John King, the founder and owner of Chung King Recording Studios created an industry standard for sonic excellence in music. Rick Rubin dubbed the studio the Chung King House of Metal—therefore changed the name of the company in 1986. This change was officially documented on LL Cool J's second studio album titled Bigger And Deffer (BAD).
What are some good microphones to have in your microphone locker?
A lot of famous vocals have been done on a SM57 and SM58. I'm not a fan of either one of them. If you had a studio with one microphone, a U87 would be a good one. They're expensive and they're not worth the money anymore. The old U87 was nice. All the Bock microphones and the Wunder microphones are fabulous. The Audio Technica makes a professional line of microphones like the 4060 and 4050 is like a cross between the U87 and 414. Their ribbon microphones are pretty nice too and they're powered. Royer ribbons are great.
What are your thoughts on the microphone clones on the market?
The good clones are great like the Wunder. I don't like the digital model microphone. The new tube condenser microphones built by good companies are better than the original condenser microphones built by good companies because the parts are new and the condensers work. That antique sound that you get from an antique microphone is the microphone breaking down. I got a 47 and it sounds fabulous but the new ones don't sound like that.
What's your favorite recording chain for RAP vocals?
My favorite RAP vocal combination was a microphone and compressor nobody uses anymore. It was the famous RAP vocal sound which was a SENNHEISER MD-421 dynamic microphone and the DBX compressor. That's the best RAP vocal sound you'll ever hear because it cuts right through.
It doesn't have this big beautiful distorted condenser sound. Condenser microphones distorts. You know that nice crisp sound you get on a condenser mic. That's distortion. If you drop a penny in a bucket of water and you see the ripples going back and forth, well the sound is doing the same thing on the diaphragm of the microphone.
What are some of the advantages in working in a commercial recording studio versus a project/home studio?
Everybody got a home studio with a computer and a bunch of stuff on it. They come up with a product. I tell them when they get it all done bring it to a studio that actually have acoustics so you can tell what you're actually mixing.
You may be lucky to have a room that sounds good at home. I got a room at home that sounds good because I made it sound good. The most important thing is that the bass does not build up in the room. The biggest problem I have these day with everybody with home studios is they bring me the stuff with too many tracks. I'm not getting what the song is about. All you got to do is make it clear. Don't make it complicated.
What are some of the plugins you like using?
I like the whole WAVES bundle. Any of the time-based effects. All you really need is your 8 favorite plugins. You don't need 600 plugins. Time-based plugins in digital are great. Echoes, flangers, delays, chorusing, reverbs, and, phasing was all done digital anyway accept in the early day of the Bucket-Brigade Device (BBD).
Why they sound better even when you use an old digital delay like a PCM 90 because the input and output softened the digital sound. They had filters in them. Nowadays everything is clear as a bell including the distortion. Anything with compression or EQ is very limited in digital because it really can't do it very well.