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Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

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Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby gravityblasts » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:00 am

Hey everybody! I’m currently running a sort of home studio for myself and my band and I really want to get some analog gear for when I record other bands/artists in the future. Nothing crazy but i’d love some suggestions on where to begin a search.
Thank you!
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby zenguitar » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:21 am

What is the 'problem' that you hope analogue gear will solve? That is the first question you have to get clear in your head.

The next thing you have to understand is that analogue is not 'better' and it is not 'magic', it is just a subset of the range of tools available. What a client needs is an engineer/producer who is competent and who can use the tools at his disposal effectively, and there is more than one producer on these forums who works totally in the box but maintains an analogue mixer because some clients are impressed by the flashing lights and the sheer size of the desk.

Another way of looking at it is this; if your ears, knowledge and experience aren't good enough to reasonably emulate analogue processing using digital tools, they aren't good enough to exploit the quirks of analogue hardware. So why waste your money?

I guess what I'm really saying is this; if you need to ask what analogue gear to buy, you don't need any analogue gear because you are nowhere near getting the best out of your affordable software tools.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby Zukan » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:08 am

What analog gear? analog chairs, analog groupies, analog lighting....?
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby Sam Spoons » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:43 am

I think what Zukan and Zen meant to ask is what do you want to achieve by buying analogue? If you give us a bit more info about your present setup, how much experience and knowledge you have and, most importantly, what your room is like we'll be able to give some sensible advice (which may include "don't buy analogue ;) ).

For myself I had an Allen & Heath GL series desk and some assorted outboard but recorded to a Mackie SDR digital recorder (and before that an Akai DR16 digital recorder) for many years. It did sound good and I did enjoy using it but a couple of years ago I bought a Behringer X32 and now record straight to Reaper on an old Mac Pro computer. Being realistic I don't know which sounds better, one day I think the analogue stuff was best another the digital......

And as an aside, recording to analogue tape is horrendously expensive and fraught with pitfalls these days (and yes I did do it for many years on up to 8 track ½").

Tell us about yourself (as in 'gravity blasts' the sound guy BTW, it's not a dating website :tongue: ) and somebody will try to help.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby garrettendi » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:47 am

Don't forget Harrison Mixbus is a DAW based on analogue emulation. So if you want a cheap DAW that sounds like analogue, that's a good place to begin.

And there's a demo to try before you buy.

(I'm not paid by Harrison!!!! I'm just a big fan)
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby ore_terra » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:54 am

and don't forget the analog-ish plugins :lol:
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby The Elf » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:10 am

Don't buy 'analogue gear'. Identify what you need to do and where the holes and weaknesses are in your chain, and buy the appropriate tool to do the job, whatever that may be.

I have to disagree about Harrison MixBus. It's just another piece of software - a good one, by many reports, but not a panacea for the want of anything 'analogue'.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby molecular » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:33 am

Just to play devils advocate...

While I agree entirely that analogue processing is merely "different" rather than better, and I also agree that it's your skills with any tool, then your listening environment which really make the difference, I don't think it follows from that that there's no point in exploring what analogue does.

I have found that introducing some outboard has both transformed my workflow (for example around commitment issues) and definitely changed the sound IMO for the better.

I was quite lucky in that some of my earlier proper experiences were with borrowed kit so I was able to muck around with less "I've just shot £1k on this so it better be good" bias.

My advice would be to see if you can borrow something. You might find that the whole business is such a pain in the ass that you decide against it. Analogue kit has major major drawbacks as well.

If you're committed to approaching this as an exploration I would also suggest checking out a cheap 500 series rack and see if you can get a few modules here and there on eBay, it's a much cheaper and easier way of trying and messing around.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby paul tha other » Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:55 pm

Zukan wrote:What analog gear? analog chairs, analog groupies, analog lighting....?


i miss analog groupies...these digital ones are rubbish

dont get me started on digital chairs
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:15 pm

paul tha other wrote:i miss analog groupies...these digital ones are rubbish

Yeah, I agree... definitely smoother and warmer... and noisier... :oops:

H
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby molecular » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:24 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
paul tha other wrote:i miss analog groupies...these digital ones are rubbish

Yeah, I agree... definitely smoother and warmer... and noisier... :oops:

H

And more expensive.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby ConcertinaChap » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:47 pm

Not as responsive either, or maybe that's just me. :(

CC
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:12 pm

and the occasional distortion is warmer!
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby Martin Walker » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:08 pm

molecular wrote:My advice would be to see if you can borrow something. You might find that the whole business is such a pain in the ass that you decide against it. Analogue kit has major major drawbacks as well.

A lot of us have been there, done that, and ended up working in the box :headbang:

molecular wrote:If you're committed to approaching this as an exploration I would also suggest checking out a cheap 500 series rack and see if you can get a few modules here and there on eBay, it's a much cheaper and easier way of trying and messing around.

Now that has often appealed to me, but I've yet to find a 'cheap 500 series rack' :beamup:


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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:33 am

I figure i will look at analogue stuff once i have completely mastered all my digital tools...


... my bank balance should be safe for quite some time :)
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby Urthlupe » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:15 pm

Wow.... fairly hefty collection of digital-is-best ‘advice’.

If only all things in my life were so certain :headbang:

In my view, alongside digital, analogue is a very worthwhile route to explore. Know your budget, understand your needs by all means, but there are many advantages. For example - the majority of software I use now seems to require me to repeatedly buy it, and with increasing regularity. I have pieces of electrical equipment which I use daily, yet only paid for once.


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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby The Elf » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:36 pm

Urthlupe wrote:Wow.... fairly hefty collection of digital-is-best ‘advice’.
:?: I don't think anyone has said that.

The point being made in this thread is that analogue does not have magical properties and the 'best' tool is the one that does the job.

In many cases some sort of analogue box will be an appropriate solution to a specific requirement, but to go blindly hunting for 'analogue gear' in the belief that anything will be an improvement is likely to be an expensively bought lesson in reality.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:37 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
paul tha other wrote:i miss analog groupies...these digital ones are rubbish

Yeah, I agree... definitely smoother and warmer... and noisier... :oops:

H

But don't they have buttons to push to turn 'em off? 8-)
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby blinddrew » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:42 pm

Hmmm, that's not how I've read it. To me it read more as, "use the best tool to solve the problem at hand." A lot of the time you'll probably have a digital tool that does the job already was the point I took.
My own comment was meant to be tongue-in-cheek.
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Re: Analog Gear? Where do I begin?!

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:16 pm

gravityblasts wrote:Hey everybody! I’m currently running a sort of home studio for myself and my band and I really want to get some analog gear for when I record other bands/artists in the future. Nothing crazy but i’d love some suggestions on where to begin a search.
Thank you!

Since the others have already imparted the sensible advice, I'll give what you want to hear: get yourself a LA-2A, a good 1176 like, a Distressor or two, possibly a good Pultec like and a good general purpose EQ, Empirical Labs does some great kit . If your 50 grands aren't over yet, you can also add something like a MPressor or a Massive Passive...

Okay, didn't read the "nothing crazy" :D

A good start could be a RNC, and the Golden Age replica of the neve EQ. Cheap but very cheerful. Also second hand you can get SPL stuff like a Vitalizer (an exciter) and a Transient Designer (the software pluging does nothing for me but the hardware kicks ass). Also the 500 rack is a good idea, but just the rack itself is quite pricey in my view.

From there tough is all downhill (for your credit card..)
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