pure analogue studio, need advice

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pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:28 am

Hi

I want to put together an analogue studio for acid / house / ambient sounds, and I want to record on to tape. So far the components I am interested in are, Roland TR-808 + Korg MS20 and some guitar pedals, but I am not sure what sequencer and mixer to go with that will compliment thoes components, and also if you know a better synth with wider range of sounds that I should look into getting, please recommended it here.

Thanks for any help.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:42 am

What's your budget?

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:18 am

well about $6K

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:26 am

$6k for the mixer or for the whole setup? If it's $6k for the mixer check out the Toft ATB series, Midas Venice or for second-hand desks check TACs, Soundtracs, Neoteks, etc.

If it's $6k for the whole studio I wouldn't be going for an analogue desk and a tape machine if I were you.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:01 am

yea I meant $6k for the whole setup

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:11 am

808 + MS-20 = $3000 roughly, so you've got $3000 for a multitrack tape machine, desk, sequencer, effects, mixdown tape machine and any other synths you might want. That's a pretty small budget if you want pieces that are of a comparable quality to the 808 and MS-20; you'll end up needing to mix down to cassette through a Behringer mixer or something, which kind of defeats the purpose of having such nice instruments.

What's the attraction to recording to tape? If you haven't actually used tape in the studio you might be in for a bit of a surprise as to how limiting the working methods are with tape. Then again if you're just buying it to muck around on rather than make finished songs then it could be fun.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 9:20 am

Thoes mixers you mentioned, they are like monsters I dont need big ones like that, I'm sure I've seen like a smaller type mixers, and wouldn't it be alright if I record onto a tape recorder from the mixer? (dont really need multitrack, do I?) If this stuff is going to cost more then I will eventually get it, and I just want one synth for start and maybe more later. And I do want to make finished songs with it. The reason I want analogue cos I want to capture that sound with no digital/computer stuff involved.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by kuroichi » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:21 am

You could work in basic analogue terms such as a smaller second hand mackie desk, with a good reel to reel. and some processors, you could then use something like Roland MC500 to sequence (just an example, there are better things available). this would mean doing things in a one shot kind of way or overdubbing, both of which have heavy limitations.

At the high end a good condition tape machine would take the entire budget and then some. you also mentioned guitar pedals as processors, but most these days aren't analog and would involve some analog to digital conversion. If you want analog pedals you could spend your budget on just those.

Your other option is to buy each item piece by piece, but dependant on your income that could take ages to complete, and as new gear becomes available could cause you to get stuck in the buying trap.

If you want analog processing why get some digital stuff like a TR707 and a digital synth for pads etc (some good ones are very cheap). You could then focus the rest of your budget and any future savings on high end analogue processing.

You will have to limit your items down to certain things with your budget unless you save more or buy things bit by bit.
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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 10:53 am

If you get an 808, MS-20, mixer, sequencer and tape deck you'll be able to make tracks that have 1 drum part and one synth track. If you want another synth to be playing at the same time you'll have to buy another synth and run it from the sequencer, so then you'd have enough for two parts, maybe bass and lead. If you wanted to put down pads, you'd need to buy another synth again. See where this is going?

If you get something that can multitrack you can use the one synth so multiple parts in the song, for example record your bassline to one track then rewind the tape and record the lead onto the next track while the bassline plays back.

Capturing the sound without a computer is a noble idea, but the reason so many people use computers these days is because they have fantastic sound quality for the price. If you want a cheap analogue multitracker to get you started have a look out for a secondhand tascam 414 or something similar. That'll give you somewhere to start, but you might find yourself reaching its limitations pretty quickly.

Also, pretty much any digital recorder has better sound quality than a cassette tape. If you really want something that has a no-computers feel have a look at the Korg D-888. It's a basic 8 track recorder that you can use without a computer or any menus or anything, but it has better sound quality than your average analogue tape recorder in the same price range.

Don't mean to be trashing your ideas or anything but I seriously think you'd regret spending $6k on a studio recording to cassette tape.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:18 am

thanks a lot, that was really helpful

also another reason why I wanted to go all analogue was to eventually press it onto vinyl.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by kuroichi » Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:55 pm

Pressing to vinyl can still be done from a digital setup, and would probably be easier as if any changes needed to made they could be done quick.

I myself would prefer an all analogue setup, but I have to accept that I don't have the time or money to do so.

Most music pressed to vinyl nowadays isn't all analogue.

For example, Egyptian Lover records to pro tools and mainly presses to vinyl and all his records contain an 808, and usually lots of other analogue equipment.
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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:17 pm

yeah, but I just wanted to preserve analogue to vinyl, its just something I really wanted to do, to just have no computer/digital stuff at all...

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Oct 01, 2008 1:20 pm

We just put out a 12" and it was all recorded to Pro Tools. Drums were all digital, half the synths were softsynths, of the rest there was one track of Juno and a bit of Evolver, the rest was V-Synth and Micron.

I bet nobody here could tell what was what though, a good song and good production is more important than what synths you use and what medium things are recorded to.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by volumetrik » Wed Oct 01, 2008 2:01 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:a good song and good production is more important than what synths you use and what medium things are recorded to.
Did I say thoes things were more important? Did it seem like it? Well dont get me wrong.

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Re: pure analogue studio, need advice

Post by synthesizerist » Wed Oct 01, 2008 4:38 pm

Most advice on the internet these days is going to tell you just to use your computer- it's easier, limitless editing capabilities and it sounds just as good. Well, just between you and me, I'll tell you what you probably already know- it doesn't sound as good, not with an entry level set up especially. But yes, it is a lot more work, but you may find you enjoy the ritual. And as far as editing capabilities, get your mics set up correctly and commit the best sounds you can to tape and you won't need to polish the c**p off a turd. Not that there aren't plenty of editing capabilities with tape, it's just not a click away. But also, the lack of endless editing capabilities may just mean you can focus on your songs and not tweaking them to s**t. I am in the minority though, and I'm sure most will disagree. You just seemed like-minded and I didn't want you getting some cheap DAW and regretting it later.

As for your budget, your first reel to reel doesn't need to be a $6K monster. h**l, you can even get Tascam MS16 1" 16 track for 2 grand, which is probably more than you'll ever need. If you're learning I would recommend something like a Fostex R8 or a similar 1/4" 8 track, mainly because you'll want 8 tracks and while you're learning 1/4" tape is only like $20 a reel, and the R8 is like $300 or less. For your board you'll want either 8 busses (ideal, in case you want to add compression or EQ to what you're putting on tape) or direct outs, which just means you have to do everything on mixdown. Now, be aware that the wider the tape per track will give you the higher fidelity, but I've put out vinyl recorded on an R8 and it sounds a h**l of lot better to my ears than records I've been on recorded by someone else on digital. Keep in mind you'll need a lot of accessories too that really add up- besides tape, you need splicing tape, a splicing block, leader tape, cleaning solutions, tape head demagnatizer, test tape, snakes, etc... You may want to also have someone that knows about tape machines look at the one you plan on buying- you get one with worn out heads and it may cost just as much to repair it. And you need something to mix down to, so a 2 track 1/4" machine would serve you well, since you could use all the same accessories (except the test tape). Also, if you don't want to use a computer and want to go all analog, you'll need some outboard gear- reverb, comp, EQ... Analog comp and eq are easy- reverb if you don't want digital may be more challenging. I have a Multivox tape echo that has spring reverb which would work well, but all this stuff is going to add up. I'd definitely make a game plan of everything you need first and you can see which corners to cut due to budget.

Just thought I'd give the opposite end of the spectrum. Keep in mind however as you read my advice that if you played me 3 songs and asked which one was Acid, house or trance, I'd have no idea. Good luck!

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