Recognizing Stephen Paul

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by audiokid, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Please read this about Stephen Paul. Help us figure out a way to get this guy the credit he deserves before it's too late.

    I'm not sure what to do but just maybe by me posting this again it will help get to the right people that can open doors.

    If you don't understand please don't make this thread another flame war. There's a reason why this is happening and hopefully something good will come from this one.


    originaly posted by Harvey Gerst

    I hate to see this stuff going on, so let me try to explain (in a 1/2 ass way) why these kinda posts make Stephen go ballistic.

    Let's go back a few years, back when Gotham Audio was the distribution arm for Neumann in the US. The bulk of the microphones that Neumann sold in the US were to the major recording studios and the film industry, which is mostly located in Los Angeles. At the time, the only official place to get a Neumann fixed under warranty was Gotham Audio in New York.

    This wasn't working for a lot of the big studios who needed a fast turn around on repairs, plus there were reports trickling in about this kid in LA who was actually improving the Neumann mics at the same time he was repairing them.

    The studios were paying Stephen directly, but putting the screws to Gotham to make Stephen an independent authorized Neumann repair station. Finally, they did make Stephen Paul an independent authorized Neumann repair station - the only one in the world.

    Gotham/Neumann were also very interested in all the modifications Stephen was making to their mics, which the studios seemed to be clamoring for. They visited Stephen's place often and took note of what he was doing.

    Now, Gotham and Neumann ain't stupid - they start putting in some of Stephen's mods right at the factory, without bothering to credit Stephen or mention where the idea came from, just "on-going research and development". Yeah, right.

    So now Stephen has this love-hate thing going with Neumann; he spent a lotta years of his life in love with Neumann and worked hard to make them the best mic in the world, but they don't acknowledge all the stuff that Stephen has done to contribute to their success.

    But the real rub, I think for Stephen, are forums like this. See, none of the studios ever questioned anything Stephen said. They just said, "here's our mics; do your magic". And he did. Remember, he was the only guy out there doing this stuff.

    And now you have people on here, saying whatever they feel like, or who weren't even around when this stuff was happening, or even worse, people who learned most of what they know from Stephen.

    Stephen has spent a good portion of his adult life, finding out exactly what makes a Neumann mic tick. To be challenged (and I'm sure that's exactly what it feels like to him) is insulting as hell. That's probably why what you see as an innocent remark or question is taken by him as an insult to his knowledge, and his life's work.

    I hope this will help explain Stephen's actions, and help you better understand where he's coming from. This is strictly the way I see this whole timeline thing, and I haven't talked to Stephen about any of this, so dates and events may be way off, but that's my rough understanding of the situation.

    RO Group Member
    Member # 488
  2. weezy christ

    weezy christ Guest

    Originally posted by audiokid:
    That's probably why what you see as an innocent remark or question is taken by him as an insult to his knowledge, and his life's work.

    huh, seems to me if someone honestly makes an "innocent remark or question", nobody should fly off the handle at that person, period. unless you've got Tourettes Syndrome, maybe we should stop and think that, yes, there are people in the world who don't have as much knowledge as the privledged few of us. give us a break - some of us are obviously here to learn and to do that, people sometimes have to ask a lot of questions that may be redundant or rhetorical. and people sometimes interpret posts on this board the wrong way too - nobody should have to walk on eggshells around here but nobody should be berated or made to look like a chump (unless they derserve it!)..... blah blah bling blang.

    sorry this was off topic, sue me.


    "it's like screaming at a wall" - Minor Threat
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    Thanks for you input on this weezy but your missing the point here. Without knowing the whole situation revolving around SP it's hard for someone to understand what and why Stephen is reacting like this. Harvey is trying to shed light in brief.
    It's not my place to share the details, maybe SP will shed some light on this one day. Harvey is working on it and I am trying to do what I can right now to make it public regarding the mic thing and what's happening with SP right now.

    Forget the eggshell thing. No one is trying to be a principle with an iron fist saying "don't say this and if you do we will delete you". RO is a street forum dealing with street temperament at times. No wishy washy stuff here to get ratings.

    We're dealing with a very sensitive situation and trying to help a fellow musician that deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award. or something to show his work before time runs out.

    No doubt SP is a bit brassy in some replies but I totally understand why. It upsets me too and worries me over how it will effect our board (ratings) and the members that don't understand what's happening.

    At times this editing doesn't look good but I'm determined to stand up and fight for him.

    For those who understand, what can we do for SP.........?
  4. katieb

    katieb Guest

    This place is a friggin' soap opera. Never have I seen so many fragile egos. You people are pathetic.

    Katie B.
  5. Tiny G

    Tiny G Guest

    So Katie,

    What is it you do? What's your big contribution to the world? What makes you think anyone is going to show you a little respect if you can't do the same? Do you feel better now that you've put your judgement on people you haven't met?
  6. dynamo12

    dynamo12 Guest

    Excuse me if i put my 2 liras in this but even if i know Stephen just trough this forum i have the impression that many people don't really want to accept a
    basic reality here. He's an ARTIST. period.
    As an ARTIST you have to respect him and be happy that there is people like him around. I love PERSONALITY in life and in music and i put that in my work. It's music, it's feelings, it's freedom DON'T Bring it down to....just because
    you live in a black and white world...
    Thanks. Jo
  7. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    Feb 13, 2001
    Nashville TN
    Home Page:
    In my experience there are three kinds of audio technicians.

    The first lives and dies by the specs. If their work "meets measured specs," they consider their hind-end to be covered and will defend their turf to the death with demands of double-blind tests and endless challenges to the qualifications of what they invariably refer to as the "user" or "operator" who dares question why something doesn't sound very good.

    The second claims to have the "golden ears of God" and tunes everything by "ear" taking no heed of what might or might not be going on technically. They simply look down their noses at mere mortal recording engineers as they pontificate over their ideas of "good sound."

    The third is the rare treasure like Stephen Paul who takes opinions about subjective quality very seriously and studies the technology involved to discover answers and actually learn something from subjective experiences.

    I suspect the main thing Stephen wants to see is the same level of respect given to him that he has always shown recording engineers. Many of us are really not interested in wasting any more of our lives listening to the disrespectful rantings between types one and two. We've all been there and done that far more than most people can imagine.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

    Mar 20, 2000
    BC, Canada
    Home Page:
    he spent a lotta years of his life in love with Neumann and worked hard to make them the best mic in the world, but they don't acknowledge all the stuff that Stephen has done to contribute to their success.

    Lets try to say it like this:

    If someone took your song and never gave you credit for it how would you feel?

    If you heard people talking about a song you helped become famous, how they built that chorus knowing damm well how it was really put together, how would you react?

    If your time was running out but never received a bit of credit from the company who reaped the benefits, how would you feel?

    This isn't a soap opera. This is a community joining hands for justice on this one.

    An advantage ?... the "big" companies can't squash us to silence on this site...
  9. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Guest

    I was totally unaware of this story.
    It only reinforces my idea that one should always protect himself, and the works he loves, 'cause corporations generally always try to get a free ride whenever they can, legally and/or illegally.
    If Neumann had been really smart they could have built a premium "Stephen Paul Signature Edition" or something along those lines. Their failure to recognize this just underscores their greedy, teutonic and nearsighted behaviour.
    I am behind Stephen in his quest for recognition... keep on fighting!
  10. Brad Gallagher

    Brad Gallagher Member

    Jul 17, 2001
    Has anyone queried the print media about doing a related article? I think there are at least two or three niche magazines that Neumann doesn’t advertise in. If I was an editor, I’d love to get my hands on something like this.
  11. weezy christ

    weezy christ Guest

    Originally posted by audiokid:
    before it's too late...

    maybe if someone would give us the whole story, then no one would be in the dark when they add to this post.
  12. hargerst

    hargerst Distinguished Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    For those of you who don't know who Bob Olhsson is, think Motown during its "golden years" - Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, etc.

    For those of you that read Mix, look at the articles where the really well know producers and artists talk about their favorite mics. You'll see a number of references to 0.9 micron and 0.6 micron Neumann U67s being the choices of people like Linda Ronstadt, Barbara Streisand, and others. Those are all Stephen Paul modified mics.

    Unfortunately, Stephen's mic modifications have been a closely guarded secret, since it gives the big producers a large advantage over the stock microphones available to everybody else.

    Couple that with the industry's general lack of respect and acknowledgment for all he's done for the music business that he loves, and that gives you a little idea of why I at least get really pissed off at some of the comments raised in these forums.
  13. Jon Best

    Jon Best Active Member

    Mar 18, 2001
    Anyone kow anyone at TapeOp? Seems just up their alley. I think I will email them...

    Originally posted by Brad Gallagher:
    Has anyone queried the print media about doing a related article? I think there are at least two or three niche magazines that Neumann doesn’t advertise in. If I was an editor, I’d love to get my hands on something like this.
  14. raregroove

    raregroove Guest

    Steven Paul is the man period! A simple sales call was returned with an indepth, imformative response from him that bordered on a mini master class. Very few people who have developed expertise like that would have taken the time to so freely give of their knowledge to someone that called them out of the blue. The kind of experience and craftmanship that he provides with what he does way beyond the "marketing" markup you get hit with on most of the crap you can buy with current "pro" music gear. 3 years from now you'll be throwing your latest greatest gear in the trash, but those SP mics are going to be special for a long time.

  15. riconga

    riconga Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    I understamd why S.P. feels the way he does about all this but ^#$%ing people out of thier ideas or giving the wrong people credit for the work seem to be standard operating procedure for the music biz what has happened to him is not unique however being bitter to the point of being unaproachable wont change what happened to him and will make it likely that even fewer people will be aware of what he has done I was looking forward to an incredible learning oporrtunity when I first saw S.P.'s forum here but the tone of the dialog was not encouraging to someone who may not have been aware of S.P.'s history in the industry. It would be great if Stephen got the recognition he deserves along with the many other unrecognised artists and technical contributors in this industry but in the mean time if hes going to share some knowlege in a public forum he could ignore the gratiutous and inflamitory responses and understand that many of us are asking questions we have not been able to get information on anywhere else and if we unwittingly step on a sensitve subject or ask "stupid" questions its because we have limited access to this information and replying with condescending or defensive answers wont enlighten us anymore than it will undo what has happened to him.
  16. kent powell

    kent powell Active Member

    Mar 30, 2001
    I for one am hugely grateful that someone of Steven's stature would take the time to share anything with us, even if he were in any condition to do so. Having said that, I'm too worried about his condition to selfishly expect that he should make himself available to any online community.

    I'm nobody from nowhere with nothing. But, out of curiousity, if I were somebody, what could I and my significant colleagues do to help Steven? I'm sure there are many who are willing, though they may be more easily found on RAP.
  17. Bear's Gone Fission

    Bear's Gone Fission Active Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    There any gear rental shops in Dallas for high end audio? Ask them to stock a SPA U87 (they probably would have one that needs help, anyhow) and rent it when you can afford to for critical tracks. Tell all your friends about it's availability. The more people there are who get exposure to his work, the more people there will be to have him do their mics when they have the bucks. Everybody who has used SPA mics will tell you hearing is believing, and that's probably one of the better buisness cards you could pass on for Stephen. I'll have to do the same footwork here if I want to hear one.

  18. Stephen Paul

    Stephen Paul Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2000
    I would feel bad if I didn't say thanks to all of you who have been supportive...

    The whole story will come out soon, and I'm preparing a bio for audiokid that will help.

    As far as Harvey's comment that innocent questions make me ballistic ;) they really don't. It's ignorant answers passed off as truth or info gleaned from other than first-hand sources I object to, and having them thrown at me as turth when I have simply seen too much real Truth and definitely know better than the common mythology.

    There is still more BS thrown around abiut mikes than any other gear for some reason... and if I tell you, you can count on it, if I don't know I'll tell you I don't know, but I'll sure as hell find out.

    So thanks again, if you really want to do something, though, write and ask him what is going on. They're the one of the main benefactors of my work! ;)

    Thanks again...
  19. I've been going to RO for about two weeks now. And you know, it reminds me a lot of high school. Sure there's egos and bickering and at times "fights," but we all come for the same reason - knowledge. I consider myself a student and the moderators and those who have replied to my queries have been nothing but great teachers. I just want to thank everyone at, on, in or about RO for their help.

    p.s. - it's actually better than high school, i only went to school for the drugs.
  20. jalipaz

    jalipaz Guest

    i read this and i had to register, cause things like this really piss me off. im definately gonna spread the word.
    rock on stephen!!

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