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analogue days

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sammyg, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    Hey all,

    the more I use the world of digital the more I find myself asking, hmmmmm, I wonder how they would have done that before DAW's, etc.

    One question in particular, here's the scenario:

    16 track tape machine coming back on a 16ch mixer with 4 aux sends (all this hyperthetical of course).
    Kick coming back on ch1 on desk, snare on 2, bass gtr on 3, guitar on 4 and keys on 5. The engineer has hit play and all 5 tracks are playing back together.

    Now,......if they wanted to compress all of these tracks with different settings would they (or should I say DID THEY) have 4 compressors to do the job (one on each AUX), or, 1 comp with a slightly comprimised setting running off 1 AUX, which would leave the other 3 Aux's free for other processors.

    Also, if each AUX had its own compressor what happens to the keyboard ch??(remembering that they keyboard is on ch5 and there are only 4 Aux's in this scenario). How would you send it to a comp with a different setting to the others??

    The reason I ask this is because the other day I was working on a project and realised that I had around 8 of my powercore comps going all with different settings on different channels. I thought to myself, hmmmm, well, you get the picture!

    would love to hear anyones experiences, thoughts, on this and similar situations.

  2. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth....

    We left the Aux sends for effects, like reverbs and delays. We would either insert a compressor on the channel insert, or between the output of the tape machine and the input to the console. This was mostly determined by whether you wanted your compression pre or post EQ as most insert points tended to be post EQ on most consoles.

    Is that any help?
  3. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    So.....dinosaurs roamed the earth as late as 1985......so thats what those big piles in the back yard were.....
  4. LittleDogAudio

    LittleDogAudio Active Member

    Are we really THAT removed from the analog days?

    So sad.

    Although just seeing this question asked, gives me hope.

  5. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    yes, I understand that usualy the AUX'x are used for reverbs.etc.
    I just used the comp as an example, the question mainly being what was done when there werent enough Aux's left in order for you to have many channels with different fx settings, or if you wanted different settings on whatever outboard units you were using, in other words, replace the comp with reverb units in the above scenario. The question is still kinda the same, am I confusing everone!!
  6. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    My first little setup was only 4 years ago, it was a tascam 424 and 2 pieces of shitty outboard gear.

    unfortunately the client dictates our progression as much as we do. Everybody wants things done now or yesterday!!
    and the ability to change a mix just as quickly.
    For a lot of people its just not practical to run a complete analog studio. I'd love to steal my mates studer tape machine but at the end of the day I cant say I'd use it very much in a business. For my own personal use, sure, no problem at all!!

    I am much a fan of analog setups and most of my fav recordings were done this way.

    the question was basicaly asked to see how people overcame limitations that were sometimes presented by these setups.


  7. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member


    4 years later, now I have a pc, rme interface and just about to buy some apogee converters! Not a bad progression from the other crap I had!! Im not complaining!

  8. slicraider

    slicraider Guest


    After using up all your aux sends one would then start using buses as sends to the outboard gear.
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Back in the "old days" ... we actually had to make a plan as to what was going to be done in the mix and we actually were preparing for mix while we were tracking ... This requires that the engineer / producer actually knows what they are doing, have a sense of "vision" and ability to picture the end result, which I am afraid is becoming a lost art in this world of recording everything "flat" with no effects, EQ or compression. "Let's just wait until mix, where we can poke and hope endlessly until we make a mistake that sounds good." No wonder people agonize for weeks over a mix ... Come on! Just mix the fu@kin' thing and be done with it! Move on to the next piece..

    We used to do "pre production" recordings, a sort of "dress rehearsal" of the piece, just so we could work out these issues.

    Many consoles in those days only had four to six aux sends and most engineers would allocate them to different effects .. I always used the first send for a basic "unifying" type of reverb, like a PCM 60, that I could dial in on different tracks to make it sound like everything happened in the same acoustic space .. I used the second aux for another 'verb like a PCM 70 that could have delays and feedbacks effects mixed in ... for mostly chorus or flanging effects ... the third stereo send would be allocated to the Harmonizer and the forth to something like the PCM 80 or 90 .... for the psychedelic effects.

    At that point, we would be maxed out ... if we wanted to have more effects, we would start to patch them in as send/recieve loops (like a comp or EQ) on extra channels and then "mult" the track to this other mixer channel and use mutes or the automation to turn the tracks on or off during the mix.. In the "old" days we had to be resourceful and inventive to find solutions .. It wasn't a case of someone purchasing a new "plug" ... we had to rely on imagination. I think this is a large part of what is missing these days.
  10. nandoph8

    nandoph8 Active Member

    I guess dinosaurs are still around because as far as I know, most "pro" cd's still have some sort of analog tracking. I track most all music analog. And I don't think it will ever fade away. At least I hope not. Sunds too good and too real. Oh yeah, and most all final mixdowns are done on tape.
    Tape Rules!!!
  11. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member

    I agree!! Two nights ago my band had rehearsals and the singer bought along an old shitty hi-fi tape deck, he wanted to record a few tracks so he could listen to his vocals at home and listen for any mistakes ( which apparantly singers dont), anyway, I was blown away by how the drums turned out, after listening and using digital gear for so long it was completely obvious. It had warmth, and the hats and cymbals didnt fatigue your ears, yet they still had volume and presence to them. The toms were great, all we did was stick some room mics around!!There was a sort of natural compression to it, it was pleasing to listen too. You just wanted to hear more of it!

    I also thought, "damn, it would be so much easier to mix a track if that sort of sound was always captured during tracking instead of trying to artificialy create it".

    I guess you just cant beat a magnetic flux!!

  12. sammyg

    sammyg Active Member


    I understand totaly.

    Its a shame that since the introduction of digital a lot of "old school" techniques are forgotten or slowly drifting away, it sucks.


  13. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Wow...seeing these posts made me feel really good! I'm running a DAW and I normally don't record completely flat....I like brainstorming with the client and use other artists' CDs as a reference so we can all be on the same page with a similar vision for the project. Then I try tracking the instruments to sound as close as I can to our ideas. The better I get at it....the less time I've been spending mixing. The unmixed tracks on my latest project fooled the band into thinking that I was almost done mixing because everything was already very cohesive and being "built" while we tracked instruments. All I really had to do was cut a little EQ here, add reverb there, and took the advice of ME's.....used very little compression and only when needed. If haven't been throwing around effects in hopes for a perfect mistake.

    I'm glad I'm doing something that Kurt reffered to as a "lost art" when I'm just a beginner trying to find what best suits me and the artist. It makes me feel like I'm on the right track. We spend more time up front tracking with less headaches on the back end when mixing.

    Thanks guys....I've learned a lot from this forum and tit has really boosted my confidence. Return clients have noticed quite a bit.
  14. oakman

    oakman Guest

    Back in the day, repetition gave one a pretty good idea how compression and the like during tracking would affect the mix. Many mistakes added up to usable forsight. I miss that.

    ...and I miss the sound that analog tape gave to the drums... and the vocals.

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