Michael Wagener started out as a guitarist
with German rock band Accept. He put the
instrument down in 1970 and has since pro-
duced practically every band who ever wore
spandex or turned their amp “up to 11.” He
holds four- and nine-day workshops and also
offers project consulting and personal work-
shops. Details and contact information are
believe what you say, so I’ve never had
that situation where someone says, “No,
we have to use this!” One did, actually.
They insisted on using V-Drums. It was the
worst record I ever made; it never came
out, and the band broke up.
For the guitarist’s home studio on a bud-
get, where should he invest his (or his
What are some key pieces of gear you
use for recording guitars?
The Royer 121 ribbon mic is my absolute
favorite, and for mic pre’s the Chandler
Limited TG2, which is a remake of the
old EMI mic used on Abbey Road, and
the CraneSong STC 8, is my guitar chain.
It adds to the tone, gives me the tone
I’m looking for, adds to the harmonic
distortion without messing it up, and takes
away the super, super high-end distortion.
I used to work just in other studios, but
lately I work at my place because of budgetary concerns. I’m throwing my studio
into the production deal. If I don’t have
a piece of equipment that the musician
wants, it gets rented or we try something
else. I never really face that because when
you’ve sold a few platinum albums people
What are you trying to do? Are you trying to get demos and later go to a bigger
studio or production facility? At that point
you can get decent gear, cheap gear, and
get the songs on tape—I still say tape; isn’t
that weird?—and not care, if it’s not the
final version. If you are recording for keeps,
the most important thing is speakers,
because if you can’t hear it, you can’t fix it.
First, spend your money on good speakers,
because money keeps going into the studio. We know that. Get good speakers and
get the room treated in a way that you’ll
actually know what’s going on.
What has been the most valuable
technological advancement for