Rob Roy is the recording engineer and audio producer who built the current Power Station Recording Studios in Pompano Beach, FL using the acoustic design expertise of his friend and business partner Tony Bongiovi, who’s known for the legendary Power Station in New York (now called Avatar).
Rob joined forces with Bongiovi Entertainment in the nineties and has a background in developing strategic funding and production opportunities for various projects. He currently operates and manages Power Station’s studio in Pompano Beach, FL. Rob is also involved in business development opportunities for Power Station’s parent companies, Bongiovi Acoustics and Bongiovi Medical.
As Director of Studio Operations at Power Station Recording Studios, Rob Roy maintains the studio’s tradition of recording excellence using a wide range of carefully chosen equipment including the legendary 72-channel Neve 9098i. And his latest addition is LEWITT’s next-gen LCT 640 TS multi-pattern microphone, which allows any kind of polar pattern to be realized dynamically – even after the fact.
[LEWITT] You recently started using the LCT 640 TS in your studio; please tell us about your experiences with the microphone so far...
When it came in, I wasn’t really sure what to make of it – because you see all these products out there where software and hardware kind of meet. I’ve heard many of them, but what ends up happening with such products is that one side of the thing – whether it’s the hardware-side or the software-side – carries all the weight. What I feel is completely different about the LCT 640 TS is that you get high-quality hardware and really cool software. Before I’d even touched the software, I looked at the microphone itself, especially the dual-output design that provides the signals from the capsule’s front and back diaphragms separately. And the first thing I noticed about the microphone that actually got my attention was that it sounds amazing. If you look at modern production today, you need to have that really slick, clean, tight, punchy microphone vocal sound – because if you’ve got that, you can do anything with it.
I first ran it through a Millennia preamp and noticed how transparent and detailed the mic sounds, and that the connectivity between the frequencies was very smooth yet very detailed. Usually, with microphones like this, I hear these artificial peaks at 3kHz or 5kHz, and the thing that really impressed me about the LCT 640 TS was that it was very linear and smooth, which allowed me to get everything out of it that I wanted.
Next, I took it and put it into a Neve 1084 preamp, since I wanted to see what would happen with an analogue EQ that’s not nearly as clean as the Millenia. One thing I like about Neve equipment, whether I’m using the modules or consoles, is that it adds an element of harmonic content that may or may not have been audible before. Some people call that color, but what I hear is the harmonic content. Now, with the LCT 640 TS and the 1084, I started hearing not just the harmonic content, but also how it was possible to go in and EQ right into certain areas without having any harmonic phase issues on the top side or on the low side – everything stayed really workable.
Then I took the LCT 640 TS and ran it through a really inexpensive mic preamp that retails at $150 … I just wanted to see how the LCT 640 TS would perform. So I took that really crappy mic preamp, which sounded really grainy and noisy – not even signal noise, just ugly – and because this mic is so clean and linear in its frequency response, it made this inexpensive mic preamp sound like a $2,500 unit … it was ridiculous! So that was the thing that really won me over to this particular microphone and got my attention from the get-go.
After that, we tried a lot of different things: we recorded vocals and acoustic guitars, we tried it as a room mic, and we compared it to the old Coles ribbon mics – which we use when we’re tracking drums – and it was a really interesting comparison. It didn’t sound like the Coles by any means, but the distance that you’re able to get between the left and right side, micing room sound with only one mic … it was uncanny, the separation I got in the mix and the latitude I had in playing around with the room sound.
So take all of that, and then combine it with the software aspect! With the ability to shift between the different polar patterns, the first thing that caught my attention was really interesting: one of the things I’m really passionate about is education, teaching people how to use the tools. So my first thought was that it’s a great tool to teach the differences between the different polar patterns, enabling you to train your ears to hear the differences. The second thing I found with the Polarizer plugin was that when I performed a piece of music in the live room and captured it with the microphone, I was able to fix anomalies – ones that were almost unfixable using the normal techniques – by using the Polarizer plugin after the fact, and that was really cool. The third thing is that when you get into a situation where time is money and money is not plentiful, sometimes you have to do load-and-go recording, and in situations like that, you often don’t have the time to pick up the perfect microphone or the perfect position. So you get it into the mix and, all of a sudden, you think: “Shit, I should have done a Figure-8 or I should have done this, I should have done that...” And in these kinds of situations, it’s really good to have a microphone like the LCT 640 TS, which sounds amazing and provides you with the tools to figure out what sounds better and what fits better into the mix – Is it mid-side, is it figure-8, is it cardioid, hypercardioid? Or whatever it is that fits the character of the mix from a frequencies and performance standpoint. So that’s one of the things I observed with the polarizer plugin that made this microphone totally stand out from all the other stuff I’d seen out there. Plus, the microphone is worth twice its retail price, in my opinion.
[LEWITT] Are there any final comments you’d like to make about LEWITT?
Looking at what LEWITT has to offer today, in the marketplace in which we live, at the price point they've chosen, and with the quality they’re putting out: I’m blown away! There are a lot of other modelling microphones and similar things that I really don’t like. And the LCT 640 TS trumps all of those mics, plus what you get is real hardware. So I’ll be watching LEWITT from here on out, because I’m interested to see what product lines will come out next. This looks to be a company that will revolutionize the options that studios have when building a mic locker.