From the left: Scheila Gonzalez Santiago (Dweezil Zappa), Bob Stander, Adam Minkoff (Dweezil Zappa , Doyle Bramhall II) and Ryan Brown (Dweezil Zappa) on the drums.
When Bob Stander purchased a 32-channel API 1608 console for Parcheesi Recording Studio at his home in Long Island, it was but the latest chapter in a long relationship with the brand that's accompanied him on his epic journey as a musician, engineer and producer.
Bob started Parcheesi Recording in 2005 with an inherited Sound Workshop Series 40 desk, filled with Paul Galburt-designed Super EQs and API transformers, later buying three API 3124+ four-channel mic preamps and a 2500 mix bus compressor. Having worked with API since encountering his first console almost 40 years ago, Bob is now extremely proud to have his very own desk, a 32-channel 1608 with API Final TouchTM moving fader automation.
"The 1608 has that instant 'record' sound, especially coupled with a 2500 mix bus compressor," he says. "It's just got a beautiful full sound, smooth and aggressive at the same time. The mic pre's and EQs are super musical sounding, and the automation is simple to operate and makes recalling a mix a breeze. For me, it's a dream come true, as API is my favorite-sounding console, hands down. And my clients love the sound!"
Bob started his recording career at a young age, confiscating a Revere mono tape recorder from his classical musician parents at the age of five. By 11, Bob was recording his band's rehearsals and gigs, persuading his dad to buy him a pair of Shure mics so he could record in stereo. Thus began an illustrious career both in front of and behind the mixing console. API entered his orbit around 1981. "I went to Bernard Fox's new room in Manhattan to apply for an engineering position, and I'll never forget the sound I heard in that control room that day," he remembers. "The desk looked huge and they were tracking a Salsa group, I remember thinking, my god, I've never heard bass like that. That was the API bottom that I love, always big, tight and just right."
Even though he didn't get the job, Bob did get to work on the same API desk every day for 10 years following a move back to New York in early 1990 to become the chief engineer of Avalon Studios in Queens. The vintage console, refurbished in white with 954C EQs, was purchased on Bob's recommendation by studio owner, Bill Ricciardi. "That's really where I learned the most about the API sound," Stander says. "It also helped being a huge Zappa fan and knowing some his recordings were done on API consoles. We had that API desk from 1991 until we unfortunately closed in 2001." This 40-input API had originally belonged to Wally Heider's Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco, where it was used for iconic recordings with bands including Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, as well as Joe Satriani's first three albums with John Cuniberti engineering.
Prior to opening Parcheesi Recording, Bob spent time at Applewild Farm in the Hamptons where owner Larry Schmid filled the studio with API mic preamps and EQs. "After recording on them for close to 10 years by now, this had become my sound," he remembers. Ownership of the new 1608 has made Bob's ties with API even stronger.
Like many recording gurus, the Covid-19 lockdown has proved to be an inspirational time for Bob. "I'm grateful to have been working right through with quite a few projects with my collaborators, whom I'm proud to call friends," he says. "I've finished mixing and mastering Ricky Byrd's third album that we coproduced, and started a jazz album, working remotely with everyone recording their parts at home. I'm finishing up a new blues CD, and I've been using the Listento by Audiomovers, which allows the client or whole band to listen at home while I play parts, overdub and or mix from my studio, and stream it in 16-32 bit audio with 0.1 ms of latency. I haven't slowed down like I thought I would. It is strange not having anyone here, but it's also been a peaceful quiet environment."
With a new API console, and an enhanced period of creativity, a whole new chapter of Bob's career is waiting to be written.
ABOUT API (AUTOMATED PROCESSES INC)
Established over 50 years ago, Automated Processes Inc is the world leader in analog recording gear, producing legendary recording consoles such as the Vision, Legacy AXS, 2448, 1608-II and THE BOX, as well as its line of analog signal processing equipment.