Shockingly, the ’90s were now considered a long time ago. Many titans of the session playing world of this period have retired. As they are replaced by their younger colleagues, certain principles of pedagogy and musicality have been retired as well.
In the control room, while many of the central philosophies have remained the same, modern recording seems to have evolved to use cleaner, higher bandwidth, and less colored gear. It’s now a slightly different sound, which some favor, some disdain, and most don’t notice.
Last year, while recording something unrelated, the original pencil marked Jurassic Park session recall sheets popped up out of the filing cabinet for some nerdy ogling. Right there on this aging paper was the actual recipe used to record the orchestra for these landmark sessions. The vision was clear – replicate this sound. We went to great lengths to do this while always referencing the recall sheet and using the memories of some of the Sony Scoring crew who were there.
Here are the steps we took.
– We rented the three exact modified Neumann M50 microphones used as the Decca Tree on the first sessions. They feature a unique hi-end crispness and transparency that is instantly recognizable. These microphones have mostly been retired since the early 2000s. We matched every other mic on the recall sheet and set them up in the 90’s fashion.
– In the control room, we patched in the exact preamp settings on the same preamps that still are mounted on the studio wall to this day. Most of these are now retired and replaced by cleaner and less colored signal paths by companies that weren’t created yet at the time.
– The favored Lexicon 480 hardware reverb unit was taken out of retirement and the exact reverb patch was dialed up. This was “THE” piece of the ’90s for most of these recordings – it is so 90’s sounding and is also instantly recognizable.
– One of the sonically most exciting parts of the recipe is the use of the Avalon 2055 – a delicate Class A discrete Stereo Hardware EQ that colors the high end in the most unique and hi-fi way imaginable.