Slated for release sometime mid July, we've been hustling to put together demos, product photos and lots of real world testing before the big day. Initially, the first testing was conducted with the Gravitone 30 configured as a guitar amp. When running as a guitar amp, it runs a 12AX7 preamp tube, a KT88 power tube and a 5U4 rectifier tube to deliver more than 30 watts of creamy warm tone. Its a very tasty guitar amp, designed to be versatile for studio applications. One of several very nice studio features is the built-in reamping box. However, the EQ is what makes it extremely versatile. 3 band passive EQ with 4 selectable mid frequencies.
Over the past week I've been experimenting with the Gravitone 30 as the 1401 Analog Plate Reverb driver amp - its intended application. As the reverb driver amp, the tube compliment is a 12AU7 preamp tube, a 6V6 power tube, and a 5AR4 rectifier tube to deliver ultra clean, highly detailed amplification. As an ultra-linear single ended tube amp, its pretty much designed to be extremely detailed and ultra clean sounding, with a tasteful amount of that beautiful single ended tone. The low gain, wide bandwidth 12AU7 ensures clean tone throughout the first 2/3rds rotation of the input gain knob. Beyond 2/3 a mild amount of tube saturation can be heard with a subtle, but noticeable amount of breakup happening when wide open. The 3 band EQ is extremely useful for plate reverb driver amp duties. Yesterday I started Mixing a Folk-ish type acoustic record for a client at www.lbastudios.com. The EQ on the Gravitone 30 proved to be more valuable than expected. Having the ability to shape the sound before it hits the plate can drastically affect how well the reverb sits in the overall Mix. The Mid section of the eq was particularly special in that it allowed me to find and suck out a little bit of a mid frequency that was competing for authority with the lead vocal. By bringing back that mid frequency on the Gravitone 30 (pre-reverb) it allowed the lead vocal to stand out in the foreground, while still having reverb on it. I rolled off some highs on the Gravitone 30 as well, because there was some minor sibilance on the lead vocal and the highs in the lead guitar tracks were a tad bright - both of which were going through the plate reverb. That helped those tracks stand out tremendously. Then the next step was setting up the plate reverb output amplifier, the 1401 Stereo Microphone Amp. I rolled back the highs on this about 80% to make the reverb sound very dark. It helped put the reverb further into the background, regardless of how much reverb was being used. With the treble all the way up, the reverb is more easily heard, but I think most people will probably want it to sound more in the background in general. Regardless of that, the most obvious thing I heard was the immense size of the reverb. By size I'm not talking about quantity of reverb, I'm talking about stereo width. I didn't know my speakers could put out something sounding that wide. But, lets get back to functionality in the Mix. When turning the treble knobs on the Stereo Mic Amp I began to see with clarity how amazing this reverb truly is. Between the pre and post EQ, the ability to dial in pre-thickness, and the reverb decay time adjustment on the plate, the possibilities are ENDLESS! It can be made to work perfectly in any Mix situation. I'm sure there has never been a better sounding plate reverb and I think it can go without saying that even the best software based reverb doesn't even come remotely close to the sonic beauty created by the LBA 1401 Analog Plate Reverb system. This summer I plan to do a new Plate Reverb demo video to demonstrate the awesome abilities of this masterpiece of spacial enhancement.
About the Author
Mike Congilosi II, Owner/Designer/Electronics Engineer at Lightning Boy Audio and Owner/Audio Engineer/Music Producer at LBA Studios.