Inside The Vault

We head into The Vault, the newest recording space within Miloco’s London HQ, to record a track from scratch with multi-talented creative, Michael Fox, all in the name of Movember.

This is our first jaunt in The Vault, the newest Miloco recording studio. It strikes us immediately as a cosy and comfortable to work in space; everything is plug and play, it’s nicely treated and dimly lit, and it just has a nice vibe. There’s also a little piano (¾ size, we think), a quality pair of studio monitors, and a really great vocal booth; it feels like the perfect place for an artist/producer combo to come in and work on some ideas, or perhaps lay down master vocals on a project that they’ve worked on elsewhere. Multi-purpose and versatile.

Today, we're recording a Nick Cave cover, Into My Arms, with Michael Fox. A talented singer-songwriter and musician in his own right, Fox is perhaps most recognisable for his work in TV and film: he was footman, Andy Parker, in British period drama, Downton Abbey - also appearing in the 2019 Downton Abbey movie - and was in the much-talked-about Hollywood smash, Dunkirk, in 2017.

Watch the Movie

We capture Michael Fox and his musical crew laying down vocals and guitars at Miloco's The Vault studio using an Austrian Audio OC818 mic and Merging Technologies Anubis interface.

“The OC818 mic captured all the dynamics in my voice, and has a great low end...”

Guitars & Vocals

We’re after a really intimate sound today, and an in your face, warm vocal – so we’ve brought along some Austrian Audio microphones to help us achieve that: we find the manufacturer’s flagship OC818 great for vocals and acoustic guitar, and we have a pair of Austrian Audio OC18s to record piano. It's crucial that the A-D conversion is as good as possible, so we're using a Merging Technologies Anubis interface - the newest, and arguably coolest product from Merging - it’s easy to use, and sounds stunning.

First of all, we lay down a guide to click, using one OC818 to capture vocals and guitar together. Using that guide, we record the main acoustic guitar, which we mic nice and close; you can do that comfortably with an OC818 around the 12th fret or even closer to the sound hole, and not worry about any boominess in the recording, such is the control it offers, particularly in omni mode.

Next, vocals: Fox’s mic technique is excellent, which always helps, and after having a play with the various polar patterns available on the OC818, we find ourselves torn between cardioid and hypercardiod, both of which offer a warm, full sound. Fox has got a nice bite in his voice - especially when he moves from head to chest voice - and both settings bring this out nicely. We eventually settle on cardioid, choosing not to apply compression on the way in, as the control of the voice into the mic and the very natural, transparent sound from the Anubis works great as it is.

We lay piano down using the OC18s (again, with zero EQ) which glues everything together nicely; and during playback, Fox says he thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and is over the moon with the results.

“It was great fun working at The Vault, and we got a lot done in a short period of time; it’s a very relaxing and cool space to record in,” Fox says. “I love this Nick Cave song, so there was always going to be pressure putting my own take on it, but I was really pleased how it came out. The OC818 captured all the dynamics in my voice, and being such a gentle song to sing for the most part, I got right up close to the mic, yet had no issues with popping or boominess. It’s very natural sounding with a great low end.”