Phil Ramone teams with A-T for Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic

A-T microphones were chosen for vocals on Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic. GRAMMY®-winning producer Phil Ramone turned to the AE5400 and the AT4047/SV cardioid condenser microphones for recordings on both the CD and a DVD that documents the making of the album.

Photo Caption  

Shown (L-R) are Danny Bennett (Tony Bennett’s son and manager), Producer Phil Ramone, Dae Bennett (Tony Bennett’s son and owner of Bennett Studios), and Tony Bennett. Photo by Reuben Cox. (This photo is the property of Reuben Cox. Unauthorized use, alteration or reproduction of this photograph is strictly prohibited.)

The AE5400 and AT4047/SV are Ramone’s choice for all vocals

When Tony Bennett Duets: An American Classic was released on September 26, it marked not only the legendary vocalist’s 80th birthday but also a milestone in music. It brought together 18 major recording artists including Bono, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, the Dixie Chicks, Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, k.d. lang, James Taylor, George Michael, Elvis Costello, Billy Joel, Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder, Tim McGraw and John Legend for the first time in history.

To match this array of talent, 13-time GRAMMY®-winning producer Phil Ramone turned to the Audio-Technica Artist Elite® AE5400 and the AT4047/SV cardioid condenser microphones, proving they were the right choice for not only Bennett, but every other artist as well. The A-T AE5400 and AT4047/SV mics were used for recordings on both the CD and a DVD that documents the making of the album.

Bennett and Ramone had collaborated before, and both were keen on using classic recording techniques so well-suited to these songs and artists. “I’ve always loved the way the AE5400 sounds for vocals,” says Ramone, who also produced two duet recordings with Frank Sinatra. “And I wasn’t alone — Bono told me he loved the dynamics of the A-T handheld AE5400. And the A-T microphones are able to capture every nuance of performance, so they fit a wide variety of vocal styles.”

“I chose the 4047 because of its neutral sound and wide pattern,” continues Ramone. “During the recording sessions, many of the artists were interacting with each other and not always singing ‘dead on’ the mic. The 4047 is very forgiving, whether you step back from it or if you’re to the left or right of it. The quality on Tony’s voice and each artist guesting was completely consistent. The handheld AE5400 was also really handy. A few years ago I did an album with Tony where he sang his vocals using the handheld so he could feel like he was performing live on stage. The rejection on the 5400 is terrific and between the 4047 and 5400, not one artist asked if they could try another mic. The trust and belief in my choice of microphones was amazing.”

The duets include classic titles from Bennett’s repertoire, including “Just In Time,” “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “For Once in My Life” and Bennett’s signature song, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” NBC will broadcast a prime-time musical special, presented by Target, “Tony Bennett: An American Classic,” which was directed by Oscar® winner Rob Marshall (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha). The special features Bennett performing with many of his duets partners from the CD including Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall and John Legend, among others.

All tracks were recorded live with a quartet in world-class recording studios, including Capitol Studios in Los Angeles, Abbey Road Studios in London and Bennett Studios in Englewood, NJ, which is owned by Dae Bennett, Tony’s son and audio engineer on the Duets CD.