have to say, this is one of the most aesthetically
beautiful pieces of gear we've ever seen (very hard
to convey with a squished web pic). We also
know it is difficult to justify 120 bones on something
that you can't really gate a kick with, or fatten
up a sterile vocal track, or add a little shimmer
to a perfectly aged Martin acoustic, but there's
probably not much gear at that price we would want
to run our signal through anyway. You could
buy a couple of mic stands or an awesome mic cable
or massive amounts of board tape or 100 Sharpie
pens, stuff that is needed but holds no extreme
pleasure in its ownership.
the other hand, as the first prototype began to
take shape, we were blown away. What was once
a mental vision, was now becoming a very awesome
thing, many times what we had expected. The
Koa was unreal! The Sound Activation (Analogmic
Needlator) and sensitivity adjustment were perfect!
The Tele knobs were sweet and solid. The text,
which is silk-screened onto the Koa and made with
a clear ink mixed with a Bronze Dust/Powder, looked
excellent. The text, by the way, (TEXT
1 - TEXT
one of the hardest decisions... It was a crime
to start covering up the beautiful grain personality
of the Koa, so we opted for a gold/bronze text that
cuts through perfectly in certain lighting/certain
angles, and appears almost transparent in others,
letting the wood show its beauty. Very unintrusive.
WOOD: Grown only in Hawaii,
Koa is a very color dynamic hardwood. Every
piece has its own gift of grain and color... some
a dark sweeping wave similar to Walnut... some a
medium ripple, light golden brown... and others
a deep, rich, reddish tight grain. Plus, everything
in-between. Each one is truly unique and extremely
(A few words
about "Deforestation" and "Endangered
KNOBS: After an intensive search,
we found them! 60's Style Fender Telecaster
knobs, made from solid brass and coated in Real
Gold (somewhere between 0.5 & 24 Carat...we're
not exactly sure). These are the classic "flat-top"
design with a medium knurl perimeter--very solid
and rather shiny.
SOUND ACTIVATION (SPLAMP):
We started with a high-quality, bezel mount Hoyt
ST-315 Analog VU meter illuminated with a classic
amber bulb, and then added the SPLAMP (Sound Pressure
Level Activated Meter Processor); this is our own
design, specifically filtered to give us the needle
response we were looking for. On high sensitivity,
you can stand across a large room, talk normally,
and watch the dynamics of the needle bounce in rhythm.
If you start to really thump your "mains"
for that last listen before mixdown, just grab the
left Gold Tele Knob and dial it in a bit lower--it's
right back where it should be...
though, definitely did not come cheap. Good
Koa was difficult to find...the price of the meter
alone was brutal. We decided to make only
100 of the fully blown VC1960's with the Koa, Real
Meter, Sound Activation, etc.
you probably know, we are a fairly twisted company
that just loves the smell, taste?, sound and aesthetics
of gear--not to mention just doing weird stuff.
When we racked in the first VC proto and hit the
power switch, it was a done deal. It had to
be made. The needle was bouncing in rhythm,
the Koa was rich in depth, the bronze text sparkled
with life...it was awesome! It is now the
first thing we look at when entering the studio
and the last before turning off the lights.
If you want a very cool and beautiful piece of gear
to add to your collection, this is it...by far!
It will become one of your favorites.
that's the story of the Valvecaster 1960 and why
it exists. We had to do it!