San Francisco, CA (August 8, 2006)–Dustpan, aka Zack Smith, has writtten, engineered and produced some of the most memorable pop and commercial music of the last two decades. From his status today as audio innovator for Apple, Nike, Coke, and the Museum of Modern Art-enshrined “Cotton: The Fabric of Our Lives” theme, to his origins as a founder of 1980s icon Scandal, Smith has always known how to make a connection with music.
Engineer/producer Zack Smith, of Dustpan Studios in San Francisco, finds musical inspiration from his Daking mic/pre EQs and compressors.Now, Smith may have finally found the ideal analog complement to his DAW with an array of Geoff Daking’s Mic Pre IVs, Mic Pre/EQs and FET II Compressors. “I believe in the repeatability and convenience of digital audio, but I also think that a hybrid of analog and digital is where it’s at,” said Smith. “If I could have only one analog signal path to go along with my DAW, I would definitely go with two channels of Daking Mic Pre/EQ and two FET II Compressors. That pairing offers so much flexibility: a great vocal path, a great stereo path for piano, drums, and an amazing stereo buss compressor/EQ for mixing.”
Smith, who feeds off the pressures of the commercial audio production environment to create new and interesting sounds, has installed an impressive 16 channels of Daking mic pres and four channels of stereo-linked FET II Compressors, forming the cornerstone of a console approach to recording at Dustpan. “One of my mentors, mixer/engineer Bill Wittman (Cyndi Lauper “Girls Just Want To Have Fun,” Joan Osbourne “What If God Was One Of Us,” Scandal “The Warrior”) advised me that instead of the amalgam of boutique pres I was using, I might get better results employing just one type of preamp for everything,” recalled Smith. “One of the preamps Bill suggested was the Daking.
“Having an array of the Mic Pre IVs and Mic Pre/EQs has been an eye-opener to me. They’ve changed the way I work and how things sound coming out of the studio. The preamps have a ton of gain and the sound has just the right blend of character and clarity. The word that comes to mind is ‘musical.’ Daking’s stuff feels intuitive and has personality, but not to the extent that it brands everything you record with it. You’re really not limited in what you can do with these preamps as your front end.”
In addition to using his four channels of Daking FET II Compressors on the main stereo buss or as returns from his DAW on drum busses or other stereo pairs for mixing, Smith finds them very useful on vocal recording sessions. “The FET II is a compressor that really works and really holds up,” Smith said. “One of my favorite techniques on the vocal path is to start with a Daking Mic Pre followed by a pair of FET II Compressors. I’ll set up the first compressor at 10:1 with a really fast attack and release, and then chain it to a second FET II compressor set at 2:1 with a much slower attack and release. The sound that signal path produces is great for producing vocals and other things with a lot of big transients. The first stage controls the spikes and the second gives you the sweet sound of the compressor, without the limiting.”
With its all-discrete transistor circuitry, class “A” amplifiers, and seven release time constants that recall some of the audio world’s most beloved compressors, the Daking FET II has proven ideal for any application Smith can think of. “I don’t find the limitations of some of my other gear with Geoff’s compressors,” commented Smith. “They seem really musical, and offer a lot more flexibility than a lot of other boutique stuff I have. I’ve tried a lot of other compressors, and in terms of sheer stereo bus compression, there’s nothing like Daking.”
With some of the most addictive new music for media emerging from Dustpan, a piece of Zack Smith’s own inspiration comes directly from the Daking tools that he chooses to use. “I’m motivated by the gear–I actually look at a Daking mic pre or compressor the way I look at a guitar,” he said. “They’re a part of the palette. Whenever I put them in the signal path, they make a huge musical contribution.”
LasVegasProAudio.com (www.lasvegasproaudio.com) is the direct sales division of TransAudio Group, which offers a select group of imported lines, including ATC loudspeakers, Daking pro audio gear, and Brauner and SoundField microphones.