Ed Sheeran Gear Guide: Featuring 'THE' Loop Pedal and Pawed Guitar
Ed Sheeran Gear Guide
After having his debut album reach No.1, performing at over 300 gigs in 2009, being nominated for multiple awards since his debut and being generally one of the most talked about artists since his introduction in 2011, we think it’s probably time to give you The Ed Sheeran Gear Guide.
Most of us first heard of this genius performer upon the release of his first commercial single, The A-Team in June 2011. But before hitting the charts last year Ed Sheeran already had a huge fan base. He performed as much as he could on the come-up, playing gigs every chance he got and making himself known through collaborations and a number of candid video’s on YouTube, Ed Sheeran pretty much paved his own way to the top of the charts.
Sheeran featured on the EP No.5 Collaboration Project (2011), which soared its way to No.2 in the iTunes Charts and sold over 7000 copies in its first week, all with no major promotions and no record label backing.
With a shocking 11 EPs, a multi-platinum selling debut album and a fan-base that could probably rival the population of China... times 10, Ed Sheeran is most definitely setting a new bar for the acoustic singer songwriter.
Focusrite ISA430 MkII
The Grammy award winning engineer and producer Guy Massey, recorded two tracks on Sheeran’s album +.
"One track was guitar and vocal and the other was piano and vocal - it was all live.” Massey used a ribbon mic and the Focusrite ISA430 MkII and says, “both songs are just very pure recordings really, and when we came to tracking we had a few preamps to choose from, but I just chose the ISA430 MkII because you can just dial things in so quickly. It’s very intuitive in its layout and I always find it very easy to get a great sound, whether it be a clean and pure vocal or slamming drum destruction.”
Combining all of the classic designs into one comprehensive production tool. The 430 features an optional 192kHz/24-bit A-D conversion with soft limiter , Phase-cancellation de-esser for more natural processing and a VCA-based expander/gate with "hysteresis" setting to avoid chattering.
With such impeccable specifications we can see why Massey and Sheeran fell in love with this sweet bit of kit. Focusrite, always aiming to please were sure to include these four main elements into the ISA430 MkII. The classic Focusrite transformer-based mic pre with variable input impedance, EQ with two dual-range parametrics HPF and LPF, and of course a dual mode compressor with both VCA and optical circuitry. These can each be accessed individually and can be used as separate processors.
The possibilities are pretty lengthy with the ISA430 MkII, there’s simply nothing quite like it.
Sheeran says "Jake and Guy captured everything I wanted to capture. The album sounds exactly how I wanted it, so thanks Focusrite!"
Boss RC-30 LoopStation - Sheeran’s Crème de la Crème
Sheeran using the Boss RC-20XL pedal (replaced by the Boss RC-30)
Possibly Eddie’s most notable piece of equipment is his Boss RC-30 Looping Pedal. Sheeran uses the RC-30 in most of his live performances and he’s probably the most recognised looper in the UK right now. Roland themselves believe that Mr. Sheeran is in fact “A master of looping on the cusp of greatness.”
In addition to his concerts, Sheeran has used the Boss RC-30 in a number of videos, for the likes of SBTV, such as his “remix” of 'You Need Me, I Don’t Need You', which currently has over 5.5m hits on YouTube. The RC-30 has made an appearance in many other videos including 'Wayfaring Stranger' and 'Small Bump'.
Featuring two synchronised stereo tracks, each independently controllable with volume faders and track select buttons and an auto-recording feature that starts recording the moment you begin playing/singing there’s no wonder why countless artists are climbing on board this loop train.
The RC-30 comes with a great line-up of creative looping effects built-in, including pitch bend, step phaser, sweep filter and tempo delay. Plug in your microphone through the XLR connection with an option of Phantom Power for condenser mics; with the RC-30 you’re options are always open.
It was Little Martin who got Pawed
There has been a lot of interest on this front recently, everybody wants to know what guitar Ed Sheeran Plays. Well we’ve done our research and we’re pretty sure we can answer that question, so you can all stop wrecking your brains trying to catch a glimpse of his headstock.
Mr. Sheeran has found the guitar that works for him, and stuck with it. Although many of us might say that once we’d hit the big time we’d go splash out on a top of the range guitar that costs more that we’d make in a year, Sheeran pushed aside that ‘gotta buy big’ mentality and settled down with the incredible LX1E Little Martin.
Now that's... a guitar with character!
The Little Martin is in extremely high demand at the moment...
C A L L U S O N 0 1 5 1 4 4 8 2 0 8 0 F O R A V A I L A B I L I T Y
... For the more budget conscious, the Yamaha JR2 is a great alternative!
Ed Sheeran’s Little Martin guitar, although constructed to a smaller scale than your regular acoustic, is in fact a superb quality and highly praised instrument. This Martin & Co LX1E travel guitar is recognised for its quality sound and playability. It is comfortable to hold and easy to lug around with you on the fly, so we can understand why it was Sheeran’s instrument of choice, I mean, he played over 300 gigs in one year for goodness sake!
Despite its downsized 23” scale neck and small, modified 0-14 (uncovered) fret design, the LX1E Little Martin produces a full, broad sound with a surprisingly good bass tone. It has equally good high end and low end response, with a pretty impressive ability to sustain and project. It’s got everything you need in an acoustic.
The most recent Little Martins are structured with a HPL top, back and sides, with a micarta fretboard and bridge. X bracing, reinforced by a graphite bowtie plate, no inlays and no scratchplate, interesting features to say the least.
Although the Little Martin is affordable, easy to play and highly acclaimed for its sound quality, you don’t really see many of them out and about. Being ideal for travellers, practice junkies and beginners, maybe this little dude could be on the come-up. Plus, if it works for the master looper then it works for us.
THE MIC LINE-UP
First up: ES & sE
Sheeran used an sE4400a microphone for recording acoustic guitars, live pianos and percussion in both the No.5 Collaboration Project and in his debut album +, which also features some vocal recordings from the sE Z3300a condenser microphone. The sE Z3300a seems to pop up in many of Sheeran’s live YouTube performances, including the ‘You Need Me l Don’t Need You’ video.
Sheeran also used an sE4400a microphone for recording acoustic guitars, live pianos and percussion on this same album, and with the sound quality of this guy’s tracks, we have no reason to doubt its performance ability.
Here’s what Jake Gosling had to say about sE Microphones:
“I use the sE4400a pair all the time now! I record a lot of guitars and live piano with them, and they’re a fantastic vocal mic too. They’re incredibly versatile… a brilliant set of mics, and nowadays I can’t live without them. They build quality, performance and sound, are totally reliable and very true.”
sE Electronics Z3300a
The Z3300A microphone is in fact the most versatile class A FET microphone in the SE Electronics range, utilizing a large 1.07” twin diaphragm, giving the engineer a choice of the three most widely used polar patterns, omni, cardioid and figure of eight.
Couple this with a 100Hz low cut filter and new ultra clean, ultra quiet Z range electronics and the Z3300A is the ultimate solid state microphone for almost all recording applications, from vocals, to pianos and acoustic instruments, as Jake and Ed have proved.
sE Electronics 4400a
sE Electronics 4400a condenser microphone is often compared to the incredibly popular AKG C414 (now discontinued) as it is a true all-rounder, versatile and does a great job in every recording situation you give it.
The sE Electronics 4400a inherits its dual capsule design from the highly successful sE2200a II, with four polar patterns (Cardioid, Hypercardioid, Figure of 8 and Omni), 2 bass cuts at 60Hz and 120Hz, and 2 pads at 10 and 20dB.
Ed Sheeran and the Beautiful, Tall & Sleek Neumann U87
The Neumann U87 is one of the most prestige microphones available on the market, and is practically a piece of permanent furniture in... well, too many studios to mention.
The U87 can be seen in Ed Sheeran’s live YouTube recording of 'Wayfaring Stranger', famous for its warm sound and well balanced characteristics, the U87 really brings out the best in every performance.
The current U87A yields a 6dB improvement in signal-to-noise over its predecessor. A 10 dB attenuation switch is located on the rear. It enables the microphone to handle sound pressure levels up to 127 dB without distortion and the low frequency response can be reduced to compensate for proximity effect.
... But let’s be honest, talking about all of the technicalities is pretty much useless until you actually hear this mic's quality for yourself, so check out Ed Sheeran performing 'Wayfaring Stranger' with the Neumann U87 here.
Sheeran Gives his Paw Printed Acoustic the AKG Treatment
The AKG C 425 B pencil mic was spotted playing the role of Sheeran’s guitar mic in his live performance video for the song ‘Small Bump’. This mic is an excellent tool for accurately capturing signals rich in transients like those with a percussive sound.
Using an extremely light diaphragm, the AKG C 451 B is almost totally insensitive to handling noise. Other features include an all-metal body for excellent protection from RF interference and high reliability for excellent results under almost all conditions. Plus, it’s just beautiful! With its sleek and slim body; nothing could look that cool and not sound great.
Recent Sheeran News
Ed Sheeran’s brand new EP The Slumdon Bridge was released 14th Feb 2012 and is totally FREE to download. Sheeran says this is “Some of the best music I’ve made”, so get online and get your ears on this album.
Ed finished the UK leg of his European tour on Friday & now he hits Europe, until the end of November then it's off stateside (19 Nov 2012). More here.
We’re sure to have more to add to the Ed Sheeran Gear Guide soon enough so watch this space for updates with the latest gear he’s been spotted using.
If you hear anything new, feel free to update us and comment below.
Z3300A The Z3300A is the most versatile class A FET microphone in the SE Electronics range and utilises a large 1.07” twin diaphragm which gives the engineer a choice of three polar patterns, omni, cardioid and figure of eight. Couple this with a 100Hz low cut filter and new ultra clean, ultra quiet Z range electronics and the Z3300A is…
A great alternative to Ed Sheeran's Pawed Little Martin Yamaha JR2 Features Spruce Top Mahogany Finish UTF (Ultra Thin Finish) Back and Sides Rosewood Fingerboard 80-90mm Body Depth 43mm Nut Width Open Chrome Tuners Gig Bag Included
Easy visual monitoring with VU and LED meters Variable impedance mic preamps for fine-tuning mic input levels Flexible signal path provides up to four discrete inputs at once Compressor features vintage opto plus Class A design. Impeccable EQ drawn from the ISA 110 The ISA 430 MKII Input Section The input…
The U 87 is probably the best known and most widely used Neumann studio microphone. It is equipped with a large dual-diaphragm capsule with three directional patterns: omnidirectional, cardioid and figure-8. These are selectable with a switch below the headgrille. Neumann…
Availability:Call 0844 815 0888
Boss RC-30 Loop Station Pedal
Check out our looping guide for some inspiring loop pedal performances from the Boss Loop Station World Championship as well as getting help choosing the right loop pedal. The Boss RC-30 is a twin pedal loop station with two synchronized stereo tracks and built-in looping effects. Each track can be individually controlled…
Availability:Normally 7-10 Days
Responding to growing demand from recording engineers, AKG decided to produce the C 451 B with identical acoustical behaviour of the popular original C 451 EB + CK 1 microphone again, with dramatically improved specifications and outstanding price/performance. The capsule of the new version is fixed permanently to the preamp to eliminate the mechanical problems of the screw joint.…