Hey there music fans!  Did ya miss us?  Well don’t worry, The Record Shop Nashville is back to bring you another segment of our Nashville Recording Studio’s series BEHIND THE GEAR (and the crowd goes wild!!!).  Today’s BTG is about not one, but three of The Record Shop’s favorite pieces of gear; our beautiful Taylor Guitars.

 We are all aware that music and sounds are subjective.  Each person has their own personal tastes.  The man, the myth, the luthier legend Bob Taylor acknowledges that not every one is going to prefer the sound of a Taylor guitar over other guitars, but there is no denying that a Taylor guitar plays well; which, we all know was Bob’s ultimate goal.  Taylor Guitars: Bob TaylorHe is a personal hero to us at The Record Shop because of his dedication to the design and advancement of guitar manufacturing.  Typically when you think of a product going into mass production, the quality tends to get worse as costs are cut to make profit.  Bob understood that mass production meant that Taylor Guitars had an obligation to their new customers to make the quality of his guitars even better than when he was making them individually by hand.  So, as the legend goes, he and a team began designing his own factory machines to supplement the increase in demand.  Taylor Guitars developed things like their own steam presses whose heat is adjusted depending on wood type, assembly lines of saws and files to cut the neck and head stocks, and even lasers that can make cuts thinner than a stand of hair!

!!!! L-A-S-E-R-S !!!!

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention Bob’s humility.  Most companies try to keep their trade secrets hidden, but Bob has always been animate about sharing his process and knowledge.  You can watch his great factory tour videos at Taylor Guitar’s website here!Nashville Recording Studio  Taylor Guitars, along with many other guitar manufacturers, also have a strong passion for the preservation of the world’s forests so they can keep building guitars out of the best woods from around the world.  One last great thing about Taylor Guitars is their effort for obtaining ebony for their guitars by only ethical means.  Have we mentioned the lasers yet?!?!

For these many reasons, and simply because we love the sound, we have acquired our Taylor Guitar Triple Threat! Nestled in the halls of The Record Shop Nashville you will find our Taylor 914c, Baritone, & T5!  The 914c is a special edition, made out of cholla wood, and can achieve any genre-defining sound for your track.  Have you ever played a Baritone guitar before?  The tonal depth that this unique design creates is unparallelled.  Lastly, the T5 is electric-acoustic powerhouse of tonal versatility with two sets of humbucker pickups, a body sensor, 5-way pickup switch, and 2 preamp tone control pots.  Playing these Taylor guitars is one of the most addictive things in the world.  It’s a miracle we get any work done with these beauties batting their eyelashes at us all day. Nashville recording studio

Thanks for tuning in to this session of Behind The Gear!  Feel free to peruse our Nashville Recording Studio’s complete Gear List, and don’t be a stranger!  Follow & chat to us on Twitter @therecordshop.

 

We have a tasty treat for y’all in today’s installment of our Nashville Recording Studio‘s series Behind The Gear!!!  The Avalon Vacuum Tube 373 preamplifier, the world’s first Direct Recording Channel, is hands down one the greatest Microphone Pre-amps to have ever graced the walls of a recording studio.  Everyone who is anyone in the recording biz – like Abbey Road Studios, Prince’s Paisley Park, and Walt Disney Imagineering, just to name a few – have used this preamplifier to record hit after hit.  This preamplifier can make any voice or instrument sound absolutely unremarkable.  Here, at the Record Shop, the AD VT-737 has done just that time and time again.   Sound Engineer Rick Camp & his AD VT-737 preamplifier

Avalon has been known for making fantastic Microphone Pre-Amplifiers since its founding by Wynton R. Morro.  The company proudly boasts that each of its products, “…utilize 100% discrete, high-bias pure Class A audio amplifiers. These pure Class A amplifiers are incorporated into minimal signal path designs which include sealed silver relays, balanced DC coupled high-current “outside-world” drivers, fully discrete linear DC regulators, low noise toroidal power transformers and selected high quality active and passive components.”  In our Nashville recording studio, we love using this beast to get that classic, warm tube sound when tracking, especially on bass and vocals.  It has come to a consensus that female vocals are probably our favorite thing to run through with this preamplifier.  Personally, day dream about how heavenly the world would sound if every persons’ voice was put through the 737.A Front view of the Avalon VT 737 preamplifier

What’s so special about it already!?!?

Okay, okay, sheesh.  This baby packs a punch into your recordings using a combination tube preamplifiers, opto-compressor, sweep equalizer, output level and VU metering.  It has three, count them 1-2-3, different input selections; 1) a microphone input transformer with +48v phantom power, 2) an instrument DI input with jack on front panel, and 3) a balanced line input. The opto-compressor has amazing dynamic range.  You can obtain everything from soft compression to hard knee limiting with the threshold, ratio-compression, attack and release controls. The 4-band EQ control on this guy is bananas. You can also enhance mid bands with the X10 frequency multipliers.  The multipliers ever-so-sweetly enhance the high and low ends too!  One of our favorite features are the high-voltage circuits inside of the 737.  They reduce the amount of noise tremendously (-92dB) and leave you with ample headroom (up to +30dB).  Rear View Panel of Avalon VT 737 PreamplifierYou can go here to see ALL the specs & features of this incredible piece of machinery.

Thanks for checking out this segment of Behind The Gear!  If you’re interested in learning more about the rest of the gear at The Record Shop click here to view out complete gear list!  Don’t be a stranger; you can follow and chat with us on Twitter @therecordshop!

Here at The Record Shop we aim to make musical greatness with each project that gets brought to our Nashville Recording Studio.  What better way to make history than to use a guitar amplifier that has been used, almost exclusively, with guitar legends like Slash, Joe Bonnamassa, & John Frusciante?  Let’s take a look at our Marshall Silver Jubilee 25/50 2553 head; proof that not all that glitters is gold…sometimes it’s silver.

Slash and his Silver Jubilees

 

The Marshall Silver Jubilee series was introduced in 1987, to commemorate both their 25th year in the amplifier game and their 50th year in the music industry.  These limited edition, valve amplifiers were heavily based on the Marshall 2203 & 2204 master volume models and the Marshall JCM 800s but were designed with their own unique features.  Besides the illustrious silver vinyl and chrome-plated controls, these babies have a valve output stage that you can be set to either 25 or 50 watts (you see what they did there?!) to get real output-valve distortion at lower volumes, a great effects loop, and they have a preamp circuit that houses three gain modes. The Record Shop's Marshall SJ 2553 The Input Gain pot varies the amount of gain in each mode; if you set this low you get a clean tone, you may find that it is too low when you switch to a lead tone.  No prob Bob, pull on that knob and you’ve switched into the second gain mode called the Rhythm Clip, which gives you a distorted sound.  Mode 3, the Lead Channel, can be switched to via footswitch or by pulling the Output Master knob.  Marshall placed a Lead Master control knob as well to balance the volume of the Clean, or Rhythm Clip, with the Lead volume.  Let us not forget that these amps are also Tonal Beasts that changed the sound of Rock N’ Roll forever!

The Record Shop's Marshall SJ 2553 Amplifier

 

 

 

 

 

When the Jubilee Year ended, Marshall continued to produce more of the JS series in 1988, but replaced the silver and chrome with the standard black and gold look Marshall is famous for.  So, if you want your guitar tracks to sound like they came to Earth from the Rock Gods in Valhalla…you know where to find us.   Thanks for tuning in for this edition of Behind The Gear.  Feel free to check out the rest of our blog and follow/chat with us on Twitter @therecordshop!

In part 3 of Behind the Gear at The Record Shop, we take a look at the Tube-Tech CL1B Opto Compressor; a device that has become a studio standard since its release in 1987. The CL1B was developed by Tube-Tech founder, John Peterson. John began his career as a maintenance engineer at the Danish Broadcasting Company. Educated as an electrical engineer, he could usually be found refurbishing gear in his spare time. In the early 80’s his interests turned to tube driven devices such as the Pultec EQ and the Teletronix LA2A. As was the case with many of today’s audio manufactures, John witnessed the growing market for vintage equipment as the quality of modern products was, believed by many, to be declining. He began designing his own renditions of classic equipment, and the rest is history. Tube Tech is now a mainstay in the world of audio, and they continue to produce superior quality tube equipment that has been utilized by everyone from The Rolling Stones to T-Pain.

The design of the CL1B was modeled after the Teletronix LA2A, a classic tube limiter that has been a standard in recording studios since its release in 1965.  John set out to build a device that offered the warm, musical compression of the LA2a Limiter, but with the added features of a compressor. The LA2a has only two controls, Gain and Peak Reduction. The attack and release times are fixed.  The CL1B features a fixed attack and release mode, but also provides additional ratio, threshold, attack, and release knobs. This allows us greater flexibility to achieve the perfect settings for a variety of applications. The Cl1B has another unique setting called Fixed/Manual Mode. This setting has a fixed, fast attack and variable release. You would think that this compressor would come with a two week class to learn how to utilize all of these options. However, the operation is fairly simple and always produces great results.

We lean on this compressor mainly for Vocals and Bass. On vocals we often use the CL1B, in conjunction with an 1176 or Distressor, to add a smooth, warm compression that helps the voice find its space in the track. In the bass world, the CL1B is great at taming the tone, but if you’re going for punch, we lean on some of our other options such as the 1176. From time to time, we will throw a snare or kick through the blue monster to give it some extra warmth as well.

One trick that we have found to be pretty exciting on vocals, is an extreme compression setting that can result in some pretty wicked tube saturation. We start by setting the attack all the way to the left, with a medium release and 10:1 ratio. Next we increase the threshold to hit -10 or so DB of gain reduction; tweaking the ratio and release to taste until the vocal starts to drive. The result is an analog tape like compression that can be perfect for a rocking vocal.

Thanks for dropping by! Check back next week for our next installment of “Behind The Gear at The Record Shop”, where we take a look at a throw back to Abbey Road, the Chandler TG1 Limiter. In the meantime, feel free to drop by our Gear Page for more information on our vast array of equipment.

As always, we love to hear feedback on our articles. If this was helpful, or a complete waste of your time, let us know! We love making new friends as well. Feel free to drop by our page on Facebook and sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive valuable resources and updates on the studio. Thanks for dropping by For The Record. Catch you next week!

-Giovanni

Therecordshopnashville.com

Welcome back to behind the gear at The Record Shop. Are you ready to roocccck!?!?!? (cue stadium of screaming fans) This week we take a look at the Purple Audio MC77. The MC77 is a superior recreation of the legendary URIE 1176 Peak Limiter. This piece of gear bleeds rock and roll. If it was magically transformed into a person it would make Slash look like Yanni. From Drums to guitars to vocals, this thing will give you clarity, punch, and attitude for days. Let’s start by giving you a quick back story on the MC77’s estranged father, the URIE 1176.

The 1176 was designed by audio legend, Bill Putnum in 1967. Bill was a revolutionary in the audio world. He is noted to have been the first cat to use artificial reverb, double a vocal recording, and develop a multi-band equalizer. So it is no surprise that he was also the dude that created what is arguably the most commonly used limiter in modern recording. The 1176 became the first true peak limiter with solid state circuitry. It was popular for its super fast attack time, resulting in a signature tone that can be heard on countless records.

In 1997, a new audio company called Purple Audio released their first product, the MC76 (If you paid attention in roman numeral class you’ll get it). Designed by Andrew Roberts, the MC76 looked like an 1176 that Barney got a hold of in the restroom, and it sounded like one that hung out with Jose Canseco (if your not hip to baseball or the news, he did a lot of steroids). It had all the vibe of a vintage 1176 without the price tag, and it quickly became a highly sought after piece of gear. The MC77 is an update of the original with a few extra features.

Aside from the paint job, the MC77 really stands out in the crowd. It has the sonic characteristics of the classic, vintage 1176 with an improved high frequency response and added grit. We’ve used it on just about everything when we are looking for something to give a track some attitude. If we want to add some punch to drums, smooth out guitars, round out a bass, or put some rock in a vocal, the MC77 delivers every time.

We have one trick in particular that produces some really unique results. But in order to explain clearly, let’s start with a story. At some point back in the day, there was an audio engineer who spent way to much time playing with the gear in the studio. One day he said, “Hey, I wonder what would happen if I pressed down all of the ratio buttons on this limiter at the same time?” Once he had all four of the ratio buttons locked in place, he cranked the input and the rest is history. There are a few different names for this trick; all buttons in, nuke, British mode; but the result is a super compression that has been used to create some really unique sounds. I’m a big fan of smashing the drum room mics with this setting. The setting creates a lag in the attack time, resulting in extra punch, and a drastic compression slope, resulting in a quick drop in level. As this push and pull repeats with each transient hit we can achieve a rhythmic pumping of compression that breathes with the track and amplifies the “room sound”. Listen to any modern rock record and your bound to find this effect in play.

And that concludes this evenings presentation. Check back next week for our next installment of “Behind The Gear at The Record Shop”, where we take a look at another colorful device, the CL1B tube compressor. In the meantime, feel free to drop by our Gear Page for more information on our vast array of equipment.

As always, we love to hear feedback on our articles. If this was helpful, or a complete waste of your time, let us know! We love making new friends as well. Feel free to drop by our page on Facebook and sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive valuable resources and updates on the studio. Thanks for dropping by For The Record. Catch you next week!

-Giovanni

Therecordshopnashville.com

If I was stuck in a studio on a desert island, and could only choose one compressor to bring with me, I’d grab a Distressor. The Distressor is without question the most verstile compressor on the market. If you walk into any professional recording studio in Nashville, or around the world, you’re bound to find at least one of these pieces in the room. If you drop by The Record Shop, you’ll find four of them. Why, you might ask? One, because its a bad mama jama. Two, because it adds a classic sound to digital recordings. Three, because we work on such a wide range of projects, we are often going after a different “sonic vibe” from song to song. The Distressor gives us the ability to shape the sound to fit the song. In this segment of “Behind The Gear” we’ll discuss how we utilize the Distressor here at The Record Shop, and offer some tips for using it on your own. So where did this magical piece of studio gold come from? Read on…..

Empirican History EL8X

The Distressor was developed in 1995 by Dave Derr. Dave started Empirical Labs as a recording studio and electronics consulting firm. He was also part of the design team at Eventide that created the H3000, a legendary effects processor. It’s clear that this experience played a big role in the innovation of functions on the Distressor. Simply put, Dave took the best features from a number of classic studio compressors, added modern functionality, and ease of use, while maintaing a “vintage” tone. As The Empirical Labs motto says, “We want to make products that work a little easier, a little better, and a lot longer – and make sure they are fun to use.” I think they’ve hit their mark.

-If you are interested in learning about the history of the Distressor and Empirical labs, check out this article at Mercenary Audio. The guys have a great story about how they helped Dave name the Distressor-

Vintage Features

Back in 1997, Mix columnist Paul White said this about the Distressor, “If you’re one of those people who believe only tube technology can deliver the true classic sound, a few minutes spent using the Distressor might cause you to re-think your position.” While digital recording technology continues to improve, we still turn to analog gear for its “musical response” and “warmth.” Usually, the word “warmth” refers result of tube saturation that creates a round, full sound. However, in the case of The Distressor, warmth is more like an adjective. Here are some of the features that make the Distressor so unique.

Distortion Modes

The Distressor has two distortion modes that emit a warm, harmonic distortion to the audio signal. The Dist 2 mode enhances the second harmonics, similiar to the saturation of a Class A Tube. The Dist 3 mode features a third harmonic that has the qualities of a Class B tube, or analog tape machine. We often use the Distressor for these modes alone. By setting the ratio to 1:1, you can process the sound using these settings without compressing the signal.

-Detector Modes

The Distressor also features two audio modes that vary the response of the device. The first detector mode is the High Pass Filter mode (HP). In the HP mode the Distressor does not react to low frequency energy in the sound source. This keeps the Distressor from reacting irrationally to a sudden rise in low end, such as a “b” or “p” sound from a vocalist. The second detector mode, called the “band emphasis” mode, makes the compressor react more drastically to harsh sounds in the high-mid frequency range. This mode can be useful on a vocalist that has a piercing tone to their voice on high notes, or to offer an smooth “analog” texture to an instrument.

Settings

Another unique design feature of the Distressor is the Ratios and Curves. Compressors generally have seperate threashold and ratio controls. The threashold sets the volume level at which the compressor starts to work, while the ratio determines how drastically it reacts. In the case of the Distressor, the threshold has been strategically determined within the ratio that is selected. The Distressor has eight ratio options to choose from. Each setting provides a unique response to the signal, exhibiting a musically pleasing effect on everything from subtle compression to dynamic destruction.

-For more detailed information on the Ratio settings of the Distressor, check out the Empirical Labs website here….-

How We Use It

At The Record Shop, we use our Distressors mainly on Vocals, Drums, Guitars, and anything that calls for a “classic” or “gritty” vibe. We love the “Nuke” mode, a setting that makes the distressor act as a “brick wall” limiter, with a unique release slope. This setting is great for big room sounds. We also make use of an option called “Brit Mode” that simulates the effect of the classic 1176 Limiter set to “all buttons in.” (a setting that became popular in 70’s for aggressive drum compression.) The Distortion modes are an invaluable assest to the Distressor and can be heard on nearly every recording that comes out of The Record Shop. The most useful feature of the Distressor is its overall tonal cahrecteristics. It is a great option for anything that needs to be smoothed out, warmed up, or given some edge. If you would like to hear more examples of how we utilize the Distressor, leave us a comment and we’ll send you our favorite settings.

Check back next week for our next installment of “Behind The Gear at The Record Shop”, highlighting the legendary 1176 Limiter. In the meantime, feel free to drop by our Gear Page for more information on our vast array of equipment.

As always, we love to hear feedback on our articles. If this was helpful, or a complete waste of your time, let us know! We love making new friends as well. Feel free to drop by our page on Facebook and sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive valuable resources and updates on the studio. Thanks for dropping by For The Record. Catch you next week!

-Giovanni

Therecordshopnashville.com

“Wow! Look at all those knobs.” As an audio engineer that is probably the most common phrase I hear uttered by an artist the first time they step foot in a studio. In an effort to figure out what all these fancy buttons do ;) , we thought it would be fun to introduce a new series on For The Record called “Behind The Gear.” The Record Shop is home to a unique collection of modern and vintage equipment. Our audio arsenal was carefully selected to offer a wide range of sonic colors and textures. Each week we will offer an inside look at a different piece of equipment we use here at The Record Shop. We will take a look at the history of the piece,  outline the various ways it is utilized during a session and share some unique tricks that we use to shape the tone of a recording.

This week, we’ll start the series off by offering some basic information on each category we will be covering: Microphones, Pre-Amps,  Compressors, Equalizers, and Plug-Ins. For those of you familiar with the basic function of these devices, we invite you to join us next week when we take a look at the Empirical Labs Distressor, a studio legend that reigns as one of the most versitle compressor/limiters on the market. For the rest of you fine folks, read on my friends…….

Microphone

If your reading this, I’m sure you don’t need a proper definition of what these things do, but for the sake of covering our bases, we’ll turn to Wikipedia. “A microphone is an acoustic-to-electric transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal.” Sounds simple enough, but what makes our job so fun is that each microphone does this differently and, in turn produces drastically different results. There are three different categories of microphones that are most commonly used in the recording studio: Dynamic, Condenser, and Ribbon. A dynamic microphone is work horse device, capable of reproducing loud sound sources as well as those with a powerful attack (such as guitars, kick drum, and snare drum). A condenser microphone is a more delicate device, designed to react sensitively to its sound source, offering a more defined sound on things such as drum overheads, acoustic instruments, and vocals) A ribbon microphone offers a unique tone due to the natural lack of high end frequency response that the ribbon reproduces. Ribbons have become very popular as a method to achieve a “vintage” vibe on modern, digital recordings. For more detailed information visit Wikipedia’s “Microphone” page….

Pre-Amps

A Pre-Amplifier (pre-amp) is a device that takes a low level signal from a microphone, or instrument, and boosts it to a line level signal that can be recorded. As with microphones, every pre-amp offers its own, unique tonal characteristics. There are two types of pre-amps commonly used in the recording environment: Tube and Solid State. As the name suggests, tube pre-amps utilize tube components to amplify the sound, offering a “warm” tone and a subtle distortion that is preferred in many applications. A solid state pre-amp does not make use of tube components and generally offers a cleaner, more transparent tone. Within these two types of pre-amps are countless brands and models that all have their own sonic flavor. For more detailed information, visit Wikioedia’s “Pre-Amplifier” page….

Compressor

A compressor is an audio device that effects the range between the loudest and quietest parts of a sound source (known as dynamic range) A compressor accomplishes this by lowering the volume of the sound source when it passes above the volume threshold that is set by the user. The amount of compression, and the reaction time of the device, is set by the ratio, attack, and release knobs. Just like pre-amps, compressors are also built with either solid state or tube components. Compressors can be used for a variety of applications, from subtly taming dynamics,  to extreme “pumping” that can create intriguing rhythmic effects. For more detailed information, visit Wikipedia’s “Audio Compressor” page…

Equalizer

An equalizer adjusts the balance between frequencies in an audio signal. It allows us the ability to “shape” the frequency range of a sound in order to enhance its qualities, fit it into a mix, etc. There are two main types of EQ’s used in the studio environment: Parametric and Graphic. A Parametric EQ offers a variable frequency selection on multiple frequency “bands” (ranges) and a variable “Q” (range of effected frequency). This allows us the flexibility to hone on the desired frequency and effect it accordingly. Graphic EQ’s have fixed frequency and q selection, often based on frequency “octaves” to offer a natural, musical response. For more detailed information, visit Wikipedia’s “Equalization” page…

Plug-In’s

Plug In’s are used in digital recording to emulate the function of analog equipment. While, it can be argued that software can never take the place audio moving through actual components (and I agree!) software plug-ins have continued to grow in their sonic offering and can be very useful in the modern recording environment in many situations. There are endless options when it comes to plug-ins. The market is flooded with new, innovative tools for manipulating audio. A recent development in plug in technology is what is referred to as “emulation plug-ins” These software devices are built off of algorithms developed through the testing of actual analog gear. Through this process, developers have been able to create plug-ins that embrace the tonal qualities of a specific type of gear. This is a very exciting technology that we have found very useful in Universal Audio’s, UAD Plugs. You can learn more about Plug-ins by visiting this interesting article at Delicious Audio…

Well, now you are ready to venture “Behind The Gear” at The Record Shop. Check back next week for our first installment, highlighting the Emperical Labs’ Distressor. In the meantime, feel free to drop by our Gear Page for more information on our vast array of equipment.

As always, we love to hear feedback on our articles. If this was helpful, or a complete waste of your time, let us know! We love making new friends as well. Feel free to drop by our page on Facebook and sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive valuable resources and updates on the studio. Thanks for dropping by For The Record. Catch you next week!

-Giovanni

Therecordshopnashville.com