Catalyst Recording’s gear collection

Currently Being Reviewed at Catalyst

Resident Audio T4 recording interface

Resident Audio T4 recording interface

The T4 may be an affordable interface but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a serious performer. Using Thunderbolt technology the T4 can record virtually without any latency, has four mic preamps and runs on bus power! Paired with a Mac Book Pro (like here at Catalyst) it represents an ideal on-the-go recording solution.

Check out this recording of Steely Dan’s “Any Major Dude” (as performed by Grey Revell with help from Catalyst’s Rob on fretless bass) as recorded entirely with the T4 …

Read the full review in the September 2016 issue of Pro Sound News Magazine.

Meris Mercury7 reverb and 440 preamp

Meris Mercury7 reverb and 440 preamp

US-manufacturer Meris has only three products but they all look to be winners. The Mercury7 brings deep layers of control, an ergonomic layout and some killer tone to slay your plug-ins … while the 440 is more than a standard mic amp with two HPF’s, two “presence” settings and a 1/4″ effects loop!

Look for the full reviews in September 2016’s Pro Sound News Magazine.

JST's Toneforge Menace amp sim

JST's Toneforge Menace amp sim

Great heavy guitar tones require a great amp … or do they? Amp sims are the “tone du’ jour” today for good reason … convenience, low-cost and killer distortion. We’re reviewing Joey Sturgis’ Tones Toneforge Menace amp sim and it gets that modern rock sound insanely easily from a DI. Come by Catalyst today, lay some tracks and help contribute your opinion to this review.

AMS-Neve 1073 DPX mic preamp and EQ

AMS-Neve 1073 DPX mic preamp and EQ

Everyone agrees that the Neve 1073 preamp is the most revered design of all time and there’s a lot of 1073’ish options available today. This 2-ch mic pre and EQ captures that classic sound like only a true Neve can. Guitars, basses, drums, vox, synths … they all benefit from a trip thru this pristine hardware. Come visit Catalyst while this beauty is in the rack and hear for yourself!

BAE 73MPL 500-series 1073-type mic amp

BAE 73MPL 500-series 1073-type mic amp

Brent Averill and company are no newcomers to creating audio gear inspired by classic (Rupert) Neve designs from the 1970’s. They are in fact experts at designing Neve 1073 clones known for their authentic sound … one often described as rich, warm, saturated and distorted (if one know show to massage the settings for rockin’ vocals, guitars, basses and drums). Now squeezed into the smaller 500-series chassis one has to wonder if the same big tones can be found(?). Come on by, rock out and find out!

Antelope Audio - Pure 2 converter and master clock

Antelope Audio - Pure 2 converter and master clock

Antelope Audio has made a name for themselves with some of the world’s best master clocks and their new Pure 2 incorporates one, along with wordclock distribution, analog in and out, a dual-stage DAC converter, headphone amp and all kinds of routing capabilities. I’ll be comparing it to other top-shelf converters here at Catalyst … if your ears are up to it, join me for a test drive.

Sandhill Audio 6011A active ribbon mics

Sandhill Audio 6011A active ribbon mics

Y’all know how much we like ribbon mics around here … so you can imagine our delight at reviewing this pair of premium active ribbons. Yes, they’re expensive (about $3700 each!), but that’s not the headline … the sound quality is! We’ve already tried them on piano (thanks Matt Stache!), Hammond organ, acoustic guitar, percussion, drum overheads, djembe and more … schedule a session and try them yourself, as they will change your perception of what natural sound is!

Look for the full review coming in the June 2015 issue of Pro Sound News … and don’t forget to listen to the webclips on the PSN Soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/pro-audio-review-magazine).

Harrison 32cs channel strip

Harrison 32cs channel strip

Legendary console maker Harrison (out of Tennessee) has been making great sounding mixing consoles since 1975 and this 32cs captures all that transformer-colored, tunable-filtered and richly EQ’d sonics of the 32-Series mixers … except coupled with some modern DAW-user conveniences (2-mix input, blending facilities, monitor and headphone amp outputs).

Curious? Check out the full review in my column in the April 2015 Pro Sound News … and don’t forget to look for the video on my YouTube channel and webclips on the PSN Soundcloud.

Millennia-Media HV-32P and 35P preamps

Millennia-Media HV-32P and 35P preamps

Arguably the maker of the world’s cleanest mic preamps has released two PORTABLE versions! Now get MM quality on-the-go with DC power or keep them in the studio. Either way, were gonna give them a full workout and even compare them to our benchmark … the Millennia-Media STT-1 input channel!

Ear Trumpet Labs Mabel condenser microphone

Ear Trumpet Labs Mabel condenser microphone

Check out the first video “Review Preview” of this mic on the new Rob Tavaglione YouTube channel

Coleman Audio Red48 analog summing device and monitor contrroller

Coleman Audio Red48 analog summing device and monitor contrroller

It’s like a mixing console in two rack spaces, its the surprisingly compact Red48 from Glenn Coleman and co. 48 channels of summing in 24 stereo pairs, passive source/monitor switching and talkback facilities … all in the space of a typical compressor. Stay tuned to the pages (and webpages) of Pro Audio Review Magazine (www.prosoundnetwork.com) for all the juicy details.

Neumann KH310A nearfiled monitors

Neumann KH310A nearfiled monitors

Arguably the world’s most prestigious microphone manufacturer, Neumann entered monitor world with compact 2-ways that I reviewed a year ago.  Now, with the release of these compact three-way nearfields, Neumann has upped the ante and is posing some serious competition for my trusted Blue Sky 3-way’s.  Schedule a session today and mix your music on these fine transducers.

Daking FET III Dual-Channel Compressor/Limiter

Daking FET III Dual-Channel Compressor/Limiter

Designer Geoff Daking takes his popular FET II mono compressor into dual-channel territory with electronically balanced I/O’s, continuously variable pots, a variable high pass filter on the sidechain detector and an unusual feature, variable stereo linking.

The FET III is fast, clean and extremely versatile … so its suitable for a wide range of inputs from bass guitar, overheads, kick, snare, acoustic guitars, vocals and especially whole mixes. The full review will be upcoming in Pro Audio Review Magazine (http://www.prosoundnetwork.com) but come by Catalyst today for test drive … because I bought it!

Gem Audio Labs Compactor & Preceptor compressor/limiters

Gem Audio Labs Compactor & Preceptor compressor/limiters

Polish boutique manufacturer Gem Audio Labs has sent two of their compressor/limiters to Catalyst Recording for review in Pro Audio Review Magazine.  These hand-built, full-featured dynamics controllers offer a full range of features … numerous attack and release time choices, a variable high pass filter in the sidechain, either 2:1 compression or limiting, premium components and meticulous build.  The Preceptor also offers advanced features like variable impedance, more time constants and parallel processing (the blending of dry and compressed signal phase coherently, in the unit).

But the operative feature here is the use Zener diodes to bias the VCA.  These diodes have a signature sound that is not plain vanilla!  Please schedule a visit today to hear these unique and bold dynamics controllers.

Sterling Audio ST6050

Sterling Audio ST6050

There’s a pair of these big beautiful blue babies, designed by Allen Sides of Ocean Way Studios himself and they’re ready for some sonic action.  Read my full review in Pro Audio Review magazine if you’re curious, but suffice to say the 6050’s do a nice job of grabbing most anything, anything that can take a healthy 6 dB bump at 10 k (and you might be surprised at just how many sources can – ie vox, pianos, overheads etc).

They excel as drum overheads, or for hat, ride or room ambience for that matter.  They do  a nice job on our Yamaha upright piano (for the PAR webclips go to www.soundcloud/pro-audio-review) and can translate acoustic guitars very nicely.  But best of all, these 6050’s are very nice to the human voice.  You guys and (and some altos) can sing right on axis and get excellent detail with just the right amounts of warmth and sibilance.  Soprano gals and bright tenors need to rotate off -axis just a bit, to reduce that 10 k bump and they’ll get a nice balance of chest, to mids, to sibilance.

Thermionic Culture Phoenix Mastering Plus Compressor

Thermionic Culture Phoenix Mastering Plus Compressor

Like all its avian siblings in the TC line, the Phoenix uses all tube circuitry, thermionic circuits, to process signals.  With a variable mu design that increases ratio as attenuation increases, the Phoenix will do incredibly smooth level taming with no discernible artifacts.  To further aid with transparency, the sidechain circuit has two levels of high pass filtering; this allows modern bottom-end-heavy mixes to be musically compressed without the big kick drum (or throbbing bass) causing pumping or inappropriate level reduction.

This big, sweet bird is a pricey one at about $7 k, so let’s be honest, I won’t be able to keep it here forever.  But hey, what a joy it is right now to squeeze mixes and smooth out masters without a hint of restraint or strain.  This Phoenix may not be able to fly, but it will make your mixes soar, come try it out.

Yamaha upright piano It’s beautiful, with warm tones, plenty of definition, records beautifully and it gets tuned quarterly. Synthesizers be damned !

Yamaha upright piano, circa 80's

Yamaha upright piano, circa 80’s

Mic preamps from Millennia-Media, Avalon VT-737, Manley (TNT ), BAE 73MPL (Neve 1073-type), AMS-Neve 4081 (pristine), Focusrite ISA 428MKII (very versatile), True Precision 8 (a little growly, discrete), Meris and Fredenstein (with parallel compression)

Mic Pre's - Star

AMS-Neve, Earthworks, Sytek, Manley and a now sold Presonus.

Microphones (condenser, tube, ribbon, stereo and dynamic) from Neumann, AKG, Berliner, AEA, Sennheiser, Beyer, EV, Shure, Rode, Audio-Technica. Including Berliner U77 (tube, multi-pattern, vocal perfection), AEA R92 ribbon mic (a very sweet top end), Neumann TLM 103’s (forward and bright), Blue Hummingbirds (small diaphragm sweetness), Avantone CK-40 stereo  condenser (gorgeous and flexible), AKG D12 (that classic Motown bottom) and D12VR (the new standard), Sennheiser MD421’s and MD504’s (tom toms), Beyer M201 (flatter than a 57 on snare), A-T 4033SE (electric guitar perfection)… no cheap “budget” condensers here, because mics really matter more than anything else.

Avantone BV

Avatone BV-1 large diaphragm condenser mic … a favorite for vocalists

Digital editing via Digital Performer 8.07 running on OS X 10.11, very much like ProTools … but better!

UAD Fairchild Compressor

The Universal Audio virtual Fairchild compressor, luxury for your mixes.

Computer interfacing via Apogee’s Symphony state-of-the-art converters for punch, clarity and accuracy . Mixes receive conversion from Antelope Audio’s Pure2.

Analog summing mixdown, of unlimited digital tracks and up to 24 analog channels, through high resolution converters from Apogee (with UV22 process)… summed by an SPL Mixdream XP high-voltage analog summing device, all stored digitally through our converters.

SPL Mixdream XP analog summing device

SPL Mixdream XP analog summing device

Processing from the EL7 (The Fatso) from Empirical Labs, Daking FETIII, Chandler Germanium, ART Pro VLA, Maag EQ

Empirical Labs Fatso

We’ve got this as a UAD plug-in too!

Monitoring starts out with the SPL MTC Monitor Controller, which feeds Neumann KH310 monitors and Avantone Active Mixcubes. Headphone monitoring from Audio-Technica, AKG, Fostex and Sennheiser via high powered amps from Aphex, Behringer and Fostex.

SPL MTC Monitor Controller

SPL MTC Monitor Controller

World-class guitar amps from Marshall (classic JCM800 w/ EL34’s), Mesa Boogie (classic 2-ch Dual Rectifier w/ 6L6’s and DC3 w/ EL84’s) and Vox (AC30, the ultimate clean). Active guitar splitting for multi-amp recording setups. Re-amping via Radial and virtual guitar tones from JST’s Menace.

Guitar amps & pedals

Guitar amps & pedals

Guitars from Paul Reed Smith, Taylor and a Fender hollowbody Telecaster (gorgeous feedback heaven). Bass rig includes SWR400S amp with tube preamp and powerful sweepable/graphic EQ, ADA preamp with crazy bass distortions and Amepg’s mighty SVT 4x10HLF. Basses from Kubicki (an “original” Factor – incredible for recording), Fender, Godin (fretless) and others.