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Niko Bolas Warms to the Manley CORE and Reference Cardioid

Los Angeles, CA – August 2015…If they gave an annual award for Busiest Engineer/Producer, Niko Bolas would certainly have a shelf full of them. With a discography spanning nearly four decades, Bolas has had fingers on faders for an immense and eclectically diverse range of music, including seminal recordings like Neil Young’s This Note’s for You, Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene, KISS’ Creatures, and Melissa Ethridge’s powerful debut, as well as works by Sting, Herbie Hancock, Stan Getz, CSN&Y, Keith Richards, and countless others. He’s also co-founder of virtual reality innovators Fakespace Music, and former CEO of Internet radio pioneers Sonicbox.

With a reputation for crisp, keenly defined mixes and powerful, commanding vocals, Bolas is a stickler for the right microphone and the right signal path. He recently got his hands on a Reference Cardioid Mic and CORE Channel Strip from Manley Labs, and has made it clear, he’s not letting go.

“A buddy of mine was working next door at Capitol on the TV show Glee, and using a Manley cardioid that EveAnna had lent them,” he recounts. “When they were finished with it, they brought it over to me. I was working on a record for Richie Sambora and Orianthi, and I set it up next to one of Capitol’s classic U47s. After a few minutes I called EveAnna and told her she couldn’t have it back. I was buying it.”

Bolas points to the Manley Reference Cardioid as the right choice for almost anything. “I’m using it on everything — vocals, acoustic guitars, amp cabs — it’s just got a really nice midrange presence that doesn’t hurt. I’m all about not using EQ if I don’t have to — the closer I can get from mic to recording, the better. You get a really great mic, you put it in the right place, you’re done.” He has since used the mic on projects ranging from recording a 90-piece orchestra for Neil Young’s Storytone to Demi Lovato’s vocals on “Let Me Go” for the soundtrack of Frozen.

Though he works mainly out of his own Surf Shack mix room in the Capitol Studios building, Bolas cites the Manley CORE as his channel strip of choice for remote tracking, including vocals for an upcoming release by LeeAnn Rimes “I bought the CORE because it sounds great,” he observes. “I can bring it with me if someone wants to finish a vocal at their house, or wherever. I set it up, plug in a mic, and I’ve got everything I need.”


About Manley Laboratories, Inc. – Since the late 1980s Manley products have evolved from purist audiophile vacuum tube designs expanding into professional audio and digital converter systems. Manley’s legacy of design philosophies has been proven over years of real-world experience, using high quality modern components, many of which are fabricated in-house. Manley’s 11,000 sq. ft. building houses a machine shop, printed circuit board manufacture, audio transformer winding, engraving, and wire harness prepping facilities. All custom design, R&D, assembly, testing, and quality control processes are performed with precision and pride at the Manley factory, located just 35 miles east of Los Angeles, California. All Manley products are built in Chino, not China. For more information, visit: