For Blake’s current tour, Harley is using an analogue desk - either a Midas Heritage or XL4. The mic pres on these desks are proving to be perfect for the job in hand and far more suitable than the 500 series high end studio mic pres he originally tried.
“With those, the detail in the very higher frequency spectrum became somewhat overwhelming, especially when James’ mic pre enhanced a lot of unwanted ambient stuff,” he explains.
For EQ and compression, he is using an insert of the Empirical Labs Lil Freq and a Distressor. For vocal effects he uses a Meris Mercury 7 as his main reverb because he likes its sense of body and character and its meatier sound. He also uses other processing effects for specific songs.
“James has two outputs from the stage for his vocal: one clean (Dry) and one effected (Wet) and he swaps between them depending on the song,” Harley says. “Most of the newer songs have Dry signals. The older songs like Limit and Lindisfarne require some heavy duty on stage vocal processing and come to me fully formed Wet. I tend to tune all FX EQs with top end taken out and body left in, which enhances the presence of the voice not the reverb. The d:facto™ Vocal Microphone has a great presence. The reverb then creates space.”
Both James Harley and James Blake have been delighted with the switch to d:facto™
and the microphone is now a key part of the current tour, which runs through to the New Year and takes in venues on both sides of the Atlantic.
“James is very happy with the situation - I think things only affect his performance when he’s not happy with what he’s hearing,” Harley says. “He’s an accomplished studio engineer/producer and knows exactly what he wants and how to achieve it. For my point of view, I’m very happy with the results and it makes my life much easier because I don’t have to worry about the performance of his mic.”