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German-born producer, engineer and mixer Michael Wagener has been a part of legendary hard rock and heavy metal albums from such bands as Dokken, Metallica, Skid Row, Mötley Crüe, Extreme and more, and he is also known as a co-founder and early guitarist for the well-known German band Accept. Operating his own studios since 1979, Wagener recently opened his new WireWorld Studios in Nashville, with gear supplied by Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Chad Evans, Nashville-based GC Pro Account Manager, was on-hand throughout the studio development process, recommending gear and helping with setup.

Although Wagener’s first studio was dubbed “Tennessee Tonstudio,� it was located in Germany, making it all the more appropriate that one day he would settle in Music City. “I

was based in Los Angeles for several years, and Nashville appealed to me when I first came here for a project. I liked the attitude and the people, and I liked a lot of the music that was being made here,� stated Wagener. “So I guess I made a decision to move away from the earthquakes and into flood country!� he joked, referencing Nashville’s May 2010 floods that affected many Nashville facilities, including some slight damage to Wagener’s studio floor. This new studio, actually the second Wagener-run facility known as “WireWorld,� has already hosted sessions for Finnish heavy metal act (and 2006 Eurovision Song Contest winner) Lordi’s upcoming album, which Wagener is producing.

The facility comprises two main spaces – a 22-foot-by-22-foot tracking room and a 29-foot-by-21-foot control room. The centerpiece of the studio’s extensive gear arsenal is an SSL AWS 900+ SE console, sourced through GC Pro Nashville. The AWS 900+ SE was selected for its overall quality and its combination of DAW control and analog mixing. Notes Wagener, “Also, I enjoy switching between the different types of EQ, and I love the sound of the board. It really has no sound, really – it transfers all the tracks with complete clarity. The AWS 900+ SE demonstrates SSL’s mastery and extensive experience making state-of-the-art consoles.�

Aside from the AWS 900+ SE, other gear sourced by GC Pro included a Euphonix MC Control, Universal Audio UAD-2 QUAD DSP Accelerator Cards, RME MADI Cards, Mogami® Cabling, various custom-designed patch bays and more. Stated Chad Evans, “Wagener has been a customer of GC Pro’s since 2003, and we have a very close working relationship. Michael is a legend, and one of the biggest engineers in Nashville, and we are happy to help him achieve his dream studio, working with studio designer David Rochester of Technical Audio Services. All in all, developing this studio was about a year-and-a-half process. A special challenge is to create a studio where he also has room to host guests and let workshops observe him record a project from start to finish, which is something he often does. Another challenge, since Michael is a very exacting guitar tone fanatic, was to work with Creation Audio Labs to develop a very large Speakon patch bay to switch between his dozens of different guitar heads and cabinets.�

Overall, Wagener’s experience with GC Pro has been more than satisfying. He adds, “I have been working with GC Pro since I moved to Nashville and have come to trust and value their input over the years. Once I have done my research and have decided on the gear I need and the approach I want to take, I speak with Chad at GC Pro, who gives me his opinion, which I value very much. Because GC Pro’s Nashville office is based so close to my studio, it is very convenient, and they can always get me the equipment that I need very quickly and at a highly competitive price. I will surely continue working with GC Pro in the future.�

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