Posts Tagged ‘sE Electronics Z5600aII’


Top Dance Producer Stuart Crichton and sE in Dance Floor Heaven!

August 12, 2008

Whether tracking for Kylie, Pet Shop Boys or Sugababes, Stuart Crichton uses sE mics “on every production I do”…

Stuart with his sE gear

Stuart with his sE gear

For producer and engineer Stuart Crichton, making records that move the dance floor is a passion that can be charted back to the very beginnings of Progressive House. With hundreds of releases to his name, Stuart has not only released tracks on seminal labels (FFRR, Epic, ZTT, Mushroom, Nettwerk, React), but was also instrumental in making Limbo Records a leading light on the early ’90s progressive scene.

Since those early days he has immersed himself in the world of music production. And with over 15 years production experience he’s forgotten more about making dance floor bombs than most producers will ever know – how else do you get to work on tracks for Jamelia and Kylie (Parlophone), Simon Webbe (Innocent), Delta Goodrem (SonyBMG), Jonas (Universal) and Brian McFadden (Sony/BMG).

He’s also just returned from a successful writing trip in Nashville and won The Miami Best Pop Award in 2005 for his artist project Narcotic Thrust (not in any way a reference to ‘disco beans’, but rather an anagram of Stuart Crichton!), with “I Like It” (UK No.7).

Stuart may have his roots in dance but vocals play a huge part in his productions, and he can easily turn his hand to most styles of music, as previous successes with Kylie, Charlotte Church, Pet Shop Boys, Bond and The Sugababes will testify.

His back catalogue reads like a who’s who list of dance and pop heavyweights, and this experience has led him to experiment with practically every type of microphone going…and from all of them one brand sits on top of them all for Stuart – sE Electronics.

“I’m using a few sE mics in the studio right now,” Stuart reports from his Hastings-based studio. “I particularly like the Z5600aII [multi-pattern tube condenser], the SE1a [small diaphragm condenser] stereo pair, and the new GM10 [guitar mic]. The Z5600aIII use on every vocal production I do.
…and having just got the GM10, well, I’m using that absolutely every time I record acoustic guitar… it’s just amazing!”

As is often the way when deciding on new microphones, it was a suggestion from a fellow engineer that got Stuart into the sE mics in the first place. “My friend Javier Weyler recommended the Z5600aII to me when he was an assistant engineer at Sahara Studios. He told me that sE mics offered amazing quality for a great price – and he wasn’t wrong! He’s now the drummer in the Stereophonics… clever chap!”

“Sure, with microphones it’s all about the sound, but sE mics make my life easier. These mics are just so flexible. I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I tell you that I couldn’t live without my sE mics now. These mics can handle all of my recording needs – period!”

“When you’re capturing a performance there’s one rule that I use to decide if I’ve got the recording I need: if it sounds right, it is right. And with sE mics I can be really confident that they’re giving me exactly the results I need.”


sE mics and the ‘We Are Together’ project for the South African Agape Orphanage

July 24, 2008

When Ludwig Bouwer, owner and engineer at One Big Room Studios in South Africa, and the Soweto Gospel Choir were asked to get involved with the Agape Orphanage Project, sE were only too happy to help them out…

The choirs at One Big Room

After playing keyboards and bass in various bands Ludwig Bouwer converted his love of music and technology into a career, becoming the owner and engineer at One Big Room Studios in Pretoria, South Africa. Nothing could prepare him for his biggest challenge, though, when the producer and two-time Grammy winner Robin Hogarth called him up and asked him to help out with the ‘We Are Together’ project, a recording and film about a choir at the Agape Orphanage. Suddenly he had to assemble 20 top-notch singers – including members of that choir and of the Soweto Gospel Choir – in his studio, and record them!

“The SGC (Soweto Gospel Choir) and the children from the orphanage had trouble getting together for one song, ‘Thina Sonke’, in the studio allocated to the bulk of the project,” says Bouwer. “Robin wanted to know if I was willing and crazy enough to squeeze 20 top-notch performers into my live room, and I said yes!”

“Then I realized that I didn’t have enough microphones to handle the choir and lead singers. I figured I needed seven similar mics, with figure of 8 patterns. The choir is split into four voices, and there were three lead singers on top of that. Incidentally, SGC record everything live with no overdubs – that’s how good they are! The hunt for gear ‘favours’ was on. I knew that sE mics are excellent, having heard them before in other studios, so my first port of call was Turnkey Music, in Johannesburg. I managed to get hold of the owner, Peter Tuerk, who immediately offered “as many sE mics” as we needed. Shortly after that, Paul Martin arrived at my studio with four sE Electronics Z5600aII’s and three sE Electronics Z5600 MKI’s, including three heavy-duty stands.”

Ludwig at the controls!

 “The mics sounded beautiful,” Ludwig continues. “With almost no tweaking, the choir sounded great. I found the mics to have a lovely top-end, clear but in no way harsh. The low-end response was also great, especially considering that the choir was not exactly standing on top of the mics. With very little noise floor the mics are very quiet – great for dynamic vocal work and good side-cancellation in figure-of-eight mode, it was easy to get good levels out of the mics. Overall, the sE Z5600a’s sounded like really, really good tube mics – which is exactly what they are!”

“The mics were just ‘set and forget’. As long as you have some idea of what you want to pickup and what should be excluded, the mics just go to work… it was actually almost too easy to get a good sound. I did not own any sE gear at the time, but now I know the mics are just so excellent, every engineer should have some.”

The recording ended up being perfect for the project which has since received great reviews for its moving story about the children of the orphanage attempting to raise funds for the facility. Meanwhile Ludwig’s own band The Lemmings ( are touring the States from September (“with sE mics, no doubt!”) and he has just finished a wonderful acoustic/alternative project for Namibian singer Andra (

View the sE Z5600A II at Dolphin

Other sE Electronics Microphones

More about the We Are Together project at

More about Ludwig’s studio at