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Viktor Krauss Uses A-Designs Mic Preamps on Solo Release

Pictured at Sound Factory in Los Angeles are (standing, from left) assistant engineer Adam Munoz, guitarist Dean Parks, Lyle Lovett, Viktor Krauss, producer Lee Townsend and engineer/mixer Jason Lehning; kneeling in front are drummer Matt Chamberlain and assistant engineer Jason Mott.

Viktor Krauss, Lyle Lovett’s double bassist for the past several years, recently worked on his second solo record for the Narada label (EMI/Virgin), which is not yet titled, in Studio A at Sound Factory in Los Angeles. With Jason Lehning engineering and mixing, and Lee Townsend producing, Krauss laid down the album’s foundational tracks with guitarist Dean Parks and drummer Matt Chamberlain.

Krauss used A-Designs Audio’s solid-state Pacifica microphone preamp to give the recording what he terms a “late ’70s L.A. vibe.” Lehning notes, “For most of the tracks, I used a pair of Coles microphones as overheads and Telefunken 251s as room mics, all of which sounded absolutely fantastic through the Pacifica units. Although I had never used these particular pre’s before, I found them to be really super-solid and hearty sounding as well as totally free of any weird frequency bumps. The Pacificas weren’t quite transparent; they definitely had some character, but it was a really good one—warm without being muddy and clear without being bright.”

Most of the songs on the upcoming album are instrumentals. However, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin and Ben Taylor each contributed their vocal talents to the project. When Lovett came into Sound Factory to record his lead part on “(I Could Have Been Your) Best Old Friend,” a Tracy Nelson/Andy McMahon song popularized by Bonnie Raitt on her 1979 album The Glow, the Pacifica was once again the right tool for the job.

“We tried putting up several different microphones on Lyle but always went through the Pacifica, which really let the character of each mic shine through,” Lehning says. “Lyle’s voice is wonderfully rich and clear, and the preamp made it really easy to pick out which mic best suited him and sounded great on the track.”

Following sessions in L.A. and at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin, Texas, Krauss retreated to his home studio in Nashville, where he is recording guitar and keyboard overdubs with A-Designs products, including a Pacifica, MP-2A stereo tube preamp and REDDI tube DI box.

In running a ’65 Gibson SG and early ’70s Les Paul into a 100-watt Marshall head and 412 Orange cabinet, which is miked and fed through the MP-2A, Krauss notes that “the tube preamp very nicely preserves the fat, warm tone you’d expect to hear from that combination of equipment. In fact, as a general rule, I’ve been using the MP-2A for most instruments that I’ve put a mic up on here and it’s sounded great.

“The Pacifica, on the other hand, is absolutely wonderful on things that are a little more direct because it has this presence that seems to bring the instrument forward. One of my favorite sounds on the planet comes from the Fender Rhodes electric piano and the Pacifica really makes it sound exactly like it’s supposed to. The recorded sound is so real and live that you almost feel like you can just touch it. And it’s been fabulous on Wurlitzer and synths, as well.”

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