Today I have a very special post from Prashant Aswani which is a complete rig rundown of what he used for the recording of his latest release “Sonically Speaking” which we hope will help you in your quest for the ultimate recording tone.
Check out my interview with Prashant about the new album here and also my review of ‘Sonically Speaking‘ here.
My lead tone depends on many different variables. It is a product of many different pieces of gear that work together like the gears on a perfectly tuned Swiss watch. The first piece of the puzzle is my guitar. I use ESP-PA custom model guitars. They are made of alder wood bodies and a maple necks with Floyd Rose bridge and Gotoh tuning pegs. The electronics are Dimarzio Pickups, I prefer a lower output pickup which allow the wood of the guitar and the amp to have a distinct voice.
Bogner amps are my choice. For Sonically Speaking I used a Bogner Ecstacy for all the lead tones and a Shiva for the clean tones. I also used different cabinets with different speaker combinations. For the clean tones I used Celestion 80's in a 1×12 cab. For the heavy Rhythms I used a Bogner 2×12 with vintage 30's and a 4×12 with 25watt greenbacks.
I have many of the same type of guitar with different pickup configurations or different body wood configurations. The black ESP Customs are all alder wood. The ones with maple tops also have alder wood but have a slightly tighter and crisper tone. I like alder wood as it seems to be buttery and smooth. Adding the maple neck and maple fret board make for a real clear sound. The two different woods compliment each other very well. ESP has done a fine job of making my custom model guitars. My lead pickup of choice for Sonically Speaking was a Dimarzio PAF Pro, PAF classic and a Norton. These seemed to work best with my setup.
The added element to my lead gain sound was the Maxon VOP-9. This is nothing like a standard tube screamer. The tone is very clear yet warm and smooth. I used the lead channel on my Bogner Ecstacy and mixed the gain levels between the pedal and the amp. This technique works with any amp and overdrive pedal combination. I recommend giving it a try. I also like to stack overdrives in some instances when the gain tone of the amp is not quite what I am looking for.
My mic setup is a combination of an SM57 with an AKG C414-ULS. I used the Budda 1×12 Cab for this tone. I didn't change anything except for guitars throughout the tracking of my leads and melodies. The tonal fluctuations come from the instruments only. I chose this method because I wanted some sonic continuity for the record and I am satisfied with the results. If I was working on different genres of tunes or multiple tracks for different albums then I would use a different approach.
Finally, I want to stress the importance of good mic pres. I used API and Neve 1073 pres. They work best for the type of sound I am looking for. The mic pre also colors the tone. Please experiment with different ones until you find what is a best fit for you. Because I know the color, sound and tone my gear creates I am able to manipulate the frequencies from a known starting point. So get to know your gear and work with what you have. When you can add a new element to your rig then make sure you learn it. Ultimately, you want to control your gear and not be controlled by it. Often times I narrow my options so I can focus on getting the tone I want rather than messing around with knobs. I hope this helps you guys on your path to tone destiny. This is just my perspective on ‘Sonically Speaking‘.
Head over to www.prashantaswani.com to hear samples from the new album and for details on how to purchase.