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Author Topic: Audiophile Heaven!  (Read 3583 times)

Offline ironbut

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Audiophile Heaven!
« on: April 02, 2007, 11:27:45 pm »
Just before CES, Doc attempted to have a preview of gear and tapes at Paul Stubblebine Mastering. As things often go, with all the stuff that had to happen to make it to CES, the preview never happened. I was understanding but made sure that he knew that I was very interested in checking out the studio. Last week Dan sent me an email saying that he would be here getting the "dup" system ready to roll and invited me to come and hang out. Excited? You bet!
When I got there, I was greeted by Dan, Paul and Michael who were all genuinely nice guys. Dan gave me a tour which included the historic Coast Studios. We all certainly have records with that acoustic on them. Next, Michael's room. It has a Meyer Sound 5.1 monitoring system and it sounded fantastic. Michael was very cool and played some cool tunes and even did a little reconfiguring so we could watch a Pink Floyd DVD. Meanwhile Paul was wiring something up ( I think it must have been and analog fader ).
Everywhere, and I mean, every nook and cranny of the place is filled with top notch gear that would make any regular at www.gearslutz.com swoon.
Then we went in Pauls mastering room. I'd almost forgotten about the Magicos. But there they were. WAY bigger than they look in the pictures. Paul said they're about 800 lbs each! And the amps that Dan built to drive them, pp 300b's. Quad amped no less. Custom everything! Very Impressive. But then, Paul started rolling the 2" tape. Now, I wouldn't say that I'm the worlds most jaded audiophile ( I know him )but I'm not that far behind. I go to the Stereophile show every couple of years, CES less often, and listen to some very high dollar rigs pretty regularly. But this was a shock! It took a little while to really sink into my tiny brain but after a few minutes, I knew that this wasn't the sound of a live performance,.. this was significantly better! It was the Jacqui Naylor tape and Paul was trying to figure out the best sounding spot to patch in the fader. When hearing this genre in a live venue, your also hearing the board, the amps and the PA. At least that's what I'm guessing. I could go on and on about what I think I was hearing and why it sounded so damn great but, no way could I get it across in words.
As I was leaving and letting them know how great I thought it sounded, I'm not positive, but I get a feeling that my hosts were getting some sort of evil enjoyment over having blown my mind!
For you guys that are in the least bit worried about the sound quality of these tape,.. these guys have some seriously educated ears. And they know how to use them too!
steve koto
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Offline docb

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Re: Audiophile Heaven!
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2007, 12:12:14 pm »
Thanks Steve,

The studio is indeed a fun playground. I am to the point that I don't give anything I build a final sign off until it comes into Paul's Camellia Room and gets tested in The Big Audio Magnifying Glass. If I could only afford a pair of Magicos for my own room...

And the final verdict was - the Penny and Giles fader stayed out of the signal path between the two 1" machines for all of the album except one fade we found appropriate to put in at the end of one song. That fade ended up being spliced on to the end of the song, so the fader isn't even in for most of that song. I have some really bad video clips of some of this, which we call the Stubbosonic process, that I'll try to make presentable and post.

There was a big satisfaction in finding that Paul needed to do very little to tweak the recording in mastering. Michael did a super job of recording and mixing, and the running masters are very close to the original mixdown. When we recorded Jacqui and the band at my b'day party last year we ran a live feed into the Camellia Room and the more audio oriented party guests sat in there to listen rather than taking the opportunity to watch the band from the control room, because it sounded so darned good in Paul's room. We hope that folks will find the sound of the recording to be very natural.

Yesterday super studio tech Krieg Wunderlich came over and we spent a good deal of time running tests on the duping line. So far so good, everything is talking to each other and test signals look very good. We hope to get back to running some stuff Wednesday. Today is a religious holiday for Paul - opening day for the Giants.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President for Life, Bottlehead Corp.
Managing Director - retired, The Tape Project

Offline Chuck

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Re: Audiophile Heaven!
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2007, 11:56:24 pm »
Was very lucky to be at the studio the evening Jacqui cut that album during the birthday fest for Doc. I made at least six trips between the control room and the Camellia room doing the "is it live or memorex" thing and I can tell you three things. Romo and Paul are almost criminally good at listening, sitting in the sweet spot in the Camellia room listening to the combined efforts of Alon, Doc, PJ, JT, Romo, Paul S. and several other people cut from the same magic is to know the goal. And thirdly, that girl can SING!

Chuck McCalment
Linn LP-12, SME w/ Clearaudio Arum Beta S, Seduction phono stage, Foreplay III preamp to 300B Monoblocks (Parabee) and homebrew 3 way speakers. Current projects: Straight 8 line array speakers w/ ribbon tweeters and RS-1500 resurrection.