Gear Porn 101 – Preamps at Acadia

We firmly believe that great records start with great performances, but capturing them with some top-notch gear doesn’t hurt… Matching the right microphone with the right preamp is the key to getting that energy to translate to the finished product.

There is no one “best” preamp— each unit has its own characteristics. However if we had to choose, our top choice would certainly be our Aurora Audio GTQC. Designed by Geoff Tanner (who designed consoles and custom gear during the golden age of Neve from 1971 thru 1985) this hand-wired Class A channel strip features that classic Neve preamp circuit with an incredibly musical EQ. It also features one of the smoothest, best sounding compressors anywhere (in fact TWO compressors, both a 1176-style FET comp and a LA-2A style opto compressor). This is our go-to pre for both bass and vocals.

Next up is the classic sound of rock and roll— the API 3124. Literally thousands of hit records have been made using exclusively these preamps. The 3124 has four channels and sounds fantastic on rock guitars and on many other sources as well.

When Jason Phelps joined our team, in addition to the GTQC he also brought another piece that we use on almost every session— the Universal Audio 4-710 Twin-finity. This preamp is unique in that it features both a solid state AND a tube preamp circuit on each of the four channels. We can blend between the two circuits, allowing for a clear uncolored sound, or we can drive the tube input and get some nice creamy harmonics going.

We are big fans of ribbon mics here at Acadia. We especially like to pair a ribbon mic with a 57 for tracking guitar amps: the combination of the upper mid boost from the 57 and a fuller tone from the ribbon mic gives us a lot to work with in the final mix. The only challenge with ribbon mics is that they require significantly more gain than many pre’s can provide. That’s not a problem for us with four channels of AEA TRP (The Ribbon Pre). These units are colorless and let the ribbons shine.

Our Grace Designs m101 is another ultra-transparent option we have in the studio, and this pre can also handle ribbon mics well with Grace’s “ribbon” circuit which changes the input impedance, provides extra gain and decouples the +48V power. This pre hasn’t let us down, whether we’re tracking vocals, acoustic guitar, or a kick drum, it’s a versatile option that always results in a clean, articulate sound.

Our Sytek MPX-4A is a well designed, clean and clear four channel workhorse that sounds great on a variety of sources.

Finally, we are lucky to have the use of our Seventh Circle Audio CH02 modular chassis, on loan from Pat at Pat Keane Mastering. Seventh Circle is famous for it’s top quality DIY preamp kits. This particular unit is fully stuffed with eight channels: we have the Neve-style N72 (x2), the super transparent Millenia-esque C84 (x2) plus the API-flavored A12 (x4).

Our gear selection is ever expanding (our next dream purchase is an Aurora Audio GTP8— eight channels of Neve power!)— book a session with us soon and hear them for yourself!

Preacher’s Fire October 2017

A super spooky month of music to look forward to y’all. Most importantly coming up Friday the 13th there are two pretty epic events happening in Portland. First, Into the Aether, featuring our favs. Falls of Rauros, and ALSO, the start of Damnationland’s film screening followed by a live performance from BeeSee, who’s featured on their super rad album soundtrack, a proud product from Acadia! Just try to be bored this month…actually don’t. Go see some great music! If you want to submit shows for November email

Here is a list of our other top picks for the month:

Saturday 10/7: Battery Steele at Geno’s 9pm
Thursday 10/12: Lacuna and others at Geno’s 8pm AND Nothing to Fear but Beer Itself, Damnationland Fundraiser at Oxbow on Washington Ave, 9pm
Friday 10/13: Into the Aether at Geno’s starting 6:30pm AND Damnationland 2017 at State 8pm
Saturday 10/14: Into the Aether at SPACE starting 7pm AND Damnationland 2017 at Mechanics Hall all day
Monday 10/16: Pink Martini and VIVA & The Reinforcements at AURA 6:30pm
Wednesday 10/25: Clara Junken and others at One Longfellow 8pm
Friday 10/27: Halloween Spooktacular with Covered in Bees, Pigboat, Johnny Cremains at Empire 9pm
Saturday 10/28: Geno’s Halloween Bash with Hessian & Drivetrain 9:30pm

Toft ATB24 Console

After a wild 24-hour-cross-country adventure we are happy to announce that we have a beautiful new-to-us 24 channel Toft ATB24 console here at Acadia!

Todd had been on the lookout for a Toft to replace our Soundcraft console for a while and Jason was also interested in a Toft, having cut his teeth on Trident 80 series consoles, designed by Malcom Toft. Recently an ATB24 came up online for a decent price, complete with the meter bridge PLUS a custom built, VERY solid wood studio desk with integrated rack spaces. The only catch–it was located in Charlotte, North Carolina. The huge wooden desk meant shipping was out of the question…

A little research revealed that it was about 1000 miles by car, a one-way truck rental was reasonable and one-way flights direct from Logan were available.  The next thing we knew, it was 2am and Todd was driving engineer Jason and intern Brian to the airport. We landed in Charlotte and were picked up at the airport by Joel, the seller. We all had breakfast (Brian got his first taste of real southern grits) and went to Joel’s studio to load the rental truck. Joel was a very cool guy and has a great spot to record.

A little over 24 hours after leaving Portland the guys were back at Acadia dropping off the new console. We had it up and running the very next day and got to use it for a session with The Mallett Brothers Band. The new board is super quiet, has fantastic analog vibe and the EQ is powerful and musical.

We can’t wait to install the beautiful solid wood studio desk (custom built by Joel) that came with the console during our annual holiday week “rewire” session where we disconnect all of our gear and perform maintenance.

Come book a session and hear our new Toft for yourself!