Justin Stanley (who recently engineered Eric Clapton’s upcoming release and has also worked with Nikka Costa, Explosions in the Sky, and Jamie Lidell) added reverb to Crow’s vocals after the fact, using Orban Spring reverb, Briscasti M7, and Henson’s plate reverbs and custom echo chambers.

Doyle Bramhall II and Sheryl Crow at Cross Creek Studio.

“When Herb Alpert designed A&M Studios, he wanted to recreate the echo chambers that Phil Spector used at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood,” Stanley says. “He had the freedom to experiment with chambers. That is why they have seven or eight chambers here at Henson of all different sizes and textures. Some have plaster walls, some have shellac, some have rubber, and they all have a different kind of flavor. That gives it a great character.”

Stanley used a combination of Neve 33609, Vintagedesign CL1 MKII, and Retro Sta-Level compressors on Crow’s vocal, balancing old with new.

“I’m a big fan of Neve mic pres and the Sta-Level compressor for vocals, and also the Vintagedesign CL1,” Stanley explains. “I go to one of those when tracking, and as far as mics, when we’re tracking Sheryl’s vocals live with the band, I had a Shure SM7 up. A lot of the live vocals with the band were kept. When she wanted to perform the vocal in her own space at Cross Creek, we’d use her ELA M 251. She’s really comfortable and familiar with the sound of that mic.”

But the Vintagedesign and Retro Sta-Level (a recreation of the 1956 Gates Sta-Level, which dominated the sound of ’60s AM radio playlist) gear are staples of Stanley’s setup.

“I love the Vintagedesign because it doesn’t kill the transients,” he says. “But it brings the body of a drum or vocal signal; it glues it all together. It gives you a warmth in the tonality if there is any kind of color there to begin with. It’s on the darker side of things. The Sta-Level is just a great tube compressor built in a one-man shop; he makes beautiful recreations of the original Sta-Level design. It’s got eight tubes and huge transformers; it just holds the sound in such a beautiful way. You don’t hear any pumping or squashing of the sound; it just holds it all together.”

In addition to engineering, Stanley helped Bramhall maintain a relaxed attitude in the studio. Though Crow always aims for the most relaxed atmosphere possible, Stanley focused on it.

“We made a conscious effort to get Sheryl even looser in the approach to her vocals,” Stanley says. “The more people can forget about singing and just let out their emotions the better. As soon as they start thinking about playing or singing, that’s when it gets stiff. You want the artist to get lost in their space, so at the end of the take they wake up from that moment. You can see some people when they play or sing at the end of the song, they come out of the trance. That’s when you know someone has gone to that special place.”

Accéder à l'article d'EQ Magazine
Justin Stanley raconte son expérience avec le Retro Instruments Sta-Level sur le dernier album de Sheryl Crow, dans l'article d'EQ Magazine:
Retro Instruments STA-LEVEL en bonne place au centre du Rack de Lenny Kravitz
Le Gates STA-LEVEL de 1956 original (en haut)
Retro Instruments STA-LEVEL (en-bas)
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De gauche à droite - Citizen Cope, Sheryl Crow, Justin Stanley et Doyle Bramhall II à "Electric Lady Studios".
De gauche à droite: Victor Indrizzo, Doyle Bramhall II, Tommy Simms, Sheryl Crow et Justin Stanley à "Electric Lady Studios" - New York.

I was lucky enough to try the new Retro PowerStrip and record some new tracks with it this past week.

It is a very powerful recording tool, and it is a sublime and elegant answer to the basic every day user’s question of what recording chain to use.

It seems to be created with the pro in mind but certainly is the one magic box that every single person should own for their home studio.

The Powerstrip chimes with the rich thick Retro sound we have come to know and love, super fat mic pre, pultec style Eq and British Style limiting that pumps in a musical way, which makes your Tracks sound like finished Hi end recordings in a blink. The air apparent to the more common channel strips out there, the Powerstrip is simply going to make better sounding recordings where ever it lands, and I am pretty sure it is going to be ubiquitous, I mean, who would not want this much power and control in one package, and by Retro..... Phil strikes again.
Devin Powers

Devin Powers is an ASCAP Award-winning producer/composer with film and television credits including The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Sports Crash, Gene Simmons Family Jewels, Bruce Almighty, Paranormal State and many others.
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