Chino, CA—March 2016… With more than four decades of engineering and production experience and a long list of noteworthy credits, Ed Stasium knows a thing or three about sound. Today, the former member of New York’s legendary Power Station studio works at his Southern California home, relying on a DAW as his main production tool and Manley Dual Mono two-channel and FORCE four-channel tube preamplifiers as his analog front end.
“In this digital world, we have to get the best analog going into the box that we possibly can,” Stasium insists. “The Manley Dual Mono and FORCE provide the maximum tubage getting into the box. I record a lot of drums here, and I am thankful for Manley tube preamps; without them, I wouldn’t want to record drums straight into the DAW. With the FORCE and Dual Mono, the drums sound fabulous!”
A firm believer in getting the best possible analog sound before converting to digital, Stasium likes to record with natural ambience, like the 20-foot-high entryway to his home. From there, he relies on quality mics and Manley preamps, with minimal processing. “The Manley Dual Mono and FORCE are so clean, and the gain on them is so good, I can even use my 1937 RCA PB-90 velocity mic with them,” he relates. “A lot of preamps I’ve used don’t give you enough gain for that. When you put a vintage ribbon mic through the Manley, the sound is wide open. It sounds fantastic, so clean and quiet. I don’t need to EQ; I don’t need to do anything.”
Although he doesn’t talk much about his success, preferring to let the music speak for itself, Stasium’s credits include records by the Ramones, Talking Heads, the Smithereens, Living Colour, Peter Wolf, Mick Jagger, Jeff Healey, Joan Jett, Marshall Crenshaw, and Motorhead. He recorded and mixed his first gold single, Gladys Knight & the Pips’ “Midnight Train to Georgia,” back in 1973, when he had been engineering professionally for only a year. He has been there and done that, and when he offers an opinion, it’s wise to listen.
“I mix a lot of tracks that people have recorded in their homes, and too often the tracks sound really bad. But they don't have to be like that,” he advises. “A Manley preamp makes a huge difference. Put a Manley FORCE up front, so you have four tube preamps. Then put just four mics on the drum kit: kick, snare, and a couple of overheads; that’s all you need. Run those four mics through the FORCE for maximum tubage, and you’ll get a great sound.”
Clearly, Stasium is a Manley true believer. “The Manley FORCE and Dual Mono are so precise and true, I love them,” he proclaims. “I can’t live without them!”