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Taylor Larson Is Nuts for TELEFUNKEN Microphones

Taylor Larson is seen in his studio with the TELEFUNKEN ELA M251E.

Bethesda, MD, October 2020 – Producer/engineer Taylor Larson, owner of Oceanic Recording in Bethesda, Maryland is known as a sonic innovator, with credits that include Periphery, Asking Alexandria, Veil of Maya, I See Stars, Jason Richardson, ERRA, Get Scared, Life on Repeat, and many more. He also has one of the most comprehensive private collections of TELEFUNKEN microphones.

Taylor cut his musical teeth in a touring band right out of high school. “I was really into the touring life. Sleeping in 15 passenger vans; having to eat on $5 a day; waking up in a different place every day. That lifestyle is tough! I was absolutely obsessed with music and writing with others and came up with the idea that I could be a producer and write songs with other artists.”

Nowadays, Larson works out of multiple studios. “I tend to like medium-sized rooms with medium treatment. In my mixing room I have no console. In fact, no desk either. I’ve created a setup purely based on hearing the most pure sound from the speakers. Even the computer screen sits down low and out of the stereo field.”

His monitors are ATC SCM50ASL’s. “For me they are super neutral and accurate,” he says. “Insanely detailed and 3-dimensional. They also have great translation for mixing.”

Larson further explains, “The only outboard gear I use during mixing is a vintage 90s-era Focusrite Red or Blue stereo bus compressor. I would prefer to mix purely in the box for the sake of convenience, but I’m afraid they haven’t nailed that piece of gear in plug-in form yet. Other outboard gear I use is during tracking: 1073s and 312s on drums. 1073s and 1176s on vocals. That’s really all I need to make an incredible record at this point. Plug-ins have come such a long way and I’m getting away with using them more and more each day.”

And now let’s learn about his microphones. “I also need great microphones and to be completely honest I’ve been using Telefunken exclusively for the past 4 months to record all types of music. I’m primarily known for my work with rock/metal but I personally write and enjoy more of an R&B style. I am Grammy-nominated for recording my friend Spencer Sotelo of the band Periphery. We worked insanely hard on the vocals for the record ‘P3’ and definitely pushed the limits in terms of mixing them and creating different FX and other methods of tracking.”

Larson elaborates, “Three popular bands I’ve worked with would be Periphery, Asking Alexandria, and Within Temptation. I have an ELA M 251E large diaphragm condenser mic and that is the Holy Grail for vocals. Talk about an exciting sounding mic! That was the first Telefunken I bought.”

Drums are a major element in Larson’s recordings. “Next I started testing out the dynamic drum mics. I shot out the M82 against my current kick mic and much preferred the sound of the M82. I also really love the EQ controls on it. Super useful. Then I started trying out the M80s and M81s. The M80 is really cool because it almost has the sensitivity of a condenser but still works on extremely loud sources. The M81s to my ears are incredibly smooth and full sounding. Kind of taming what would be some of the harsher frequencies to our ears.”

Larson is seen adjusting a TELEFUNKEN ELA M 260 small diaphragm tube microphone.

Larson’s collection also features the TELEFUNKEN M60 small-diaphragm FET condenser mic. “I tried out some M60s and to me they sound like the most popular FET small diaphragm condensers of the 80s and 90s, but have less of a scooped sound and are more exciting. I absolutely love them on anything from overhead to bottom snare to toms.”

Larson’s next addition to his microphone arsenal was TELEFUNKEN’s vintage recreation of the renowned Neumann U47. “I bought the U47 because I feel like it’s just a great option to have. I figured because it’s not my personal taste on vocals that I would never use it because I have the 251E. I was wrong. I have such a hard time picking between the two even though they are so clearly different. It definitely sounded even better than I thought it would. It has this really strange harmonic warmth thing that makes everything sound exciting and such a mid forward clear thing going on as well.”

And lastly, Larson acquired a matched set of Telefunken ELA M 260 small-diaphragm tube condenser microphones. “I got a pair of 260s for overheads because I’ve wanted them forever. I think it’s fair to say I’m in Telefunken heaven at this point!”