Hello 2019! 2018 was a good year for Rarefied and we celebrated by purchasing some new toys for you girls and boys. Here’s a run down of what’s new at the studio:
We have to kick things off with the Neumann U47. Probably the most classic of all the classic tube mics. This here is a beautiful example of the long body variant with the original M7 capsule (reskinned by Microtech Gefell) and original BV08 transformer. The tube has been replaced with an EF14, the power supply is a hefty, super overbuilt aftermarket unit from Hamptone, and the cabling is all new from Gotham Audio. Needless to say, it sounds fantastic!
When Behringer announced they were going to clone a Moog Minimoog I think we were all skeptical. At the price point they were talking it seemed kinda crazy. But they did something pretty nice here and sometimes a clone makes more sense sense than the real thing. Just hook up a MIDI keyboard to this guy and you can have hours of fun dialing in sounds.
Gamechanger Audio caught my attention in 2018 with their Plasma Pedal- a crazy distortion that runs your guitar through a Xenon tube which not only sounds nuts, but also produces a brilliant blue light show. So after being thoroughly impressed by that, I decided it was worth checking out their other pedal, the Plus Pedal. This thing lets you add piano like sustain to your guitar via a method they call “real time sampling”. It really is quite unique and something that should add a new tool in the toolset of any guitar that walks through the doors here.
Standard Audio is another company that I was familiar with from another product of theirs. The Level-Or has been in my racks for awhile (2 of them, in fact). So I was curious what the Stretch was all about. I had heard about engineers using and abusing Dolby noise reduction units and had actually tried it myself with some dbx units I had for awhile. It definitely is a way to achieve some interesting bite to a signal. Standard Audio fashioned the Stretch after several ways engineers had been modifying such gear and came out with one box that can do several different things including adding some magical top end, magical low end, and serious bite and character to whatever you run through it. I look forward to seeing what it can do this year.
The AEA R88 manages to stuff two of AEA’s R84’s into one package giving you a perfect Blumlein pair for stereo micing. Blumelein is one of many methods for stereo micing, but it tends to give a very natural and 3D pickup since it captures sound in 360 degrees from the mic. This will be another great option at the studio for drum overheads, piano, and general room mic duties.
Trident was a studio back in merry old England and it was a time when you couldn’t really just go out and buy a console. So studios use to make their own. The A-Range was Trident’s first console and this EQ is a clone of what would have been found in the original. A very unique design that uses faders for boost and cut.
Chandler Limited is the only company authorized to make reproductions of the custom gear that Abbey Road/EMI Studios used to make. The TG12345 was another one of those custom consoles created back in the day and this EQ is derived from the original.
I was already a fan of the sound of this EQ from using a Waves plug-in version. It’s super simple, which is nice, and adds some bold color that is definitely reminiscent of The Beatles or other bands that recorded out of Abbey Road in that era. I’ve already had great success using it to enhance a vocal and bring the right amount of weight and bite to a snare drum.
The final piece for the year was this unassuming black box by Bricasti. I was in need of a fantastic outboard reverb that could do all the usual suspects (halls, rooms, plates, etc.) and these days no piece has been more lauded than the M7. I purchased this version that has no screen after discovering that an excellent plug-in is available from Exponential Audio which allows you to control the M7 straight from Pro Tools. I like this since a) you get to buy the cheaper Bricasti with no screen, b) no need to leave the sweetspot while adjusting presets or parameters, and c) the settings used are saved in the session making it very easy to recall when used on a mix. My favorite part of the M7 so far are the “Ambience” programs which add a realistic sense of space around things without sounding like reverb in anyway.
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