Suspect Studios is a commercial recording facility located in San Jose CA. The studio offers Pro Tools recording with its Avid HDX system. The facility features a 36-input automated Amek "Big" console, ATC SCM 150 ASL and ADAM A7 monitors. Outboard mic preamps include products from Neve, API, Chandler Ltd., DW Fearns, Crane Song, A Designs, Pendulum Audio, Vintech, Focusrite (Red Range), Avalon, Millennia Media, Universal Audio, and GML. Outboard processing includes Pulse Techniques (Pultec), dbx, SPL, Empirical labs, Drawmer, HHB Classic, Summit Audio, Manley, API and TC Electronics. The studio also features a large collection of new and vintage microphones, including two Blue re-built Neumann U-47 tube mics, a Telefunken ELAM251E tube condenser, a matched pair of Telefunken C-12 tube condensers, a Wunder CM7 tube condenser, a Korby KAT 3 modular system, and too many others to list here.
Studio owner David Gakle's fascination with recording technology goes back to his live band experience in the late 1970's. "Back in the day" he recalls, "I was playing drums in a band playing the club scene in the Bay Area. I was the only guy in the band who had decent credit, so I ended up buying most of the band's PA system. When the band folded after a couple of years, I was left with a garage full of speaker cabinets and power amps. So I kept some of the gear, sold some of the gear, and bought enough stuff to setup a small ½" 8-track studio in the basement of a rented house. It's been downhill ever since."
The studio expanded in size and technology in the following years, as it moved from 1" 8-track then to 1" 16-track tape, to 16-bit (blackface) ADAT digital and 20-bit ADAT digital, then to a computer based Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) using Pro Tools; and went from a totally manual console to VCA automated faders to the "Supertrue" automation package on the Amek Big to the complex automation and waveform editing offered by Pro Tools software.
"As an analog guy, working with Pro Tools has been a learning experience for me," says Dave; "when we first got into it we were using a MixPlus system with 888 Interfaces, and I hated it. Notwithstanding the editing capabilities, I thought the recordings were two dimensional and flat as a paper plate. When we upgraded to the HD3 System with 192 interface, the system sound improved dramatically, like night and day. Now that we are using HDX interfaces, the recording quality is stellar, especially at the higher sampling rates. Coming from my background, I've had to adjust to the concept of plug-ins, and find all the discussion about whether the recreations sound like the original analog units to be pointless. The studio has some of the classic compressors (LA-2A, 1176, etc.), and the plugin versions are not even close, especially to the tube units. However the quality and diversity of plugins is improving every day. I think better discussion questions should be: 1) does the plugin improve the sound of whatever track it's being applied to, and 2) is it a useful tool to assist in shaping the sound? Having said that, some of the higher end plugs, like Sonnox, Fab Filter, the Waves API and SSL packages and the UAD recreations and tape simulations all sound great and are extremely useful."
The bottom line, ultimately, is to have the tools to capture the magic that sometimes appears in the unique confines of the recording studio, and towards that end Suspect Studios offers an impressive collection of tools and toys.