SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: Martin Feveyear formed Jupiter Studios in Seattle, Washington with Christian Fulghum after emigrating to that rainy and musically prolific city from his native England during the height of the grunge movement. A renaissance man for the music industry, Feveyear is a uniquely competent songwriter, musician, studio/mixing engineer, producer, mastering engineer, tour manager and live engineer. He has relied on his very discerning ear to appoint Jupiter Studios with an amazing collection of tools, which now includes a 56-channel SSL 6056 E Series console surrounded by a long who's who list of classic and contemporary outboard hits. Despite having a range of compressors that any engineer would kill for, Feveyear's go-to dynamics solutions are the relatively inexpensive Chameleon Labs 7720 stereo compressor and 7802 stereo opto tube compressor. He has used them for both stereo bus compression (mainly in the studio but also live) and killer guitar tone with
clients including REM, Brandi Carlile, Presidents of the United States of America, Queens of the Stone Age, Blue Scholars, The Saturday Knights, Duff McKagan's Loaded and many others.
Chameleon Labs takes a unique approach to product development, building products with particular sonic targets in mind and using parts, technologies, and assemblies from around the world to reduce cost without sacrificing performance. No Chameleon Labs product goes into production until a long list of first-rate engineers agree that the sonic target has been met. The 7720 stereo compressor's sonic target is the 1990s-era bus compressor, whereas the 7802 stereo opto tube compressor's sonic target are the celebrated hybrids born in the 1970s. Jupiter Studios owns three 7720s and two 7802s.
"Before the Chameleon Labs 7720 arrived, I used the quad compressor on the SSL or an Alan Smart box for stereo bus compression," said Feveyear. "I remember the first time I placed the 7720 across the stereo bus and was surprised to realize that I liked it better than the SSL! It has the same thick and leathery mid-range that I love in the SSL, but the low end and high end are both noticeably extended. Beyond that, the controls are very flexible. With an adjustable high pass filter on the detection circuit and a ratio that goes down to 1.5, I can dial in the compression with greater nuance than I can with the SSL."
Feveyear also brings a Chameleon Labs 7720 along for live dates, which have lately included many of his studio clients: Duff McKagan's Loaded, Brandi Carlile and Presidents of the United States of America. "There is an element of headroom control on a live set," he said. "At high SPLs, a 3 dB jump is outrageous, but the 7720 does a fine job keeping things contained. More importantly, though, the 7720 adds life to the output from a digital console. I put it across the entire FOH mix."
Feveyear now relies on the Chameleon Labs 7802 stereo opto tube compressor for his guitar tone. "Forget about cost, the 7802 is the best guitar compressor I've ever used," he said. "It has all the qualities I love about the classic optos, but it can also be much more aggressive without sounding over the top. The overdrive feature adds a beautiful color to the sound without making things shrill or distracting from the guitar tone itself."
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PHOTO CREDIT Studio engineer, Martin Feveyear with singer/songwriter Carrie Clark, chose Chameleon Labs 7720 stereo compressor and 7802 stereo opto tube compressor for his Seattle recording studio.