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Is convenience killing creativity...??

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Marcus Black, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. Marcus Black

    Marcus Black Guest

    Some thoughts about what´s happening to the art of recording, mixing, creating new sounds... Seems to me that for an increasing number of producers/engineers/whatever the most important thing is to be able to recall mixes and settings, and that priority is on convenient solutions that might result in less thrilling productions and mixes. Some examples

    - not using great outboard when mixing (although found in the studio) because "it´s harder to recall the mix if we use those...plugs will do the job"

    - the art of creating new, exciting sounds seems to be endangered. "...I have a sample we could use...let´s look through the presets..."

    - mixers are becoming summing devices, at best. Outboard reverbs always on the same setting. "...because that way we get the better reverb, analog summing AND total recall...". Halleluja, ever needed a shorter/longer reverb-time ??

    I´m sure you get my point. Am I the only one running stuff through whatever high- or low-end gear just to see what happens? My setup is far from total-recall-land, but I enjoy the process of creating, tweaking, making connections...
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I am one of the ones who don't use my outboard when I mix, although I have a great deal of nice stuff, …….

    ……. although not for the reason you site. I don't use the outboard because I feel the extra conversions aren't worth the benefit gained from the extra processing. I also think that people use way too much compression and eq when they mix. If it was recorded correctly, it shouldn't need all that extra processing. My theory is to use the analog gear before the signal is digitized and once it's digital, keep it that way all the way through the production. One conversion in, one conversion out.. keep it simple …

    As far as reverbs go, I don’t think that having a hundred different reverbs is necessary. Actually I think all that just gets in the way of what is most important, the performance. The Beatles didn’t have a hundred ‘verbs to choose from, but rather just one live chamber and a tape echo.. same with the Beach Boys and all those recordings pre 1980. Sitting around going through a bunch of ‘verb settings is a waste of time in my opinion. I have 11 outboard reverbs here, some of them with hundreds of settings like my Eventide. I could spend a whole day auditioning reverbs for one track! But even when I was running analog, I would most often turn to my Lexicon PCM 60 for its simplicity. 6 buttons! Keep it simple..

    There is a lot to be said for total recall. Having the ability to listen to a mix a week or month later with a new perspective is a real cool thing. Making adjustments to all elements including reverbs , eq and compression, as well as panning and balances, pulling elements in and out and being able to save these changes as a different mix is just as “creative” as punching through a myriad of reverb settings.

    In the end I feel that if a song can be significantly improved by using better outboard gear at the mix stage, then there is something wrong with the recording or performances in the first place. There shouldn’t be a need to put lipstick on the proverbial pig. I feel the most important thing is the material and the performance of it.. if it needs the crutch of a ton of outboard and reverbs by the time your at mix, IMO you need to go back and start all over again. ………. Kurt
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  3. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Hi! I don't know if this fits this subject correctly, but, outside of the mainstream of quality, performance and capture. The psycho effects, accomplished by creative tweaking are not as apparent in modern recording as they once were. I site, "Dark side of the Moon" or Queen and YES etc. Even with Kurt's six buttons, used effectively, can be very creative. This is like looking at the whole effect under a microscope, I know, but the tweak is part of the big picture as well as the music itself. Real time or not.

    Just an opinion,
  4. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    There will come a time in the not too distant future where Kurts electric bill is going to go WAY up while mixing a project...and YES those racks of shiny objects are going to see the light of day.................I just know it...

    As for 'other' projects, I dont really hear that much reverb in todays mixes, not like in the early 70's and mid 80's stuff...I dont think its out of convenience but simply a styleistic phase. There seems to be some heavy verbs and psycho effects brewing on the horizon as the newer kids find these god-awful old pedals and distro effects and start throwing them into the mix...Dont sell those Lexicon PCM's just yet.
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  5. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    :) Got PCM-70, amazing gear. No vents, no fans, runs hot and likes it. A little noisy, but fun to operate. I'm with you on the retro.


  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I have the PCM 60,70 & 80.. I had a 90 but I sold it.
    I also have an SPX 90, an Alesis Midiverb II, Midiverb 4, a Quadraverb and an ART FXR, an old vintage MXR 1500 delay and a Peavey Valveverb. .

    Evidently Dave wants me to use these and my Eventide 3000 D/SE when we mix the "Spitboys" record... :D . I might use them, but not in real time. If they are needed I will print the effects to Cubase and then mix them from there. Latency (12 ms.) is too much of an issue when running real time effects. Kurt
    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  7. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Soooo!! It isn't the big bang, beginning of the universe, that they are hearing with the space telescopes, it's Kurt's studio! :D

  8. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Kurt, why did you sell the PCM90? Is it true that they dont sound as good as the PCM70 and 80? I'm planning on getting a PCM70 but am curious as to why you sold the 90..

    Brien Holcombe likes this.
  9. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    I like to make a combi of several reverbs with very litle of each. I could even say it s my signature.
    I use:
    2 SPX 900´s canned at the 02R V2
    2 SPX 900´s canned at the 01V
    1 Lexicon MPX1
    1 ART SGX 2000
    1 Digitech TSR 12
    Lexiverb TDM
    TC MegaReverb TDM
    Waves True Verb
    Antares Echo Farm
    Waves Delays TDM

    Of course I do not use everything at the same time!lol

    2 very low halls, 2 rooms, 1 plate, 1 or 2 delays nd some thick chorusing.
  10. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jay, After I had the 90 for a while I noticed that I hardly ever used it. It was mostly effects rather than reverbs.. and I thought the effects were a lot of weird sh*t. It wasn't that it didn't sound good, I just didn't like it. I already had the Eventide for all the psychedelic stuff and the PCM90 was overkill just sitting there. When I closed the studio, I just didn't feel the need to hang on to it.. Kurt
    Brien Holcombe likes this.

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