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Teen Topaz

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Studio 2013

Mark's Studio

"The equipment list is too numerous to mention it all but, I'll give the main highlights:

I'm running Cubase Pro 9.5. I had a Mackie Control Universal Pro and two Extender Pros for 24 moving faders of mixing (unlimited if you factor in the layers), as you see in the picture, but the faders went and they wouldn’t support it...so I switched to a Slate Digital Raven MTI2 as my controller (virtual console). As cool as Raven is, I miss the feel of moving real faders, so I changed to an icon QCon Pro X and an icon QCon Pro XS for 16 moterized faders (if I should find more room, I might add one or two more Pro XS units for a total of 24 or 32 faders)"

The Slate Digital Virtual Console Collection, Slate Virtual Mix Rack, Virtual Buss Compressor and the Slate Virtual Tape Machine are my secret weapons, as are the UAD API Vision Console, Neve 88RS and 1073 (I use the new SSL console, from time to time, and almost always have the SSL buss compressor on my stereo buss). I've also been using the CDSoundmaster (Michael is just an awesome human being...knowledgeable and generous) Quad Eight console and Sphere console, as well as the CDSoundmaster MCI console paired with the PSP McQ MCI console eq. I also use the UAD-2 Studer 24 track tape plugin and UAD-2 Ampex 2 track for multi track and 2-track mixdown tape machines. I also use Waves Redd (Abbey Road Beatles tube recording desk emulation), Abbey Road TG12345 console (Abbey Road and Dark Side Of The Moon console), Abbey Road Plates, NLS console plugin and the Waves Ampex 2-TrackTape plugin, but the Slate plugins, UAD and CDSoundmaster (and PSP McQ) are the core of the sound of the studio. I have a UAD-2 Quad and Octo card. I have pretty much all of their plugins and I use them all!
I also have plugins by Waves (Renaissance Compressor and EQ, Helios channel strip, Pye compressor, API 550 EQ, API buss compressor, H Reverbs and Delays and Ampex 2-track Tape plugin), Altiverb 7, PSP, Soundtoys, UVI, Valhalla, Exponential Audio and Kush (I know I'm forgetting some). Virtual instruments by East West, Native Instruments, Ivory, Garritan, IK Multimedia, Sonic Reality, fxpansion, Slate and more that I can't even remember (sometimes I'll be mixing and find a plugin or instrument that I forgot I had!) .

In the Hardware Rack, among other things, I have an Antelope audio Orion Studio (with a Personus Digimax DP88 in the ADAT i/o for drums) as my audio interface (recording at 96k). I have numerous stand alone mic pres from ART, Presonus, M-Audio and Studio Projects. My main hardware microphone  preamplifiers are: First and foremost my A-Designs P1 (Quad Eight mic pre), Vintech 573 (Neve 1073 mic pre), Golden Age Pre73 (Neve 1073 mic pre) modded by Zen Pro Audio (Warren is GREAT, my pre had the knobs broken in shipping and he replaced them free of charge), three CAPI V26 mic pres (vintage API console mic pre clones, two of which I use for my Line 6 Helix guitar processor) and my Daking mic pre one (Trident mic pre), stock Golden Age Pre73 (which I use for one bass channel), two ART MPA II Pro with Sylvania NOS tubes (one I used to use for my Cascade Vin jet ribbon mics for drum overheads, but I switched to a pair of Joly modded NT5 pencil mics for the overheads ). M-Audio DMP3 modded by JJ Audio,p Universal Audio LA-610, Joemeek VC1Q (which I use for my other Bass DI) and a Focusrite Platinum Twintrack Pro (interfaced with my Orion Studio through SPDIF for a total of 22 inputs). For outboard effects I have (among others) a Kurzweil Rumour, a Lexicon MX200, two Behringer V-Verbs and a Rocktron Intellifex

I monitor with:

Focal Alpha 80 monitors as my main monitors. I check my mixes for low end content on my KRK VXT8 powered monitors and KRK powered subwoofer and a pair of powered Avantone Mixcubes to check if I can hear everything at low levels on a frequency challenged system. I used to also check with a pair of vintage JBL L36 passive monitors and Vintage Pioneer HPM-40 speakers powered by a vintage European Sansui 790 Receiver (I also have a vintage Marantz 2275 receiver and an NAD receiver), but I haven't been doing that lately. I have many more plugins and hardware units but, these are the things I use the most. Although I have my recordings mastered at Abbey Road, if I have to do a quick reference master or work on audio for a video for youtube, I master on a separate computer and monitor with the Blue Sky EXO 2.1 system as well as Mackie MR5 powered monitors, using an SM Audio M-Patch to control Volume and switch between them.

2018 revamped studio setup
Pearlman TM-47 Top three mics
WA87, TM47,WA14   Slate Digital VMS

Main Vocal Microphones

My main vocal mics are a Warm Audio WA87 (Neumann U87 clone...an awesome sounding mic, Warm Audio did a GREAT job!), Warm Audio WA14 (vintage AKG 414EB clone...I used the vintage 414EB mic on the first two Ruby Topaz albums in the 80s...this Warm Audio mic sounds identical to it!) and the TM-47. The TM-47 is hand built in the USA by Dave Pearlman. It's a recreation of the Neumann U47. It has a K47 capsule, steel Telefunken ef12 tube, paper and oil caps and historically correct BV8 transformer. It sounds huge, full and present. It's a great mic and Dave is great to deal with. I cannot recommend this microphone more.
I also use the Slate Digital VMS (Virtual Microphone System), which is made up of an ultra clean large diaphragm condenser microphone,  an ultra clean microphone preamp and software that, very accurately, reproduces many classic tube mics (the AKG C12 alone is worth the price). It really is an amazing piece of gear. This goes directly into the interface (as opposed to the three mics above that go into the P1 mic pre and Warm Audio WA76)
My three main mics (WA87, WA14, TM-47) go into an A-Designs P-1, which is a recreation of the mic preamp from the Quad Eight Pacifica Console (The WALL by Pink Floyd, MORE THAN A FEELING by Boston and mostly everything by The Carpenters), from there they go into a Warm Audio WA76 (an incredible clone of the Urei 1176 fet compressor, with Cinemag Transformers...the company that sprang from the original manufacturer of the transformers in the vintage 1176). The TM-47 sometimes goes into an IGS ONE LA, which is a 500 series tube compressor (a 500 series recreation of the 1968 Teletronix LA2A).

My next two favorite mics have been custom built for me by J.J. Audio. Langston, who is the sales liason to Jim, is GREAT to work with and I consider him a close friend. When we start talking gear...forget it, it's a never ending conversation. Jim built me a U87 clone with a NOS vintage transformer from a U87. I run it through my Vintech 573 and it is magical. He also built me a U67 clone. This is was my main vocal mic. It is custom built for me and was the second one he ever built. It doesn't even have a serial number. It's an early custom built Jasper prototype.I run it through my Daking mic pre one (which took a dive from the top of my rack and Dave from Daking personally fixed it for me...what a great guy!) or I use the mic through my Universal Audio LA-610. I also use a Shure SM7 for screaming vocals. Jim also modded a pair of my C1 mics, they sound great.

I have many mics. They include an AKG 414, two Studio Projects C1 mics, an Audio-Technica 4060 tube mic, 3 Cascade fathead II ribbon mics and a pair of Cascade Vin-Jet ribbon mics that I use for drum overheads, 5 Nady RSM-4 and RSM5 ribbon mics and various Shure, AKG, Rode and Audio Technica condenser and dynamic mics.

Rack 2013


Custom built J.J. Audio U67 clone

U87 Clone

Custom built J.J. Audio U87 clone





studio 2

studio 3

Studio 4


Studio 5

Mastering and Video computer

Mark's Gear