Recording Hillsong Un1t5d at Oceanway Studios, LA

We were really privileged to begin the main block of recording for the up and coming Hillsong United 2015 studio album release at the famed Oceanway Studios in Hollywood CA. Boasting a custom 64 input vintage Neve console, 32 original API 550a EQ’s (defaulting to be switched in or out on console channels 1-32) and a room that has seen a huge history of jaw dropping talent, we agreed that we were setting out on the journey with all the right bits to make it work. It was here that the majority of the songs framework and eventual final form were realised and recorded.


As with the other studio projects United has undertaken, we created an environment of ‘stations’ in the studio live room so that anyone, at anytime could access and play any of the instruments that were set up. It allowed the necessary time to workshop many of the still developing songs. It meant that on a technical level, every instrument needed to be able to be ‘live’ at anytime and hence we exhausted all of Studio B’s input and tie lines as well as the entirety of the consoles inputs. Even then, there was a fair bit of shuffling and re-shuffling depending on the workshop required. At full setup the studio B live room was exciting for any musician to enter.

Oceanway1As you can see from the picture above, we employed 2 different drum setups. A tighter sound goal under the ‘drumbrella’ and a more open vintage sound in the open space. I was really, really happy with the results we achieved in both spaces.

For the audio people looking at this post, a good indication of the full setup is attached below via a spreadsheet with comprehensive information with regards to microphone and outboard gear selection.

Unit5d Oceanway 14 – Patch and Notes

Many thanks to the Oceanway staff and in particular Scott Moore who assisted tirelessly and with professionalism throughout.

JimmyRudder - March 16, 2016 - 1:07 pm

Thanks Rune, appreciate the comments. Your ears aren’t fooling you..It was an overdub and there are all sorts of things going on in that track!

Rune Hauge - March 16, 2016 - 5:38 am

Hi James!
Great job on the Empires album!! It sounds huge!! I´m doing a recording next week with “Closer Than You Know” as one of the reference-tracks – so thanks for the spreadsheet :)

Are my ears fooling me, or do I hear children talking around 5:40? Did you track live with audience in the room or were they added?

Thanks :)

JimmyRudder - January 22, 2016 - 3:31 pm

Hey Alan, Thanks for the question. For me EQ’ing is all about enhancing whats already there, or helping it better fit in with other elements that it needs to interact with. If I ever find myself in the realm of EQ’ing to ‘fix’ a sound, its always best to go back to the source to improve it! Hope that helps!

Alan Gonzalez - January 17, 2016 - 4:07 pm

Hello, I have a question on your EQ technique. I met you before and that I know that you are the excellent F.O.H. engineer, and my question is, can you describe what your technique is when equalizing live drums, and what personal finesse you add either when mixing a live show or in a studio?


JimmyRudder - March 11, 2015 - 3:17 pm

They are sourced from many different places including some that were crafted during the recording. Go on a search! Thanks J

JimmyRudder - March 11, 2015 - 3:16 pm

No DI on the NS10. Cheers, J

Vittorio - February 27, 2015 - 8:40 pm

Hi James, use you a DI on Yamaha NS10 Subkick?

Steven - February 7, 2015 - 12:49 am

Hi James,

Do you happen to know where Simon was getting his drum samples that he used for ZION? I was kind of going for the same style and really liked the particular ones he’s used. They seem great!
Any help would be appreciated!


JimmyRudder - February 3, 2015 - 12:21 pm

Hey Flo,

For the Zion tour it was technically 4 lines..a line for the kick sample, one for the snare sample and a stereo pair for the actual sounds loaded into the pads. Hope that helps! J

Flo - February 3, 2015 - 9:54 am

Hi James, I have seen that Kobes sends you 3 channels of his SPD SX.
What is the breakdown of sounds in the SPD SX?
Do you get e.g. on one channel low-frequency sounds, such as kicks, boom, etc., and on the other high-frequency sounds such as snares, claps, etc.

Thanks for your answer.

Flo - January 20, 2015 - 6:57 am

hey james, thanks for sharing a bit of the behind the scenes view of what you guys are doing. I’m looking forward to here what you guy have captured!

I wish you all the best for 2015, and hope to see you again!


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