On December 22, 2003, the world of professional audio and microphonetechnology lost a great thinker, engineer, craftsman and artist. Bornin New York City, Stephen Paul had suffered in recent years from anaggressive and fast-moving form of arthritis. Renowned for hisrestoration and “hotrodding” of classic tube microphones,Stephen played no small part in the current microphone Renaissance. Hisimpeccable work earned him the respect of top scientists in the fieldof microphone technology, as well as top recording artists, engineersand producers who would settle for nothing less than the Stephen Paulrestorations and those remarkable gold-sputtered diaphragms less than amicron thick!
Stephen’s search for the best microphones was the result of hisearly career as a singer/songwriter befriended by John Hammond Sr.,Ahmet Ertegun and Gary Usher. Stephen once earned his living as asinging waiter, and as an engineer/producer and/or performer, he workedwith artists such as Jefferson Airplane, Seals and Crofts, Ike Turner,Solomon Burke, Air Supply, Chicago, Toto and Al Jarreau. He also servedas chief tech at a number of top recording studios, and continuedrecording his own work throughout his life. His heart was in the music,and the technology was always designed to serve that cause. When Ifirst met and interviewed him in 1987, I asked how he would like to beremembered in history. He simply replied, “As an artist who caredfor his work and tried to achieve perfection.”
Stephen Paul Audio celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2004, and thework that he pioneered is being faithfully continued by Stephen’slongtime associate Tony Merrill. The long-awaited Stephen Paul originalmicrophone, with the help of PMI Audio, is currently in the finalmanufacturing stages and will be commercially available later thisyear, a fitting memorial for the indelible character known as“Dr. Microphone.”
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