Tag Archive for 'mastering'

mini-fenkner made of wood


mini fenkner control room monitor controller  – MADE OF  WOOD  !


bevan galbraith of CAPTAIN UKELELES made this from lovely native new zealand timbers with his excellent luthier skills. the laser engraving looks so deliciously slightly wonky. the thing is filled up with ekadek neever transistor amplifiers.

ekadek neever fenkner brenda

ekadek neever fenkner brenda


just in time for christmas.  3250  nz$ ono.

** twin’ neever’ mic/direct/line amplifiers.

**control room section.

**selects to listen to mics  / lines E1/ E2 / E3 or blenda circuit.

** line output selection for three monitor speaker pairs.**stereo / reverse stereo / mono/ left-right solo.

**phaze test function – switches one channel out of phase .. and then with mono selection as well … will monitor the difference between left and right channels. useful for mastering.

**blenda function – mixes E1 (computer monitor return) and mic amp channels to allow zero latency ‘alive’ overdubbing.

**phones amplifier – monitor the listen selection or the blenda mix. all 1970′s transistor amplifiers. fat and clear – miles of headroom. low low self noise. built expertly into the character 1960′s tolex covered plywood cabinet.

klangenschmitt spitfire



ekadek klangenschmitt spitfire console design.10 channel transistor mixer with stereo bus and echo bus.
stereo valve eq. stereo varimu tube limiter  stereo tube mix bus amplifier. 4 stereo returns. control room section has 3 speaker amp outputs – headphone send selection and volume , talkback function. an onboard p.a small fat hifi speaker is on board also. and big meters. 23000nz$ ballpark.


bagnall hill stack of ekadek

bevans trinity2

bevan from bagnall hill studio in country te pahu has just completed his trinity rack. contains three choice ekadek builds . on top is the dual channel 535 neever mic di amp .has original neve 535 twin channel awesome transistor amplifiers. in the middle is roger all tube dual channel mic di equalising amp. and down below is the four channel all transistor neever commando mic di amp. bevan has a  big recording space out in the country side that he built himself. genius.  he also makes guitars and ukeleles out of juicy native timbers. boom! double genius. check out his CAPTAIN brand. http://www.captainukuleles.co.nz/home.html

thornophon 8 – 2 mixer



 thornophon mixer build 

 8 channel stereo mixer.
line level input  with fader.go.pan.
+      echo send
+     4 other stereo inputs

- also a single neever microphone/di  recording amplifier.

- also  a 5 stereo input control room monitor section with stereo.reverse.mono.left solo.right solo.speaker a.b.c.

all up a pretty powerful tool made to last .with all   transistor amplifiers for maximum fatness with minimum puss. a big clean sound. and  in a beaut portable cabinet. it’s made to be configured as a studio mixer and controller. to receive and mix a sound card’s multi-track outputs,  and mix  into a perfect new stereo thing.

it’s a smart little bug!r .   can listen to and switch compare all the musical stereo sound outputs u know u need to.

select  the  MIX output OR external stereo inputs (sound card monitor outputs) E1 & E2,  OR  check/listen to the neever mic amp or the echo send.  throw the sound around to check stereo – reverse- mono. left right solo. and then control 3 pairs of monitoring speakers in a studio.

manual mixing with a panel of sliders and pans  is the best method to balance a mixture of sounds. when u can move two or three faders at ONE time .. u can find , and then fine tune resonances in the harmonic structures of the sounds. extracting more peaks and valleys. adding life.  finding those parts gets to the spark between the instruments. the distance between things locks in and the depth expands.

a computer mouse  can  move one fader or click one button at a time. what the hell use is that?  ok . so  u have a computer fader panels.. good choice.  ..but then ur still just inside the box.  

so further more  i reckon the mixing  sounds better done outside in a real amplifier  mixer with faders , and outboard special fx and  maybe even a room mic. give a poor computer smacked up thing more oomph -  driven  energy.



cat visconti arriving

the cat visconti channel is almost gasp. complete.  just waiting now for a final bit of metal worked rear ass covering solution . sounding perfect . it’s made to be a best quality mono recording channel with mic/di/line stages and 4 way eq and filters with processor insertabilty. the output of that can mix (or not) with two stereo line inputs. the listenator function runs either the alone channel or the mixture of the alone channel with the stereo inputs -  into one of two selected pairs of speakers.  alla fenkner functionality.

catvisconti’s big toe

i’ve been designing a piece of wood today . a big toe to go at the front below the faders of the cat visconti gogo five’s boot shaped sound shaper slash recording monitoring channeling. hope-ing the photos do this project justice. the electronics has been fitted commando style to a frame connected behind to the upright eq/control-room face. cat visconti’s boot will be ready for final assembly and wireing next week after mr anodizer does his magic.

ferralgrapha results are in

alex got back just today. he is loving his system i reckon. p.s. The Ferralgrapha is bloody excellent mate! I’ve done two recordings so far and even been trying it out in live situations. It treats everything so beautifully! Been getting some really luscious sounds with it. When i have some mixed examples i’ll write you a proper review for your website – with a link to a recording, so the people in internet-land can hear the magic!
thanks alex.  meanwhile i’ve packed up and moved my tons complete with wife and children to the country. we’ve wanted to do it for ages and have at last made the shift. so ekadek has a new lab  – well , two actually. the end 6 feet of a largish shed overlooking a pretty backyard. and a tall workstation in the living room beside the fire.   far from the agrovated noise and relentless bustle of the big smelly expensive city. everything is so different down here. the air – the vibe – the smiley happy to help locals. a great change for the family and for ekadek to hunker down unhindered by the stinky taxing city and soon to stride out with some awesome new product designs. matamata is a great little place! it is situated in the centre of a large farming district so theres a lot of small efficient industry here.  and a veritable heap of creative folks doing their thing without worrying too much about keeping up with the joneses.  its most famous attraction is the ‘lord of the rings’ hobbiton film set.  it really is beautiful down here – idyllic.  just like the movie.  we are renting a  nice small house within matamata  town for a few months while we settle into work again and take our sweet time to find and purchase a property out  in the countryside proper.

black lions getting ekadeked

a  client had purchased a heap of black lion audio gear . he has liked the sound from the units – and reckoned they represented quite good ‘sonic trustworthy’ value — except for the build quality and control component (pots) quality and robustness. dam cheap little things. busted and broken after only a bit of use. i discovered that quite alot of them weren’t even soldered in … like  –   at all at all- just sitting there ‘plugged’ into the board – no soldering.  w.t.f.  anyway…  after he’d tried my  gyrator ten8tor luxury stereo eq (loved it’s sound and quality) he decided to have me turn his dual mono black lion gear into stereo control stuff . wow. i did not see that coming.  crazy? yes! dumb? no!  so far i’ve stripped the mono parts off the black lion boards. and prepped some metalwork and collected the strange value stereo pots  and parts.

ferralgrapha is building

ive drilled up the panel and letterstamped it. it’s been  bent   to fit the cabinet properly and is getting anodized as i type.  while it is soaking  .  i’ll finish and test  the tube chassis. 8 tubes . 6 signal transformers. my evolved prototype chassis sounds great – really open feeling microphone sound.   the tube amps – the very flavorful equalizing  possibilities -  and the in/external monitoring functionality make the ferralgrapha a complete one machine for studio or live recording sessions.

minifenk in zebs world

zebulon wrote me the day after he picked up his new minifenk control room monitor station.
Hi Greg,
the fenk sounds great, I listened to music for a couple of hours last night. I
instantly noticed the mid range was not smeary, snare drums sounded tighter & overall
it sounded like there was more space & depth in that range. The low end seems to be
more defined, so frequencies in the upper low range sound less boomy, low lows sound
tight & thick. The high frequencies sound less fatigued & cloudy. In a nutshell, it
sounds like I have removed a kind of hifi emulation in my signal path.
I love this thing, it sounds fantastic, thank you very much. Zeb.

new LP record from nathan haines.

nathan haines band at york st with ekadek ampex

ten8tor gyrator 100% love

heres the word from mastering engineer and serato minion wrangler -  zebulon bult .

Hi Greg,
thanks for lending me the TEN8TOR, I got excellent results out of it & I really can’t praise this EQ enough, it sounds wonderful!
Here is some feedback from my experience with it.
I used the EQ in two different ways, tracking mono & stereo drum sounds/instruments. I did this from an MPC 3000, into an Apogee Duet 2.
I also recorded several stereo mixes through the TEN8TOR, I did this from an Apogee Duet 1 into an RME FF800 & also from an RME ADI 8 into a FF800.
The results I got from tracking the drums were good. It was easy to add presence to all sounds, even if subtractive EQ’ing was necessary in some circumstances. I found it noticeably worthwhile to just track through it without gaining or reducing any particular frequency range, because it added warmth & presence. The filters sound smooth & rich but also clean & open, very musical.
Mix Bus
The mixes I was recording were coming straight out of Logic 9 & in this workflow, it really shined. It became clear to me that this EQ was nothing less than mastering grade & it had a special character. I did not use it in conjunction with my summing mixer, pultec EQ or compressor/limiter. I went straight from a stereo D/A, into the EQ, then back into the A/D. I found I was very quick in finding a no compromise mix adjustment. The TEN8TOR can add a subtle brilliance to a good mix but it also has the ability to make a rough mix sound more punchy & defined, also polished, without the obvious issue of major compromise. It’s obviously not intended to be a transparent fix your mix tool, but was surprising ly good at dealing with less than satisfactory material. The best possible scenario for this EQ is obviously a flat, well mixed track that allows you room to push it. It was a pleasure to use the TEN8TOR & I would love to have one permanently in my studio.
Sections & their parameters are well spaced out with plenty of room to move.
Top quality switches and pots, large knobs that feel great to use
Thick and warm tone that is musical all the way through it’s range.
Low noise, even with hi gain, especially when you take into account that it’s unbalanced.
Total bypass and band bypass
Peak and Shelf Equalization

Con’s:  (ekadek : fair enuff that zeb didnt like some stuff. thats ok . but its my blog so i’ll chime in  if i want.) The back panel lacks rigidity when connecting & removing cable jacks.  (fixed that.one screw – thanks for pointing that out :) Stepped pots for filters restrict the ability to make real time filter changes  (yes – the steps mite sound a bit odd. the special filter electronics are such fine tuned up resistor sets. u cant make a 6 gang pot that does the 6 different values and curves for under about a bazzillion $ each )  Unbalanced, more susceptible to noise.( transformer balanced is good . transformers just make it cost more) Low to Hi frequencies from right to left, this took a little while to get use too.  (fair enough – i like it that way tho -  when u turn it on its side, it becomes a perfect XXL extra huge large format console channelstrip . 4 – 8 – even 16 of these babies in a big desk. so cool and expensive. my fantastic console dream .  and it encourages/requires a different intell approach – method – style – what have you. its fresh. )

thanks zeb. the gyrator ten8tor has gotten 100% raving reviews so far. we are in love. theres just one left for sale now.  and we are  in prep  for a second limited run version two after christmas.

gyrator ten8tor testimony

i helped chris shelswell of  DREAM CONFIG with the recapping of a TAC mixing console and the get-going of his control room.   he played with our ten8tor prototypes early this year, and  loved them.  he spurred us on with some cash and now a new made one developed up to it’s eyeballs – sits proudly in his studio. and he was kind enough to write these words.

“I really have nothing but positive things to say about the ten8tor. It looks fantastic. Really nice big chunky knobs make it a pleasure to use. It feels like I imagine it would to operate an old russian submarine. Every day I pull the cover off it gives me a smile. Then there’s the sound, I swear simply plugging it in makes things sound better. There’s buckets of gain at the input and the 2 mid range knobs give you a massive degree of control. The high end is sweet and smooth. You can really “over do it” with out ending up with that horrible broken sound you get from lesser eq’s. There’s really a huge amount the ten8tor has to offer. With 4 bands and the high and low filters I wish I had one for every channel on my sound card.

I bought the luxury ten8tor as a mastering equalizer for it’s beautiful stereo sound and control but it’s very much become my main eq. I use it for everything from processing single tracks, overdubbing mono or stereo instruments to completely effecting the sound. The ten8tor is amazing for perfecting a sound subtly,  or to powerfully change it.”

and just about was i to post his testimonial a few days later when he wrote again.

“Just did my first mastering job with the ten8tor – It was really a pleasure. It’s a beautiful eq to use and made an amazing job on the track. I couldn’t ask for a better eq :)

postcard from klangboy

ronan charles lives in the beautiful west australian hills around perth. he rolls with the ekadek klangenschmitt gogo 1 . klangboy 2009.
he’s been busy developing his studio enviroment. and klang had a  problem with a switch. it got banged or something. he decided to fix it himself and i had just mailed him to say – hi – how’d it go? . his reply was my monday heart starter. brilliant.

I’m good thanks Eke.
Happy Father’s Day (Klang asked me to pass that along…)

Yes I did manage to get it in, beaded brow like a bomb defuser and full of
admiration for the absolute gazillion of more complicated wirings that you
performed inside this beauty. Attached are a couple of pics of the Klang
desk I built around him. I hope you aren’t too offended but I figured that I
may as well build him his own house and make it nice and sturdy and
permanent-like. Its all built around him like a wooden glove, without
removing any part so he could roll out of there when necessary. You can’t
see it in the murk but there are 2 little holes to get at the headphones
from the front.
It was joyful to finally plug him in again and hear just how outrageously good he
makes everything sound . Phenomenal thing this is.
In a way its been the touchstone of quality – it’s the reason I’m going to
so much care over the building of the place he lives in.
Oh btw: there are 2 black wires coming off the klang. Are they earths? I’ve
got 2 earth wires ready to connect to them if they are.
No problem with noise. I was nervous as hell plugging it in to speakers for
the first time. But its all rock solid. Thanks so much for the electrical advice and
assistance. Really helped me.

At the moment I’ve finished the control room, bass traps and all, and am
currently moved onto finishing of the live room. building a huge 20m2 wall
of diffusers to tame the reflections coming off the brick walls I built in
the big live room… Its gonna look great but will take a few more weeks.
Its been absolutely ages in the works, this place, but I figure I may as
well go gangbusters and head off some of the problems that I know are there
before I start rolling tape again. ahhh… what a dream…

hope everything is going great with you.
Can’t wait till I can bang on your door again for some more ekadek sound

monoman lives!

this whole package is ready and banging. so im looking forward to plugging the bugger into the big 100KW pa system. ive been playing records thru it . and distributing  out into the radios and grams and monitor amps ive got around this room. sounds awesome to change the focus of parts and flavours of audio and seemingly fill up a space with very delicate shifting tones. dont get me started. im all about that shit. i’ll put a little thin eq and a slow echo in one speaker way over in the corner – and a bassey round tone with a phazey squeal in  a speaker over the other side. fill in with the mantle radio left reverb and blaster for the right flat flat  … and hell. youve got a hell over a flavourfull sound.  you can pop the vocal out of the 8″ woofer or the 1″ tweeter.   good for much more trickery pokery than that gay sounding example . OR just easy-peasy-by-ear  sweet sweetening of the classic 4 way stack.  i need another beer.  given the bar space i could tweak the surround sound of music into the eeriest experiential ….  altering state happening.  something to really turn the ears on.

monoman progress

igor spent the day testing and tweaking his filter circuits. 4 eight pole switches controlling 12 active frequency filtering operational amplifiers.  an uber complicated device with a few hundred things to potentially get wrong.  igors dam good and smart tho and they sound awesome.  4 clean bands. sub- bass- mid- hi with sweepable crossover frequencies. it will no doubt become our new studio mastering sound splitter equaliser.  a stereo control version would need 16 pole 5 position switches. woof. and it will eat your computer for breakfast. late last nite i got excited and rough assembled the front panel to see what it was going to look like…. and it looks pretty cool i think.  so absolutely unique. but this morning  i scuttled our progress totally. after noticing some paint spottiness. well.. it actually looked like someone had spit up on the thing. and we cant have that can we. so its all dismantled now for a few days while that gets redone.  gives me time to  admin and fix the car and mow the lawns and the dishes.

ekadek is actually saving the planet

my want and need for a few days last week was to dissembowel an AUDIMAX  4440A.  ive appreciated  the quality of the line sound sound of these . they are all transistor. no chips. made well. fat sounding. hi class parts.  made expensive for 1980s FM RADIO broadcast mixer insert and transmitter output stages.  but the dynamics of the thing doesnt have much  to offer a modern studio context. the long hardly changing average level adjusting functionality doesnt fit with any useful requirement that i know of. ok. well just maybe… to keep one thing absolutely the same. huh wtf etc. ( wait a minute. isnt that a whole new music genre?) . anywhoo.. this audimax is kind of made to be an  “AVERAGiNATOR” ….  ..good for making overall levels incredibly hi quality average. sounds  like the eighties to me.

so ive ripped out the “MEMORY UNIT” .  this expoxy potted mystery thing contains live electrical memory that judges how ‘loud’ a track is overall and then compares that knowledge with another sensed and evaluated voltage doubled  judgement of whether the newly adjusted overall level is moving upwards .. or downwards.   brilliant…?  it then makes an external  transistor and fet act against eachother to make that prepostperceived judgement into an overalled averaged representation -  as a dc sucking blowing potential that operates on the balanced patented varilosser signal attenuating circuit . averaging the averaged control signal to make everything extremely average.

so  i was saying..  ive ripped this average brain  right out of the picture. (and fully intend to gore out the epoxy, plunging into that waxy juicyness))  and have transplaced it with an awesome workaround to recreate these puppies into very good working almost brick wall limiting amps. they are way more like a punchy solid state compressor now. still more experiments to do tho.

all without wasting all that energy that originally went into their 1980 manufacture.  just another fine example of how ekadek and its minions works so hard to save the planet. so other news is that IGOR is working up a top secret design for extra sensitive single cycle  transient suppression.  he wants to bring every dominating inth that computer functionality has …back  out of the box and into the sunlight… (cue  manic-al laugh)

revox heaven for swiss dairy cows

i been working on a flood of repairs for the past month plus.  all of a sudden. five revoxes. from three clients. one is a really cool dairy farmer who runs 1/4 inch tapes thru a quad 303 sound system system .. to his cows!  now ive heard everything. maybe it makes the milk better..  Ian  says they love the good sound.

2 beaut G36. the all tube ones. lovely. and so smooth and so wobble free after a good complete inside out clean. they both had transport functional problems. around the motor switches are very inductive loaded circuits which cause hi voltage spikes across the switch contacts. to prevent this reality from causing damage to the switches – big caps with series resistors are wired there. to soak up the spark and discharge the energy slowly. these little SPARK SUCKERS get hot. and leak direct current and then get hotter and short out and burn smoke /smell terrible. blowing  a fuse. they are not easy to replace. awkward. youve pretty much got to take the whole therm o nuclear reactor apart to get behind those particular go switches. there were so many other small operational issues so it was just a case of making it from one to the next and slowly getting to the point where everything is working just as good as it can or was meant to.

next on the couch  was a shiney revox PR99 with logic control issues. a dozen or so tantalum capacitors to change out. holy exploding chassis tho. man. what a hell of thing to take apart.

27 circuit boards all cross wired to the others mounted in 17 different directions. some of them are connected at right angles into a mother board that has un-get-at-able components, links, and switches connected to,and worked directly onto . how did they even do that?  it must have been so hard to make them this way.

next in line was a 2 of revox B77.  and one of A77. they all required a heap of careful cleaning. and completely swapping out the whole  compliment of electrolytic s and tantalum s. shame is that only about 1/3 of them are actually friked . but theres no way of telling that without taking them out. and once they are out … then why would would put the old ones back in. so change them all and it does work out that about 1/3 of them show leaky faults. tell u what .. the overall difference in the sound is definitely worth every penny and if the heads are reasonable the recordings are great.

the A77 is my preference to B77.   the A77 first transistorised machine by revox maybe. but ALL transistor. no chips and definitely the cleanest quietest most brightness blasting sounding electronics.
but the G36 has even more fantastic audio sound of course. i just love valve tape recorders. apart from lp records and needles of course,  and of course ‘being there’ – valve tape recorders are the most analog u can have. the playback signal is completely one new thing . completely fresh extolled up from only nanowebbers of magnetism stored in analog representational waves of aligned-up microscopic iron magnets. and made to line level thru vacummed gaps of space – voltage – and time. dont get me started. anyway the revoxes are foxes. great machines and can be made to go surprisingly well.

i recommend to NOT replay any old tapes more than the ONCE.. it takes to make a copy of said tape. the amount of shed from ageing tapes will only ever increase and dirty up the ol tape path.  time to stock up on new tape stock and more revoxes to re- record all those old radio broadcasts and live to air concerts.

2 track tape mastering

at last! this machine is alive and on line. its taken an age to rebuild and modify. and finally has brand spanking new 1/2 ” 2 track heads. the recordings are very fat and clear. very kind to transient peak levels. you can drive more sound signal at him. and he never really breaks up … just gets more glued. the playback is awesome. really big and solid. ultimate analogue really …hugh from goldbaby recorded and resampled his TR808 drummer from this machine. so send me a soundfile and i’ll record it onto mr ampex and i guarantee youll like the difference that a good tape recording can make. the first demo can be free. thereafter by easy negotiation.