What outboard would you consider essential

Discuss everything related to production, recording, composition, etc.

Moderators: Joe., luketeaford, lisa, Kent

bratley
Common Wiggler
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:52 am

What outboard would you consider essential

Post by bratley » Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:34 pm

For those that work OTB, what outboard compressors, EQs etc would you say are essential for electronic music production

User avatar
felixer
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 4140
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: germany

Re: What outboard would you consider essential

Post by felixer » Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:31 pm

bratley wrote:electronic music production
that's a tad wide, definition-wise :hihi: it really depends ... are you doing new age or gabber :lol:

for almost any sort of mixing job some decent reverb is essential.
what mixingdesk do you use? maybe you already have enough eq's ...
do you want/need to change the sounds drastically? maybe look at more suitable instruments first? always get the sources right first ...

or do you want to experiment and are looking for drastically different colours? in that case almost everything can be useful. tons of very colourful stompboxes around for small change ... getting s/h gear is easy&cheap so don't be afraid to try things out and sell 'm on is it doesn't click.

for electronic music i seldom need outboard because i can make it sound good at the source. just a bit of desk eq and some multibandcompression at the end. reverb only to place thing in space. i'm using a tc finalizer and reverb. yamaha spx and some alesis boxes are also around.
for individual compression i might use a dbx 160 or maybe an aphex compellor. slightly more colourful are tla and art valve boxes.

i also have some vintage gear but i wouldn't recommend to start with that. not only can it be expensive to get but also a pita to keep it going, so unless you really know what you want i'd stick with newer gear of decent origin.
but no need to pay crazy prices on hyped/name devices unless you are absolutely sure that it can't be avoided :mrgreen:
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

User avatar
stk
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6885
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:47 pm
Location: rat city .au

Post by stk » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:31 am

Yeah, really depends on your goals.

I've gone back to using mostly hardware lately, and I'd say my "must haves" are:

1) a mixer with a decent amount of channels, sends and EQ bands,
2) a few characterful delays and/or reverbs (for me that would be dm-300, re-201, quadraverb),
3) a really interesting character piece or two, to keep it fun (sherman filterbank, t-resonator)

Cheers

bratley
Common Wiggler
Posts: 120
Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:52 am

Post by bratley » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:58 pm

Sorry, it was a bit of a general question .
I have a mixer, a few compressors etc

I meant is there any outboard you consider essential, ie Distressor, Pultec EQ
Etc

User avatar
moremagic
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1150
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:45 pm
Location: NC
Contact:

Post by moremagic » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:10 pm

i use the moog mf 101 to make everything just a little dirtier, a whole lotta fun

nuromantix
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 691
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 7:34 am

Post by nuromantix » Fri Mar 06, 2015 4:57 pm

Essential? None of it.
I love having a bunch of effects around, from cheapo to fairly high-end but none of it's essential. You can make a dance record on an MPC and an experimental jam on a small modular.

User avatar
memes_33
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 957
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 2:40 pm
Location: Oaktown

Post by memes_33 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:02 pm

for me, a halfway decent compressor with sidechain inputs for pumping effects, and a decent preamp to interface with (i go modular>passive DI>preamp to record).

User avatar
stk
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6885
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:47 pm
Location: rat city .au

Post by stk » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:20 pm

Essential? Depends on the task at hand and your desired results.

Like .i said, I'd really not like to be without my analogue delays, but hey I lived without them for almost a year between proper studios, so I can cope.

It's art - none of it is essential, unless it is for you, and then nothing else will do.

User avatar
tron23
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 1162
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:03 am

Post by tron23 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:55 am

Bel BD-80 gets a lot of use, especially on the modular with it's CV connectivity.

User avatar
stressstest
Common Wiggler
Posts: 164
Joined: Mon May 05, 2014 3:24 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Post by stressstest » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:36 pm

For me, essential would be anything I feel I can't do within the computer, where post processing is both cheaper and more more efficient.
Right now I have an Ensinoq DP/4 and a Boss RPS 10. The Boss allows me to do quasi granular stuff with its delay hold and pitch shifting capabilities, as well as pitch shifting better than any plug in I've yet to find. The Ensoniq gives me wonderfully grainy 80's digital effects, especially the reverbs.
If I had a spring reverb, a tape echo, or an Eventide, I'm sure I'd consider those essential as well.
But the most essential outboard of all, is, of course, my modular 8-)

User avatar
leeski
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2112
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 5:44 pm
Location: Saturn

Post by leeski » Sat Mar 07, 2015 12:52 pm

mixer > valve eq > ssl compressor (but i have a clone)

this stack makes stuff good

space echo & tape machine as delay
«:::A:::» «:::W:::» «:::E:::» «:::S:::» «:::O:::» «:::M:::» «:::E:::»

User avatar
felixer
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 4140
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: germany

Post by felixer » Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:54 pm

bratley wrote:I meant is there any outboard you consider essential, ie Distressor, Pultec EQ
Etc
NO. those are NOT essential devices. whatever some may say ... a good compressor prob is but there are many that work just fine and some that work better in some cases. just like eq. THERE IS NO DEVICE THAT WILL MAKE EVERYTHING SOUND BETTER. sorry for the shouting but please don't be fooled and spend a lot of money on something that is just a luxury item.
eg the distressor is really good at heavy compression. you can really slam a signal untill the meters stop moving. for advertising voice-overs you may need that. for music it's a matter of taste. personelly i don't like it. for voices i usually use an spl channelstrip which sounds much more natural ...

the only essential parts are a recorder and a mixer. and since everything you do will go past those it pays to get the best quality you can afford. a lot of problems like shrill highs, boomy lows, fuzzy mids, lumpy/undefined mixes will dissapear if your basic gear is good. for acoustic stuff get really good mics. get good cables. and make sure you have good speakers in a good room. this is prob the most difficult and expensive part but absolutely essential because otherwise you don't know what you are doing in the first place.
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

User avatar
Barfunkel
Wiggling with Experience
Posts: 330
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:53 pm

Post by Barfunkel » Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:08 am

bratley wrote: I meant is there any outboard you consider essential, ie Distressor, Pultec EQ
Etc
While I'd love to have on of those, or other high quality outboard, they aren't essential. Great releases have been made with nothing but a drum machine, a few cheap (at the time) synths and some old mixer, whatever was cheap and available at the time.

User avatar
stk
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 6885
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2010 6:47 pm
Location: rat city .au

Post by stk » Mon Mar 09, 2015 5:12 am

Plus one on that ^

I'd hazard a guess that far more groundbreaking music has been made with whatever is available, than with the cream of the (rich man's) crop.

User avatar
h4ndcrafted
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 3994
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 2:27 pm

Post by h4ndcrafted » Mon Mar 09, 2015 10:10 am

For me sound source, if you can get a piece of equipment that doesn't need much messing with, you get to retain what you love about it, without making compromises in the mix.

Also having a bunch of intruments that compliment each other well.

I don't really get o with itb sat/distortion since I heard certain hardware units either.

User avatar
Gringo Starr
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2439
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Location: United States

Post by Gringo Starr » Mon Mar 09, 2015 12:37 pm

bratley wrote:THERE IS NO DEVICE THAT WILL MAKE EVERYTHING SOUND BETTER.
Are you sure? :razz:

http://chandlerlimited.com/curve-bender/
Last edited by Gringo Starr on Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Weed only gives you the illusion that it’s enhancing your creativity.

User avatar
m0rb1d
Filtersweep Abuser
Posts: 1141
Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 1:30 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Post by m0rb1d » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:09 pm

Gringo Starr wrote:
Are you sure? :razz:

http://chandlerlimited.com/curve-bender/
Very good point you have there!
Another good point was that nothing is essential. I think we get caught up in brand names pretty heavily sometimes.

That being said, belief is a really crazy thing. When you actually obtain something like a Pultec EQ, your brain already has all of that excitement and creative momentum going, making it easier and more inspiring to create things with it. Does it really sound "better"? Fuck yes it does. It might not to literally every other person on the planet, but the fact that you believe that while using the tool really adds something to the intention and creative process. It's not the gear, but the inspiration the gear gives you.

User avatar
leeski
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2112
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 5:44 pm
Location: Saturn

Post by leeski » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:31 pm

i'm not quite a believer that cheap stuff makes good tracks.
Most stufff which has been ground breaking was recorded & mixed in studios
Limited analog studio stuff can do good but even those 4 tracks cassette cost a lot in the day
«:::A:::» «:::W:::» «:::E:::» «:::S:::» «:::O:::» «:::M:::» «:::E:::»

User avatar
Morley
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2935
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 2:55 pm
Location: Belgium

Post by Morley » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:37 pm

A good Mixer
Eventide H3000 D/SE

User avatar
felixer
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 4140
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: germany

Post by felixer » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:55 pm

Gringo Starr wrote:
THERE IS NO DEVICE THAT WILL MAKE EVERYTHING SOUND BETTER.
Are you sure? :razz:

http://chandlerlimited.com/curve-bender/
yes i am very sure :mrgreen: the only exception being a volume booster since most people find the louder version of a sound better ... so anything that makes a signal louder will appear an improvement. that is until you've applied that 'special sauce' to all the signals and you are clipping the master :lol:

so, if anything a well set up bus compressor ... what the finalizer does for me very well is make everything appear twice as loud without changing the sound itself.

the chandler looks like yer typical 'vintage hype' box. i'm sure it's a fine eq and it 'll sound a bit different from others and if you feel great owning one maybe you will work better but it's def not essential. and for certain jobs (like getting rid of some noise/resonance) it might not work as well as a more modern design. and, incredible as it may sound, not everybody likes those 60ies records :roll:
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

User avatar
Gringo Starr
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 2439
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:33 pm
Location: United States

Post by Gringo Starr » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:34 pm

If Slayer recorded an album and used a Curve Bender I guarantee you no one would think it sounded like the 60's. That way of thinking would imply that anyone playing with a Fender Stratocaster and a Marshall amp should also sound like the 60's.

It's all good. Different strokes. :-)
Weed only gives you the illusion that it’s enhancing your creativity.

User avatar
Ranxerox
All the gear, no idea
Posts: 2163
Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: UK

Post by Ranxerox » Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:50 am

There isn't one piece of outboard that is essential regardless of what sort of electronic music you are making. It's anyway not the gear that is essential, but actually knowing what you want to accomplish. The gear is then just an enabler to that vision.

That said, for most types of music it's usually handy to have a compressor/gate, an EQ, a DI and a reverb/delay available. Preamps are only really required if you are using microphones, although they are also popular for adding colour to electronic source signals.

It's completely open as to what outboard you would use to accomplish a particular sound. I would say that just spending money on a device because a lot of people seem to be using it is a dubious rationale, you are better thinking of the result or application you want to achieve, then working backwards to the actual devices needed.

User avatar
BugBrand
Knowledge of Bugs
Posts: 7363
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 11:59 am

Post by BugBrand » Wed Mar 11, 2015 7:03 am

Does 'experience' count as outboard?

User avatar
felixer
Super Deluxe Wiggler
Posts: 4140
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: germany

Post by felixer » Wed Mar 11, 2015 10:34 am

Gringo Starr wrote:If Slayer recorded an album and used a Curve Bender
but they wouldn't ! because those older eq's are all based on coils. and those typically have a friendly/lazy character. not what fast metal needs. these are guys that put blankets over their miked ampcabinets to avoid even the slightest reverb, even in a well dampened studio. because they want it tight ...
Gringo Starr wrote:That way of thinking would imply that anyone playing with a Fender Stratocaster and a Marshall amp should also sound like the 60's.
but most do ! or try to ... hence the market for 60ies type gear ...
Gringo Starr wrote: Different strokes. :-)
exactly! that is why there is no 'universal problem solver' or 'makes everything sound great' box.
BugBrand wrote:Does 'experience' count as outboard?
nope, that's 'inboard' :lol:

truth is, everybody must find his/her devices/techniques. and in the proces you spend time&money and (hopefully) learn. after a while you'll get yer setup (both mentally and physically) together and wonder why it was so hard to get there. until you walk into a studio that has all the 'wrong' gear and you realize how different approaches/aesthetics can be ...
best way to get thru that fast is do as many different jobs in as many different studio's a possible. that way you might occasionally even get paid for finding your path :mrgreen:
don't need midi, don't need keys, just want knobs and cables (all together now ;-)

User avatar
Adminius
Veteran Wiggler
Posts: 667
Joined: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:28 am
Location: West Midlands, England

Post by Adminius » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:02 am

As a lot of wigglers have also stated, other than a Mixer and an Audio Recorder I do not think any outboard gear is necessarily essential. It all comes down to personal preference.

I also see a lot of geezers harping on about how essential compressors are in the mix, but I'm with Daft Punk on this one, their 'Random Access Memories' album won almost every award going in 2013, mainly due to the fact that the album was produced with no compression at all.

Can someone tell me whether an analogue dual-trace oscilloscope counts as 'outboard' gear? If so, I may have to modify my opening statement.
While you're at the bar, get the dog another beer!

Post Reply

Return to “Production Techniques”