I tend to shy away from gear reviews with my blog, in that there are so many blogs who do just that. In the past, I have reviewed free plugins, or odd recording devices that I find interesting. Since I started engineering out of Barefoot Recording Studio in Brighton Massachusetts I have been using more high end gear on a regular basis.
This month I will be reviewing a few pieces that I find extremely interesting.
The first remarkable thing about the Shadow Hills company is their keen attention to aesthetic design. This mic pre looks like a cross between an Orwellian toaster oven and a crappy NASA experiment. The knobs and switches all feel very solid and have a classy brushed black coat of paint.
The purpose of this pre is certainly not to come anywhere close to clean. In a similar manner to the No Toasters Nice Pair, which I reviewed a couple of months ago, the Gama is a character piece that is meant to be used for instruments that need to stand out in a mix. There are three options of selectable transformers to choose from. The unit that I regularly use is an eight channel version with 4 channels modded for a descrete, transformerless pre. The options are described as Nickel, Iron, Steel, and descrete. Although I have read other reviews that claim on transformer is clean and one is dirty I find this to be a bit of a misnomer.
Depending upon how hard the pre is driven, and what the source microphone is, I find that any of the options can sound “clean”. This is the magical aspect of the Gama. It is very colored, but changes with microphones. I still find new colors and textures coming out of this box every time I plug it in. A U87 in Nickel may sound very smooth and classic with acoustic guitar, but with a growling electric guitar, the same signal chain can appear totally clean.
If this is a preamp you are interested in, I would be happy to bring you into the studio and show it to you. just send me an email: email@example.com