Memphis, TN (March 9, 2006)–Every engineer looks for a piece of outboard gear that makes his/her job easier once it’s plugged into the recording chain. Engineer Pete Matthews found more than one when he discovered API mic pres and equalizers early on in his recording career.
Producer/engineer Pete Matthews, of Ardent Studios, poses with his racks and stacks of API gear. Matthews is currently recording Devon Allman.”The more records you do the more you realize that certain mic pres are better for certain instruments,” he said. “A guitar track might call for something, a vocal for something else, but as far as drums I don’t think there’s another mic pre out there that can match the 512.
“I’ve never seen a mic pre with more headroom,” he continued. “They are amazing. And with the transient signals involved with drums, you really need a fast, high headroom mic pre.”
Matthews has worked with an incredible assortment of musicians that run the gamut from Paul Simon to Barbra Streisand, Evanescence to Devon Allman’s band, Honeytribe. His room at Ardent Studios in Memphis, is stocked with 17 API mic pres, 30-odd API EQs, a couple 3124 rack systems and an API 8200 summing mixer. “The 8200 is phenomenally useful,” he said.
Although Matthews predominantly uses the API 512 on drums, he had the occasion to use the mic pre across a number of instruments while working on Electric Blue Watermelon from the North Mississippi Allstars. “That was a real old school, live tracking record,” he explained. “So, I had a huge tracking set up and I had every mic pre in my arsenal going at once trying to capture everything I could.”
The live feel of that album was refreshing for Matthews. “I recorded what the band was doing, that was it and that was enough,” he reported. “I was thoroughly satisfied with how that record sounds.”
There are specific reasons that Matthews turns to the 512. “The overall sound is very fat in the low end, yet controlled and tight,” he said. That’s crucial on drums, especially because each drum has a peak and “you need a mic pre with a lot of headroom and a good fat bottom for those kinds of things. And API delivers.”
More than sound, Matthews prefers the APIs for the consistency that he finds from piece to piece. “I’ve used API modules at Ardent Studios from the 70s and 80s, as well as mine, which are all new, and they all sound great.”