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New Daking Console Takes ManhattanJack McKeever installs Daking?s 1112 analog console in studio (August 18, 2004)
As the recording business continues to transition to a fully digital paradigm there are still those who prefer to maintain an analog signal chain in the studio. One such diehard analog fan is engineer and musician Jack McKeever, who installed Geoffrey Daking's 1112 Custom Console at his project facility in Manhattan's lower east side after hearing about the designer and manufacturer.
"I think what drew me to this console was that in this group there was so little to choose from," McKeever explains. "The nice thing was that the audio dealer told me about Geoff Daking. I had no idea who he was. I called Geoff and out of the blue he sent me a couple of mic pres and said, 'Try them for a while and see what you think.'"
McKeever was impressed. "They sounded so good," says the engineer, who notes that he uses analog whenever he can.
He continues, "Originally I was going to get a much smaller console, but time went by and I was able to borrow more money than I anticipated, so I ended up with the larger one." McKeever's Daking 1112 Custom Console is configured with 32 inputs, the standard eight busses, and is outfitted with Daking's multi-track monitor mixer, which returns 24 tracks into the desk.
With only a limited choice of small format analog consoles still being manufactured, McKeever considered acquiring an older, classic console, but was put off by the experiences of his friends. "I had a couple of friends who had bought Neves and ended up putting more money into them than they had spent to purchase them. So I was frightened about that concept."
Daking's 1112 combines classic audio designs with modern manufacturing methods to recreate the much sought after analog sound quality and performance of vintage consoles, such as Neve and Trident, yet without the maintenance headaches. The 1112 features class "A" discrete topology and Jensen transformers, and also shares elements of Daking's highly regarded Mic/Pre EQ circuitry.
In the end, the Daking 1112 console fit a number of McKeever's criteria perfectly. "This is a small studio and the footprint of this console is very small," he says. "It's got everything that I like about a Neve, but it's infinitely quieter than a Neve. It sounds great. I've had three or four people who have said that this is the best console they've worked on, bar none."
The biggest project at the studio so far has been Rufus Wainwright's "Want One" album, on which McKeever worked for three months. Wainwright and his team were quickly won over by the quality of the Daking console's microphone preamplifiers, the engineer reports. "They originally rented some other mic pres, then sent them all back, one by one."
Commenting about the console manufacturer, he says, "Geoff's just the consummate professional and a perfectionist and, as far as I can see in the two-and-a-half years of dealing with him, more interested in being involved with a great piece of audio equipment than he is in making money. It's refreshing to see someone so passionate."
That's an attitude that struck a chord with McKeever who, like many small studio owners, lives from project to project. "I barely subsist off of running a studio," he admits. "It's definitely a labor of love. I've put so much love and attention into the studio and, when people start noticing it, they keep coming back." McKeever also has a full Pro Tools HD setup and notes that "a fair amount of my business is warming up to Pro Tools mixes through the console on their way to the half-inch tape recorder. And while I use analog whenever I can, I enjoy hybrid analog-digital setups."
Although he never advertises, plenty of recording projects arrive at the studio as word gets around New York's tight-knit community of musicians. "Patty Smith was here for a week - her engineer told her about my studio when I first met him! There's a lot of commercial work that gets done here, but it's all word of mouth and low key."
Currently, he reveals, "I'm working on the new Anita O'Day record. She's 84 years old and she still swings." Although McKeever's friends, Frank Bango and Johnny Dowd might be visiting the studio soon, he's not too worried that he doesn't know what his next project will be. "That used to make me nervous. But now," he says, "I'm happy to say I don't know."
All Daking gear can now be ordered directly from TransAudio Group by either calling (702) 365-5155 or going to www.transaudioelite.com the direct-sales website for TransAudio Group.
About TransAudio Group
TransAudio Group, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor for high-end audio. Success hinges on specialized service to the Recording Industry far beyond the norm. TransAudio Recording's product lines include AEA ribbon microphones (USA), ATC Loudspeakers (UK), Brauner (Germany), Drawmer (UK), Geoffrey Daking & Co. (USA), George Massenburg Labs (GML) (USA), Soundelux (USA), SoundField (UK), and Z-Systems (USA).
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