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Dave Pemberton
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Dave Pemberton

Producer, Engineer & Sound Manipulator
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Dave Pemberton

As a house engineer at Strongroom Studios for 16 years, Dave Pemberton knows his Neves from his SSLs, and he has worked with everyone from The Prodigy to the Minogue sisters. He was part of the band Kinobe and, more recently, has produced bands including The Big Sun and Y.O.U.N.G. He also does a mean mic swap…

Kinobe, Kasabian, The Prodigy, Orbital, Groove Armada, New York Tourists, Y.O.U.N.G, The King Blues, MC Profit
Dave's Aston Gear
Spirit
Manchester to London

I loved going to gigs and started to play in bands from the age of 14. I always wanted to be in the industry and eventually ended up studying music technology at Salford University, on one of the only courses available at the time. Once I graduated, I started working as an assistant sound engineer at Jacobs Studio. It was there I gained my initial experience on large format Neve and SSL consoles and recording onto analogue tape.

After a few months both living and working at Jacobs I moved to London and got a full time job at The Strongroom Studios where I worked as house engineer for 16 years. I started first as assistant engineer, working my way up until I was chief engineer. During my time there I worked with many bands including The Prodigy, East 17, M-People, Kylie and Danni Minogue, Orbital, Carl Cox, Graham Park, Beverly Knight, Robert Owens and many more.

I've worked with artists of all genres, from pop music to film scores, and was also part of the band Kinobe. More recent clients include Y.O.U.N.G., New York Tourists, The King Blues, The Fedz, Maxim/Cianna Blaze, KOG and the Zongo Brigade, Frontline Frequency, The Big Sun, Trampolene, We Were Evergreen and MC Profit.

Pop and fizz

My main system is Pro Tools using an Avid C24 control surface. Recently I have been mostly recording live bands and mixing, so a good front end is important, especially the choice of mics. I have an Aston Spirit going into a GA-52 mic pre, and a Focusrite ISA 131 vintage compressor.

I was pleasantly shocked when I first used my Spirit. I’d been using a vintage Neumann U47 for a vocal session but then it started to pop and fizzle. I switched to the Spirit and continued the session. To my surprise the clients seemed unaware of the change of mic. If anything, it had more presence than the 47 and it certainly kept the warmth. From then on I’ve used the Spirit as my go-to mic for all kinds of instruments. 

I recently used the Spirit extensively recording the band Y.O.U.N.G on all kinds of things. It's been used extensively on their debut album (title TBA) and on the singles Exposure and Lazy. It sounded great on vocals, guitar cabs and on the kit. I also used it as a mono drum overhead, and the Spirit also sounded great right in front of the kit, in an m/s pair. In fact it's a great all round mic and a must for any serious engineer to have in their arsenal. Even better, have two, then you can use them in stereo. It's amazing to have a mic that keeps up the great British tradition of outstanding audio quality.

Out-takes

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. “Probably bumming around south-east Asia teaching people how to scuba dive.”

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. “Something like a U67 in mint condition with no hums or funny noises.”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Great British audio engineering.”

Q. What was the first song that made you cry?
A. "Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven"

Q. Who are your favourite artists?
A. “From the 60s, The Beatles and Stones, of course! From the 70s, it's Zeppelin, Floyd, Marley, and AC/DC. The 80s, The Police, U2, and Stone Roses. From the 90s, The Prodigy, Orbital and Oasis. The 00s, Groove Armada and my band Kinobe! More recently I love bands like The National, The Killers, Django Django and Glass Animals.”

Credits

Aston gear has been used with the following artists...

Y.O.U.N.G

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Made in UK
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