Grammy-nominated engineer/producer Bill Smith--whose 20-year-plus career has seen him working with Yes, Toto and John Fogerty, Diana Krall, Barbra Streisand, and many others--has come to rely on the Summit Audio TLA-100A classic tube-leveling amplifier and the MPE-200 processor to achieve balance, clarity and efficiency when recording.
"First and foremost for me is sound quality," said Smith. "I love Summit's sound. Their products are in almost every control room. The TLA-100A has the same style and characteristics of an old tube-style limiter, but with a sound unto itself.
"The quality of the Rupert Neve Class-A preamps in the MPE-200 is fantastic," Smith continued. "That combined with 4-band EQ per channel, switchable peak-shelving, variable-Q settings and a host of other goodies make this a very versatile piece of gear.
"One of the best things about the MPE-200 is that it is a digitally controlled analog unit. It gives you the ability to store presets, and I am really enjoying that a lot. This way, I can recall my EQ and preamp levels without having to notate everything on the dial with an assortment of colored markers. This saves me time and, in reference to the cost of studio time, it also saves the client money. Another feature that I love about the device is that the digital controls allow me to leave the unit out in the live room. This means that I can run a shorter cable from the microphone to the preamp, which gives me an improved signal-to-noise ratio. At that point, I can control any parameter on the unit via MIDI from the control room without having to run out there every two minutes. The MPE-200 basically gives me a 40-foot arm."
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