Home Studio Tour: Simple Plan’s Sébastien Lefebvre

Seb Studio

September 12th, 2017

In the spring of 2014 Sébastien Lefebvre, guitarist for Simple Plan moved his family to a new home and decided he wanted to build a home studio. He was starting to write and produce more so it made perfect sense to take advantage of the new space. And he did… Starting with—of all things—a simple plan.

Simple Plan’s Sébastien Lefebvre gutted the basement of his home for the home studio he built in 2014.

“In the new house, the basement was a mess. The plan from the start was to gut it and start from scratch. This enabled me to make sure I was never gonna have water problems as all my gear would not handle that very well, and I was also gonna decide where my divisions, doors and power outlets would go. Rebuilding it didn’t take that long. Insulating the foundation, putting in a drain, bringing the walls back up…”

“I got help with some of the design from friend, touring Simple Plan sound engineer and studio mix engineer Frank Joly. When I started producing, he’s been acting as my mentor on the engineer side of thing, Mic placement and how to get certain types of tones.”

With the bones of the studio complete, Sébastien brought a pragmatic approach to selecting gear. “After doing some research, I realized that a home studio doesn’t mean what it used to. The main difference between a home studio and professional recording studio is the size of your tracking room, and the amount of gear you will need. Since I was not gonna have an entire room with 20 foot ceilings dedicated to the cause in my Montreal bungalow, I just make sure all my equipment was top of the line.”

“I did get a few toys from Radial when I was putting everything together.” Sébastien explains his choices. J48 Active Direct Box: “I see these everywhere I go, so it made sense to get one. When working on a song, I don’t want to waste time looking for tones and getting some amps going, so I use plugins a lot for guitars and bass tones. The J48 is perfect to record my signal straight in the box.”

Radial Roadster SX floor snake system

Roadster SX Floor snake system: “One of the main reasons to build this home studio was to finally have a proper vocal booth. So I needed a snake to link all the gear and the booth together. I also do acoustic guitars in there, and I leave my guitar cabs in there too. The Roadster SX is connected to all my pres for a variety of choice in tones.”

X-Amp Active Reamplifier: “When we record a DI for an electric guitar part and use a plugin, sometimes it ends up sounding great. Sometime the performance is perfect but the tone lacks some depth. That’s when reamping is very useful. With the X-Amp, I can just resend what I just played to and amp and listen to myself play until I get the right tone for the part. The sound quality is just as good as if I was plugged straight into the amp.”

Workhorse Powerhouse: “Having a 500 series host box is the perfect trick to keep things small and simple in a home studio. You can get Class A recording gear without running out of space too quickly.”

Lefebvre chose the Radial 500 series chassis, the Powerhouse

Gold Digger 4 channel Mic Selector / Cherry Picker 4 channel Preamp selector: “These are the real toys in the studio. If you use these 2 in line, you can have one singer in the booth, and basically try out every combination of microphone and preamp chain you want before accurately settling the one that suits the type of vocal the best. You can basically do that for every instrument you want to record. You plug 4 mics in the Gold Diggers, then out to the Cherry Picker and into 4 different preamps. By using the switches on the boxes, you can hear all the combinations pretty much right away, without having to plug and unplug your whole rig. Saves time, and really fun. You can really notice all the nuances your gear has to offer.”

“My home studio is mainly used for artist development. It’s a cozy way to work, in someone’s house. Besides, being on the road so much, I really appreciate being able to keep an easy schedule and work a few hours at a time here and there. I did record some of the last Simple Plan EP at home. It was fun. We did those 6 songs remotely, everyone on their own. Good thing we had good demos!”

Check out our video interview with Seb on his most recent stop in Vancouver:

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