January 3, 2009
Alan Branch takes on Gemini II
Alan studied music at Goldsmiths College while supporting himself as an engineer at Topic Records and at the Works Studio. He joined Roundhouse Studio, where his skills as an Engineer and Programmer coupled with his hard work and easy going personality led to a growing demand for his services.
He soon became the chief engineer, responsible for many large studio projects including being part of the famed “On U Sound” crew alongside Adrian Sherwood. Eventually going freelance in 1995, Alan has put together an impressive collection of studio equipment and has worked all around the world, from Cuba, Japan, and Spain to France and the USA, but remains one of London’s most in-demand Producer/Mixer Engineers.
When it comes to mic’s and experience Alan Branch has worked with a few artists over the years:
Sinead O’Connor, Beverly Knight, Chaka Khan, Ronan Keating, Sade, Bjork, U2, Primal Scream, Blur, Jamiroquai, Alex Parks, Cara Dillion, Damien Dempsey, Juliet Turner, Jacknife Lee, Shola Ama, Fierce, Lighthouse Family, KC & Jojo, Depeche Mode, Eternal, Simply Red, Damage, M People, Herbert Gronemeyer, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Living Colour, Michelle Gail, Public Demand, Nu Colours, De La Soul, Soul To Soul, D:Ream, Skindive, Pop Will Eat It Self, Boy George, Shed 7, Aco, Haddaway, Asian Dub Foundation, LSK, The Last Poets, Shane MacGowan , Truce, Junior Delgado, African Head Charge, Bim Sherman, Bedlam Agogo, Dub Syndicate, US3, Matt Bianco + Flamenco Blues Band, Akabu, Jose Antonio, Atari Teenage Riot , Audio Active, Colonial Cousins, Jalal, Little Axe, Pale Saints, The Popes, Revolutionary Dub Warriors and the legendry Doug Wimbush, to name a few.
Alan’s most recent project being the completion of a live surround DVD project for Jeff Beck with guests, Eric Clapton, Joss Stone & Imogen Heap when we caught up with him to get his perspective of mic’s and his thoughts on the Gemini II.
“Ok let me start by saying a few things about mic’s and how I hear them, firstly it’s the number one hardware in the recording chain, no matter what cable, audio interface, computer or recording device without this all important front line component being right for the recording job and in the right place then no amount of plugins are going to save the recording and make it as good as what it can be with a well built quality mic. “
“Secondly, trying a few mic’s will bring different result’s for singers, guitars, strings, drums etc the point being there is no perfect mic and experimentation is important, as each mic has a character and finding one that fit’s a voice perfectly is key, of course if you can find a mic that’s versatile enough to do a great job with different singers and instruments then it makes life a lot easier. So when I got the chance to try the Gemini II I was really excited as I am slowly becoming a real sE fan, I was bowled over by the clever design and quality of the GM10 and have recommended the Z5600a II so many times to artists wanting quality from a small budget, all of them feeding back how much a difference it made to their performance. It’s not often you find a manufacturer living up to it’s hype or having spent real attention to the R&D of a product.”
“I got the Gemini at the same as another high quality German mic costing over three times as much turned up for a review I was doing, so it was going to have some tough competition, I know they say first impression’s count for a lot and to make it fair I asked other opinion’s before I said mine and almost 100% said they preferred the Gemini, to make it tougher we put up 3 mic’s and recorded a vocal performance with all three then did a blind test and it was quite startling the difference, the flat polar response with the high end lift was obvious, the warmth and character of the valve output was tremendous, but has a lovely hump in the top end to produce the air in the sound without over emphasizing it like some of the other mic’s, to soften it we tried off axis which works really well with no noticeable coloration of sound, fantastic stuff.”