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Ziggy Condenser Microphones
Old 10th December 2010
Gear Head

Thread Starter

Dear Ken,

I was just listening last night to Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album and was struck again by the sound-world you created for the recording. I gather that the sessions went very quickly for this album and, although there is a breadth to the arrangements, it's all deceptively simple when one listens closely. Would you be able to elaborate on some of the ways in which you recorded, particularly the drums, Mick Ronson's guitar, and David Bowie's vocals? And what outboard was available?

With thanks for all the great and original work.
Old 10th December 2010
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Ken Scott's Avatar

Hi Mat, yes Ziggy was most certainly recorded quickly by today's standards, 2 weeks (that's a 5 day week) recording and probably the same mixing. with 2 additional days, one to record the single, Starman, and one to mix it. But you must remember that that was usual back then. Most artists recording contracts stated 2 albums a year, so it had to be quick.

Woody, drums, was in the Trident drum booth and it was Neumann U67s on toms, AKG D20 on bass drum, Sony C38 on snare and STC 4038s for overhead. You can go to <> to see a short video of Woody and I recreating the sound for my EpiK DrumS collection.

Ronno, guitar, was always a Neumann U67 on his cabinet and occasionally a distant mic, which would have been anything handy. Mick got his sounds via a wah-wah pedal that he'd move slowly through until hitting the required sound and then it wouldn't be touched again.

And last but not least, Mr Jones himself, vocals. Either a U67 or an AKG C12a. At times it may even have been a mixture of both. David was great, 99% of the time it was the first take, beginning to end, with no punches. Sure made my job easy.

Outboard gear was minimal and I'm pretty sure that question will come up again later and so, if you don't mind, I'm going to bring this diatribe to a close.

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