Home » M-Powered Artists » Tom Spaulding

Tom Spaulding

Artist Info
Tom Spaulding

M-Audio Gear :
Keystation 49es, Strike 2 by AIR Music Technology, Studiophile Q40

Selected Artist Credits:
Trisha Yearwood, LeAnn Rimes, Aerosmith

Over his long career, ace guitar technician Tom Spaulding has amassed an impressive list of credits including Trisha Yearwood, The Mavericks, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Roy Parnell and Aerosmith. Spaulding started off as a representative for Gibson Guitars, but his vast knowledge of gear and technology allowed him to leave the corporate life and begin touring with some of the biggest names in country and rock music. Besides his work as a guitar tech, Spaulding is also an in-demand producer and always turns to M-Audio gear when making music on the road.

Tom Spaulding
Guitar Technician (Trisha Yearwood, The Mavericks, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Roy Parnell, Aerosmith)

You have a wide variety of microphones available to you. Why did you decide upon the M-Audio Sputnik and Pulsar IIs?

After Bil VornDick (Bob Dylan, T-Bone Burnett, Bela Fleck) gave the Pulsar II mics the thumbs up, I no longer needed to find Neumann KM84s. I’ve used Pulsar IIs on strummed acoustic guitars, drum overheads, mandolins and fiddles. They have incredibly smooth highs and tight bottom-ends.

The Sputnik is my go-to vocal mic. I love the fat and forward sound that doesn’t get harsh at the top end. And the price is simply a bonus! If it didn’t sound good, I wouldn’t use it—no matter what the cost. Great mics like the Sputnik have helped me realize that the gear does make a difference in the end result. It can be inspiring for a player or singer to hear their instruments running into a great mic and preamp.

As a touring artist, how do you continue to do production work while on the road?

While on the road, I travel with my MacBook Pro, a Fast Track USB or Black Box Reloaded, Pro Tools M-Powered and Pulsar IIs. I’ve mixed tracks in the back lounge of a tour bus, the locker room of a sports stadium and many, many hotel rooms around the world. Since the Pro Tools format is the industry standard, I can get everyone’s tracks, hop on the plane and start editing/mixing immediately.

I also use the M-Audio Studiophile Q40 headphones. I’ve been waiting for the day when a set of headphones could actually sound like having studio monitors strapped to your head. The Q40 headphones do just that! I had to turn the iTunes EQ off on my MacBook Pro—I was boosting the low end and adding some gain to compensate for my Sony 7506 phones in noisy environments. The Studiophile Q40s provided much better imaging, isolation and bass. Compared to the Sony headphones, everything sounded better flat.

What’s in your arsenal while recording and mixing?

I’ve used the ProjectMix I/O on three different projects so far. I’ve found the internal pres clean and uncolored. When recording guitars and bass, I’ll go directly into the ProjectMix and use the front panel guitar jack for jotting down quick ideas. It works great with Pro Tools M-Powered and oftentimes I’ll use plug-ins for amp simulations. I’ve never experienced an issue with connections or drivers. While traveling, it makes grabbing drum tracks easy. It’s amazing having 8 mic pres, two headphone jacks and faders—all of which you can tuck under your arm.