Sweetwater Studios in Fort Wayne, Indiana, has been a destination for complete production services for more than 35 years, serving as a commercial studio for Grammy Award-winning artists, independent singer/songwriters, and bands and solo artists of every genre. In an effort to offer a warm, classic sound to its high-profile clients including Garth Brooks, Ricky Martin and Sara Bareilles, the studio has just completed a major module overhaul with API gear.
The new modules will be used in upcoming productions including an EP for independent Nashville artist Abby Lane, as well as a new album for veteran guitarist, Carl Verheyen.
Each piece that was added to the studio—including 527 compressors, 512c discrete mic/line preamps, a 525 compressor and more—were handpicked based on previous experience the veteran team of engineers had with the products.
“Our award-winning production team is one of the most experienced and diverse in the business,” says Mark Hornsby, director of music production and artist relations at Sweetwater Studios. “These are pieces that team members, including myself, have been using for years, be it through rentals, borrowing, or units we had in our personal production rooms.”
Along with the 500 VPR 10-slot rack, Hornsby says he couldn’t be happier with how well the pieces are integrating into the existing setup: “The gear is versatile, it sounds great and it’s easy to use,” he says. “It sounds perfect as soon as you plug it in. There’s not a whole bunch of knobs and features that only work well on certain things.”
In particular, the team offers a 2500 bus compressor in its permanent gear lineup. “The 2500 has been a favorite of mine for years,” Hornsby says. “It’s typically a go-to for me on the drum bus, or sometimes part of the two mix processing chain. It sounds warm, punchy, and you can hit it really hard, which is great for rock or a more aggressive piece of material.
“I also really like the 550As on electric guitars,” Hornsby continues. “Something as simple as just flipping the filter [FLTR] switch can quickly help carve through a mix. I know the word ‘classic’ gets thrown around a lot these days, but I think API is one company that consistently captures that ‘classic’ vibe in all the tools that they make.”