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Slipknot’s Jim Root + Mick Thompson Address Analog Versus Digital Debate

Jo Hale (2), Getty Images

Slipknot’s Jim Root and Mick Thompson recently talked with Music Radar about gear, performing live, and the ins and outs of recording digitally on Pro Tools versus recording to tape. Root also discussed the differences between playing in Slipknot and Stone Sour.

The guitar players don’t use speaker cabinets on stage during a live show anymore. Thompson said that the combination of cabinets, monitors and side fills made a noisy mess. Now they each just use monitors to hear their sound, which makes for a much cleaner listening experience on stage. “Now we’ve got all that quiet, oh my god, it sounds like we’re playing a CD up there,” said Thompson. “It’s cool because I get to hear what my tone sounds like.”

Root pulls double-duty, playing in both Slipknot and Stone Sour, sometimes during the same concert. Luckily, most of his gear is the same. He said he only switches out the pedals. For each band live, he uses two Orange Rockerverb heads, a Whirlwind channel selector, and Audio Technica wireless systems.

Both guitarists use Fractal Axe FXII modeling amps. They both said they liked the amps, especially for playing at home and recording demos, but they also stressed that they prefer tube amps for playing live and recording. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in the studio and things are advancing so fast, but I don’t think you’ll ever replace tubes because tubes are tubes and there’s a sweetness that you’ll never get,” said Thompson. “But I have an Axe FXII and it seems so responsive to touch.”

Slipknot recorded their first two albums on tape, but switched to Pro Tools afterward. Now all of their albums are recorded digitally. They say that digital technology has advanced far enough that, with a good engineer, there’s no difference in sound between tape and digital. But they still don’t copy and paste parts, which is a cheat that digital recording enables musicians to do.

“Some bands will record one riff and then just go, ‘Print, print, print.’ But you can hear that,” said Thompson. “We don’t even play to a click. We’re together, amped up, Joey will slow it down, speed it up. We would never just, ‘tick, tick, tick,’ because then you sound like that. Even though we’ve been using digital we’re still using analog up front, there’s that human element to it.”

To read the full interview, visit Music Radar.

Next: Slipknot's Jim Root and Mick Thompson Talk Gear on a Budget

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