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Dusty Chalk

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I am/was the moderator for the Tape Project forum and I have a modified Technics RS1500 with a custom tube output that replaces the 70's era solid state amp. 

I use that for listening to a collection of about 400 reel to reel tapes.

I also have an Ampex ATR700 which is one of the last machines that Ampex sold. It was a collaboration between Ampex and Teac.

I have a couple of head-blocks for the Ampex and I did some experimenting with the mono/full track head set processing tracks similar to what you're planning.

The results were mixed, but in the long run, I ended up using tape machine plugins.

I admit that my mixing chops weren't nearly what they should have been to make an honest assessment of the process but reel to reel tape is not the cheapest or quickest media to deal with and I'm pretty happy with the subtle results I get with the plugins I use.

After running the Tape Project forum, I did get practiced at teaching and guiding other folks on the care and feeding of reel to reel tape machines.

I wrote a guide which (although many links to pictures are now dead) still exists and may help you getting your Revox running.

I'm a huge fan of these machines so I'd be happy to give you any advice you might need.

Just PM me!

Here's a link to the forum. The Beginners Guide is located at the top of the General Discussion page.


Here's a pic of my listening machine.


tape rig 2019.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm looking at the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 (MkII)... what a mouthful, vs. the Arturia KeyLab 88 MkII for general messing around (coming from a classical piano background). I'm not sure how the instrument libraries compare.

I may even be more excited about it than this guy (bonus weasel words inside):


Edited by HiWire
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I'm sure you'd be happier with the keys of the S88 (I bought an S61 a few month back and sold my Keylab).

If you're looking for a replacement for a real piano, you may want to check out many of the other choices.

I'm not a real piano player so my opinion don't mean squat!

Here's a pretty decent thread from the composers forum I hang out on.

There are many, far more qualified posters there.


This is just one of many 88 key "what's the best" threads at vi control.

Of course, trying one out is the best and alternatively, buy from a source with good returns (it took me 3 tries before I settled on my S61).

IMHO, I wouldn't be concerned about any libraries. Get the keyboard/keybed you like and spend some time listening to library/modeling demos online. 

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Im sure some of you are way beyond this device, but can anyone comment on the focusrite scarlett 2i2?

I'm looking to do some pretty basic things both musically and with the vinyl setup. For music class, I've got my keyboard and shure mic to make some basic recordings, being able to connect with my school's macbook air, but also using this as a device to do vinyl rips. 

I know we can get more expensive/solid state recording options but I am hoping the device above is decent enough to do what I'm asking it to do. 

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2 minutes ago, blessingx said:

I'm going to be of little use as my use case was different, but if you haven't compared to the MOTU M2, you may as they're ball park cousins at the same price. Some YT comparisons on power and output noise. 

Good call. I was looking at the motu device and I think at least by specs it might be higher performing. But more importantly I think it looks better so that might be my pushing point. 

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You'd be hard pressed to find an interface that isn't amazing for the price these days.

I've used MOTU and Focusrite Red gear and they're both great.

The differences will be in the features but that could make a big difference for your applications.


IMHO, it's worth asking a sales guy at Sweetwater their thoughts on what you're planning to do.

Matching the built in mic preamp with the mics you're likely to use (there may be deals on mic/interface combos too).

You should mention which keyboard you plan to use.

Ask about EDU discounts!!!!

Eligibility differs from company to company but a sales guy will be able to steer you.

When I was taking classes in Calif., it was worth it to pay for one online course for the EDU discounts I got on software/hardware.

IIRC, one year I saved over $2k and I also got a tax break at the end of the year!

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No idea if this is of interest here but I support Lloyd Cole on Patreon because he's one of my favorite artists and he recently posted this about his home setup. (Think we used to have a Home Studio Porn thread but not sure if it survived the great Reks nuking?)

My Attic Studio Overview

Thanks to all of you, I've been able to make a couple of small but important upgrades to my studio, so I thought I might start a series of posts talking you though how I record, and what I use. Please let me know if you like this idea. 

Here's a panoramic photo of about 80% of the equipment and a second photo of the modular side.

Sitting at my computer I've got a keyboard and trackpad, and a midi keyboard below them, with a  couple of 'go to'  guitar pedals for quick recording. The racks in front of me to the left of the computer monitor are for guitar and vocal recording, mostly. Each 'channel' is a Geoffrey Daking Mic preamp / EQ, and an Empirical Labs Distressor. For the vocals the mic is plugged in to the Daking, for the guitars, the SansAmp PSA-1.

I started using the Dakings and Distressors while I was still in New York, so ever since the post Love Story sessions. The original Daking units I had were vertically mounted. I bought these horizontal ones around about Music in a Foreign Language. I've used them for all my vocals since then, if not 100%, definitely 95%. They are based on the classic Trident consoles from the 60's and 70's. As used by The Beatles and Bowie. Up until Standards I always sung into my Neumann U67 mic, but I couldn't take it to LA for the Standards basic recordings (too much luggage) and I used a BeezKnees (Australian company) large diaphragm mic instead which actually suited my voice so well I bought one and completed the album with it. More on that when I get it back. It's loaned to Dave Derby right now. On Guesswork I sung into a hand held Neumann KMS 105, I wanted to try to get more or a performance out of myself and I thought that might help. Ironically the vocal sound on that album has received a great deal of praise. They were absolutely the cheapest recordings, ever. That said I've heard Michael Jackson used to like to sing into a Shure 57, and those are usually used on drums and guitar amps and they are very inexpensive.

I discovered the Empirical Labs Distressors while working in Harold Dessau, in Tribecca, where I rented a work space.  One of the engineers there was pally with Empirical Labs and the Ditressor was the new 'hot' compressor, because it could emulate many styles of compression and incorporate various tape and saturation algorithms. When I moved up to New England I sold all my compressors except my two Distressors. Today is is maybe the most popular compressor in the world. Certainly the most popular modern one.

In 2004, getting ready to start work on Antidepressant, I flew Mick Glossop over to help set up my studio space (then in the Eastworks building in Easthampton, we were still living in Northampton) and he created some recording templates - basic settings for vocals, guitar, bass etc. I still use them. See photo.

When we were making Don't Get Weird On Me, Babe, Quine got a hold of one of these newfangled SansAmp pedals. It was a stomp box which could sound like an amp. He liked to use them as fuzz boxes. I got one and found it great for recording demos, much better than the Rockman (invented by Tom Scholz of Boston) I was probably still using at that point. I became friendly with the New Jersey company and I think they may have given my an artist discount price when I purchased my first PSA-1 in the late 90's. I'm still using it. It's an all analogue amp emulator and I just love it. My favourite sound ever with it is the solo on Cutting Out. I was using it just a couple of days ago, you can see the headstock of the Senn guitar I have set up to be in Nashville tuning all the time. In Nashville tuning the 4 lower strings are an octave up, so it's like the high strings on a 12string, without the low ones. I discovered this tuning shortly after Love Story and on 'etc' it is used a lot. If you think you hear a 12 string, you don't. Recently I found it's great for chordal electric rhythm stuff as it takes up much less space in the mix than a normally tuned guitar.

That's all for this evening. Let me know what you think and if you have any questions, post them here or on the Ask / Tell Lloyd page.




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Not related to Lloyd Cole, but re: the shifting music income model I found this NYT piece illuminating:  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/10/arts/music/hyperpop-spotify.html

TL;DR A lot of burgeoning hyperpop artists are destitute teenagers and Spotify's inclusion of their home-produced music on the very influential Hyperpop Playlist represents an unbelievable windfall for them.  When their music falls off the top of the playlist they scramble to do whatever they can to stay relevant and keep the tap open.

Edited by Sherwood
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Very cool!

I don't spend enough time exploring my Seaboard Rise 49 but it never fails to inspire new ideas when I do.

I'm a big fan of wavetable synthesis.

I've been using Serum for about a year now. It's great for solving the issue of creating unique patches.

I realize that the listening public could care less (or might even prefer) that a sound in your track might be identical to one that they've heard a hundred times before but we are supposed to be creating originals right?

Anywho, I'm not sure how Deluge will sample wavetables but you can find a gazillion 1 sec .wav samples meant to be used by Serum online (google Serum Wavetables) or grab a cheap digital recorder and collect organic samples from the great big world.

Either way, nothin' but fun IMHO!

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