Dave Carlock includes A-Designs Audio's mic pre in minimalist recording setup
Since founding his production company, 27 Sounds, in 2003, producer/ engineer/ multi-instrumentalist/ songwriter Dave Carlock (Rancid, The Transplants, Blink 182, Pink) has developed a roster of pop/rock artists, writing and recording several EPs out of his Woodland Hills studio, 27 Space. Carlock is a multi-faceted producer with a true pop, rock, R&B and punk pedigree backing up his current production work crafted with a very selective equipment setup at 27 Space.
"What I'm doing with 27 Sounds is applying the DIY approach I found in the punk rock world--that incredible energy and dedication to making music just to make it--to these new artists," says Carlock. "And I'm striving to improve on that formula by having really good go-to gear set up and ready to record, rather than relying on a looser, more punk rock 'just throw up a mic and go for it' approach. Still, I am keeping it rather minimalist as far as equipment goes--just a few familiar and really high quality pieces of equipment. I want to keep my mic chain pristine and just go for the energy of the performance. This approach has allowed me to deliver production values to indie artists and unsigned artists that was once restricted to artists with major-label budgets, and that's exciting."
Among the trusted set is the A-Designs Audio Pacifica dual-channel solid-state mic preamp, which Carlock has been using consistently since he got it over a year ago. "I was used to my tube pres but wanted something different that could complement the other main mic pre I use," Carlock shares. "The Pacifica fits really well into my setup, giving me the tighter bottom end I was looking for as well as, image-wise, a more solid signal quality. Where the other tube pre might give me more 'funkiness', the Pacifica works really well on vocals and--what I like using it most on--piano."
As a keyboardist, guitar and bass player, drummer and vocalist himself, Carlock is a very song- and performance-oriented producer/engineer, another factor in his spacious, rather than technology-laden, studio. Carlock got his start in Manhattan as a songwriter and vocalist--first credited on George LaMond's debut album--and as a writer, recording engineer and mixer for NYC bands. Carlock began to stand out as an engineer for his early Pro Tools chops and, upon moving to Los Angeles, it was his particular knack for getting natural sounding vocals that landed him session after session. He worked on several projects with LA pop/rock master producer Greg Ladanyi, including The Tubes and Jo Davidson. Eventually teaming up with legendary punk musician/producer Tim Armstrong of Operation Ivy, Rancid, and the Transplants, Carlock worked on albums with Bad Religion, Rancid, the Transplants, Matchbook Romance and, later, Blink 182 and Pink.
Now producing pop/rock artist types under 27 Sounds like Desiree Cuchiara, Shevyn, Jackie Ray and 14-year old Shelby Spalione, Carlock and studio are going constantly. He records and mixes six-song EPs in Pro Tools HD for these artists, sets up iTunes distribution and shops them to record labels. Reliable gear is of the utmost importance in such a productive room. "The Pacifica is set up under the piano in my studio all the time so I'm always ready to record piano, and then I also do vocal sessions in the same room, so I can go right into it for vocals as well," Carlock explains. "I've been using it for vocals on this summer's Desiree Cuchiara release, Deeelish, and I also used it on a 13-piece string session for Jackie Ray's Dragonfli Baby. I'm using it on all my 27 Sounds recordings!"
The A-Designs Pacifica mic pre is based on the solid state-age designs of the Quad Eight Ventura, Coronado and Pacifica console preamps--the best examples of the unique 'Quad Eight Sound' of the '70s. The Pacifica is a single rack space, dual (mono/mono) channel mic pre that comes amazingly close to the original in looks and sound, adding the targeted 'more top end' and some improvements on the originals for modern day recording applications. The Pacifica features two front panel active Hi-Z 1/4" inputs for Direct Inject, custom input and output transformers, and phase, -20 dB Pad and 48V switches.