Renowned producer/mixer/engineers Matt Wallace and Devin Powers share their insight with us on the Altec 1567A and how they rely on it.
Devin Powers – (The Vents, Themes for Blind Date, Surreal Life, Classmates) “There are several ways to use the tone and Attitude of The ALTEC 1567a tube mixer. I will list my three faves.
First: Get three really good mics or even some standard 57s. Mic up your drum kit. One mic on the Kick, one on the snare, and one two feet or so above the whole kit. Using three inputs on the altec, blend them to taste and send it out the Mono output to your deck or protools rig.
You will be amazed how big and focused the drums will sound. It is breath-taking when you get the blend right. Very “Beatles/ Beachboys” dry delicious tones. Second: Patch the unit into your patch bay, send your drums and bass to it, return the Atlec and blend to taste. The eq on this mixer really has vibe. It will make the kick and the bass guitar really fat. They say it is a rather cheap eq, but it does not sound like it. Also try blending in other things (vocals, guitar). It really adds some magic to a sterile sound or a flat performance.
Third: Plug in your best tube mic and try tracking some vocals or acoustic guitar. This preamp EQ combo is robust and gritty. Adding some nice limiting at the end, of course, brings out all the harmonics the Altec delivers. You will notice that it sounds fat and perhaps not as clean as you might be used to, but the mix… wow!!! Altec 1576a tube mixer along with counterparts Ampex, and Magnecorder, they are gems waiting to be found and abused.
Fact: Most of the Motown records were recorded using Altec and Ampex mixers. They would blend all the instruments and send to the old 4 and 8 tracks tape machines of the day. When you use an Altec 1567A for the first time, you will hear the tones that we grew up with.
I love old gear, Tubes will never be replaced!!!!!! Love them while you can. A little dirt feels nice in your mix”