Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown at his studio

Duran Duran guitarist achieves perfect studio sound with Dirac Live room correction

Duran Duran Guitarist Dom Brown, faced with finishing his debut album under lockdown, says the secret to perfect studio sound is Dirac Live, a cutting-edge room correction solution.

Brown, who has collaborated with artists and producers including Mark Ronson, Justin Timberlake and Liam Gallagher, put the finishing touches on a new solo album, In My Bones, in his London studio. As part of the final mix, everything went through a miniDSP SHD processor with Dirac Live room correction.

“Whenever my studio (pictured below) is running, Dirac is running,” Brown says. “It has really helped me in my mix process because I can hear things more clearly. I’m not getting any colourisation from the room and I can get a truer representation of what’s going down. It’s massively helpful.”

Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown in his studio

Dom Brown has been playing with Duran Duran since 2004. Performances on TV with artists such as Elton John and Lionel Richie, and backing up the likes of Go West and Curiosity Killed the Cat. brought him to the attention of the  Duran Duran who were looking for a stand in for lead guitarist Andy Taylor.

“People had started to hear me playing and word got around,” he says. Two years later, Brown was Duran Duran’s permanent lead guitarist, and he’s enjoyed putting his stamp on the band’s classic tracks.

Fans expect certain songs to sound as close to the original as possible, but there are opportunities, often during guitar solos, to exercise his own style. “For those 16 bars or so, I’m able to do pretty much what I want within a framework,” he says. “It’s me, I’m not copying someone else, and that’s important to a lot of players.”

Brown has since collaborated on three Duran Duran albums, alongside other projects. “The best sessions,” he explained, “are the ones where they say, ‘Just be yourself and feel it how you want to feel it.’”

As a preference, Brown prefers to use as much analogue equipment as possible. In his own studio he owns Universal Audio mic preamps and 1176 compressors, Neve 1073 and API preamps. “If you record everything through those devices, you’re capturing that lovely analogue warmth before you hit the digital world,” he said.

But once in that digital world, Brown’s latest equipment addition is his miniDSP SHD processor with a Dirac Live room correction system. It’s a cost effective way to bring the best of a system without requiring expensive room treatments.

Dirac Live is used to improve studio acoustics and enhance sonic accuracy using patented impulse response correction technology that corrects for both the magnitude and phase of the entire sound system, including the room itself. 

Benefits are said to include a more transparent, balanced sound, with tighter bass, improved staging, and enhanced clarity. “My room’s been treated, but I wanted to get it absolutely as close to perfect as I could,” Brown said. 

“A friend introduced me to Dirac and I’m loving it. Everything I listen to, all my referencing, everything, goes through that processor. And even though my room’s pretty good, you still notice the difference considerably. It adds clarity in the lower end and balances out some of the mids. With Dirac and my ATC monitors, I have a great room for mixing.”

More on Dirac Live can be found here.