Grace Design Newsletter - April 2004
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<<Grace Design News>>

Crystalphonic installs Grace Design m906
Control room B at Crystalphonic

Crystalphonic Recording Studios, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a world-class studio complex that caters to music clients both on the local and national level. The multi-room facility is equipped with the finest in digital and analog technologies and now includes a recently installed m906 5.1 monitor controller as the primary monitor control system for the studio’s B-room. The m906 is used in a 5.1 configuration and is primarily sourced from a large Digidesign Pro Tools|HD rig.

The m906 is a stand-alone, high fidelity 5.1 surround monitoring system and is comprised of three system components; a 2U, 19” rack mount I/O and processing mainframe, a remote control unit and an external half-rack linear power supply. Multiple analog and digital inputs are provided for both 5.1 and stereo sources. Digital formats include AES3, ADAT, S/PDIF and Optical, and incorporates Grace’s latest generation, ultra low distortion 24-bit, 192kHz D/A converter technology. Two 5.1 control room outputs and up to three stereo pair outputs are provided with individual channel solo/mute capability. Comprehensive system calibration tools allow users to fine tune input levels, individual inter-channel balance and control room output levels. Other features include a built in reference headphone amplifier with dual outputs and a talkback mic input with an associated TB switch for communicating with talent in the studio.

“Crystalphonic initially chose the m906 based on the high quality of Grace’s other products. We own a number of Grace pieces and find them to be without measure. I figured the m906 would be a very flexible and convenient surround monitoring system but what I discovered after installing it simply blew me away” noted Crystalphonic owner Kevin McNoldy. “The m906 is the best monitoring solution I’ve ever heard, bar none. The system, when combined with a great set of speakers, gives an entirely new dimension to recorded music. I give the m906 the best compliment I can possibly give to a piece of pro-audio gear – I simply refuse to mix without it. As with all our Grace equipment choices, Crystalphonic will end up owning multiple units.”

The m906 has an SRP of $5,995 (USD). Click here to learn more about the m906 5.1 monitor system.

For more information on Crystalphonic Recording Studios, visit

the main tracking room at chrystalphonic

<<Dealer Spotlight >>

Founded in 1987 in NYC, Tekserve originally opened its doors as an Apple computer repair/ service business. As the Macintosh computer quickly became the de facto standard for professional Audio and Video production, Tekserve expanded their business to include sales and consulting for a wide range of peripheral A/V products.

Grace Design signed Tekserve on as a dealer in 2003, and we are constantly impressed with every aspect of their business. Their pro audio sales department is based on the old school, customer service oriented, pre ‘box house’ style model. The staff at Tekserve are highly educated, and they work very hard to learn about and develop real relationships with their customers.

We are lucky to catch up with Mr. Chris Payne, the director of the Pro Audio department at Tekserve. Thanks for your time Chris!

Q. How did you end up with Tekserve? Could we get a little of your background?
Hello! I actually started with Tekserve in July of 2002. I moved over from the old Sam Ash Professional location on 1600 Broadway. The basic concept for Tekserve Pro Audio was to start and develop a high-end, professional audio sales division, focusing on Digidesign Pro Tools systems. We immediately started to add other Pro manufacturers that helped solidify us as a formidable, professional audio reseller. Some of the other manufacturers include Grace Design (my personal favorite), Genelec, TC Electronic, Eventide, Dynaudio Acoustics, Focusrite and Blue Microphones. Our main selling point at Tekserve is to deliver completely installed and functional workstations. We do the entire system setup in-house and deliver the customer a fully tested and working system.

Q. Being a computer sales and service business first, Tekserve’s pro audio department seems to be focused around selling/ supporting high end DAWs- namely Pro Tools. Has your expansion into general pro audio sales (mics, outboard etc…) been largely successful?
It is slowly growing. Since there was no real Pro Audio presence at Tekserve earlier, it has taken time to get the word out that we are more than just the computer facility. It has taken some time, but we are now beginning to see the fruits of our labor.

Q. Can you tell us a little about your staff in the pro audio division?
Sure. There is myself and my charming assistant Abby, who handles all of the incoming customer calls and helps qualify our customers. Our two senior Audio Technicians are Ron Thomson and Derek Davis. Ron and Derek perform all of the audio system configurations at Tekserve. They also provide our audio customers with technical support and service. Between myself, Ron and Derek, we have close to 50 years experience in the audio recording industry. Then we have Karriem Shabazz and Lars Hoel, who work along side me with our audio specific sales. Lars, Karriem and Ron were sent out to Digidesign late last year for a full week of intense product info and sales training.

Q. What is the state of pro audio in NYC? What types of clients do you seem to interact with the most these days?
It really varies. We have such a diverse customer base here. Post Production, Large-scale Music Facilities. Also deal with many home based Producers/Engineers. I have been extremely blessed with a fantastic client base.

Q. Why did you decide to carry the Grace Design line of products? Why do our products make such a good fit for your company and your customers?

I like to think of Tekserve as a grass-roots company. While not family owned, it certainly feels like it is. I feel the same way about Grace. Not only are the products of the highest quality and caliber, I get the same feeling from their family as I do from my Tekserve family. That feeling of being able to provide the best products for your customers, while never forgetting about the customer as a person.

Q. We know that you have our new m906 and m904 systems available to demo to your customers. How has the response been to these new units?
So far, the response has been tremendous. People are really getting knocked off their seats, especially when they are listening to familiar source material that is now being sent through the unit(s). Transparent but very revealing. I have a feeling many of these customers will be re-mixing some tracks when they get their new units.

Please visit Tekserve online at

<<User's Spotlight >>

Leslie Ann Jones

Leslie at Skywalker Sound

Ace recording engineer Leslie Ann Jones works as the Director of Music Recording and Scoring at Skywalker Sound. While many engineers become well known for working in a particular style or niche, Leslie’s list of credits displays an incredible amount of stylistic variety and technical range. She easily goes from recording full orchestras for film scores to jazz combos to pop artists and everything in between. A tall order for any engineer, but Leslie Ann is more than your average engineer.

With an impossibly long list of credits to her name, a Grammy nomination, and a packed schedule of high profile sessions on her plate, we are quite honored to catch up with one of our heroines and a long time fan of our microphone preamplifiers. Thank you Leslie!

Q. I think we first met you when you were doing a microphone preamplifier shootout about seven years ago, at which time you were still working at Capital records. Can you give us a little overview of your current position at Skywalker?
It's a very right brain - left brain kind of job. I run the studio, which includes hiring and managing the staff, creating the budget, specifying equipment, booking sessions (with or without me as engineer), and in general helping to make people feel like they can't record anywhere else! Then I am still engineering and producing records as well, so I continue to be involved in the creative process, although not the 90 hours a week I was when you first met me at Capitol Studios. I enjoy doing both.

Q. Aside from being a ringleader at Skywalker, you also do a fair amount of work around the globe. Having such an amazing home base facility, do you find that makes you a bit spoiled when you go work elsewhere?
Absolutely, but I have always had the good fortune to work at wonderful facilities...ABC Recording Studios in LA with the first in-line automated faders, The Automatt with 3 wonderful studios, Capitol Studios..great rooms, and great staff, and now Skywalker. In between, I have done enough live gigs, both recording and live sound, to have an appreciation for just getting the job done regardless of the circumstances. The thing about a place like Skywalker's Scoring Stage, however, is the room is so good it is very easy to get a great sound right off the bat, and then you can just have fun trying new things. That is something I have never experienced anywhere else.

Q. To our delight, you requested that Capital Studios and Skywalker Sound purchase our microphone preamplifiers. In what part of your setup do you normally end up using our preamplifiers? And why?

Well, as the quote in one of your ads says, I take the 2 channel with me where ever I go as the front end for acoustic piano, along with a Summit EQ. But I use the 8 channel for many things...strings, woodwinds, even vocals sometimes. Besides having a wonderful sound they are very easy to use. Some pre-amps are too complicated...too many buttons.

Q. What are some of your favorite mic combinations with our preamplifiers
I had the 2 channel modified with a 6dB bump so it works well with any ribbon mike. I also use them with Neumann KM100's, KM84's, and TLM 170s

Q. Any exciting upcoming sessions you would like to tell us about?

Well, I am currently working on a project with The Punk Rock Orchestra..yes that's right, a 35 piece orchestra that does covers of punk rock songs. Just when I thought I'd done everything!

Leslie on the Skywalker Sound scoring stage tracking the Punk Rock Orchestra

Visit the Skywalker Sound homepage

<<Tech Talk >>
FAQ- What are the main differences between the lunatec V3 and the models 201 and 801 mic preamplifiers?

Like the model 101, the lunatec V3 uses the same amplifier architecture as the model 201/801, so it too exhibits essentially the same sonic character as all of the preamplifiers in our product line.

However, the lunatec V3 is designed as a portable microphone preamplifier, which makes it unique in the following ways:

Most notable are the lunatec V3’s field/ remote recording features, such as its high pass filters (4 frequency settings, 2 slope setting), low battery indicator lights, optional 12V T power and the M+S decoding matrix. Also, the lunatec V3’s chassis is specifically designed for portability and durability in the field.

The lunatec V3 is powered by an external 6 or 12VDC power source, which can be any rechargeable battery* or an external power supply (wall wart) which we provide as an option.
The lunatec V3, like the model 101, uses our 11 position rotary gain switch with a 10dB trim control for making fine gain adjustments.

And last but not least, the lunatec V3 is the only preamplifier in our lineup that features our latest high-resolution 24bit/192kHz A/D converters and our ANSRtm analog noise shaping dither technology for 16bit recording.

*Please visit for complete information on rechargeable power solutions.

<<Other News >>
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About Grace Design

Grace Design was established in 1994 and is a leading manufacturer of world-class hardware for the professional audio industry. Grace Design’s mission is to provide audio professionals with exceptionally engineered and built products coupled with best-in-class customer service. The product line currently consists of the model 801, 801R, 201, 101, Lunatec V3 microphone preamps, the model 901 reference headphone amplifier and the m904, m904B and m906 reference monitoring systems. The company’s customers include audio professionals in the music, film, television, live sound, education and corporate markets.

an inside view of our model 801 microphone preamplifier. click image to learn more.

Thanks for your continued support!
-The Grace Design Team

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