Rolff Zwiep - Blackbird Studios

Rolff Zwiep – Blackbird Audio Rentals

Nashville, TN – November 2013 … Launched in 2002 by John and Martina McBride, Blackbird Studio is the ultimate marriage of cutting edge and vintage. The state-of-the-art recording facility has been the studio of choice for acclaimed recording artists Beck, Sheryl Crow, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Taylor Swift, Kings of Leon, Rascal Flatts, Jack White, My Morning Jacket and many, many others. The Blackbird Studio complex is also home to Blackbird Audio Rentals. Whether it’s an upcoming studio project or a tour that’s getting ready to hit the road, the TG1 Limiter and TG2 Pre Amp / DI from Shell Rock, IA-based Chandler Limited have proven to be extremely popular.

Rolff Zwiep is the Manager at Blackbird Audio Rentals. With responsibility for overseeing daily operations at Blackbird Audio Rentals, including customer relations, equipment rental scheduling, studio and rental inventory monitoring not to mention managing the business, its marketing and promotions efforts, and more, Zwiep has a very full agenda. And while keeping track of this, he’s noticed one very familiar theme—there’s a lot of demand for Chandler Limited signal processing. He discussed the popularity of Chandler’s products.

“Among the many other Chandler Limited products we stock,” Zwiep explained, “the TG1 and TG2 are items that see frequent use—whether it’s the winner of a shootout or someone calling for exactly what they know they want. The TG1 Limiters here have been used on a wide variety of recording and mixing projects.”

“The TG2 pre amps stay pretty busy here, too,” he continued. “Access to our deep inventory has become popular in greater Nashville as well as the continental USA. We have a lot of customers that request brands like Chandler and other leading names as well as some obscure brands to be overnighted directly to their door. It’s a convenient service that’s been growing quickly. The Chandler line of products are frequent choices of customers whose names you know and just as many you don’t, but very well might someday. In addition to the extremely popular TG1 and TG2, our inventory of Chandler Limited products also includes the LTD-2 Compressor, Zener Limiter, Curve Bender, Germanium Pre Amp / DI, and the Germanium Compressor.”

Zwiep reports that the combined Blackbird operation has been actively using Chandler products since 2002. “When I was brought on to open the rental department in 2004, we added a lot more Chandler equipment,” he said. “I think we might have even had a couple items before that, when there was only Studio A and B.”

When queried about those Chandler attributes that customers find appealing, Zwiep pointed out Chandler’s ability to add warmth to the sound—particularly when used in digital recording. “There is a warmth and attack with the TG1 that stands out from other compressors,” he said. “Equally important, the TG1 has a true ‘vintage’ sound and can easily stand on its own, which I see as an obvious reason for its popularity. The TG2 has been compared to classic Neve preamps because of its sweet, clean high end. The impedance switching option on the later models allows for even more flexibility in the use of this versatile piece.”

According to Zwiep, Blackbird Audio Rentals has one customer that is adamant about using one specific Chandler TG1. “We have one rental customer that asks for one of the original Chandler EMI TG1s by the serial number, as it’s his ‘go to’ buss comp for everything he mixes. We try our best to keep that particular piece off the shelf and on hold for him since he keeps it so busy…and no, it is not for sale!”

Before turning his attention back to the business of the day, Zwiep offered these final thoughts, “All of our Chandler inventory has been reliable. With nine studios, a rental division, and now The Blackbird Academy (our professional school of audio), our Chandler inventory sees many hours of use. To sum it all up, we find Chandler to be an innovative company, while still respecting and addressing the vintage influence of audio. We love that!”

To learn more about Blackbird Studio, Blackbird Audio Rentals, or The Blackbird Academy, visit them online at their respective websites:,, and