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Though outfitted with a modern hard-disk recording setup and a 64-input Amek console, Invisible Sound’s control room is outfitted with plenty of vintage processors, including a Universal Audio 565 filter, a Roland SRE-555 Chorus Echo, MXR Pitch Transposers, Altec limiters and tube mixers/preamps, Spectra Sonics Complimiters, and racks from Lexicon, Yamaha, Roland, dbx, Joemeek, and Avalon. Photo by Tina Nachodsky
Of all the amps, what are your personal
Rinaolo: My ’62 offset Marshall is probably my favorite. It’s a remake of the first hand-wired JTM45 that Jim Marshall made.
Nachodsky: I like the specialty things, like the Gibson GA20. It’s sort of Gibson’s version of a Deluxe. I bought the second one because the first one was a ridiculous screamer—people don’t expect it to do what it does. We have two of those. The second one is just okay, though. For a long time, you couldn’t give Gibson amps away. Even now, they’re definitely not priced or valued like Fenders. Although the GA40 is a big one right now. I like the smaller stuff and the weird stuff, like the Magnatone Troubadour with the tremolo, or the Cordovox—which has a 10" guitar speaker and no horn, but it rotates. A Leslie has a horn and a 15" speaker, so it’s kind of the opposite of a guitar amp and it has its own sound. But you drive the Cordovox with another amp, and man, the brown Deluxe through that is ridiculous.
Rinaolo: It’s kind of hard to pick your favorite child. They all have a story about how we came by them—and that’s a whole other thing.
Nachodsky: There’s a particular one that I feel is possessed and I’m afraid to change the tubes in it—the 50-watt Super Lead JMP Marshall. There are certain models that are usually great to get, but then there are one or two of those that just excel.
Rinaolo: Then again, the player’s going to make the difference. And the song you’re recording makes a difference in what amp sounds the best or what drums sound the best. And when you have more than a hundred choices … we’ve had guitarists sit in the middle of the room and line guitar amps around them and play until they find what they want to put on the track.
Nachodsky: In a lot of contemporary rock guitar music, there’s not often one guitar track per guitar player—there are layers. So even if you have the best sound ever, if you’re layering different parts on top of each other they might not stack up in a good way. A lot of times guys will come in with their rig, which will be great, but when we get to the fourth guitar track we’ll say, “You have to use something else.” Not necessarily for the tone but for the difference in tone.