Las Vegas, NV — Debbie Gibson made her mark in the late 1980s as a teen pop star with a string of multi-platinum albums and MTV hits, but she has always known her way around a recording studio—at 17, she became the youngest female artist to produce, write and perform a number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Foolish Beat.” With that in mind, when Gibson recently gave a video tour of her home studio for People, we naturally watched to see what gear she keeps on hand, and were not disappointed.
While the clip starts in a different room, Gibson’s home studio appears at the 3:20 mark (the video is already cued to that moment, so just click it). The video is meant for general, non-techy audiences, but Gibson still talks some shop, discussing how she started out using a basic four-track recorder as a 13-year-old and eventually worked her way up to a 48-track home studio before modern digital recording came along. She also gets into why she prefers to do her own engineering, how she recently refurbished a classic Neumann mic and more.
The setup is centered around a closed Apple laptop, so we don’t know Gibson’s DAW of choice, but it’s worth noting that an Avid Artist Mix control surface sits at the ready on an adjoining table. Placed in front of the laptop is Gibson’s AKG C414 XLS vocal mic, which she shares has been a favorite since she started out.
A pair of racks sit on either side of the laptop, and to the left is a 3U unit packed with some sweet, vintage Summit Audio gear—namely, an EQF-100 full-range equalizer; a TLA-100A tube leveling amplifier; and a TPA-200A dual-tube preamp. Meanwhile, the rack on the right contains a Universal Audio Apollo X8 audio interface and a Livewire 9-outlet power conditioner/distribution system. Atop the two racks sit a pair of M Audio BX5 powered studio monitors.
Gibson’s newly refurbished Neumann mic resides off to the right, along with a Carlsbro CSD130 Electronic Drum Set, since she characterizes herself as “a frustrated wannabe drummer.” While the vintage microphone could be an M 49 or M 50, we’ll guess the latter since she says it’s “from the 1950s” and the M 50 was introduced in 1950.
Gibson showed off the home studio as part of promoting her latest album, The Body Remembers, and it’s only fitting, as she self-recorded all her vocals there, putting that mix of vintage and current-day gear to good use.