Val Garay on the Manley Core

Grammy award-winning producer Val Garay has had a long and varied career, working with artists as diverse as Kim Carnes, The Motels, Dolly Parton, Neil Diamond, Santana, and more, and was an early adopter of digital technologies. Garay: "In the beginning, we definitely had some struggles with the sound, and we’ve pretty much gone through every converter known to man. But over the years the sound of digital has improved tremendously.

"And a great performance is a great performance. As long as you’ve got a good mic and a great signal chain, that’s what matters."

Garay is quick to point out some of the obvious advantages of digital recording, however, commenting: "Back in the early ’80s, we recorded a song called ‘Only the Lonely’ with a group called the Motels. Martha (Davis, Motels’ singer) hit this one really nice note on one of the outtakes, and I really wanted to use it in the song. It took us two days to fly that part onto a two track and back to the multitrack. Today that would take 30 seconds."

One of the best things about the digital revolution has been the freedom to record anywhere, anytime, says Garay. "It’s funny – my good friend Leland Sklar said to me the other day that he never imagined at this point in his career that he’d be tracking bass in someone’s bedroom. I work with a number of session players remotely, and being able to send tracks back and forth makes working on a project so much easier." 

Continuing his early adoption of new technologies, Garay has been among the first to check out Manley’s new CORE channel strip, which features the same Class A Preamp circuitry found in the Manley VOXBOX, Dual Mono, and Mono Microphone Preamplifiers to integrate Manley’s compression, limiting, and EQ circuitires into a single package.

"For a lot of musicians, the CORE is ideal for tracking," says Garay. "In my rack here, I’ve got a whole lot of preamps, EQs, and compressors. But with the CORE, I can take just one unit and it’s got everything in the chain that I need. And the best part is, it’s all Manley quality. And the price isn’t out of this world. It’s a great introduction to the Manley sound, and Manley quality."