Alums of The Blackbird Academy already have a lot going for them. They’ve received an unparalleled audio education in the heart of Music City, support from incredible industry mentors and world-class faculty, and used recording spaces frequented by the greats from any genre of their choosing. Now, there’s a new way for them to take a piece of Blackbird with them in their future pursuits! Introducing the BB N105 plugin, a collaboration between Blackbird Studio and KIT Plugins. Designed by John McBride and experts from the KIT team, this channel strip plugin sonically mimics the sound produced by Studio A‘s historic console.

Are you an alum that wants to receive an individual license key to redeem your free access to the BB N105 plugin? Email Carma DiCianni at! Are you a friend of Blackbird interested in getting your hands on a copy? Check out KIT Plugins to learn more and place an order. 

Check out Billboard’s feature of this partnership! Blackbird graduates are very familiar with this console’s life story, but a refresher never hurts! Studio A‘s highly customized Neve 8078 console was custom-built in 1978 for Motown (LA) and later sold to Donald Fagen of Steely Dan.

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In 2002, John McBride purchased the console from Fagen and began an intense renovation project with Geoff Tanner, one of the original builders of the console at the Neve factory. This console has a storied pedigree, serving as the birthplace of countless hits from the ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, 2000s, and today! 

The BB N105 plugin is a true game-changer for anyone looking to put the Blackbird spin on their work, and The Blackbird Academy is offering a free download and one-year subscription. Over 150 alums have already received their plugins and have provided great responses!

  • I heard the plugin the other day, and it sounds AMAZING!
  • It’s a dream come true! Thank you!
  • The free plugin is much appreciated. Thanks for all y’all do for the students and alumni!
John McBride and Matt Kleinman

Here’s what the KIT Plugin team had to say about the project:

“We carefully examined the console’s legendary channel, from factory schematics to studying the way top producers and engineers use the console to better understand what made it so special. Our engineers carefully sampled the channel taking into account all of the factors – equalization, saturation, noise, distortion, depth and width and musicality. Our mission was to create a plugin that truly embodied the sound of recording in Studio A. To do this, we sampled the channel in the console running through master bus B, and captured the samples using John’s favorite A/D converters. We truly believe we have captured the sound of this Neve 8078 in all its glory!”