BAE Audio Preamplifiers Bring Steve Vai’s Commanding Performances to Life on New Live DVD, Stillness in Motion
For over 20 years, Steve Vai has dazzled audiences with both his virtuosic guitar playing and the compelling soulfulness of his compositions. But it was his discerning ear that lead him to BAE Audio’s preamplifiers and EQs — which he utilizes both on stage and in the studio and which feature prominently on his new live DVD and album Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A. The concert video, released last week, features footage from Vai’s epic set at Club Nokia during his 2012 U.S. tour – with a mix refined by the 1073 and 1028 preamplifiers from BAE Audio.
As a long time studio owner and gear aficionado, Vai conducted thorough tests before deciding on BAE Audio’s 1073 for his setup. He auditioned 10 top products, including a vintage competitor’s unit, a modern day circuit board replica, and BAE Audio’s 1073. “BAE has the smoothest and most responsive EQ I have ever heard,” he commented. “It just adds a beautiful air and is clearly superior. I tested the mic pres without any EQ and they come back fat, round and warm.” Critically, that warmth makes the BAE Audio 1073 an ideal companion for Vai’s signature guitar tone. “The edges aren’t too sharp and for the guitar that is so important,” notes Vai.
Bringing Life to Stillness
Vai and engineer/producer Greg Wurth used BAE Audio’s 1073 and 1028 extensively on the mix for Stillness in Motion. From the very first time Wurth pulled up the mix on his console, both Vai’s vocals and the vocals of guest vocalist Beverly McClellan were routed through the BAE Audio 1073. “The 1073 has that fixed 12k filter that always works nice for a vocal,” says Wurth. The guitars were routed through the BAE Audio 1028 to take advantage of its nuanced EQ section. “I like all the different frequency selections there,” explains Wurth. The 1028 also came in handy on the two sets of room microphones, which were set up to capture some of the ambience of L.A.’s Club Nokia. “I love to have the filters right there so I can roll off all the low-end rumble from a live show,” says Wurth. “I use the 1028’s filters a lot to take away problematic frequencies and focus in on the registers that you’re trying to emphasize.”
For Vai, BAE Audio’s preamplifiers accomplish a level of warmth and clarity that no competitor can match. “BAE is the clear winner, simply stunning – kind of magical,” he says. For Wurth, BAE Audio gear is an indispensible part of the signal chain in the mixing room. “We relied a lot on this gear to give a little life to key tracks on Stillness in Motion,” he explains.
The sonic attributes that BAE Audio’s preampflifiers are able to achieve are the result of careful construction and component sourcing, according to CEO and owner Mark Loughman. “It’s all discrete and completely hand-wired,” he explains. “We have gone to the original component suppliers to continue the legacy of units like the 1073.” BAE Audio has been taking the industry by storm since 2000, when they became the first company to remanufacture the legendary but long-discontinued 1073 preamplifier and EQ. They have since expanded their lineup with high-quality recreations of many other classic preamplifiers, EQs, and DIs.
Watch Greg Wurth discuss BAE Audio gear on Stillness in Motion here:
Stillness in Motion: Vai Live in L.A is currently available in 2-DVD or 2-CD sets and digitally. Vai continues to tour with his “Alien Guitar Secrets Master Class” and will host his second Vai Academy this August in Vail Colorado from August 2-6. For more information, visit vaiacademy.com