Lincoln Grounds talks sE and Rupert Neve Designs

Lincoln Grounds is a musician, songwriter, composer and producer and his musical journey has been an pretty successful one. Lincoln kindly took some time out of his busy career to talk to us about his sE mics and how the Rupert Neve Portico II Master Buss Processor has changed his recording world.

Starting Out

“Despite trying more conventional career paths, I soon realised it was always going to be music for me. I was a full time live and session guitarist for several years, including working on some sessions for Audio Network Production Music. Now I work and write full time for Audio Network. Some recent credits include adverts for Burger King, Sharp’s sponsorship for UEFA Euro 2012 and Nintendo. I have also produced sponsor’s idents for Emmerdale, Billy Connolly’s Route 66 on ITV, as well as the titles for Food Inspectors on BBC1.”

Mics and Musicians

“I currently own two sE Voodoo VR1s, three GM10s, a set of sE4400a Stereo Pairs and a sE Z5600a II. The VR1s are my favourite, they have a neutral but classy sound and I find them to be best on drums. You can get excellent separation for kit pieces by careful placement and alignment without having to close the mic or get in the drummers way, brilliant!"

"The sE 4400a's sound really open and seem to love aggressive guitar speakers, so they have become my usual guitar cab mic. For something smoother, I’ll use a ribbon, typically the VR1. My sE mics are all left in position ready to go. VR1s on the drums, sE 4400a's on the guitar cabs and GM10s on the piano. Anything I’ve done using these instruments has involved sE mics. I have a small Gretsch kit and upright piano permanently miked up as well as six other mics always plugged in and ready to go. It’s all about being able to record quickly when I have an idea or I’m co-writing and there’s a good vibe bubbling up. I rarely use sampled or virtual instruments and even then only for demos or to add a small supporting part to a track. It’s mics and musicians mainly. Old school I guess.”

Rupert Neve Love

“I’ve also been using the Rupert Neve Portico II Master Buss Processor, it was recommended to me by a colleague. Spec wise, it seemed like an audio Swiss Army Knife with loads of different components, which is good as I didn’t want to buy loads of separate units. Obviously, it has all the mastering features you would expect, but also, the parallel compression blend and one knob limiter seemed like really fool proof tracking features suited to the fairly spontaneous way I work."

"I generally want gear that I’m going to use on a daily basis, and the only way to find that out, is to try them for a while. The MBP is a good quality, versatile and intuitive. It's really nice to work with and I’m using it everyday. It does several jobs at once all to the highest quality and it never gets in the way of the creative process. In terms of the ‘sound’ of gear, it’s down to taste and budget. If you have a commercial studio, it makes sense to have a wide range of exotic gear for all eventualities. For one-man band writers and producers, versatility and reliability are more of an issue – unless you have a limitless budget of course!"

"I’ve been using the MBP on everything in one way or another. On tracking, the parallel blend is great when you are recording vocals or acoustic instruments. Using the stereo processing before or after the compressor section, gives you the ability to find room for layered instruments that occupy the same frequency range. I make groups of percussion instruments and sub mix them into stereo stems using different settings for instance. I’m finding space for things without using as many plug-ins or using radical EQ. You can get nice wide imaging without any effect on phase. Of course, you can also create some bizarre phase cancellation if you get carried away, as I found when I first got the unit! It’s a powerful tool, so it needs a subtle approach sometimes."

"So far, I’ve used the Master Buss Processor on every track I’ve done since it arrived. I’ve found it most useful on creating drum sub mixes – I can’t see me recording drums without it now. I’ve just recorded several drum tracks for some rockabilly records. I took a feed off all the mics on the kit and in the room, summed to a stereo pair and then squashed them with the MBP on the way in. I then blended with the same mics uncompressed, I ended up with some really good stems to send my co-writer.”

Wise Words

“My basic attitude to gear is try anything! Ignore what the gear is described as, just play with it. Think of the Master Buss Processor as four separate units: limiter, compressor, harmonics (silk) and stereo field. Most people will find a use for any combination of these sections regularly and not ever use it on the master buss. Another tip for using the Master Buss Processor when tracking or sub mixing, is not to be afraid of seeing red lights occasionaly. So far the unit hasn’t produced any un musical artifacts for me, however I have it set. The Rupert Neve Master Buss Processor has quickly found its place in my studio and is fast becoming an indispensable part of my rig.


Thank you to Lincoln Grounds for his words and pictures. If you are based in the UK and wish to buy or audition sE Microphones or Rupert Neve Designs hardware in your studio please contact Sonic Distribution on 0845 500 2500 or e-mail /