PASADENA, California - January 2010 -- When it comes to hard rock, metal and punk, few producer/engineers are more in demand these days than Joe Barresi. Over the past 15 years, Barresi has achieved near-mythical status for his ability to capture and mix some of the very best heavy guitar and drum tracks for bands like Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age, Bad Religion, Weezer and The Melvins.
A fan of both old school and modern tech alike, Barresi was one of the lucky few to beta-test Electrodyne's new 501 discrete two-stage studio preamp, which was introduced by Pete's Place Audio at the recent AES Convention in New York.
"I've been an Electrodyne and Quad Eight fan for a long time, and I've known Ken Hirsch at Orphan Audio for years," says Barresi from his Pasadena studio, JHOC, short for Joe's House Of Compression. "He's turned me on to all sorts of stuff in the past, so when he showed me the prototype of the 501, I was anxious to try it. My friend Bill Malina, who is a great engineer, happened to be with me at the time, so we threw it into a rack and checked it out on some drums, particularly a snare drum.
"When we first heard it, we both freaked out. It sounded fantastic, providing the perfect blend of attack and size. The headroom was amazing, having no problem handling the sound pressure -- even when it wasn't padded -- and still maintaining all the detail in the top end. I loved it. It sounded like an API with a pair of balls.
"Normally, I had another preamp that I preferred to use in my snare chain, but when we tried out the 501, it absolutely shredded my previous favorite. So the 501 immediately became my new 'go-to' module and I've used a pair of them on snare top and bottom for almost everything since then."
Barresi is quick to point out that he digs the module's versatility nearly as much as its sound. "The fact that the 501 is both a preamp and level control is really cool," he says. "You can overdrive the front end and back it off, or crack it wide open and find the sweet spot. Ken also showed me that the Hi-Z switch for impedance works on the XLR input in addition to the normal 1/4-inch input, which is pretty rad. That little discovery opens up the possibility for an extra built-in sound right there.
"There are so many flavors of outboard mic pres on the market now, but some things you need and some things you don't. The Electrodyne 501 was one of those things that I plugged in and thought 'I already have 104 mic pres, not including my SSL, but I really do need to have two of these.â€™ They're that damn good."
Pete's Place Audio was founded to bring a wide variety of handcrafted, innovative, boutique recording and live audio products to market. Under the leadership of President Lisa Montessi and backed by the manufacturing expertise of A-Designs Audio, Pete's Place collaborates with some of todayâ€™s most talented recording artists and engineers to help determine what products, regardless of how esoteric, they feel are missing in the studio and live performance environments.
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