Nashville's Bradley on Soundelux Mics

Apr 15, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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Nashville engineer and producer Bobby Bradley knows a thing or two about living up to, and leaving, your own legacy. The 30-plus-year veteran of the Nashville recording scene has worked with a who's who of country music, building on that legacy started by his uncles Owen and Harold Bradley, widely considered to be founding fathers of modern country recording. Working in the best rooms in Nashville, in addition to the famed Bradley's Barn, Bobby helps continue and create a new legacy with Soundelux E47, ELUX 251 and IFET7 microphones along side and often replacing vintage ELAM 251s, U67s and U47s first used during the era of his famed uncles.

Currently Bobby is dividing his time between Bradley's Barn working with artists like Suzy Bogguss, Asleep at the Wheel, Mandy Barnett and others, and his work with 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network) founder Danny Shelton. Based in Southern Illinois, 3ABN has grown from humble beginnings to the second largest Christian television and radio broadcasting network in North America. The network beams its 24-hour programming to five satellites, which broadcast its messages of healing and hope to every inhabited continent in the world. Bradley and Shelton have worked together since the early '80s with Bobby most recently working out of 3ABN's extensive recording and broadcast facilities.

Bradley's first encounter with Soundelux was nearly six years ago with country recording artist Suzy Bogguss. Bogguss owned her own Soundelux U95 and brought it to every session, preferring it over anything else. Since then, Soundelux has replaced the U95 with its improved U99. Bradley next encountered the ELUX 251 shortly after its development with help from Soundelux product representative and friend of 25 years, John Downs of John L. Downs Associates. "The first time I used the Soundelux ELUX 251 was on Mandy Barnett out at Bradley's Barn after using U67s on Mandy for years. She is a remarkable singer, so it's hard not to make her sound good with a good mic, but I thought it sounded better than the U67 we'd been using," said Bobby.

As a gospel artist in his own right along with his wife Linda and daughter Melody, 3ABN president Danny Shelton had originally worked with Bobby at Bradley's Barn favoring a vintage Telefunken ELAM 251 used by Eddie Arnold and other greats. According to Bobby, of the two owned by the studio, Shelton chose the one with the most pronounced and warm low end. Bobby went on to explain the course of events: "We had just started an album with Danny, and I encouraged him to try the Soundelux E47 rather than his favorite ELAM 251 on his own vocal and it sounded great. I thought the E47 sounded more like Danny's favorite vintage 251 than the Soundelux E251. After he built a nice recording studio at the 3ABN complex, I did so many sessions there I started leaving both the E251 and E47, which he eventually bought for 3ABN. Both of the Barn's vintage ELAMs sound different but the Soundelux E47 and ELUX 251 hold their own with all of them."

While the ELUX 251 is meant to recreate the sonic beauty of the Telefunken ELAM 251, and the E47 that of the '50s era tube 47s, Bobby not only finds them to be wonderful vocal mics, but often more ideal than their counterparts on a number of instruments. "I use them all on vocal sessions but the EFET7 also gets used on kick drum positioned right outside the head," explained Bobby. "I also use the ELUX 251 on cellos and in fact any 251 is my favorite cello mic."

Like his uncle Owen, who may be best known for his work on the landmark recordings of Patsy Cline, Bobby has cast his own shadow with new artists using some of the same gear. Unfortunately according to Bobby, when vintage can be found, it's often more trouble than it's worth. "I sometimes still buy vintage, but the Soundelux mics are much quieter than the old mics, where you really have to stay on top of the maintenance so they don't keep getting noisier and sound more brittle," he said. John [Downs] tells me they're now shipping the new Soundelux E49 and I'm ready to give it a try-I'm sure I won't be disappointed."

Soundelux Microphones, a division of Ascent Media, is the developer of the Soundelux ELUX 251, E45 IFET7, U99 and UI95 microphones. The much heralded line of professional microphones noted for their ability to recreate the essence of the sonic signature and beauty of the most sought after microphones of all time. Soundelux microphones are proudly made in the USA.

Soundelux microphones are distributed by Transamerica Audio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde. This organization has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor and U.S. sales and marketing representative for high-end audio. Success hinges on Transamerica providing dealers and end users with a higher standard of product expertise and support far beyond the norm. Transamerica AG's product lines include AEA (USA), Apex (Belgium), ATC (UK), Brauner (Germany), Daking (USA), Drawmer (UK), George Massenburg Labs (USA), Metric Halo (USA), Mission Pro (UK), Soundelux (USA), SoundField (UK) and Z-Systems (USA).

For more information about Soundelux Microphones, go to distributor Transamerica Audio Group,

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