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Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs was released to critical acclaim before
going on to claim the “Album of the Year” title at last weekend’s 2010
GRAMMY Awards. Mark Lawson is the talented engineer that worked
closely with the indie rock band — with its multitude of members and ever
changing instrumentation — during the recording of this award-winning album.
Arcade Fire, based in Montreal, Canada, is fronted by the husband and
wife duo of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne. Universal Audio hardware
was an important player in the sound of their acclaimed release.

In addition to managing the chaotic amount of musicians in their
sessions for the album, Lawson also had to deal with the technical end
of recording a vast array of continually changing instrumentation in
varying (some, rather dubious) locations. He and the band are hardcore
analog enthusiasts, utilizing both vintage and modern, gear and

The Universal Audio 1176LN Classic Limiting Amplifier and the 2-610
Dual Channel Tube Preamplifier played an integral part in Arcade
Fire’s sound. “I've been using 1176s since day one in the studio. I've
used the 2-610 in combination with an 1176 to record all kinds of
projects--since the beginning of time,” commented Lawson. “We also
have a vintage UA 2100 sidecar. I used the sidecar to record a variety
of things. Each channel has a 1108 preamp, a limited EQ — broad stroke
treble and bass — section, a very slow optical limiter and a large
square metal fader.  Every time the lights would flash on the
limiters, I would smile and hope for the best. It was tricky to
monitor sometimes in the makeshift DYI spaces. The title track,
Suburbs, with the dueling drum kits, was recorded with that sidecar.”

Analog gear and recording to tape help form much of the warm sound
that makes Arcade Fire so popular, Lawson relied heavily on the 2-610
for recording. “Much like the 2100, I find that with the 2-610, it
just does what it does instantly. You don't have to futz about with
it. It sounds really clean and clear. It sort of has a warm overtone
kind of thing that can be enjoyable sometimes. It just sort of works
every time. I don't have to second-guess. I just plug in the mic, and
I know it's going to be a nice, full sound that's going to be totally

Read the interview in its entirety on Universal Audio’s website Blog:
Learn more about the award-winning Universal Audio Hardware here:


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