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– Sidecar consoles & Outboard –

Sidecar consoles

TL Audio M2 8/2 Valvemaster

One of the original Valvemasters with 4 valve stages in the EQ (as opposed to a single stage after the solid state mic amp on the later consoles), definitely at the ‘character’ end of the mic amp/eq spectrum. Not right for everything but fantastic for close drum mics, electric guitars, & bass. Direct outs on every channel make it a great front end for ProTools. The 4 band Eq is great with shelving hi & low with 2 semi-parametric mids & 80 Hz high pass filter.

Alice 626 broadcast console

Early/mid 70s broadcast console. Restored & modded with separate channel outputs & a new PSU by analogue guru Clive Kavan. Pre-dates the more well known 828 console. Features & sound very similar to the Raindirk series III with hi & low shelving eqs each with 3 turnover frequencies, a single swept mid & a high pass filter. Not the quietest mic amps around but I love the selectable hi shelf, great for overheads & hats.

19” rack mounted Pre-amps, Eqs, & compressors

Amek/Neve 9098 mic pre/eq                                                                  

I love this! It has been my go to pre/eq for years now & combined with the Chiswick Reach compressor was my main recording/overdubbing chain for a long time. Its just scary how much better an average mic such as an SM57 sounds through this than most other pre’s. Classic Rupert class A solid state design. The eq section is the best sounding & most flexible I own.

Inward connections VacRak with mic amp/eq/limiter

Another classic. I bought this on ebay when the crash of ’08 was in full swing for a crazily low price. Everything you put through it sounds larger than life! The ultimate bass DI channel…

Focusrite TwinTrak Pro stereo recording channel

Cheap as chips but a solid, clean, reasonably quiet stereo recording channel. I like the variable input impedance, the sweepable mid cut is great for cleaning up room resonances in less than ideal recording spaces & an optical compressor thrown in as well. A go to for drum ambience channels, & acoustic instruments if the 9098 & VacRac are already in use.

Thermionic Culture Culture Vulture valve distortion/instrument DI

One of Vic Keary’s quirky creations. This is a stereo valve distortion unit. Great for messing up loops, giving anaemic keyboard sounds some balls, and a valve input stage for bass & guitar to help bring amp models alive as it takes playing dynamics really well. I had the pleasure of working with Vic during the mid to late 90’s when I was involved with the vintage analogue studio Straylight in Willesden Green, London. This was one of the first 10 built.

Chiswick Reach stereo valve compressor

Again another of Vic Keary’s early creations, serial number 008. This is brilliant on everything! It’s open & clear like the best valve devices & useful from subtly transparent levelling to pummelling! The 9098 & one channel of this was my main input channel for years until I got the VacRac.

Behringer Tube Ultragain T1953 stereo valve mic amp

I don’t use this in the studio much but is part of my live/location recording setup where I often use it for electric guitar channels. It’s nice for live use to add a bit of grit if the amp is poor & it’s not the end of the world if it gets dropped! If the amp is really poor its sometimes better to DI post pedals using this & go to Amplitude.