From a distance, you might mistake Dennis Fink for a trucker, a contractor, or a retired lumberjack. He’s a tall bear of a man who wears clean, faded blue jeans and beat-up work boots, with a thick shock of grey-blond hair that reaches his collar.
If you never had the chance to speak to him, it might surprise you to hear he has two advanced degrees: a Masters in electrical engineering, and another one in business administration. But up close and in person, Fink has a soft voice, an easy smile, and an unpretentious kind of intelligence that’s uniquely American.
“During times of economic downturn,” Fink says, “the thing you really want to spend money on is the development of products. On innovation and engineering. That way, once the economy comes back again, you’ve got some new product out to whet the whistle. Some guys don’t get that.”
Fink has seen his way through plenty of business cycles in the audio world firsthand. He’s even worked alongside two generations of Bill Putnams – First, with Bill Putnam Sr. at UREI, Fink wired up some of the most highly regarded professional tools of the day, and then again with Bill Putnam Jr. at Universal Audio, he helped bring iconic vintage designs to a new mainstream market.
Today, Dennis Fink is at work on his own line of pro audio processors, and his modus operandi is cramming far more classic tools into a single 2RU box than you’d ever expect.
To put it simply, it’s a tube/FET dual-channel-strip. To put it bad-ass-edly, it’s two full-fledged 610-style preamps, two classic 1176 opto compressors, and two Pultec EQPs all in one 2RU box.
Oh yeah, and somehow, it’s made right here in New York and New Jersey and can be had for well under $4,000.
“I priced it out at some point,” says Fink, “and we figured out that if you were going to buy all those pieces separately, out on the open market, it would run you somewhere around $14,000.”
When pressed, Fink contends that he’s not just offering “lite” versions of these circuits so that he could cram them all into a small box and meet a pre-set price point. I ask him point-blank if he’d put his version of the 1176 from the CS2-FA up against a real one, by itself.
“Absolutely,” says Fink. “I would absolutely do that.”
And so he has, more or less…