The Lake Poets self-titled album is the August release on Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound and was recorded at the legendary Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
The studio was opened in 2002 by sound engineer John McBride and his wife country music singer, songwriter and record producer Martina McBride. The state-of-the-art studio has seen clients such as Beck, The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton and Tony Bennett, to name but a few, all record albums in one of their nine, unique, studio spaces.
Here we get some insight into the equipment from the studio that was used in the making of The Lake Poets album, in the company of John McBride.
Telefunken 251 (Martina’s Mic): “This Telefunken 251 microphone is the finest example of any 251 I have ever heard. It is one of a collection that we purchased from Warner Brothers LA. The Telefunken 251 is recognised as having an important part in the history of vocal recording and because this particular mic is so special I have kept it out of our inventory and only used it for recording Martina [McBride] in the past ten years. However, I wanted The Lake Poets’ album to be recorded on this microphone because once I heard Martin sing I knew it was the perfect mic for that voice!”
Telefunken V76 Microphone Preamplifier: “a killer tube pre-amp that compliments the 251 mic very well. This mic was designed and tested with Telefunken mic pre’s so the match is just magical.”
Fairchild 660 Compressor: “This mono compressor sounds like God. It was manufactured in the 1950’s and has been used at Blackbird to record Caleb Followill (Kings of Leon) and is a favorite of Jack White. This particular 660 must have been built on a Thursday or Friday before a three day weekend where the planets aligned and it makes everything sound better!”
Motown EQ: “This EQ was one of the first twenty Motown EQs ever built and used at Motown during the 1960’s and 1970’s.”
A Hiller M59 small-diaphragm tube mic was used to record the acoustic guitars on The Lake Poets’ album. This is an extremely rare microphone that was built by the same people who designed the Telefunken microphone preamps, so the level of quality is incredible.
To mix The Lake Poets’ album a NEVE 8078 Console was used. We bought this mixing board from Donald Fagen of Steely Dan back in 2001. The console was used to track and mix Steely Dan’s ‘Aja’ album, as well as Donald’s solo effort ‘The Nightfly’. The console’s has a fantastic musical history and was at River Sound in NYC prior to coming to us at Blackbird.
The Lake Poet’s album features many Pre-War Martin Guitars that are part of the gear inventory here at Blackbird, such as a 1936 D18, a 1941 D28, and a 1944 00028. A 1949 GIBSON SJ 200 was also used during the recording. Each of these guitars have produced hundreds of hits that have come out of Blackbird, and acts from Keith Urban to Taylor Swift to Jack White have used these acoustic guitars during recording. If you look at our client list, I can guarantee that at least one of these guitars has been used during most sessions.”
Franklin Double Neck Steel Guitar: Paul Franklin is considered one of the greatest steel guitar players on Earth. Paul’s father was known for manufacturing Franklin steel guitars, but he recently decided to retire. When I heard Franklin was building his last steel guitar I immediately bought it. I wanted it to make hits forever! This Lake Poet’s album is actually the first record that this iconic steel guitar was played on.”