Tell us a bit about who you are and where you come from – what is your background?
Well, I’m Wade Goeke and I own and design the equipment for Chandler Limited. I started in music in junior high, playing guitar and singing, and equally important is that my parents bought me a 4 track for Christmas in 8th grade. So I have been recording and playing music since my very beginning. When I graduated high school I moved to Los Angeles to make all my dreams come true😉 I struggled for a long time but continued to write, play, and record, eventually starting to work in studios and also building my own 24 track analog studio. I had always been someone who takes things apart and experiments and really all that just came together with my musical background and became what is now Chandler Limited. I am totally self taught when it come to electronics.
Why did you start designing audio gear?
Well mostly because I could not afford to buy anything! My earliest pro audio projects were making 1073 from spare parts. I had scraped up the money for one or two but was running 24 tracks of audio. Something had to be done about that🙂 After that I had found my first pair of vintage TG Limiters and could not believe how cool they were. Since they are impossible to find I had to make some🙂 And on and on it went!!!
Michael Wagener und Wade Goeke
From Neve to TG/EMI to Germaniums back to Neve and the Devils – is Neve the perfect sound for your ears? And why?
Maybe I would say that modified Neve is the perfect sound for my ears. I think a bit of Neve and a bit of the TG is really where my heart is. I have been pursuing that sound with the new Little Devil Pre I’m working on. Obviously I’m into color and warmth and all the terms we all use to describe what we are hearing but to explain futher I would say that I like the color of both TG and Neve types. I tend to prefer the tighter low end produced by the TG combined with the colored Neve class A. I think that is why I like to use the Germanium equipment in combination with the TG. You get the best parts of both.
You own a nice studio yourself – what kind of music are you into? Do you play an instrument?
Yes we have a nice studio in the workshop. I use it to record myself as well as for testing designs. Friends will often use it as well and sometimes end up as beta testers for while they are there. As with gear I am into old stuff when it comes to music. Beatles, Bread, America, PInk Floyd, Velvet Underground is the type of thing I mostly like. I get into some rock as well. Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin. I have been playing guitar for 23 years as well as singing for about as long. I play bass and some keyboards as well. All this is really what brought me to making equipment.
Wade Goekes Studio
What the advantage of still building everything by hand in Iowa rather than getting it built real cheap in China?
This is a very interesting question, I’m glad you asked it. It is also a very sensitive subject for me and one I have been somewhat outspoken about. Use of surface mount components and ribbon cables ties in very closely with this for me. All of these to me are simply things that compromise quality and sound in professional audio. What I find confusing is why any belong in pro audio since they have mainly come about because they are cheap fast ways to make cell phones and computers. I have asked people rhetorically in the past if they would want to pay $3000 for a cell phone because, in my opinion, sometimes we do. I have always loved vintage equipment and for me there is nothing that sounds as good as those classic hand made pieces of gear. Building in Iowa is more cost effective than in a big metropolitan area and allows us to keep making our gear like we want to and still be somewhat competitive. I am very thankful for this!
The API500 format including your Little Devils is a huge seller in the States – why do you think the rest of the world takes longer to adapt to that format?
I really wish I had an answer for that. It is a mystery to me. It took me a long time to get used to the idea of the 500. I used to say there is already a standard and it’s called 19″ 1RU🙂 Now I think that is too simple an answer to be true. I think you simply have to look at it as what it is. I completely disagree with everybody trying to fit everything possible into it, because space and power prohibit this. But, for example, preamps seems to work quite well in it and you can fit 10-11 of them in 3 RU. Funny enough what I have come out for it is not pre amps but as I said if you use it for what works. I had circuits that fit with the concept and it was a good way to present them.
What are your plans for the future? Are you still planning to build a desk?
I hope to get to it someday. For right now I have decided to make an expanded version of the mini mixer and some of that may turn into a larger desk at some point. I’ve been trying not to shoot my mouth off so much about things I’m working, so I don’t get myself into trouble but we experimenting with more plug ins, some guitar pedals, and also a very nice Little Devil preamp.
The user List on your website reads like an absolutely dream cast – are you proud of that, and are you sometimes scared, you could wake up from a beautiful dream?
Yes, proud and VERY thankful! I’m also happy for the great people that work for me. It is wonderful for them to think “the last Green Day was recorded through tons of the stuff we made”. I don’t want to sound arrogant because I’m not that type of person. I have been very lucky that people like what I do, and I don’t take it for granted…It can get a little scary sometimes if your mind wanders and you say… what if my luck turns…what if I forget how to make something cool…what if it rains tomorrow🙂
Tony Maserati und Wade Goeke
What would be your desert island setup?
Let me see. I’ll do one with my gear and one without my gear, so I don’t seem to biased. I have to admit I like using my own gear, because when I design it, I basically make it the way I want to hear it. I think somehow I have been lucky that people like how I want to hear things. That said… I love lots of gear and I say about myself „making gear is my living, buying gear is my hobby“🙂
Desert Island #1 (with Chandler gear)
– Germanium preamp, TG Channel EQ section. I can and do use this on about 80% of my recording. Works for drums, guitars, vocal, great bass DI.
– Mic would be something like a FET47 or KM83/84 vintage only.
– Compressor would be Little Devil or Germanium Comp
Desert Island #2 (no Chandler gear)
– Probably 1073 or V72 pre and either use the 1073 eq or a pultec eq.
– Compressor would be a Neve 2264 or 33609.
– Mics would still be a vintage FET47 or KM83/84