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HENDERSONVILLE, TENNESSEE: Well into his fourth decade as a country star - he made his first televised stage appearance at the age of seven, sharing the stage with the legendary Flatt & Scruggs duo - Ricky Skaggs is still going strong. He records all of his studio work at Skaggs' Place, his one room facility located in Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville.

Ricky also maintains an active performing schedule, and is always looking to improve the quality of audio he delivers to his audience. Several months ago Skaggs played a date at the Charleston Music Hall, which had recently been refurbished. He liked the sound of the hall so much that he asked the owners if they would be interested in having him record live. Management jumped at the opportunity, and the result, "Ricky Skaggs Live at the Charleston Music Hall," due for release late in 2003, featured six Neumann KMS 105 microphones and an eight-channel True Precision mic-pre.
Skaggs has long been a Neumann fan, according to Lee Groitzsch, who is one of the studio engineers at Skaggs' Place. A real Neumann aficionado, Ricky makes use of Neumann Tube and FET 47, 67s, 89s, 87s, KM 66s, and his newly acquired KMS 105 in virtually all of his studio recordings.
"There's a group of us who engineer Ricky's work - Brent King, Alan Schulman and Steve Chandler. Most of us use the Neumann 47 for Ricky's main vocals. It really sounds great on him," says Groitzsch. Skaggs prefers to work with a trio of male background singers. Using the same mic for them tends to color all of the vocals the same way. To avoid this tonal blur, the engineers generally use a Neumann 67 on the background singers. "Using a Neumann 67 on these tracks makes it easier for us to pull the background vocals out of a mix."
Skaggs, noted for his mandolin playing, has long searched for a microphone that can reproduce the upper frequency range of the instrument on stage without sounding too bright. "We've been searching high and low for a microphone that works just right on his mandolin. The 105 we used on the Three Pickers show stood up very, very well - so well, in fact, that we're going to use it in the studio. It's easy for a mandolin to end up sounding brittle, or pointy, but the 105 remained smooth throughout the instrument's entire register."
The upper register of the fiddle- particularly when it's been reproduced and delivered into a large venue that hasn't had its reflective surfaces treated properly, can also cause severe problems. "The 105 let us capture all of the high end in a very natural way. We thought we might have to use some EQ to roll out some of the section's upper frequencies, but it wasn't necessary. We also used a 105 on Ricky's vocal. He really liked the way it treated the timbre of his voice. Once again, to create a varied vocal texture we used a different mic on the three background singers."
Logistics often influence the choice of equipment used on a live recording. Skaggs decided not to bring a truck to the Charleston show. Instead, the engineering staff hand carried all of the equipment into the venue, including the True Precision 8 mic-pre they had not used prior to this date. The Precision 8's small footprint was a factor, but quality has made it a part of Ricky Skaggs recording studio equipment list. "I used the Precision 8 again this last weekend on the Three Pickers concert Ricky recorded with Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. I put it on Doc's two guitar inputs, his grandson's mic and direct input box. "The results were stunning. I look forward to mixing this date because it just sounds so good! The sound of the Precision 8 is extremely transparent. We choose a lot of mic-pre's for their color or characteristic. This time, we wanted the instruments to be the focal point. The Precision 8 was perfect because it didn't have any influence at all on the signal."
Neumann's award winning line of microphones has set the standard in the industry since 1928. In 1999, Neumann received the prestigious Technical Grammy(r) for their 70 years of innovation in microphone design and contribution to the music industry. A continuing commitment to provide innovative, technically refined products and engineering solutions of proven quality ensures that Neumann's stature will remain unassailable.

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TRUE Systems Testimonials

"The P-SOLO Ribbon, which comes in at well under $700.00, is performing at a level that's comparable to mic pres that cost five times as much."
Lee Groitzsch

"It's all about standing on the front line of where music is today and capturing the band's true sound with TRUE mic pres."
Chris Shepard

"The Neumann and the P2 Analog is the perfect combination to make the piano sound like it should."
Trinidad Sanchez III,
The Rippingtons

"The Precision 8 is very transparent sounding and very accurate. It's an excellent piece of equipment."
Marc Fuller, Grammy-nominated for Kanye West’s "College Dropout"

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