintage mics around which are much higher priced. I also use the Reflexion Filter PRO, I’ve just been down in Cornwall where I was working on a record with Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends. We used an array of RF’s to minimise spill, as they were singing in a church!

"The sE T2‘s are really useful on a broad range of sources, and are becoming one of my favourite mics! I generally find an enormous amount of modern condensers far too hyped in the top end, the T2’s are incredibly detailed and have a really natural honest sound, a balance that many mics fail to achieve. I’d been searching for ages for an all-round pair of overheads and the T2’s have filled the position perfectly. At the end of last year I finished engineering the ‘Only Boys Aloud’ album. Recording 140 boys singing was a challenge that the T2’s met head on."

"In terms of ribbon mics, I’ve compared the R1 to loads of different ribbons over the years, and they sound as good as mics that are 5 times the price! I love these on Toms, room mics and of course guitars. Using the R1 on Toms was a slightly surprising discovery, great bottom end and the mids are scooped in the perfect place! The Gemini is perfect for pop vocals, it gives a really smooth valve sound and it has a great cross over of vintage depth and a polished, modern sound. I also use it on drums, it captures a great sense of standing in front of the kit and helps bring the mix alive."

"I choose sE gear because of the consistency of quality; They are reliable, well built, and sound great. During busy sessions, speed is often extremely important and I prefer to spend time creating sounds and vibe as oppose to wasting time fiddling around with mic placement and correcting 'mic droop'. sE's build quality on their cradles and clips gives me confidence that once I position a mic, it will stay there. With a wide range of products that cater for many varied applications, sE keep developing and delivering real work horse equipment for professionals."

Sam Burden on Twitter | Empire Recording on Twitter

By Hannah Staunton