View Poll Results: Are you an analogue purist?

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  • Yes, I'm an analogue purist

    22 35.48%
  • No, I'm not an analogue purist and process the sh*t outta my sound

    5 8.06%
  • I'm kinda in between the first 2 options

    25 40.32%
  • I don't really care how I obtain my sound

    10 16.13%
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Thread: Are you an analogue purist?

  1. #1
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    Question Are you an analogue purist?

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    Guys,

    I just found out that I'm a total purist when it comes to recording and to me it means all acoustic instruments with no processing whatsoever, no digital outboard anything [prior to burning to CD], like effects units and I'm even on the fence about compressors and dbx noise reduction, less so on the dbx NR though, which I don't really have an issue with.

    Basically I'm out to get as close as possible to the original analogue signal using the least amount of stuff which means a tape recorder / mixer, mics, acoustic instruments, the space I'm recording in and, if I need "effects", a 2nd tape recorder for real tape delay. Nothing more or less.

    Other than Dave [A Reel Person], who I was inspired by, I wanna ask you guys if there's anyone else here who feels the same way as to this particular method of recording and if you have any further comments?

    It'd be fun to post a POLL so I'll do just that.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Nope. Gear whore. I'll use whatever and I've got a rack of digital gear, BUT I'm moving more and more toward relatively exclusive use of analog gear...I think I'll likely always use the occasional digi send effects unit...digitech GNX-2 pedalboard, Yamaha 01X digital mixer with 2 stereo effects engines...that sort of thing, but I'm anxious to try out a more analog-ey project in two ways, both vastly different from my last two full-length projects which were tracked, mixed and mastered in the DAW:

    1. track to analog, dump to DAW, master to analog, transfer to digital
    2. track to analog, master to analog, transfer to digital


    So basically I'm not set in any way but in a long process of moving idealogically and procedurally toward analog if that makes any sense. Bit off way more than I could chew in a few bites project-wise as you all know and so its taken a long time to see if my reasons for drifting away from digital and toward analog have any merit to my ears, but I'll get there.

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    Yeah, there are those use analogue and digital together but then there are the ones who, tho being totally in the analogue domain, still choose to simplify even more, with the extreme example being plugging a microphone straight into their 4 track and working with mic placement to obtain the sound they're hearing with their own two ears, track by track, overdubbing, very minimalist approach. I found that the more stuff you have going on, the more distracting it becomes, plus there's this totally "virgin" sound that you get that somehow feels really nice. I dunno, maybe it's just me..

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    Definitely not. I believe that the entire purpose of a compotent professional pop engineer and especially when using high quality equipment is to enhance, embelish and otherwise perfect or bring to a higher artistic level, the original often crappy unprofessional sound. Often that involves skilled arranger/production skills also. I would bet that if most people could hear exactly how lame that MOST (not all but most) of their favorite performers or group sound in their original, natural state, most poeple would be agast. Just my 1 1/2 c, what with deflation, you know)

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    Good point pianodano and I guess it also depends what type of stuff you're recording. Yeah, I would agree that today's music would not fare well "unsweetened" but how about the stuff decades back, like from the 50's... Some of the stuff is incredible and, putting aside all the gear that they had, it was a minimalist approach.

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    I have pretty much went the way you have Dan. I have a nice digital reverb delay that I used on two songs. But that was cause my friends wanted a differant reverb on a couple of songs.
    That was over 3 years ago. I put it back in the box and never took it out again.
    I have one 8 track (Tascam 38) But it is left in the corner now along with the m312b mixer.
    For myself I just get a kick out of using the 4 track and just try and do the best I can with it. And I leave the dbx unconnected. My hearing is bad enough I cant hear any hiss so thats not an issue for me.
    My truck is a 2006 but still came with a cassette/cd combo unit so I dont need to burn cds. I took the computer out of the basement so if I want a cd I have to bring my 22-2 upstairs to transfrere anything to the computer.
    And I am having more fun than ever. I am not a very good musician so my stuff is pretty simple and not very pretty sometimes but its just for me now so thats all that matters. I have been trying to make that one great mix that will make me happy for many many years now and havnt quite got there. But manybe someday

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    I wish I would of grabbed some analogue to start with...

    but alas, I'm too invested in digital to afford analogue to start with. I was hoping to learn some in school, but it looks like everyone teaches straight digital too

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herm View Post
    And I am having more fun than ever. I am not a very good musician so my stuff is pretty simple and not very pretty sometimes but its just for me now so thats all that matters.
    Yeah, same here. I'm just really tired of messing around with the sound, effects processors, various settings and spending countless hours and days, obsessing, when I could be perfecting my skills as a musician. It's great when all you have to worry about, prior to actually playing / singing, is taking some time to just make sure the mic is placed correctly for the best possible sound. Then, just press record. I dunno, I'm also kinda sick of overproduced stuff out-there. IMHO, there's something really beautiful, original and pure about recording well a set of instruments, as is.

    It's oft said that mic placement and room are the most important and I took that with a grain of salt before but it's so true I found. It can make or brake your sound. That, together with some talent can make a really nice track. I also think the term "professional" can mean a bunch of things. A stripped down recording, completely unprocessed and unsweetened can sound slick and professional. I mean, I think that, to my ears, I would like to hear a recording exactly as if I were there in the studio, with all musicians playing live, in the same room. OK, sure, you can somewhat overcome that with a one man band by overdubbing but still.

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    For the feedback balanced, experimental, noise band it is analogue to anal ridiculousness. No digital processing is used anywhere in the performance, production, mastering or duplication of the results. It is all live to two track 1/4" tape. All recording gear is pure analogue including all the outboards.

    All the instruments are analogue. The organ has tonewheels, valves and it's own speakers. The synth is old, analogue and mono with lots of knobs and no presets and goes into an amplifier with a speaker. The guitar amplifiers are all valve. Drums are wooden shell drums and have skins and you hit them with sticks. Cymbals are cymbals. Reverbs are spring, echos are tape, delays are analogue. Everything has a microphone on it, no DI's are used anywhere.

    It is all mostly eighties vintage or older, has been sourced from all around the world often off eBay and is still surprisingly affordable if you keep your eyes open. The main desk was manufactured in 1966.

    No overdubbing is attempted, possible or desired. All the playing is done live in the same room at the same time, spill and all. It is a three piece band but we have found ways to get up to six instruments and vocals all going at once without using backing tracks, midi, sampling or digital sequencing. When it all comes together it sounds great. When it doesn't, it sounds shite. Get it acceptable or do the take again (and again, and again, dit dit dit dit....).

    Quantized, smooth level perfection can never be obtained in this and should never be sought. It is raw, dynamic and in your face. All material is original. We hit the tape hard with it. We are after tape compression and saturation and now know exactly how to do it with this band and this equipment.

    Even the the artwork creation and production is a no digital zone. It is all done with block printed lino cuts and typewriters. Try typing up a hundred cassette covers and see how bloody stupid an approach it is. Lead based typesetting and screen printing is currently being investigated as an alternative.

    Never mind, it is a labour of love to do things this way. We did it to see if it could be done. It can be of course but commercially there is no way it would ever make a return.

    When you go this far backwards you realise how all permeating multitracking and the computer has become and why. It is bloody hard work to anything without them. Even the timer in the studio has been replaced for the sessions with a large 'garden' sweep hand two faced clock rather than the existing digital timer. No more than four minutes for a track either or it won't fit well on the cut vinyl - which is where it is all leading to. So keep an eye on those clock hands while you're playing as well.

    The current consumer results are C12 chrome cassingles, hand dubbed at normal speed off the 1/4" reel master, limited release, all individually numbered. They are only 'sold at shows'. Sonically they are not near CD's yet but then again, they're not supposed to be. Each session produces a better technical result however. So far there are two cassingles with a third about to be recorded.

    Oh, they are mono as well (and always will be).

    Sessions are hard work and require a lot of planning, set up and dialing in before anything hits the tape. All sorts of things can and do go wrong.

    We plan on a day for setup and dialing in and a day to get two acceptable tracks down. Then we pack up for a few months. All of the equipment is ours but some of it is permanently installed in the local studio we use. Mastering is done later at a my house. I do it in my attic with another two tape recorders and six pieces of analogue mastering rackmounts.

    This particular band is proudly standing in the past with it's feet in clay going nowhere that it is not already at. It is challenging from an engineering point of view as well but we are now almost there with it in a technically repeatable sense. It is now just up to the performers and the tunes on the day.

    Everything else I'm musically involved in is digital or 'not that insanely analogue'.

    One is enough.

    Jed
    Last edited by jedblue; 03-02-2009 at 19:11.

  10. #10
    Beck Guest
    Well, having started out as a keyboard/synth guy I've always been into experimenting with sound. I sing, play guitar and Bass as well.

    I prefer analog processing for most things, except reverb... and I have tons of outboard gear. Of course I prefer analog tape, but I have a DAW that I bounce the analog tracks to, and then sync analog, digital and outboard MIDI gear together to create my sound.

    Digital is very good at creating rooms with reverb and delay. I make my studio space pretty dead acoustically and use digital or analog effects processing to create the space I want... it may be a natural sounding space or sound otherworldly... outer space or whatever. I've worked that way in my home studio since mid 80's when I bought a Yamaha SPX90. I have much better digital effects processors these days. I will say, I was very glad to see my spring reverb unit go. It was great for some things, but even the early affordable digital stuff was a dream compared to the affordable spring verbs we had prior.

    I like analog for echo, so I'll use tape delay with one of my 22-2's or the Rockman Stereo Echo (one of my favs). I also prefer analog chorusing, but I normally use a combination of effects... analog and digital.

    I absolutly will not mix ITB, use digital EQ or plugins... ever! I’ve never heard a plugin that comes even close to the real thing, and since I own a lot of the “real things” I have no need for plugs anyway. My digital tracks come back out into my analog console, and I add EQ and outboard effects through the board... same as I treat my analog tape tracks. That means analog compression/limiting, gating, EQ, etc.

    And of course I master to analog ¼” half-track before transfer to CD.

    I will use what works, and reject what doesn’t. My studio is a hybrid analog/digital/MIDI operation, with analog at the core and digital used in a support role. But I wouldn’t say I process the hell of things. Part of knowing what you’re doing is knowing how to use processing so that it doesn’t sound processed.

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