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Gates Sta-Level
Old 25th July 2016
  #1
Steven Antoniazzi
 
127Riot's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Gates Sta-Level

Hello Sylvia!

How have you been using your Gates Sta Level lately?
I have mainly used it for Bass Gtr tracking but recently put it on an overdriven guitar for a mix, it worked out really well. Any tips or tricks you can share with us on using the Sta?

Thanks for being here.

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Old 2nd August 2016
  #2
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Still a Sta-Level Fan!

I was first introduced to the technique of using broadcast compressors for music recording around 1993. What a revelation! That discovery sent me on a radio station treasure hunt which I describe in this thread:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-sy...ml#post9830120

I managed to buy a whole truckload of vintage broadcast compressors during that time, and kept some of the best, while selling off the rest. Among the best of that haul? Gates Sta-Levels. I kept almost all the Sta-Levels.

I imagine the Sta-Level to be a burly good choice for distorted guitar, because it won't sound "pinched". And like you, I find the soft control of the Gates Sta-Level to be a no-brainer for bass guitar, but I mainly use my Sta-Levels on vocals. They have a slightly different character than my other favorite, the Universal Audio 175B. The Sta-Level is a bit deeper and rounder, so it is an excellent choice to balance out the shrill timbre of a female voice that needs to be toned down. However, the Sta-Level will enhance a male voice by exaggerating it's deeper god-like overtones. I packed one of my Sta-Levels in a suitcase and took it to Nashville to record Johnny Cash's vocals for the "Unchained" album. It captured the bold yet vulnerable humanity in Johnny's baritone voice. One of the songs we recorded was "I've Been Everywhere" in which you'll hear the strength of the Sta-Level on Johnny Cash's voice.

I've included a few session photos from the Johnny Cash sessions. Rick Rubin produced, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was Johnny's back-up band, I engineered. That is Johnny and Rick in the polaroids. I took them then drew on them while they were developing. And the black and white photo was taken by photographer Martin Atkins while we were recording at Sound City circa 1996. You'll see Johnny, Rick, Tom Petty (walking out of the picture), Carl Perkins (seated), Tom's tech (damn if I could remember his name!) and me setting up a mic.
Attached Thumbnails
Gates Sta-Level-1johnnycash1-e1386012269164.jpg   Gates Sta-Level-1rickrubin1-e1386011327839.jpg   Gates Sta-Level-johnnycashsessions.jpeg  
Old 3rd August 2016
  #3
Steven Antoniazzi
 
127Riot's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Sta's

Quote:
Originally Posted by SylviaMassy View Post
I was first introduced to the technique of using broadcast compressors for music recording around 1993. What a revelation! That discovery sent me on a radio station treasure hunt which I describe in this thread:

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/q-sy...ml#post9830120

I managed to buy a whole truckload of vintage broadcast compressors during that time, and kept some of the best, while selling off the rest. Among the best of that haul? Gates Sta-Levels. I kept almost all the Sta-Levels.

I imagine the Sta-Level to be a burly good choice for distorted guitar, because it won't sound "pinched". And like you, I find the soft control of the Gates Sta-Level to be a no-brainer for bass guitar, but I mainly use my Sta-Levels on vocals. They have a slightly different character than my other favorite, the Universal Audio 175B. The Sta-Level is a bit deeper and rounder, so it is an excellent choice to balance out the shrill timbre of a female voice that needs to be toned down. However, the Sta-Level will enhance a male voice by exaggerating it's deeper god-like overtones. I packed one of my Sta-Levels in a suitcase and took it to Nashville to record Johnny Cash's vocals for the "Unchained" album. It captured the bold yet vulnerable humanity in Johnny's baritone voice. One of the songs we recorded was "I've Been Everywhere" in which you'll hear the strength of the Sta-Level on Johnny Cash's voice.

I've included a few session photos from the Johnny Cash sessions. Rick Rubin produced, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was Johnny's back-up band, I engineered. That is Johnny and Rick in the polaroids. I took them then drew on them while they were developing. And the black and white photo was taken by photographer Martin Atkins while we were recording at Sound City circa 1996. You'll see Johnny, Rick, Tom Petty (walking out of the picture), Carl Perkins (seated), Tom's tech (damn if I could remember his name!) and me setting up a mic.
Your detailed answers are always appreciated Sylvia, I will be sure to give the song "I've been everywhere" a good listen. The Sta inspired me to pick up another old broadcast comp, the Collins 26-U it's a bit different than the round, bold, sound of the Sta. The 26-U has more of a smooth dimensional finesse to it and can really pump out some sweet distortion when pushed to do so. Thanks for the insight and thank you for sharing the pictures as well as your hand drawn illustrations.
Old 3rd August 2016
  #4
Lives for gear
 
retractablezing's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SylviaMassy View Post
One of the songs we recorded was "I've Been Everywhere" in which you'll hear the strength of the Sta-Level on Johnny Cash's voice.
hi Sylvia, no to derail the thread but, was the SM7 featured on John's vocal along with the Sta-Level most of the time? I think i remember seeing a picture of an RCA 74B as well, but i suppose it could be a promo shot. Thanks for the hindsight.
Old 4th August 2016
  #5
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Collins 26-U

Nice score on the Collins!
The 26-J and the 26-U, both awesome units.
Also look for Gates SA-39b, CAA LA-1D, Gates Level Devil, RCA BA-6A ~~~
mmmm and the old Western Electric stuff!
Old 4th August 2016
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Dpro's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SylviaMassy View Post
Nice score on the Collins!
The 26-J and the 26-U, both awesome units.
Also look for Gates SA-39b, CAA LA-1D, Gates Level Devil, RCA BA-6A ~~~
mmmm and the old Western Electric stuff!
Sylvia what is your opinion on the Orban 418a?
Old 5th August 2016
  #7
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Orban and Symetrix

From my experience so far, the Orban and Symetrix broadcast stuff is not nearly as interesting as the RCA, Western Electric, Gates, Collins and CBS equipment. I am mostly familiar with the blue-faced Orban gear. But hey, all gear is welcome...
Old 5th August 2016
  #8
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Johnny Cash Vocals

In response to the question about the Shure SM7 being used for Johnny Cash's vocals. Not sure about other sessions, but the vocal recording I did with Johnny were Telefunken U47 with Sta-Level. No photos were taken of those recordings, unfortunately. But the memories remain!
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