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Brit Awards 2013 - Britain's Hot Talent

Published: Wed February 20, 2013  News Feed

Brit Awards 2013 - Britain's Hot Talent

The great and the good of the British music industry will be descending upon the O2 Arena this evening to give awards to the finest artists, albums and singles of the past 12 months.

As ever our eyes will mainly be drawn to the gear, who's using what and how it sounds. While we don't know who's going to win on the night there are a few artists who have stood out in the past year. Emeli Sandé and Mumford And Sons lead, both up for four gongs, with Alt-J not far behind on three nominations. Let's have a little look at the gear that helped make them breakthrough.

Emeli Sandé Recording Gear

Shahid 'Naughty Boy' Khan has worked with Emeli since the beginning of her career, main producer and collaborator on 'Our Version Of Events'. Shahid has a nice little studio setup in Ealing Studios. Khan tells Sound On Sound that the main weapons in his armoury are Reason, Cubase, an M-Audio 88 Keystation, Apogee Rosetta, Neumann U87 AI and Adam A8X monitors. Some pretty high end gear, amazingly much of it came courtesy of Noel Edmonds...
I went on Deal Or No Deal - it was random because I'd never even seen the program before but I went on there and won £44,000!
- Naughty Boy - Sound On Sound


Emeli Sandé's Producer 'Naughty Boy' In The Studio

Now we can't all have Shahid's game show fortune to put into our studio but the good news is that these brands offer affordable equivalents to their pro level gear. So you can put together a computer based home studio like Naughty Boy for less than £1000.

  • The Apogee One for Mac gives the same kind of quality electronics as it's bigger brothers, which can be found in large commercial studios such as Air Lyndhurst.
  • Adam have just introduced their new F-Series speakers which offer that famous ribbon tweeter at a great price. The Adam F5 monitors (with free cables) are currently causing quite a stir.
  • There are so many condensers on the market these days that it can be hard to pick but our recommendation would be an sE Electronics 2200a, sE have built up quite a pedigree in the past few years and offer amazing bang for your buck.
That leaves change from a grand to put towards a quality DAW, both Cubase Artist and Reason are fantastic pieces of software. Which you choose will depend on whether you will be mainly programming and working in the box or prefer recording with microphones, doing lots of audio edits afterwards. When Khan started he was "[mostly] using Reason sounds and drums," so that's another confirmed Reason lover along with Liam Howlett and Luke Vibert.

Alt-J Guitars And Live Gear

Alt-J have made a recent performance at the Melkweg in Amsterdam available to view. A cracking set it is too but what are they using on stage? There's that inimitable transatlantic combo of Telecaster and Vox amplification in spades, as well as some deeper, bell-like tone from a silver face Fender that is only viewed from afar. You'll certainly get a similar clean chime from a quality Tele and AC15 or Fender Blues Junior. Squier have been getting close to the quality of mid-range Fenders and you get a lot of Telecaster for your money with a Custom Vibe or Vintage Modified series Telecaster. Joe Newman's guitar seems to be a three-pickup Tele, unless it's a modified standard model then it's likely to a be Modern Player Tele.

On bass there is the ever reliable Fender Precision and we like the look of the keys rig too. There appears to be a Nord and given the realistic piano tones assume it must be either a Stage 2 or Piano 2. We can also spy a Yamaha PSR Series keyboard in there, largely entry level keys for home use Gus is showing that you can get a great sound for the stage too.

Alt-J are also fans of the Ultranova synth telling Novation:

Since getting my hands on the Ultranova, it has immediately become an indispensable part of my stage set-up. It's so portable and light, but delivers really heavy bass sounds, which is what I primarily use it for - perfect for touring and playing live.

Tweaking patches once you've created them is easy, as is saving them. So far, my favourite that I've made is called 'J BA$$', which I use to add a rich, juddering bottom end to songs like Fifzpleasure and Breezeblocks...

I don't find I use any of the built-in patches, and haven't really explored the vocoder yet... But I wanted a small but punchy synth for live bass, and the Ultranova ticks every box in that respect. I love it! - Gus Unger-Hamilton
So the Ultranova was a key piece of Alt-J's gear on their superb debut album An Awesome Wave. Get the same engine in a more compact and affordable package with the Mininova.

Mumford And Sons Gear

We covered the gear used by the Mumfords on their Canadian tour, so if you need some info on Marcus Mumford's guitar check it out here. There's a few other artists that we've covered elsewhere, so follow the links below for the skinny on Jack White's pedal board or Jon Buckland's amp.

Other Nominee's Gear Setups

British Breakthrough Act

• Alt-J
• Ben Howard
• Jake Bugg
• Jessie Ware
• Rita Ora

British Female Solo Artist

• Amy Winehouse
• Bat for Lashes
• Emeli Sandé
• Jessie Ware
• Paloma Faith

British Group

• Alt-J
• Mumford & Sons
• Muse
• One Direction
• The xx

British Live Act

• Coldplay
• Mumford & Sons
• Muse
• The Rolling Stones
• The Vaccines

British Male Solo Artist

• Ben Howard
• Calvin Harris
• Olly Murs
• Richard Hawley
• Plan B

British Producer of the Year

• Damon Albarn
• Jake Gosling
• Paul Epworth

Special Recognition Award Winner

War Child UK

International Group

• Alabama Shakes
• The Black Keys
• Fun
• The Killers
• The Script

International Female Solo Artist

• Alicia Keys
• Cat Power
• Lana Del Rey
• Rihanna
• Taylor Swift

International Male Solo Artist

• Bruce Springsteen
• Frank Ocean
• Gotye
• Jack White
• Michael Buble

British Single

• Adele ‘Skyfall'
• Alex Clare ‘Too Close’
• Coldplay & Rihanna ‘Princess of China’
• DJ Fresh Ft Rita Ora ‘Hot Right Now’
• Emeli Sandé ‘Next To Me’
• Florence & The Machine ‘Spectrum’
• James Arthur ‘Impossible’
• Jessie J ‘Domino’
• Labrinth Ft Emeli Sandé ‘Beneath Your Beautiful’
• Olly Murs Ft Flo Rida ‘Troublemaker'
• Rita Ora Ft Tinie Tempah ‘R.I.P.’
• Rizzle Kicks ‘Mama Do The Hump’
• Robbie Williams ‘Candy’
• Rudimental Ft John Newman ‘Feel The Love’
• Stooshe ‘Black Heart’

Top fifteen British singles based on the biggest sales success in 2012

British Album of the Year

• Alt-J ‘An Awesome Wave’
• Emeli Sandé ‘Our Version Of Events’
• Mumford & Sons ‘Babel’
• Paloma Faith ‘Fall To Grace’
• Plan B ‘Ill Manors’
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