Adventures In Audio with Audio Masterclass
Master drummer Sebastiaan Cornelissen chooses sE

Master drummer Sebastiaan Cornelissen chooses sE


Sebastiaan’s been turning heads in the Jazz-Fusion world since forming the group Isotope while studying at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. His latest album, 'One Spirit’, has just been completed with the help of a roster of stellar musicians and, of course, his collection of sE microphones…

“I used to rent a lot of different high quality microphones when I had to record bigger ensembles,” Sebastiaan begins. “Then one day I came across sE’s Icis and I immediately fell in love with the warmth and dynamics it managed to pick up.”

So when Sebastiaan started work on his latest album the acclaimed tube condenser was a natural choice. “I recorded a solo with the Icis and was so impressed that I switched over completely to the sE’s almost instantly – mainly because of the neutral sound and clarity that gave better results than the mics I had grown so fond of before.”

That switch involved not just the Icis, but enough sE mics to cover every eventuality. “I’m using a variety of mics at the moment, both live and in the studio. The Gemini, sE1a, Titan, sE2200a, z3300a and, of course, the Icis.”

But it’s when listening to 'One Spirit’, Sebastiaan’s latest masterpiece, that the quality of the recordings becomes apparent. So just how is he putting his weapons of choice to use around the studio?

“Well, I love using the Gemini for instruments like the double bass, flugelhorn and vocals because it creates such a full tone and catches the lower frequencies so well. This is so important for lead instruments and vocals when they need a lot of presence and punch.”

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“For my drums I use two sE1as as overheads – I must say I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with these pencil mics! I always prefer a clean sound with almost no compression and as little EQ as possible. With other mics I had to tweak the EQ a lot more, and mainly at the high end as this is where I hear the colouring of certain brands of mics the most. So the closer an overhead can come to the original sound, then the easier the final mix will be.”

“And I like the z3300a for my bass drum because it can take a lot of dBs but will also pick up the tiniest details – and it gives a very tight sound!”

“Overall I try to keep things as simple as possible, so I look for the most straightforward way to record an instrument, which is why I use sE mics. If something sounds good without any extra help, then great –this only makes the mixing easier at the end.”

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David Mellor