Archive for the Recording Tag

Sound City

Posted by Scott


Can’t believe I just now stumbled onto this. Sound City is a documentary about the legendary studios by the same name. Everything from Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush to Nirvana’s Nevermind were recorded at Sound City Studios so a lot of people in the community were sad to see them close their doors in 2011. The documentary chronicles the history of the facility through interviews with many of the artists who recorded there. The film is produced and directed by Dave Grohl who purchased Sound City’s Neve 8028 mixing console when the studio closed. Must have been a good feeling to end up owning the same console his band recorded their breakout album on over 20 years before.

Update: Watched it. Really entertaining; very engaging for people into this sort of thing already but also does a great job of explaining the recording process for the layman. My only criticism is that at times the underlying plot of “how and why Dave Grohl acquired the Neve Console from Sound City” seems a little forced. I’d rather have seen a bit less of Grohl waxing nostalgic on his past and fawning allover Rupert Neve and more interviews and dialog about Sound City itself.

Sound City Film

Modern Analog Consoles

Posted by Scott

Neve 5088

Speck LiLo

Wunderbar Console

API 1608

Toft ATB Series

All I’ve ever wanted was an analog desk. Since I started recording it was my goal to someday have a 24 track analog mixer to work with. I’m still not there yet, but the stuff you see above keeps me dreaming. These are some examples of a new type of analog console that a few boutique manufacturers have been releasing in recent years. Most are compact, relatively inexpensive ($30-40k instead of $500k+) analog consoles. They tend to be scaled down versions of classic large format consoles from the pre-digital age (the Toft ATB, for example, is a mini Trident, which was also designed by Malcolm Toft)

As a designer I find myself obsessing over the visual aspects of my musical equipment. Sometimes I wonder which I love most, how the machines look, or what they do. While I do think these newer machines are beautiful, I miss the old style interfaces which have shifted quite a bit from their original forms (see an example of an older Neve below).

Neve 5315

This got me thinking about how little these machines have changed over the years and how I dislike even the most minor of those changes. I’m always amazed at how a subtle order has emerged over the years in pro audio interface design. It’s sort of like the mouse on PCs; the metaphors and interaction models have remained essential unchanged since inception yet no one seems to mind. I guess it’s a testament to how thoughtful the designers who pioneered these systems really were. Either that or we’re just slaves to habit.

At any rate, it’s all just fun to think about. The reality is that I don’t really need a desk like this. I’m rarely recording more than two tracks at a time so I have four channels of Neve clones and a patchbay — it sort of acts like a modular 4-track console (minus the faders and cool meter bridge). The only thing these would really come in handy for would be as a summing bus during mixdown and I have places I can get that done (although I do prefer having everything in-house).