Saturday, August 06, 2016

Feeling nostalgic

I enjoy playing guitar. I should, I have five of them.

I also enjoy recording, or, at least, I used to. Ages ago, my friends and I would record our "songs" on devices like this:

The classic cassette-based analogue portastudio. All we had to do was plug into it, arm a track or two, press play and record, and our ideas were immediately saved. We could even bounce tracks to turn four into eight (or more). It was easy and straightforward.

As years passed, friends got married, friends moved away, and cassettes became more and more scarce. I continued to record on a portastudio, but not on an analogue cassette-based one. It was a digital device, with a 40GB HD.

It operated in much the same way as the analogue version. But, instead of connecting it to a stereo receiver to do a mixdown, I connected it, via USB, to my computer, and exported the stereo master to something like Audacity. With that I could make minor adjustments and then convert the wav file to an MP3. Still, pretty straightforward. The TASCAM DP-01 in the above picture still functions, but the headphone jack is pooched, so I don't use it anymore.

As I was frustrated with that device, I decided to get with the times; I purchased a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Specifically, I bought a Presonus bundle that included an Audiobox USB digital interface, a PS49 midi keyboard, Studio One 3 Artist, and Notion 5 notation software.

Studio One (even the Artist version) is a powerful piece of software with many great features, but it's making me miss analogue recording more and more. Now I have to worry about latency, compression, EQ, mapping midi controls, gain-staging, VSTs, drum programming, etc., etc., etc. It's also making me realise that I'm not a producer or mixer. I suck at it; all I want to do is plug in and record and let someone else worry about levels and EQ and clipping and all that other digital crap.

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