Famous Rack

Bob Clearmountain

Bob Clearmountain single handedly defined the sound of the 1980s with his amazing ‘live’ sounding mixes. To this day he turns out incredible mixes and uses racks full of vintage digital effects in the process.

Bob Clearmountain

Bob Clearmountain mixed so many top albums during the 1980s from the top performers of the time such as Bryan Adams, Huey Lewis and the News, INXS, Crowded House, Bruce Springsteen and many many more. He also is credited for production duties by artists such as Jonatha Brooke, The Church, Paul McCartney, The Silencers, Hall & Oates, The Pretenders, Simple Minds and The Who.

The stand out albums for me from back then were Bryan AdamsReckless‘ and towards the end of the 1980s, a little band from Scotland called Deacon Blue released their album  ‘When the world knows your name‘ which spawned a world wide hit with ‘Real Gone Kid‘. Both of those  killer albums for me are brilliant mixes and  define Bob’s mixing style, certainly through that period.

Other great examples include his work with Huey Lewis & The News’ Sports album, The Divinyls’ Desperate album and The Church’s Of Skins and Heart album. There are simply so many top albums of the period that Bob Clearmountain had a hand in the success of, the list is simply too long to mention here. Through it all, he remains a very humble person given his huge legacy.

Bob Clearmountain has been nominated for four Grammy awards and won a Latin Grammy award in 2007 for Best Male Vocal album for his work on Ricky Martin’s MTV Unplugged album. He has also won seven TEC Awards for “Best Recording Engineer”, two for “Best Broadcast Engineer”, one special “Les Paul Award” and a “Monitor Award” for the Rolling Stones’ Voodoo Lounge pay-per-view show. And he has won one Emmy Award!

More than that though, he has earned the respect of his peers and continues to work for the biggest names in the music business. Many followed in his foot steps, including Chris Lord Alge who openly admits his admiration for Bob Clearmountain. Here are the effects that help him produce those spectacular mixes.

A page which previously appeared on Bob’s own web site he listed his outboard effects, with comments on each, rather interesting!

  • 3 x Yamaha SPX-990 Multi-effects Processor Not well-known, but versatile and sounds great.
  • 1 x Yamaha Pro-R3 Reverb Very smooth and rich for long ‘verbs.
  • 1 x Eventide H-3000 Mult-effects/Harmonizer The old standby – lots of cool stuff in there (when it’s working) Great sampling.
  • 2 x Eventide H-3500 Mult-effects/Harmonizer Pretty much same as above.
  • 1 x Eventide DSP-4000 Mult-effects/Harmonizer Excellent for tuning vocals, “tape” flanging and many other things.
  • 1 x Yamaha D5000 Digital Delay The best DDL ever made.
  • 3 x Roland SDE-3000 Digital Delay The second best DDL ever made.
  • 1 x AMS DMX 15-80S Digital Delay Vintage 80’s DDL, I still use it everyday.
  • 1 x AMS RMX 16 Reverb Classic digital verb, a bit grainy and dark. Used Occasionally.
  • 2 x Lexicon PCM-70 Multi-effects Processor “Concert Hall” with some mods is the bomb on piano.
  • 1 x Lexicon 480L Multi-effects Processor Not my favorite, but very expensive.
  • 1 x Antares AMM-1 Mic Modeler. Makes most any mic sound better, or worse, which sometimes is better (or not).
  • 1 x Ursa Major SST-282 Space Station. Disgusting, grundgy early digital ‘verb, for a raggedy garage band sound.
  • 1 x Ursa Major SST-206 Space Station. New version of above. Not so disgusting.ok – good night.
  • 1 x MXR Phaser/Flanger Rack (2 of each in 4 unit rack). Classic analog effects from the 70’s – quite rare these days.
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
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