D.W. Fearn, world-renowned designer and manufacturer of vacuum-tube based analog professional audio equipment is celebrating 20 years in business in 2012 and founder and designer Doug Fearn couldn’t be happier.
“When I started D.W. Fearn in 1992, it was after more than 25 years in pro audio as a studio owner in the Philadelphia area. I was looking for better tools, especially mic preamps, for my own recording and thought I would try building my own. I have been designing and building electronic equipment since I was eight years old, which goes back to the vacuum tube era, and I felt comfortable with tube design. The result was the VT-1 Vacuum Tube Microphone Preamplifier, which I continue to build to this day. It solved my problem, and gave me a mic preamp that sounded better to me than any preamp I had ever heard. Luckily, the VT-1 quickly achieved excellent peer reviews and acceptance in the recording world. After that, the VT-2 dual-channel version was designed, using the same circuit. And over the past 20 years, we have added the VT-4 and VT-5 Equalizers, the VT-7 Stereo Compressor, the VT-12 70dB Mic Preamp for ribbon mics, and a range of accessories.
“In every case, I built the equipment I wanted for my own use and new products are in the pipeline for introduction later this year.”
Today, D.W. Fearn products are found in hundreds of recording studios, home studios, mastering, and post-production studios across the world. Each product is hand-built to exacting specifications to provide warm and precise sound wherever they are used.
D.W. Fearn products are now distributed around the world by dozens of top pro audio dealers, and are regularly specified in new facilities. D.W. Fearn is probably also the most aspirational product in the audio market with one user commenting, “You know that if you have a D.W. Fearn red unit in your rack, that you’ve made it in this business!”
Indeed it is the distinctive red panels used for the front plate of the units that make them such a standout when in a rack. You can’t help but have your eyes drawn to the fire engine red panels. You will see D.W. Fearn units in hundreds of images of studios, intentionally or not.
Of course, having been in the manufacturing business for 20 years, Doug Fearn has seen it all, has weathered all kinds of market and economic climate changes and has still managed to maintain an integrity to his designs that has remained unchanged from the day he started drafting designs for the first unit in 1992. The use of the highest quality components plus the real sense that a lot of care and pride has been used in bringing you your unit has helped D.W. Fearn sustain a business model that very few other companies have managed to match.
Fiercely independent, D.W. Fearn provide equipment that is solid, beautiful to see and hear and all designed by a studio owner, record producer, and engineer himself.
Recently Doug Fearn turned his hand to filming videos on how best to install and utilize a D.W. Fearn unit and has been astonished at the response.
“It occurred to me that video was a great way to reach a lot of the people who would be interested in my products. But I didn’t want to just give them a sale pitch. I also wanted to provide some real educational value to the videos”.
“Each one not only explores the product, how the controls work, what settings to try at first, etc., but also explains the principles behind the design, the technical considerations that go into the product development, and some of the basic electronic and psychoacoustic information that will help people use my products – and all their gear – to get better sound”.
“That’s what it is all about, after all – great sound.”
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