Ever wonder what a trombone sounds like through a Neumann microphone? How about a Hammond B3 organ through a vintage AKG C-12 mic?
There’s an app for that.
Guitar man Steve Vai worked with engineer Allen Sides to create the Ocean Way Microphone Locker app, which features tests of 66 microphones on 33 different instruments. The app is based on a CD-ROM version of the Microphone Locker that was produced way back in the 1990s, but has long been unavailable.
“This app is an indispensable and vital tool for any musician or recording engineer that is looking for the right microphone for the right instrument and how to use it,” reads the official description of the app, which you can find in the iTunes Store.
In addition to showing the best mics to pair with each instrument, the app also provides instruction on mic placement. A comprehensive list of microphones and instruments with diagrams and specifications also is included.
Vai said in a press release that he remembered the old CD-ROM and thought it was time for it to make a comeback.
“When the app revolution hit, I remembered that great CD-ROM and knew it would make an extraordinary app,” Vai explains. “I acquired the rights for the Ocean Way Microphone Locker CD-ROM contents and worked with Allen Sides, who is a very good friend, and Metal Sidecar LLC to build an app from the material. Metal Sidecar did a fabulous job and the app is phenomenal. You can actually access Allen’s mic collection and match them with a complete range of musical instruments. You get tips on the best miking techniques and can listen to samples played by top session cats like Hal Blaine on drums.”
Sides has worked in the recording industry for nearly 40 years, and is a leading authority on both vintage and contemporary microphones. He is the owner of Ocean Way Studios, which has locations in California and Nashville. The studio’s website lists an impressive array of albums made in the studio by artists including Green Day, Guns N’Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Michael Jackson.
The original Microphone Locker CD-ROM was produced by David Schwartz, the co-founder of Mix magazine. Schwartz also worked with Steve Vai and the team as they converted the original recordings into the app format.
According to the Ocean Way Studios website, the following microphone companies are represented in the app: “AKG, Audix, Audio-Technica, B&K, Beyer, Coles, Crown, Electro-Voice, Groove Tube, Milab, Neumann, RCA, Sanken, Schoeps, Sennheiser, Shure, Sony and Telefunken.” The 33 instruments include “drums and cymbals, percussion, guitars, a Hammond B3 organ and a wide variety of brass, woodwinds and strings.”
The app is designed for both the iPhone and the iPad, and costs $9.99. No word yet on whether an Android version will be released.
In other Steve Vai news, the guitarist just released his eighth studio album last month. The Story of Light is the second part of a concept that began with his previous album, 2005’s Real Illusions: Reflections. He tells Billboard that he plans to release a third album in the series, as well as a box set of all the albums.