On the new gear.

I made a recent splurge for my studio, investing in an Avalon 737 preamp/channel strip.  It's quite a beautiful piece of equipment, with a shiny aluminum cabinet and glowing orange buttons.  That's not why I bought it.  But as it turns out, it helps.  

From experience, I'm committed to having backup for everything in my studio.  If there's ever an issue with equipment or a need to take the gear on the road, with a backup, I can just move to Plan B.  Lately, however, my Plan B pre-amp wasn't cutting it.  

For several years my go-to preamp has been an Aphex 230.  The Aphex is a great choice for any radio related work because it has a highly useful compressor and gate.  Both are seamless, with no false-triggers and they're easy for me to adjust.  Unfortunately, I bought my 230 used and it has some quirks.  They also don't make them anymore.  Since the Aphex has solid-state components, I thought I might like a tube amp as my alternate.  

You can find out more about tube amps vs. solid-state amps in all kinds of places.  I'm not a geek, but sometimes I read their articles.

My technical responsibility in VO is to send as clean audio as possible to a producer, so they can make the decision on whether or not to add color to my voice.  I'm not here to muddy up the waters.  But for auditions, or when warranted, I wanted to have the option to enhance my vocal tone with more grit or more warmth than I can get from the Aphex.  The 737 is more of a shaper, whereas the 230 is more of an enforcer.  

Being that it's a tube amp, The Avalon also takes 30 minutes to warm up.  That might not be convenient for everyone, but I've found the wait to be useful:  Once the orange lights are on, I know there's a performance coming up.  I use the time to focus on the script, any direction, and how I can best serve what the writer might have heard in their head.  

In my studio, the Aphex feels like all business.  The Avalon feels like artistry.  For me, that's an investment worth making.

Enjoy your day,


(In case you're wondering, my go-to mic is a TLM 103.  When I want to go dark, I use a Kel HM-2D.  More about that another time.)