What's In The Studio?

What's In
The Studio?

The Studio
I've taken an old school approach by pairing analog and digital components. This wasn't a random choice; it was a decision made to provide the best of both worlds. Click the link below to learn more.
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The Hardware
The list that follows these images is a comprehensive though not complete list of mics, hardware and software I use in my studio.
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Hardware and Software
Recording Software | Mixers | Interfaces
Pro Tools 2020
Presonus StudioLive 32s 32 Channel Digital Studio Mixer
Presonus Central Station PLUS Monitor Controller
Presonus HP60 6 Channel Headphone Mixing System
Radial Engineering Pro48 Active Direct Box (2)
Tascam M-3500 32 Channel Analog Studio Mixer (Being Restored)
Outboard Gear
Maag Audio PREQ4 500 Series Mic Pre
Warm Audio WA12-500 MKII 500 Series Mic Pre with DI
Neve Portico 517 Mic Pre / Compressor / DI with Variphase
Purple Audio Biz MIK 500 Series Pre
Midas 502PreV2 500 Series Pre
Midas 512EQ 500 Series EQ
Focusrite Scarlett OctoPre 8 Channel Pre
Warm Audio EQP-WA Tube Equalizer (2)
Midas 522Comp 500 Series Compressor
Drawmer DL-241 2 Channel Compressor/Gate
Lexicon MX-300 Stereo Reverb Effects Processor
dbx 266xs 2 Channel Compressor/Gate
dbx 510 500 Series Subharmonic Synthesizer
Royer dBooster
Noteworthy Plugins
Slate Digital Vintage VMS Modeling Suite
Slate Digital Blackbird VMS Modeling Suite
Slate Drums 5
FabFilter Pro-Q 3 and Pro-L 2
Numerous Waves Plugins
Soundtoys Devil-Loc & EchoBoy
Mics and Monitors
Dynamics
Shure SM7B Vocal Mic
Shure SM58 Vocal Mic
Shure SM57 Instrument Mic (3 + 1 Vintage)
Shure Beta57A Instrument Mic
Electro-Voice RE20 Multi-Use
AKG D112 Mk II Kick/Bass Mic
Sennheiser e604 Drum Mics (3)
Audix D2 Hypercardioid Instrument Mic (3)
Condensers
Shure KSM44A/SL Large Dual-Diaphragm Mic
Aston Spirit Vocal/Acoustic Mic
Slate Digital ML1 Large Diaphragm Modeling Mic
Audio-Technica AT4050 Vocal Microphone
Lewitt LC040 Match Pair Instrument Mics (2)
SM81-LC Instrument Mic
Audio-Technica AT2020 Vocal/Instrument Mic
MXL 990 Vocal/Instrument Mic (2)
Ribbons
Samar Audio AL95 Matched Pair Vocal/Instrument Mics (2)
MXL R1440 Vocal/Instrument Mic (2)
Tube Condensers
Avantone CV-95 Large Diaphragm Tube Mics (2)
Studio Monitors
Adam Audio T7V Series
Adam Audio 10S Subwoofer
Yamaha HS8 Series
M-Audio BX-5 Series

In a world where everything in the studio is digital, it's often too tempting to use plug-ins for everything. It's easy, they're right there in the DAW, they're readily accessible and they provide valuable time-saving convenience. The problem with this is that digital is "perfect" - too perfect.

Back in the analog days if you wanted to recall settings you had to record them on a recall sheet and dial them in as close as you could the next time. Today, those settings can be saved in a project and instantly recalled anytime the project is opened. These same settings can easily become favorites and can be saved as presets. Those favorites can become "go-to" settings that can be used over and over from project to project.

That may sound like an incredible convenience, and it is, but it removes all the subtle variations and imperfections that make each use unique - it can all begin to sound the same. And it becomes even less creative when the only thing being used are out-of-the-box presets. When I say digital is perfect I really mean it - it's static, repetitive, and predictable with little variation.

Even with the growing trend of "modeling mics", the models are only as good as the process used to model them. The models are not subject to changes in character and sound like the real mics are, for example when tube mics warm up and sound sweeter. That doesn't happen with plug-ins; they don't "warm up", they just work and sound exactly the same way they did the last time they were used. Modeling mics have their place but they're no substitute for the real thing.

The beauty of analog gear is that there are always subtle variations introduced in the processing. These variations are caused by the characteristics of analog components being affected by age, heat and other environmental conditions - none of which exist in the digital world. For these reasons, I've decided that the best approach is to take the analog and digital worlds and join them together. This hybrid studio approach is one that I've worked very hard to capture.

Mics and pre-amps are the most important links in the tracking and recording chain. For this reason I'm particularly vested in expanding the already respectable number of boutique pre-amps and mics I have available. Look for this to continue growing and evolving as the studio continues to grow.

At Level Ground Studio you'll find an ever-evolving mix of both analog and digital equipment and software that complement each other in such a way that they'll provide you with those sought-after analog sounds while still keeping in step with the modern conveniences of new digital technologies.

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