Avalon Sunset and Enlightenment are two of my favorite sounding albums (I happen to love the music as well). They are remarkable for their combination of warmth and clarity, especially on the songs with larger arrangements.
Can you share with us what consoles they were recorded and mixed on? Analog tape or digital?
Also, you stated in an earlier thread that Van's vocals are done with dynamic mics - is that true of these albums as well? If so, is there any special preamp, or through the console?
On Avalon Sunset, the basic tracks (drums, bass, guitar, piano & Van's lead vocal) were recorded in a day and a half at Eden Studios on a mid 80's SSL E series console. No outboard preamps were used - all SSL. Van's vocal was recorded with a Sennheiser MD421, through a DBX 160, with +1 dB at 10 kHz eq. Overdubs were recorded over several months in several studios, incl. The Townhouse, Olympic, Westside & The Woolhall, where it was mixed, with the exception of "Whenever God....", which was originally mixed at The Woolhall, but then remixed (after Cliff Richard's vocal was added) at Townhouse Studio 2. All the consoles (except for the Neve VR at Westside) were SSL E series. Everything was recorded onto Ampex Grand Master analogue 2" tape, with Dolby SR at 30 ips, and mixed onto Ampex Grand Master 1/2", no Dolby.
On Enlightenment, the basic tracks were mostly recorded at The Woolhall using an SSL E series console onto Ampex Grand Master 2" analogue tape, via Dolby SR at 30 ips, and mixed onto Ampex Grand Master 1/2" analogue tape at 30 ips, no Dolby. Same recording detail for Van's vocal as Avalon Sunset. All overdubs were recorded using the SSL's mic amps. "So Quiet In Here" was recorded at The Kirk, by another engineer, so i'm afraid I have no details. The work down at Pavillion Studios was recorded, I think (again - a different engineer), on an Amek console.
Generally, there wasn't that much outboard gear, but it included:
DBX 160, 1176, Allison Research Gain-Brain, LA-4, compressors
GML, Neve eq
EMT 140 plate
Lexicon 480 & 224XL reverbs
AMS delays & harmonisers
AMS RMX-16 reverb
occasional use of analogue tape delay