Los Angeles, CA – Over the past couple of years, acclaimed front of house engineer Greg Price, renowned for working with some of the heaviest of heavy rock acts, has adopted a variety of sE Electronics microphone models for that key component of any metal music mix, the electric guitar. Price is currently out on a lengthy world tour with Black Sabbath, with whom he has worked since the band’s first reunion tour in 1997, using an sE Electronics T2 large diaphragm condenser to capture the heavy metal crunch of co-founding band member Tony Iommi’s guitar rig.
“Over the last two years, I’ve used the sE4, sE4400a, T2, Voodoo VR1 and VR2,” recalls Price. “I love the sound of this group of microphones on guitars. The right mic for that certain guitar player’s amp is in this group. You really just need to set them up and give them a listen.” The sE T2 proved to be the perfect mic for Iommi. “I’m looking for a mid-range texture that the T2 gives me on guitar,” says Price.
“I want that really punchy mid-range for guitar,” he elaborates. “I believe you set the right mic for the right guitar amp and you don’t need EQ or anything else; just bring the fader up and—bam—you have amazing guitar.
Price, who has been at FOH on four world tours with Black Sabbath, started working with the band on its current Reunion Tour last year. He had previously toured with Ozzy Osbourne, making 2013 the eighteenth year of his working relationship with the Black Sabbath front man. The band, originally founded in 1968, first reformed back in 1997—releasing a live double-album, “Reunion,” recorded at the Birmingham NEC arena—and, following another long hiatus, is now on its second reunion tour.
In general, the heavy metal genre brings its own particular set of engineering and mixing challenges, according to Price, “not just with this band, but with most bands that prefer a high dB level on stage. Stage volume is always a problem; both in mixing and recording, the stage volume gets into the microphones. Total sound pressure level is a combination of instruments, monitors, room environment, and PA system volume. These elements always make the vocals a real issue. I want clear, clean, and articulate vocals in my ‘live’ master mix. This is hard work with high pressure levels from the stage, but the sE mics help me overcome this.”
In the studio, says Price, he is always looking for that one microphone that he can put up that realistically captures the band in the room—and there is an sE small diaphragm condenser model that does exactly that. “By ‘capture’ I mean stand in the room with the band, close your eyes, and ‘load’ the sound of the band into your memory bank,” he explains. “Then, put up one mic, hit ‘record,’ and hear the sound you have stored in your memory on your recording. I get that experience with the sE4.”
Price got into the music business through his brother, Steve, who is co-founder and drummer for San Francisco pop/rock band Pablo Cruise, which also reformed, in 2004. “He asked me down to the studio one day. Once I walked into the studio, I knew I’d found what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.”
During his 38-year career in live and studio sound, Price has become the go-to guy for many hard rock artists, including Weezer, Foo Fighters, Van Halen, Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine, Ted Nugent, Kiss, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top, and Them Crooked Vultures, as well as Black Sabbath. But don’t label Price as a metal obsessive: he’s also held down the FOH position with the Cheetah Girls/Hannah Montana and Glee's The TV Show Tour.
Black Sabbath’s long-running Reunion Tour kicked off in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, England on May 19, 2012 before heading through Australia and New Zealand, Japan, North America, Latin America, and, finally, Europe. The current itinerary is scheduled to bring them full-circle, ending with two shows in Birmingham on December 20 and 22, 2013.