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Sontronics SATURN multi-pattern condenser microphone Sontronics DELTA ribbon microphone Sontronics SIGMA ribbon microphone Sontronics APOLLO stereo ribbon microphone Sontronics HELIOS valve condenser microphone Sontronics OMEGA valve condenser microphone Sontronics ORPHEUS multi-pattern condenser microphone STC-10 pencil condenser microphone Sontronics STC-1 pencil condenser microphone Sontronics STC-1S matched pair stereo condenser microphones Sontronics STC-20 condenser microphone Sontronics STC-2 condenser microphone Sontronics STC-2X condenser microphone Sontronics STC-6 handheld condenser microphone Sontronics STC-80 handheld dynamic microphone Sontronics STC-80 QUAD Sontronics CHIMERA hybrid valve solid-state preamp preamplifier Sontronics CHIMERA hybrid dual-channel solid-state preamp preamplifier Sontronics ST-POP popshield filter Sontronics MATRIX-10 MATRIX10 professional mic microphone stand Sontronics OMNI and HYPER capsules Sontronics ST-PAD/PHASE STPADPHASE ST-PADPHASE Sontronics ULTIMA cables SONTRONICS: OUR PRODUCTS SONTRONICS STC-1: pencil condenser mic SONTRONICS STC-1S: pair of condenser mics SONTRONICS STC-10: pencil condenser mic SONTRONICS STC-2: large-diaphragm cardioid condenser mic SONTRONICS STC-2X: omni/cardioid condenser mic NEW! SONTRONICS STC-20 PACK: cardioid condenser mic + accessories NEW! SONTRONICS STC-3X PACK: 3-pattern mic + accessories SONTRONICS STC-6: handheld condenser mic SONTRONICS STC-80: handheld dynamic mic SONTRONICS DM-1B: condenser mic for kick drum SONTRONICS DM-1T & DM-1S: condenser mics for tom & snare SONTRONICS SATURN: 5-pattern condenser mic SONTRONICS ORPHEUS: 3-pattern condenser mic NEW! SONTRONICS ARIA: cardioid valve microphone SONTRONICS HELIOS: variable-pattern valve mic SONTRONICS OMEGA: cardioid valve condenser mic SONTRONICS SIGMA: ribbon mic SONTRONICS DELTA: guitar ribbon mic SONTRONICS APOLLO: stereo ribbon mic SONTRONICS HALO: dynamic mic for guitar amps SONTRONICS SONORA 2: dual-channel solid-state preamp SONTRONICS CHIMERA: hybrid preamp SONTRONICS ST-POP: popshield SONTRONICS MATRIX-10 mic stand SONTRONICS CAPSULES: omni & hyper SONTRONICS ST-PAD/PHASE inline gadget SONTRONICS ULTIMA: professional cables

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FLOOD - The revered producer and engineer reveals how Sontronics mics have taken over his studio...

In his award-crammed, genius-filled three decades in the business, renowned producer, engineer and mixer Flood (aka Mark Ellis) has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry from U2 to Nine Inch Nails. He became a fan of Sontronics mics five years ago and as well as filling his studios with the mics and preamps, he's also involved in beta-testing Sontronics products so you can guarantee that any new Sontronics (including SATURN and HALO) will have been tested to as near to destruction as possible by Flood and his studio mates. Time to find out more…

Flood's name is now synonymous as the production/engineering brains behind some of the greatest albums of the past thirty years, from U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb to Orbital's Wonky. He is producer of choice for many a star artist, and his work has showered him with awards over the years, most recently a Mercury Prize for his work on PJ Harvey's Let England Shake album in 2011 (an album which Flood says "is the sound of Sontronics").

Hard to believe, then, that Flood's earliest steps in the music industry were at the opposite end of the recording chain. “I first tried to teach myself classical guitar,” begins Flood, "and I actually still own AND use my first electric guitar – an Aria Les Paul copy – and my old Binatone Maestro amp from Woolies! Not long after, I became a (very bad) punk rhythm guitar player, I ran my own disco and was a pirate radio DJ. This was all at the age of 16 so I had very little time for school!"

In that post-punk era, Flood's earliest musical influences were an interesting mix of electronica and glam rock, that continue to inspire him today. "The first gig I went to was Tangerine Dream, the first single I bought was Gary Glitter's Rock N Roll Part 2, my first album was David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, but the one that changed my life forever was Iggy And The Stooges' Search And Destroy.

After a couple of years playing and singing in bands – he played bass for The Lambrettas and provided vocals for the band Seven Hertz in the late 70s – he made a decision that would plot out the rest of his career. “I read an article in a magazine about what it was like to be a teaboy in a recording studio,” explains Flood. “The article was designed to put people off but to me it was like a red rag to a bull! After flunking my school exams I phoned 50 studios for jobs and a week later I was working as a teaboy at the old Morgan studios.

FLOOD: "After flunking my school exams I phoned around 50 studios for jobs... a week later I was working as a teaboy at Morgan Studios!"

Flood worked in some of the stalwart British studios, including Trident, Marcus and Battery, before making the decision to go freelance in the early 80s, working with New Order (on their debut album Movement), Cabaret Voltaire, Ministry and Marc Almond. This led to work with Mute Records where he became a regular collaborator with Depeche Mode and Nick Cave, and to his commercial breakthrough as engineer for U2's The Joshua Tree in 1987.

Ever since then, Flood has been top of the list for many a star artist (The Killers, Sigur Rós, Smashing Pumpkins, Gary Numan) and his various platinum discs and awards are testament to what a thorough, dedicated and exacting job he does. Joining those awards in Flood's studio these days is an ever-growing collection of Sontronics microphones, which he discovered thanks to a producer friend of his.

"Sontronics was recommended to me by Alan Moulder," Flood explains, "who had just been working with Sontronics fan Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. I tried the DELTA and the SIGMA and I fell in love straight away. To be able to get clarity and depth so close to the guitar amp was amazing!”

FLOOD: "I tried the Sontronics DELTA and the SIGMA and I fell in love straight away"

Flood soon invested in a family of Sontronics ribbon mics for his studio at Miloco's Assault & Battery. A year or so later, when Flood was producing PJ Harvey's Let England Shake album with John Parish at a remote village church in deepest Dorset, he turned to Sontronics again. "For that album we used DELTAs on amps and SIGMAs on Polly and John's vocals, brass and ambience. ORPHEUS was our go-to-mic for anything and everything: vocals, drums, acoustic guitars, autoharp, ambience and piano."

On the night in September 2011 that Let England Shake picked up the Mercury Prize, Flood sent a message to Sontronics' MD and mic designer, Trevor Coley, to say thanks and also said that the album
"IS the sound of Sontronics". So what did he mean exactly?

"The reason I said that was firstly because they were used on so many things but also, more importantly, because every time we put up a Sontronics mic it gave us exactly what we wanted: clarity, character, punch and openness. The whole album was recorded flat which is a tribute to Rob Kirwan the engineer, but also to the Sontronics mics."

And how would Flood describe that 'Sontronics sound'? "I think it's mainly the immediacy of things sounding great without having to do anything is amazing. ORPHEUS has such a great bite to it and all the Sontronics mics seem to have a lovely natural compression without losing any clarity or detail."

FLOOD: "Every time we put up a Sontronics mic it gave us exactly what we wanted: clarity, character, punch and openness"

The sound is not the only thing Flood loves about the mics. "There is only praise to add about the value for money and the amazing customer support. Then there's the knowledge that Trevor cares about every aspect of the mics, be it sound, build quality, design... and I love his ability to be as caring with the everyday consumer as he is with us professionals. And the mics look amazing!"

Flood has been such a great supporter of Sontronics, he is now involved in beta-testing all the new products, including the recent SATURN and HALO and the forthcoming SONORA II preamp. So what's Flood's approach when using a Sontronics prototype? Chuck it at everything? Push it to its limits? Make suggestions for ways to adapt and improve? "All of the above and see if it still comes out smelling of roses!" Flood laughs. "I use all of them all the time, be it with Editors, Orbital, Karima Francis or Foals... they're great!"

interview given to Lisa Coley, 2012

Producer Flood in his studio with Sontronics SATURN and HALO that he helped to beta-test and develop

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