The analogue picture behind our Valve Mastered 7s Boxset

Published by
Gearbox Records
November 22, 2021
Published in

Here at Gearbox, we’re huge advocates of analogue techniques and valve signal paths when it comes to producing records. Our new “valve mastered 7s boxset", available direct from Gearbox only, is a celebration of music in its purest, most unfiltered form. 

Each of these 7”s were recorded in one take, directly to disc, using only three vintage ribbon mics and an all-valve signal path, offering the cleanest, most immediate sound you can get on a commercially-available recorded medium. The one-take aspect of this method adds a sense of energy and urgency to the recording, as the musicians’ adrenaline kicks in with the need to get it right the first and only time. There’s no tape or digital stage in between the music and the record either, and you can feel the instruments jump out of the speakers at you in a way that no other recording technique can re-create. 

Shez Raja recording in the Zelig Studio

The 50s and 60s was considered by many to be the “Golden Era” of recording, where music was captured and reproduced in the best and most natural way. Much of this sound was down to the use of valve amplification in recording and playback. Valve amplifiers are considered to be much more musical than their solid-state counter-parts, with a warmer, more natural and exciting tone. Gearbox has based its sonic signature on this concept in order to recreate the Golden Era in the 21st century.

These recordings were made using ribbon microphones; an RCA KU3A, and two Western Electric (Westrex) RA-1142s. Whereas most ribbon mics are a figure-of-eight pattern, these mics have a front-facing, cardioid pattern, which allows us to place them in a Decca Tree formation without phase cancellation whilst utilising the unbelievably warm and rich tone that ribbon mics can offer. Nothing was close-miced and the use of the Decca Tree gives the most realistic portrayal of being in the room with the musicians as they play.

The Valve Mastered 7s Boxset is available to order HERE

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