G UITARSTUDI O
Geoff Gray – Far & Away Studios
One of my mentors in studio recording was a tional so I have to be cautious of the player
wonderful guy named Geoff Gray who owned standing near it and stomping on pedals.
Far & Away Studios in New York. I remember
graduating from the Center for the Media
Arts and finding work as an assistant engineer
at his studio back in 1989. I learned quite a
bit about studio recording and producing
musicians during my tenure with Geoff. Since
then, he has relocated Far & Away Studios to
Boulder, Colorado and continues to work with
many different artists. He especially enjoys
working with new acts and helping them create the best recordings possible. To Geoff,
building good relationships with his clients
has always been key and many have become
For example, in the case of Sammy Dee
Morton’s record, he didn’t want to use headphones, so we had the Fender in the big
room poking out of the iso booth. I used a
57 and 58 to hedge my bets – we chose the
58. On the bass amp we used an EV RE20
on the big speakers and a Sennheiser 421
on the 10s. This was also live in the room 12’
from Sammy’s amp. We printed the drums in
the same room, too.
Recently Geoff was in town and stopped by
Jungle Room Studios for a chat. In addition to
working on mixes with me at the studio for the
upcoming album Fretworx, he gave me the
lowdown on Far & Away Studios and some of
his favorite techniques for recording guitar.
How did you come up with the design of
your studio? Were there any other studios
that influenced you?
I remembered the first time I walked into the
Power Station/Avatar Studio A and thought,
“This is the most sonically and visually comfortable room I’ve ever been in.” I wanted to create that in Colorado. We used indigenous pine
and brought the outside to the inside – Rich
Eberhardt came up with the overall design.
They don’t make Martins and Strats and Les
Pauls out of carpet. Wood just sounds great
for a recording environment. The studio houses 17’ ceilings, natural light, stunning views of
the Flatirons [rock formations near Boulder],
three iso areas and a live echo chamber prefaced by a tube two-track Ampex.
Can you share your mic’ing techniques with
us for both amps and acoustic guitars?
We have various amp rooms and, depending on the size of the room, I vary the mics.
Generally in the smaller areas I go to a 57
or 58 off-axis and close to the grille. We use
the big room often for overdubs and that is
perfect for the Royer 122s back about 18”.
Unlike the amp booths, we encourage leakage from that room. The Royers are bidirec-
With acoustic guitars, a DPA 4041 near the
soundhole is amazing. This is an omni with
a twist. If the acoustic is a major part of the
song, I always use two Neumann KM184s,
one pointed up toward the bridge, back 15”
or so; the other pointed near the neck joint,
also about that far back. I also like mono
guitar accompanied with a mono Nashville-tuned Taylor mic’ed up with a DPA or KM
184 near the neck joint.
Do you use digital or analog for recording?
What is your setup?
We use a hybrid of Pro Tools HD and a
Studer 2-inch. We have the 2-inch outs
normalled to the HD-ins so that I can have
both digital and analog. Guitars generally
get recorded directly to Pro Tools through
Sony DMX converters, but go through an
old LA-2A, or LA-3As in the case of two
acoustic mics. I love old Symetrix 202 mic
pres for all guitars. We have API 312s that
sound just great for all guitars – sometimes
it’s the Neve 1095s. During mixdown, I love
the Neve 1095 EQs and the old API 550As.
Shelving with the APIs on acoustics is a
What mics do you use to record the guitar?
I think a 57 is just great, the Royers are
amazing in the right circumstances, a 421
on a cab is fun and the DPAs never cease to
amaze. The DPA 4023s in the ORTF pattern
back from the cab are shocking. I’ll often
combine the 57 with the Royer, but try to
keep them on the same speaker in a multi-speaker cab so that I don’t have phase nightmares if I use them both.
Do you have a favorite “can’t live without”
guitar processor that you use?
Eventide Harmonizers are my favorites. We
have three and they all have different stock
programs. For a Haas effect I use the 949; for
delays and sick effects I use the H3000s. We
have oddities that we sometimes dust off like
an Acousticomputer, MXR Flanger/Doubler,
Effectron Delays and tape delays to chambers.
If you live in the vicinity of Boulder, do
yourself a favor and check out Far & Away
Studios for your next recording. Say Brian
sent you. And check out Geoff’s work on
“Dazed And Confused” on Get The Led Out
– Led Zeppelin Salute. He recorded all of
the guitars at Jungle Room Studios in New
York. For pictures of Far & Away Studios visit
Emmy Award winning guitarist Brian Tarquin scored a
Top 20 hit in the nineties with “ The Best of Acid Jazz,
vol. 2 ” on Instinct Records and enjoyed several top 10
hits on the R&R charts. Founder of the rock/electronica
band, Asphalt Jungle Tarquin has scored TV music for
such shows as CSI, Smallville, MTV, Alias, 24, All My
Children and many others.