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Matt Ross-Spang Talks Spectra 1964


"I feel very fortunate that I was born in Memphis. I started working at some studio when I was 16 as a tour guide, but then I would be the assistant engineer until late in the night. I worked my way from assistant to second engineer to the main engineer.

My name is Matt-Ross-Spang. We're here in Sam Phillips recording service in Memphis, TN. I'd kinda been thinking about going independent for a while, and this great producer Dave Cobb called me and asked if I could do a one day session in Fame Recording Studios with this great artist Anderson East. I said sure, and went down there, and we did it, and about halfway through he asked if I would like to engineer Jason Isbell's ["Something More Than Free"] album. And I said I would love to, and I was able to, like, really jumpstart into a career as an independent.

Part of being in Memphis is, it's not just a local studio. It's Sun Studio, or it's Sam Phillips, or it's, it's these studios that changed the world and created all of your favorite records. You realize how much of this stuff came from your town. As an engineer, you start delving into the engineers and the producers, and there's Sam Phillips, and William Mitchell, and Chips Moman, and John Fry. I mean, all of these incredible engineers and producers. And then you start going to look at the studios and the equipment and stuff.

So, I think you can tell by this room that I really love gear, cause to me it's really about the performance and capturing a moment. And, so, I think that's really important for me. This stuff should be transparent and almost invisible. I shouldn't have to worry about it or think about it. One of the things I love about Spectra Sonics is that, when I walk out there and hear a guitar, and I come back in, and I pull up a fader on this console, it sounds like that.

I hate using a different pre for every different thing. I like a uniform sound. I think it cuts down on phase shift and weird sounds and all this all this extra patching and running cable and all these things that could degrade the sound, and most importantly, take up time that we should be focusing on a performance.

Some of the first Spectra Sonics gear I got was 610's. They're on pretty much every record I've done in the last five years, because, it's such a different compressor. It does peak limiting and compression. [Once] you understand peak limiting, you can understand the signal chain of it, you can put it before a pre, you can put it after a pre, you can peak limit the source and then when you're mixing, you can put it before your compressor, or your reverb, and affect the way those sound. They're incredibly fast, so, you can eliminate the peak on a snare that's triggering your 1176, that's that's actually not triggering the transient - it's triggering a voltage peak. You can eliminate that peak, and then your 1176 can do what its wanting to do; what it's supposed to do. Not many pieces of gear do that. They're one-trick ponies, or they just do their one thing, but this piece of gear can change every other piece of gear you have.

The combinations are endless."


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