The first DAW Upgrade

So now, I had Portamento and a way to duplicate realistic fuzz sounds for the project. With this now working, the weakest link was that the instrument samples I had sounded good but didn’t sound like the vintage instruments used on The Lamb.  Also by now, I had alot more disposable income so I started researching and buying more sample libraries for KONTAKT.  There were Les Pauls, Rickenbacker 12 strings, Rickenbacker basses, acoustic pianos, and drum libraries.  I bought them all.  They sounded better than the older batch of samples I had but still the tracks sounded more like outtakes from The Lamb rather than final mixes of The Lamb.  Of all the samples, the DRUMS sounded the weakest.  Enter Dave K again... he now was telling me about a new drum sample product he was working on called Ocean Way Drums.  He promised this product would sound so realistic in that it would have the drums sampled with multiple mics to include direct mics, overhead mics and room mics... and allow to mix the drums to taste.  This sounded very interesting to me and I think I was the second of third person to purchase this product from Dave.... it wasn’t cheap and it didn’t disappoint.  These drums sounded GREAT but no matter how hard I tried to EQ, compress or effect these great sounding drums, they still didn’t sound like Phil’s kit on The Lamb.

Even with all these top notch sample programs (and they all sounded real good) none of them sounded like the lamb except the samples I made of The Arp and The RMI.  However, for the life of me, I couldn’t get these instruments mixed within Creamware to sound like the album.  I had reverbs and delays and EQs but something was missing. Since I knew I had to get the vintage instruments for the project, I also now needed to know how GENESIS recorded the lamb and what equipment was used.  There is misinformation all over the web but the research starting turning up some interesting information.  One article, Mix Magazine, actually did an article on how Genesis got the sound of The Lamb in the studio.

So, I found out that Genesis used a HELIOS desk to record the lamb.  The Helios desk was used both in the mobile in Wales and also in Basing Street Studios where overdubs and mixdown was performed.  Johnnie Burns was the producer/engineer. By now, the CREAMWARE stuff was letting me down... company got sold, went bankrupt, no updates were done and it was 16 bit.  By now, the standard bit rate on PCs was at 24 bits... these samples sounded so much smoother and nicer than the 16 bit versions and the creamware stuff started sounding harse and quite frankly, terrible in comparison.

While keeping track of hardware technologies for the PC, I started hearing tons of noise about the UAD plugins which also ran on a dedicated processor board.  Users swore by it and on the net it was truly a world of the haves (UAD) and have nots (native plugins).  I had some native plugins by now but with all the buzz about the UAD stuff, I started researching this platform.


UAD had just come out with the first major hardware upgrade that multiplied the power of their UAD1 card 10x. It came with some plugins but you had to buy the other plugins and they weren’t cheap.  I also found out that UAD specialized in recreating vintage studio gear as plugins and one of the plugins they offered was a HELIOS EQ.  This software used sophisticated modeling techniques and it all started by analyzing a piece of real gear.  Now, this is the unbelievable part, the HELIOS desk that they modeled was now owned by a studio in California but the history of this desk was that it came out of BASING STREET STUDIOS and was in fact, the same desk that Johnnie Burns used to mix and record The Lamb.  This was too good to be true and now I had to have this UAD2 stuff.  The card is somewhat expensive but the plugins added a ton of expense if you purchased them one at a time.... they had a bundle package which you would get the largest card (QUAD) and every single plugin they offered at a price I couldn’t refuse.  So, goodbye CREAMWARE, hello UAD2.

These UAD2 plugins where unbelievable.  I put my ARP samples through the HELIOS EQ and oh my, perfect GENESIS sound. This was a major link for the project but now I needed to know more how The Lamb was produced in the studio.  What instruments and amps were used, what effects, etc. The official GENESIS website had a section where members uploaded photos of GENESIS and this website was a wealth of information for this time period.

If someone asked me what bass Mike R used on the Lamb, I would have told them without hesitation, he used a RICK.  I now found out I was wrong. No wonder the RICK samples with FUZZ sounded nothing like the fuzz bass on the album. But what was this guitar?

In Search of the Microfrets

I looked at live photos of GENESIS and clearly saw that the bass Mike was using had six strings?  Read that it was a short scale bass.  Researched MICROFRETS and found out it was a boutique guitar company in Maryland that was long out of business.  They made a total of about 3000 guitars from the late 60’s into the early 70s and that was it.  No mention of a short scale bass. This is going to be impossible.

I found a bunch of Microfrets guitars in Vintage stores and once in awnile, one would show up on EBAY.  But no where was there a six string bass.  I found a few regular MF Signature guitars and I did manage to find a 4 string BASS MF Signature guitar. I was pretty much giving up on this but remember seeing a strange picture from Headley Grange of Peter holding an even stranger looking guitar up for a group photo.

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