Toronto, Canada (March 7, 2018)—When producer Derek Brin works outside his home base at Toronto's Post Office Sound, he travels ultra-light, opting for a minimalist setup based around a Manley Reference C cardioid tube mic.
Brin composes music for mixed media, television, film, and commercials by day and in the evenings, he produces pop/urban and Caribbean records. But the Toronto native, who also runs the Fierce Music Group, spends much of his time jetting back and forth to the Caribbean, developing artists and recording on location in hotels and resorts across the Virgin Islands, Barbados, Anguilla, Cuba and other tropical islands.
"My mobile rig started as four huge Clydesdale racks custom-made to slide into my truck; now I basically bring my laptop, interface and a Reference C and a mic shield. And a number of hard drives," he says.
A majority of Brin's location work is recording vocals, and as he pared down his portable studio, he found himself gravitating toward the Reference C, "just because of the clarity," making a few mods to tailor its sound to his taste: "Out of the factory, it comes out sounding amazing," he says.
"I went through the process of experimenting with a bunch of different tubes; I did some homework and I found out the original Reference C came out with a 6072 tube, and I checked that out," he explains. "My vocals sit nice and bright and up front in the mix, and that's what I really wanted. To me, the top end is smooth and airy, with that Manley warm tonality that I really like.
"I love great gear, and I'm a gear snob, but I'm also West Indian, and we know how to make things work with what's around us. That's my philosophy. I'll go to Cuba and I'll put up a microphone in a bedroom to record a record. But I'll put up a $2,700 microphone. I take it with me everywhere I go."
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