LOS ANGELES - January 2009 --Having toured the globe with Michael Jackson in support of both the Bad and Dangerous albums, not to mention shared stages with many other popular artists like Stevie Nicks, Lionel Richie and The Pointer Sisters, Don Boyette is a top-notch bass player and consummate aficionado of tasty low-end tone. So it should come as no surprise that he has just added an A-Designs Audio REDDI tube D.I. unit to his signal path, both for the stage and studio.
Boyette found out about the product through two fellow friends and monster session players -- drummer Ricky Lawson and bassist Reggie Hamilton -- both of whom are die-hard REDDI fans that had long been suggesting he demo one. Based on their enthusiastic recommendations, Boyette finally bought one for his West Hollywood recording studio and was floored with the results.
"When I first plugged into the REDDI and did some tracking with it, I was seriously amazed," says Boyette. "I mean, here I've got some of the best outboard gear you can buy -- Neve, Chandler, Universal Audio, you name it -- and when I heard how my bass sat in the track and how well it cut through, I was stunned. It sounded a bit like my 1073s, but even better. I had never heard my bass sound that good before. And I thought, 'Whoa, this is ridiculous! Why am I just now getting this thing? Why didn't I already have it?'"
Aside from laying down his own tracks in his studio, Boyette also frequently engineers and produces other projects there. Intermittently since the spring of 2007, he has been working on an album for Detroit-based Patrick Davy, who is managed by Scooter Weintraub (Sheryl Crow, etc.). Since recently adding the REDDI, the D.I. has already become a part of that recording as well.
"Patrick is a really talented artist that sounds like a cross between Thom Yorke from Radiohead and Matt Bellamy from Muse, but I also hear elements of Elvis Costello in his songwriting; he's going to have an amazing career," says Boyette. "I'm producing his solo debut, and we were just about finished, aside from making a few final refinements, especially to the very first two songs we had recorded. I ended up redoing the bass on those particular songs -- of course using my new REDDI -- and the difference was massive. Even Patrick asked, 'What in the world did you do?' It was ridiculous how much better it sounded. It made me want to go back and re-record everything! Again, I thought, 'Why couldn't I have just had this thing sooner?'"
Boyette's typical signal path in the studio is to patch one of his vintage basses into the REDDI, which feeds out to a Neve EQ, Chandler mic pre, and A/D converter before ending up in his computer. "I have a pair of nice '64 Fender P basses and a couple of '62 Jazzes, but I tell you, my early-'70s Gibson Ripper, in particular, sounds absolutely unbelievable through this setup. Although I used to think that I got a fairly decent sound through that path without the REDDI, having it in there really refines the tone. What the REDDI does to both the lows and highs -- especially that silky, warm top end -- is nothing short of amazing. But it's still so transparent at the same time. The product doesn't color the sound to the point where it doesn't sound natural. It's so completely appropriate, useful and perfect. I have to give it up to Peter [Montessi, A-Designs' president]; he just totally nailed it. How does he do it?"
Although Boyette hasn't had much opportunity to use the A-Designs D.I. box in a live performance setting just yet, it's definitely on his mind. "I have some concert dates with Joe Walsh coming up that I'm so psyched to use the REDDI on. Based on what this thing has done in my studio, it's definitely going to be in my live chain; no question."
Clearly stricken with an incurable case of gear lust, the musician/engineer adds, "I see why my friend Ricky has four of these things. I love it on my bass. Seriously. It's quickly become an integral part of my sound. But now I want another one so I can start using them on drums and to record electric guitars in stereo. I'm dying to explore that; I'm sure it'll be insane."
A-Designs Audio is a boutique manufacturer of high-quality professional audio products, including the MP-A Series (all-tube microphone preamplifiers), Pacifica, REDDI (all-tube direct box), ATTY and ATTY2'D (passive line attenuators), EM Series (500 Series-compatible microphone preamplifier at EQ modules), and new HM2EQ HAMMER (dual mono, three-band tube equalizer). For more info, please contact A-Designs Audio at 818-716-4153 or visit www.adesignsaudio.com.
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A-Designs Audio, P.O. Box 4255, West Hills, CA 91304
Tel: 818-716-4153 / Fax: 818-716-4154