May 1, 2017 – Guitarist Tim Pierce has recorded and toured with some of the biggest names in the industry since first moving to LA at age 20 to pursue his dreams of becoming a session musician. His credits include Crowded House, Christina Aguilera, Seal, and many more. Having left his mark on countless recordings throughout the 80s, 90s, and 2000s, Pierce remains a busy session musician into this decade, but has diversified his output with his extensive Tim Pierce Guitar Masterclass subscription video series, featuring over 400 instructional guitar videos and counting. His YouTube channel, which recently surpassed 100,000 subscribers, further augments his growing online presence as an educator.
To capture singing guitar solos and tight rhythm parts for both his session clients and his subscribers, Pierce relies on BAE Audio’s 1073MP preamp with the Steve Stevens blend mod, which delivers a classic sound that meets and exceeds the quality of the vintage preamps that inspired them.
An Ear for the Classics
Pierce is no stranger to iconic studio gear. Recording both at home and in many of the top studios around the world at different points in his career, he is well acquainted with the sound of vintage gear. “I’ve owned every kind of pre at some point, including vintage 1073s, so I’m very familiar with what they sound like,” he says. “The BAE Audio 1073MP sounds just like the original vintage units, but with a better top end.” Pierce elaborates: “They’re somehow even more open in the high frequencies.”
Hand-wired in California to the exacting specifications of beloved vintage designs, BAE Audio’s preamplifiers feature the same circuitry and Carnhill St. Ives transformers that helped the original 1073 find its way into so many studios, large and small, around the world.
Recording the majority of his session work as well as audio for his video classes in his home studio in LA these days, Pierce utilizes two channels with both mics fed through the 1073MP to create a radio-ready guitar sound. “A great guitar sound to me has a really strong midrange, a tight bottom end, and a top end that’s full of air,” he says. To achieve this he utilizes two differently-voiced speaker cabinets simultaneously, a 4x12” and a 1x12”, running out of the same amplifier. Each cabinet is miced with both a dynamic microphone and a ribbon microphone for a variety of tonal options.
Both mics are fed directly through Pierce’s 1073MP rack and then into an analog summing box, where Pierce adjusts each mic’s level until he finds the perfect complement before hitting Pro Tools.
A Sound Worth Committing To
For Pierce, committing to his guitar sound outside the box is stress-free because of how well the sound of his 1073MP preamps translates in any mix. “In order to punch through a mix, a guitar needs to have a really strong midrange, which the 1073MP gives it,” he says. “Any mixing engineer is probably going to take away some of the low end during the process, but the imprint from the 1073 is so strong that even when you’re competing with vocals, keyboards, drum, and bass guitar it still manages to poke through.”
He also notes the importance of the 1073MP’s smoothness in the high end. “That glassy top end really helps, too, especially on clean guitars that are going to be turned up a bit in the mix.”
Clarity in the Mix and in the Studio
Pierce says that he has traditionally changed his mind periodically about which preamps to use for guitar tracking, but the 1073MP has brought a new level of clarity to his decision making process over the past few years. “I’m using the 1073MP nearly 100% of the time now,” he says. “I’m almost in a state of disbelief about how good these preamps are.”
In his role as a teacher, he finds himself thinking a lot more about other guitarists and how they can achieve their goals. He sees the BAE Audio 1073MP as a worthwhile investment for anyone committed to the instrument. “If you’re a guitarist and you buy a 1073MP, I don’t think you’ll need anything else for the rest of your life,” he says. “It’s truly a lifetime purchase.”