One year ago, Legendary Audio officially unveiled its Gold Channel, a fully-analog portable channel strip for vocalists capturing the tonal magic of an iconic microphone paired with a multi-million-dollar console. Having introduced the product during the height of a global pandemic, Legendary Audio had very little opportunity to allow potential customers to experience the Gold Channel for themselves; however, the manufacturer will soon resolve that by demonstrating the device at Summer NAMM.
On July 15 and 16, in booth #309 of Nashville’s Music City Center, Gold Channel co-designers Billy Stull and Kevin Burgin will guide interested show attendees through a personal experience with the product. Stull is well known as a veteran mastering engineer—referred to by the late Rupert Neve as a man with “golden ears”—who founded Legendary Audio to work with Rupert Neve on the Masterpiece Analog Mastering System. Burgin is a respected circuit designer that spent a decade working for Rupert Neve and was instrumental in the creation of the celebrated 5088 console, the Masterpiece Analog Mastering System, and many of the RND Portico Series products and Taylor guitar preamps.
Legendary Audio’s Summer NAMM exhibit will pair the Gold Channel with a common dynamic vocal microphone and a set of reference headphones to effectively demonstrate how the product can help even the most modest stage and studio environments replicate a vintage tube microphone used with a high-end console in a world-class recording studio. As an added bonus, show visitors that choose to hear their own or available voices through the product will be presented with a “Gold Channel Certificate” representing a $500 discount on the unit, which normally lists for $4,395 (USD).
Although the Gold Channel was originally designed for live performance applications, early adopters of the product have deployed it with stellar results on a wide variety of additional uses, including studio/home recording, mixing, mastering, broadcasting, audio restoration, voiceovers, re-amping, tube and tape saturation effects, podcasting, DAW interfacing, vinyl mastering, and more.
Two of the Gold Channel’s primary standout features include its Legendary Mic Sound control—which captures the nuances and sonic signature of a vintage Neumann U47, used by everyone from Lady Gaga, Adele, Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton to George Strait, The Beatles, David Bowie and Frank Sinatra—and Legendary Audio’s proprietary I.C.E. (In Case of Emergency) processor that can reduce or eliminate distortion in specific frequencies, control sibilance, tame vocal-chord over-modulation, and quickly suppress feedback.
Compliments from the professional audio community have been rolling in, including:
– “I.C.E. saved the day!… The Legendary Mic Sound adds beautiful, vintage/modern tone and texture to any input.” – Rob Fraboni (Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer for The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton)
– “There is a whole universe in that Legendary Mic Sound knob!” – Stuart Sullivan (Grammy Award-winning engineer for Sublime, Jimmy Vaughan, Willie Nelson)
– “Pretty pumped; so sick!” – FINNEAS (Grammy Award-winning artist/producer for Billie Eilish, Tove Lo, Selena Gomez)
– “Game-changer… blew my mind… unbelievable vocal channel. Every knob on this box does something good.” – Larry Chaney (producer/musician for Edwin McCain)
“We’ve taken an SM58 and the Gold Channel into a number of studios, put them up against their best vocal microphones, and consistently stunned engineers and musicians by winning the shootouts,” says Stull. “Seeing everyone’s first reaction always makes me smile because they can hardly believe their ears. We then run their favorite mics through the Gold Channel and they discover that it makes their prized condenser and ribbon microphones sound even better. The Gold Channel is a terrific tool for improving the whole mic locker.”
Designed to work with any standard dynamic or condenser mic, the Gold Channel’s extensive feature set starts with a super-high-quality preamp that sets new benchmarks in analog circuit design, including its ultra-low THD plus noise spec of 0.0007% (measured at 1kHz, -20dBu input, +30dB gain). No transformers are utilized in the preamp stage in order to deliver the clearest sound reproduction, and every circuit has been designed from the ground up—using a carefully chosen combination of the latest state-of-the-art semiconductors along with traditional ones—to create an incredibly pristine and versatile mic preamp.
A comprehensive list of other amenities and features makes the Gold Channel a valuable device for any professional singer, including the presence of a Hi-Pass Filter to eliminate rumble, plosives, mic handling and stage noise under 110 Hz. A sweepable three-band parametric equalizer allows the perfect amount of tonal shaping to take place, while an elegantly simple yet professional-grade compressor helps contain wild dynamics and enable intimate “breathy” vocals and other enhancements. Two effects loop circuits (HI-Z unbalanced and LO-Z balanced) are controllable via an included dual-button footswitch, allowing the singer to take control of their own effects onstage.
Housed in a striking purple powder-coated aluminum chassis measuring 17″ wide x 8.5″ deep x 3″ tall, the gold knob-studded Gold Channel features a sloped control panel and heavy-duty feet for tabletop or stage use, with ample clearance for cable runs below. Rear panel output connections include an XLR for main output, as well 1/4-inch jacks for monitor and headphone outs, while switches for +48V Phantom Power, ground/lift, line/mic level (main output) and a power switch round out the backside controls.
Each new product also comes with an added bonus: a unique user profile personally created by Stull. “Gold Channel owners can send us a vocal recording, or visit us personally if they’re able, and I will create a custom profile to maximize their individual voice,” he says. “I also supply them with recall reference sheet, so if the settings on their unit get changed, they’ll always have it on hand to restore their ideal sonic sweet spot.”
Although the Gold Channel is entirely analog in its signal path, Legendary Audio also offers a digital plug-in version of the product’s I.C.E. feature through Sonic Studio, renowned creators of digital pro audio software. Normally, the plug-in lists for $89, but Legendary Audio and Sonic Studio are currently offering a $49 Summer NAMM special on the I.C.E. plug-in, which can be accessed via: https://bit.ly/legendarynamm49
Designed and manufactured in Texas, Legendary Audio’s Gold Channel is available both in the USA and around the world via the international distributor list found on the manufacturer’s website. For more details on the product, please call (512) 289-3428, send an email to [email protected], or visit www.legendaryaudio.com.
Legendary Audio is a boutique manufacturer of high-end audio products for mastering, archiving, recording, broadcast and live sound applications. Located on South Padre Island, Texas, the company is the manufacturing sibling of Masterpiece Mastering.