DBE Seeking Assistant/Intern


Digital Bear Entertainment and mixer/producer/manager Jordan Tishler are looking for a recent or soon-to-be graduate who wants a unique position in a high profile mix studio in Cambridge.

Interns and Staff in DBE Studio

Interns and Staff in DBE Studio

You must be talented, deeply committed, ultra reliable and trustworthy, supremely organized, and have great communication skills (including understanding when NOT to speak).  The job requires at least a one-year commitment (better if longer).  Client recruitment is a key part of job.

This position is full-time and unpaid. Work hours are mostly daytime with occasional nights and weekends. Schedule flexibility is crucial and the expectation that you will earn money to support yourself during the weekday evenings.

You will receive daily, hands-on instruction from Jordan Tishler who is deeply committed to teaching and mentoring.  You will participate in all aspects of ongoing projects and studio life, and have lots of responsibility, visibility, networking, and creative input.  You will work in, and have access to, the DBE facility which is an Augsburger designed room with Quested monitors, SSL console, and rack upon rack of outboard gear.  Have a look at digitalbear.com

Sound like you?  Email your resume to Jordan at info@digitalbear.com

Review: API 7600 Channel Strip – Counterpoint

You can hear sound clips of this and other reviewed pieces of gear here: https://jordantishler.wordpress.com/gear-review-clips/

API 7600 Channel Strip

API 7600 Channel Strip

As you well know, dear blog reader, we’ve been publishing reviews of the lovely gear we have experienced here in the Digital Bear studio.  I’ve been having our wonderful studio interns do the reviews so they get more time on the gear.  Earlier this week Josh Nachbar published (with my supervisior) a review of the API 7600 channel strip.  What interested me about his review was that he had a close look at this piece of gear, and came to exactly the opposite feeling about it than I.  Rather than interfere with his review (too much), I decided simply to write a response.  You can ultimately be the judge.

Factually, of course, Josh was right on.  The API 7600 is a now discontinued channel strip comprised of the 212 microphone pre-amp, the 550A 3 band semi-parametric EQ with filters, and the 225 compressor.  For those of you who don’t immediately recognize the 200 series, they are the API parts from their esteemed Legacy console.  This is the sound of every American record from the 1970s and early 80s.  The 500 series was designed later to fit the “lunchbox” format; providing simple, transportable, interchangeable modules.

The 7600 was designed to provide access to these three amazing modules in astonishing ways.  Of course, it can be used as a channel strip, going from the mic pre into either the compressor or the EQ and then the other.  However, it was really designed to be part of the DSM series, which was a fully modular Legacy console in a rack.  You could buy the full console in various configurations, or you could buy the 7600 with the 8200 and 7800 and build a custom board!  As a consequence, every section of the 7600 has inputs and outputs.  Not only can you use the 7600 as a channel strip but you can use each piece of it individually; costing less and taking less space than the sum of its parts.  Want a Neve pre amp followed by a 225 compressor?  No problem (assuming you have a Neve pre).  Want to patch an SSL compressor between the 550A and the 225?  No problem!

API Legacy Console

API Legacy Console

On the left hand side of the 7600 are a series of Aux sends, pan, mute, solo controls, as you would expect on the channel strip of a real console.  These are intended to be used in the DSM configurations I mentioned above.  They aren’t much use without the center section pieces.  At first glance, it does seem to be a waste to have these functions.  However, when you consider that a 7600 is significantly less expensive than The Channel Strip (with which API replaced the 7600), the 7600 has more extensive I/O, and the 7600 is built around the sonically more coveted 212 and 225, the 7600 is really a bargain.

Now one of the things that has bothered me about both Josh’s review and mine so far, is that we’ve talked mostly about the functionality of the box.  So I want to rectify that, and talk about the sound.  You know that I NEVER buy a box based on what it does, but rather on how it SOUNDS.  There are many great boxes out there, but there is only ONE API.  The API sound is muscular and forward. It has a pronounced mid-forward character than brings out the balls in male singers and distorted electric guitars.  It is killer on snare and rock kick.  It rounds high frequencies subtly, so it’s great on overheads. It makes a J-bass through an Ampeg SVT really growl.  If you’re looking for warm, thick, friendly, low end-y: get a Neve.  If you want transparent and chime-y: use an SSL.  API does what it does, and nobody can touch it.  That’s why I buy gear.

Review: API 7600

You can hear sound clips of this and other reviewed pieces of gear here: https://jordantishler.wordpress.com/gear-review-clips/

Designed as a cost-effective means of achieving vintage sound, the API 7600 contains a 212L mic pre, a 225L compressor, and a reissue of the original 550A EQ module.

Best used as a rack mounted mixing module, the 7600 features four aux sends, pre or post fader assignable, four buss sends, compressor link, external fader extensions, 7 segment LED meters as well as the usual channel controls including pan, solo, mute, Phantom power, polarity reverse and an automatic or manual selectable output section.

As with all API gear the 7600 has a signature sound.  The 7600 delivers aggressive low-mids forward tone. First in the signal chain comes the 212 preamp, a legend for recording guitars.

Second, the VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier) driven 225L compressor section is highly versatile. VCA driven circuits are very predictable and usable, i.e. what you ask it to do is what it does. The release time by design is always linear, and has a certain sound to it. With two ‘type’ controls changing the compressor from feed forward to the older style feed backward circuits, as well as being selectable pre or post EQ. Each mode is appropriate for different signals. When in feed forward, the attack, release and threshold characteristics are very consistent and repeatable, as the detection circuit listens and reacts to the input signal. In feedback mode, the detection circuit is reacting to an already processed signal, resulting in a sometimes less accurate (knob value wise) but more gentle but less predictable compression. Also, it is important to note that the first transient of a signal may slip though uncompressed in feed back mode. A link control on the rear of the unit allows stereo operation of two 7600 compressor modules.

Although a sonic powerhouse, the API 7600 seems to suffer from an identity crisis, not knowing exactly who to appeal to. To make the most out of all features, linking several 7600s together would be the most sensible choice, however the drawbacks may outweigh the benefits. Several 7600 modules together would lack a center section, and the lack of a mix control on the insert returns makes the insert feature almost irrelevant. To truly make the most out of the API 7600, one would also need to invest in an API 7800 and an API 8200, functionally creating an API Legacy Console mounted into 19″ rack spaces.

Although not the most practical piece of gear all on its own, the uncompromising sonic qualities make it a go-to workhorse for those who have it.

Show Your Loyalty

Here’s another article worthy of reposting:

In an ongoing theme from last month when we talked about bringing humanity into the music business, this month let’s talk a bit about loyalty. Loyalty is a pretty basic concept and is really the heart of all good, long-term human relationships. It is also the key to both personal and business success. It’s a sadly lacking quality these days. If we are to fix the music industry, we’re going to need more.

In a study published last week, a California ethics institute surveyed approximately 30,000 high schoolers from across the United States and found that 65% admitted to having cheated on a test in the last year; 45% had plagiarized from the Internet; 35% had stolen physical items from a store! The conclusion of the ethics institute was that Americans are being raised with too permissive an attitude toward ethics; they are less and less able to tell what is right or wrong; or they simply see no reason to care. This mentality has a huge effect on what you’re up against as an Artist or music industry professional.

Consider your role as an Artist or professional: You too have to generate the goodwill and the connection to instill loyalty in your peeps.

How do you treat your fans? Giving them your work for free isn’t going to get you anywhere. You’ll end up with fans that don’t regard your work as valuable. Nothing free is worth much. Do you respect them? Do you give them something valuable? Do you make sure that they pay for what they get, and really, really get what they pay for? If free has no value, then Value is being so satisfied with something you paid for that you feel happy to have paid for it. And you’d do it again. That’s what you want your fans to feel. They will be loyal to the end and they will spend more money to buy your music down the road.

Just as important is how the world sees you behaving toward others. How do you show or “model” your loyalties? Consider your street teamers, publicists, managers, and booking agents. Sure, you pay them (you do, don’t you?) but you also know how hard they work for you. Do you let your fans know who they are, what they do for you, how much you appreciate their efforts? Does your web site, promo literature, EPK, album artwork feature them prominently and make it easy for fans and potential new clients to reach these professionals? Showing your loyalty to these people will only endear you to them, make them work harder for you, and as you show your fans your loyalties ­ that you are a real, caring person ­ your fans’ attachment to you will grow too.

I woke up to a local radio station PSA yesterday that said, “good music costs money”. That was it ­ simple, probably inexpensive, and yet loyal to artists and to the business. Here is a station taking action. Frankly, a radio station doesn’t make any money from record sales. Their motivation is simply promoting loyalty toward music in their audience. Of course they know that a healthy music industry is good for them too, but they profit nothing directly from this announcement. It’s just good business.

Consumers complain about “the big labels ruining music” to justify their own larcenous behavior which really robs artists of their livelihood. Artists complain about the “shark pit” of the music industry and how hard it is to get by. Certainly there is validity to both. However, the real question is what are you doing about it? As an Artist or a music professional, you can influence the future by bringing loyalty into our business and into our relationships with fans. Think about what you can do this month to improve your loyalty and generate fan loyalty as well.

Review: Chandler Little Devil Compressor

You can hear sound clips of this and other reviewed pieces of gear here: https://jordantishler.wordpress.com/gear-review-clips/

Walking through the labyrinth of audio equipment at the AES Convention in 2011 October I heard a drum kit so good it stopped me in my tracks. The sound was coming from the Chandler Ltd. booth, or more specifically from the Chandler Little Devil compressors and a TG-1.

JT and gang at AES 2011

JT and gang at AES 2011

When I had the opportunity to test the Little Devil at Digital Bear Entertainment I immediately fell in love with the Chandler sound all over again. With a solid chassis, rotary detented knobs, and a backlit VU meter, it delivers an aggressive grip, with more of a squeezing character than an API 225L but cleaner and smoother than gruff nature of a Summit Audio MPC-100A. The attack and release are extremely musical, and both knee settings (Germanium and Zener) are very usable and are, frankly, hard to make sound bad.  Independent input and output controls determine how hard the signal hits the compression circuit as well as how much make-up gain you achieve, and a built-in side chain knob changes how the compression reacts to high and low frequency; much the way the ‘thrust’ control works on an API 2500.  Last, the Little Devil compressor has a Mix knob that lets you blend the compressed signal with the unaffected sound, allowing you to balance the effect between natural and incredibly squashed.

The Little Devil is an extremely versatile compressor, and beautifully compliments musical elements striving for aggression.  On the other hand, the Chandlers were less than gentle when compressing vocal tracks, creating a sound that could be suitable for a rock vocal but probably not appropriate for pop or other styles. What was most impressive upon extensive testing of the drum kit was the Little Devil’s performance on a kick drum: it brought a definite punch without sacrificing tone or bottom, creating an undeniably impressive sound.

The Little Devil is very well built and has been constructed consistently over the years: one of the units Digital Bear Entertainment purchased was several years old while the other was brand new, but when used with the same settings, they performed identically. Overall a very usable and musical piece of equipment I look forward to continuing to work with and would recommend highly as a complement to any audio studio’s equipment.

More Pictures from the Digital Bear Entertainment SSL party


Courtesy of Marc DeGeorge of SSL:


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