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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 10.5. I used to have 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 motorized 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)"
My new favorite plugins are from Acustica Audio...especially Pink (API), Viridian (Helios Console and PYE compressor), Taupe (MCI console and lots of tape machines), Camel (Calrec console), ElRay (RCA compressor) and Gold (Neve consoles)... I own most of the AA plugins..., Lindell ( The 80 series...Neve 1084...and the 50 series...API console)...my new go to consoles for tracking stage..., Plugin Alliance (SSL 9000J...which I use for mixdown, Townhouse Compressor...always on my mixbus... and SPL Transient Designer Plus), Kush (AR-1 compressor...always used for tracking stage), Slate Digital (VMR, VMS and Red Compressor), T-Racks  Tape Machines (the JH24 model for tracking and the  Ampex 440 for mixdown), The Waves Abbey Road Collection and I have a UAD-2 Quad and Octo card. I have pretty much all of their plugins and I use them all! These are not all my plugins, but they are my go to plugins and are used constantly.

For Reverbs...UAD Capital Chambers...I am loving the IK Sunset Sound Studios Reverb. I use it all (iso booths, live rooms, Chambers and plates). I use it on everything! I also have Altiverb 7, East West Spaces  Abbey Road Chambers and Plates...and a ton of other Reverbs and delays.

Many virtual instruments by Toontracks (SD3), East West, Native Instruments, Ivory, Garritan, IK Multimedia, Sonic Reality, fxpansion,...too numerous to mention them all.

In the Hardware Rack, among other things, I have an Antelope audio Orion Studio Synergy Core (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: A Sound Techniques A Range Channel Strip-Sunset Sound Limited Edition (only 50 made)...this unit sounds AMAZING and it's a piece of Rock history (and Danny White, owner of Sound Techniques is an really great guy), Dizengoff D4 (EMI REDD 47 clone), three H2 Audio 2128 mic pres (Olympic Studios Helios type 69 console mic pre), Sunset Sound Tutti mic pre (Sunset Sound Studios custom API console mic pre), A-Designs P1 (Quad Eight mic pre), Vintech 573 (Neve 1073 mic pre), Universal Audio LA-610 Channel Strip, 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), 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...now using Slate ). M-Audio DMP3 modded by JJ Audio, 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
Stam Audio SA67   Pearlman TM-47
WA87, TM47,WA14   Slate Digital VMS

Main Vocal Microphones

My main vocal mics are a Stam Audio SA67 (U67 clone...sounds AMAZING!), Pearlman TM-47 (U47 clone...another amazing sounding mic), A modified Warm Audio WA87 (Neumann U87 clone...an awesome sounding mic, Warm Audio did a GREAT job!) and a 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!) 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...Same with the Stam Audio SA67. Hand built with quality components to be an exact U67 clone. It's my go to vocal mic

I also use the Slate Digital ML1 VMS (Virtual Microphone System) for some things. It’s 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 hardware mic pres and compressors).

I use four Slate ML2 small diaphragm condenser mics on the drums (overheads, hihat and ride cymbals) and this allows me to chose what mic model sounds best it the tracks.

The SA67 used to go into the H2 Audio 2128 (Helios Type 69) mic pre or the Sunset Sound Tutti mic pre (custom API console mic pre), but now I am using the Sound Techniques A Range channel strip - Sunset Sound limited edition (only 50 made), into the SA-2A (LA2A clone) and the SA-76 ADG (1176 clone all three circuits) set to A...blue stripe, then into the Orion. My TM-47 goes into the Dizengoff D4 (EMI REDD 47 clone), Retro Doublewide Compressor (based on the Gates Sta-Level Variable Mu compressor...I used to use an SA2A...LA2A clone, but Retro sounds magical) then into the Orion. The WA87 (and sometimes, the WA14) goes into the 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).

I mic my guitar cabinets with two Royer R10 ribbon microphones going into two H2 Audio 2128 Helios mic preamps .

I also have mics that 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 used to be 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 ran 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 used to use for drum overheads, 5 Nady RSM-4 and RSM5 ribbon mics and various Shure, AKG, Rode and Audio Technica condenser and dynamic mics. I'm a Heil mic endorser and have numerous PR30 and PR40 mics...great guitar cab mics!!!



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