Image courtesy of Eventide
I’ve been working for the last few months with a great up and coming Soulful Hard Rock band called Dangerhole (amazing name). One piece of gear that keeps proving it’s usefulness during the creative tracking process is the Eventide Mixing Link.
The name “Mixing Link” is very apt name for this versatile piece of gear, as it can operate as a clean and very capable preamp (including phantom power) but also has the added benefit of allowing you to connect stomp boxes to the signal chain. In the past, I would have needed several pieces of gear if I had wanted to say connect a distortion stomp box to a high quality condenser microphone (try sticking that in front of a kick drum!). Not only does the Mixing Link make this effortless, it also has a host of additional features that make it even more useful, notably offering a mix knob to the amount of signal coming from the stomp box. So if your distorted kick drum is a bit too bombastic, you can mix the distortion with the clean signal to find just the right balance.
When tracking drums for Dangerhole, we started out with a basic drum setup that sounded great, but was missing grit to tie it in with the heavy distorted guitars. I placed a Placid Audio Copperphone (a very cool sounding lo-fi mic made from vintage AM radio and telephone components) between the snare and kick, then routed to the Mixing Link. I then connected a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 pedal to the FX loop and we were immediately greeted with a dirty, lo-fi channel that added terrific edge to the kick and snare.
While recording guitar overdubs, one of the tracks was calling out for some kind of eerie pad, so we connected the guitarist to a ’50s era Silvertone amp, then parked our trusty Placid Audio Copperphone about three feet from the amp. I then routed the Copperphone into the Mixing Link, then connected a Boss TE-2 Tera Echo and Electroharmonix Holy Grail Reverb pedal (set to spring) to the FX loop. The Tera Echo is a very interesting delay and ambience pedal. Boss doesn’t divulge much about how it works, but to my ears it sounds like a filtered delay that at higher feedback settings moves into delay/reverb territory, and the Holy Grail is a fantastic sounding reverb pedal. When doubling the main riff, this new sound was almost reminiscent of church bells which perfectly complemented the brooding feel of the track, and with the mix knob we were able to get just the right balance of dry and effected signals.
Beyond the capabilities of connecting effects pedals, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the preamp in the Mixing Link. It is clean and noticeably quiet even at very high gain settings. Speaking of gain, it has both a low and high gain switch, and it had no problem providing ample volume to several dynamics I’ve tried (which often need a lot of gain to get them to a useable level). I would have no qualms using this as a standalone preamp if my other options were in use.
One final feature I haven’t had the chance to try is connecting to an amplifier by means of the dedicated Amp Output, which I could see a very useful to create a second FX loop for a guitar or easily connecting an acoustic instrument to an amp with the bonus of a blendable effects chain. Back in my experimental electronic days I used to connect my saxophone through several pedals and I wish this had been available at the time.
In summary, Eventide should be commended for making a terrific sounding, quality piece of gear that has tons of creative uses in the studio. Now go connect some pedals and get tracking!
Dangerhole will be releasing their EP in the Spring of 2015. For more info please visit dangerhole.com