By MAIL ON SUNDAY REPORTER
There was a time when bands like The Beatles could manage a recording session with a piano, a couple of guitars and a long-haired sound engineer.
Not now - especially if you are the supergroup U2.
Here, working on new album No Line On The Horizon - out a week on Monday - at Olympic Studios in Barnes, West London, it's obvious the band clearly don't do off-the-shelf recording.
They began with an empty wood-panelled, sound-proofed room and laid out four mini-recording areas - one for each member's contribution to be recorded separately.
First down were the Indian and Afghan handwoven rugs to stop scratches on the polished floor and to 'warm' the acoustics.
Then came the grand piano in the background followed by the 'building' of each section.
They included a pod for drummer Larry Mullen Jnr, who is surrounded by 7ft high folding grey felt and Perspex screens with up to eight microphones and a mixing desk.
Adam Clayton, who sips at a mug of tea, has nine guitars and is surrounded by amps, speakers and mixers. David Howell Evans - aka 'The Edge' in his trademark woollen hat - stands amid a tangle of loose leads.
The band have dispensed with the wide black gaffer tape which usually holds the leads in place on the floor.
In the foreground, Bono has the least paraphernalia - a music stand and a guitar. He has a couple of black leather chairs to relax in. The silver wand to his left is an acoustic shield, hiding another microphone.
Each track takes up to two weeks to complete.
The band played each song through in full and then recorded their individual element for the overdubbing section.
Last month, EMI revealed plans to sell Olympic so it could concentrate on its other flagship studio, Abbey Road.
However, U2 so enjoyed recording there, they are believed to be interested in buying it.
If they do, perhaps they can build a small canteen rather than having to use Adam Clayton's packing cases for the most important piece of electrical equipment of all: the kettle.
© 2009 Daily Mail.