HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 2010: To say the production and songwriting team of Wally Gagel and Xandy Barry has worked with a variety of musicians would be an understatement. From their collaborations with established artists (Rihanna, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, Backstreet Boys, New Order) to their experiences with rising talent (Styrofoam, Second Son, Axiz, Tamar Kaprelian, Vera Mesmer, Joshua James), Gagel and Barry certainly know music. That said, it is no surprise that the two, who work under the name WAX LTD, recently chose to outfit their studio with a new 16-channel API 1608 console. Taming what had originally been an ungainly tangle of outboard gear, their 1608 provides the definitive API analog warmth and punch, in addition to the well-thought-out functionality WAX LTD was looking for.
No stranger to API, Gagel had worked on an API Legacy early in his
career at Dreamland Recording Studios in upstate New York. After hearing friends talk about and recommend the 1608 for his own studio, Gagel rented the console to track an iTunes single for singer-songwriter Angel Taylor. "We were tracking her with a five-piece band in our live room," said Gagel. "Everyone was in the same room, playing at the same time, and everything went through the 1608. Oh my God, it sounded so open, so good! I knew we had to get our own."
"Now that we have our 1608 and we've had a chance to explore it, I'm really impressed by the job API did in giving it maximum flexibility and functionality," said Gagel. "The bus architecture, the routing, the 500 Series modular slots... everything is so versatile. Even the way the colors light up on the LEDs is forward thinking. They supply a wealth of information without cluttering up the interface. And on top of all this, it sounds fantastic. It worked right out of the crate and, in contrast to a used board, had no dirt in the pots or maintenance looming."
It's no wonder Gagel wanted no-maintenance equipment. Several years ago, WAX LTD took over the historic, but run-down, TTG studios, which had once recorded musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, Velvet Underground, Neil Young, The Animals and Linda Ronstadt. At the time they acquired the studio, WAX LTD had been focused on writing and recorded ideas "in the box," both for convenience and for lack of any better alternative, with various outboard preamps and processors serving as high-end inputs for overdubs, including API 3124 mic pres and API stereo compressors.
"There was no bus structure, just a collection of equipment that needed to be patched together on an as-needed basis," said Gagel. "It sounded great, but it was a huge pain to work with as we got more into the studio side of production."
Thanks to their 1608, WAX LTD no longer has that problem. The team has already used the console to record tracks and overdubs for rock-inspired hip-hop artist Second Son and for a number of forthcoming and "so-far-secret" iTunes releases for some of the acts they commonly work with.
"Even running a stereo mix through the board's 550A EQ modules improves its sound noticeably," said Gagel. We wanted something that would inspire creativity, and that's what we got with the 1608."
ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES, INC.) Automated Processes, Inc. remains the leader in analog recording gear with the Vision, Legacy Series and 1608 recording consoles, as well as its classic line of modular signal processing equipment.
PHOTO CAPTION Xandy Barry (left) and Wally Gagel, the production and songwriting team of WAX LTD, with their newest piece of gear - the API 1608.