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Paul Reed Smith Picks Daking For Private Recording Studio

Daking Mic Pre IV an integral part of Riverhouse Studio's equipment arsenal (December 07, 2004)

Paul Reed Smith picks Daking Mic Pre IV

Paul Reed Smith picks Daking Mic Pre IV

It is clear that Paul Reed Smith - a distinguished luthier of high-quality electric guitars - is very passionate about audio. From building his first guitar in college to gain class credits, to overseeing a prolific guitar factory bearing his name, Smith has always been drawn to all things musical.

Smith's aural passions are not limited to focusing on what emanates from his day-to-day, six-stringed creations. After years of frequenting world-class commercial recording facilities, Smith, an avid songwriter and disciple of sonic excellence, finally decided to build his own studio. Riverhouse Studio, Smith's meticulously built and equipped home studio, is full of reminders why he has been so successful. Just like building a quality guitar, successfully capturing and recording music to medium requires great attention to detail. According to Smith, the Daking Mic Pre IV, a recently purchased and integral part of Riverhouse's equipment arsenal, is a wonderful tool for recording as well as a model of superior product engineering.

"Basically, guitar pickups are very sophisticated parametric equalizers and guitars are harmonic generators," offers Smith while illustrating the parallels of being a luthier and a pro audio gearhead. "Together, pickups and guitars build a harmonic signal so naturally. How things sound have become really important to me. We spent a long time building and equipping the studio. Mic pre-amps are absolutely crucial parts of the recording chain. Geoff did a great job in building his Daking mic pres and that's why I ended up buying them. The Daking mic pres sound very musical, very pretty. We plugged them in and said, 'Whoa!'"

The 'Whoa-worthy' Daking Mic Pre IV is a four-channel 1U unit featuring all discrete transistor circuitry, transformer balanced I/O, and Class A amplifiers. Each channel includes a 20 segment Vu meter, +48V phantom power, 20dB pad, and an output level control before the last gain stage. The Mic Pre IV offers continuously variable gain control, switching with gold bi-furcated contacts throughout, stainless steel construction, and aluminum knobs. A power supply is also included.

As one can imagine, much care was taken in the selection of equipment for Riverhouse. While the process was enjoyable, Smith is quick to say that it wasn't easy or simple. "In the process of building the studio, we had to go through everything in the signal chain," he explains. "You name it, we've listened to it. Many times, I think that people buy mic pres without really listening to them. They look at them, think about reputation, and just buy them. We didn't do that. You know that you can take an XLR connector to quarter inch jacks at the back of a mic pre, plug headphones into it, and listen? Well, that's what we did, which gives you a real idea of what things sound like. We found that it's just not that common for things to sound musical out there in the marketplace, but the Daking mic pre does. Without good mic pres, you're dead in the water. That's why we chose Daking along with mic pres by API, ATI, and Mercury."

Smith's equipment audition methods continued beyond mic pre-amplification, which led him to unequivocal selections for converters, I/O, digital audio workstation, monitors, acoustic treatment, and more. "You've got to get in and out of the digital domain without changing the tone," Smith waxes prophetically. "If you take an A/D converter, plug it into a D/A, put it in the insert of a channel, and then listen, there should be no difference, right? Well, go listen and hear all the differences!"

This auditioning method ultimately led Smith to Apogee Electronics AD-16X and DA-16X converters as well as to a Hammerfall DSP MADI card and ATC monitors. As a result, Smith's console-free, PC-based, Magix Samplitude - running studio rig is both pristine and quick. "Apogee's 16X stuff sounds great and it has a millisecond round trip, so we have a rig with a four millisecond round trip total. That's the equivalent to me listening to my guitar amp from four feet away. It's wonderful."

Now that Riverhouse is finally complete, Smith can begin to reap the benefits of his building efforts. However, he is quick to note that his goals for Riverhouse always exceeded the normal scope of the typical home studio. Judging from his litany of music industry successes, this comes as no surprise. "It wasn't good enough to have a small recording setup," Smith explains. "I always said that I wanted it to be competitive with the beautiful-sounding studios that I have worked in. I wanted something that sounded really good, and the truth is that if you want your studio to sound good, every piece of the chain needs to be carefully considered. And that's exactly what we did."

About Daking
Daking is distributed by the Transamerica Audio Group, Las Vegas. Transamerica, founded by industry veteran Brad Lunde, has quickly become the premier U.S. importer/distributor for high-end audio. Success hinges on Transamerica providing users with technical expertise extending far beyond the norm. Transamerica AG's product lines include A-Designs USA), AEA ribbon microphones (USA), Apex (Belgium), ATC Loudspeakers (UK), Brauner (Germany), Drawmer (UK), Geoffrey Daking & Co. (USA), George Massenburg Labs (GML) (USA), Mercury Audio (USA), Mission Audio (UK), Soundelux (USA), SoundField (UK), and Z-Systems (USA).

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Related Keywords:Paul Reed Smith, Daking, Recording, Daking Mic Pre IV, Riverhouse, luthier, electric guitars, Riverhouse Studio, Apogee Electronics, Hammerfall, ATC monitors, MADI, Magix Samplitude, Transamerica Audio Group, Brad Lunde,


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