Recently, scoring mixer Steve Kempster has worked on new movies such as Disney’s Brother Bear and the Haunted Mansion and Bad Boys II. Residing in Los Angeles, Kempster is a “first-call” recording engineer/mixer for both major theatrical releases and record projects. During the years, he has collected a large amount of expensive outboard gear, including the Daking FET Compressor II.
According to Kempster, “The Daking FET Compressor II first caught my attention when I was loaned a pair for evaluation by Brad Lunde at Transamerica Audio. I already have loads of some of the best compressors made spread out amongst the five full racks of outboard gear I own. I thought I’d just use these on drums, percussion overdubs or other things where I may not want to exercise or commit a more expensive compressor I would hold in higher regard. What I noticed was that the FET II was an incredible and useful management tool, but sonically kept itself pretty much out of the way, which a lot of compressors don’t.
“Initially, when I first began using the Daking when recording and/or mixing drums, percussion and miscellaneous items, I saw that it was so fast inattack time that I could dial in good control and manage very transient material without leaving a big sonic footprint,” continued Kempster. “Ifound the FET II very flexible in release time and the different characteristics of the release times with the seven different time constants available. Pretty soon, I was up for trying the unit on more crucial jobs like lead vocal processing. During the mixing of Brother Bear, we had a lead vocal by Tina Turner and I found the Daking FET II managed it in a very good way without sounding ‘compressed.'”
Kempster also used the FET II as a master stereo percussion stem compressor on Lion King 1 1/2, a Disney animation for DVD. “I usedit on the percussion stem left/right. And you’re talking about huge tympani hits and all kinds of percussive information that on the dubbing stage needs to be controlled, but not heard as ‘controlled,’ so the Daking was very helpful on that stereo pair. So what started out as a curio purchase—a Swiss Army knife processor—has evolved into something that has become very significant to me because the FET II continually surprises me with its very clean and extremely flexible operation.”