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What outboard would you consider essential
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Production Techniques Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author What outboard would you consider essential
For those that work OTB, what outboard compressors, EQs etc would you say are essential for electronic music production
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 Mr. Green
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)

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
i use the moog mf 101 to make everything just a little dirtier, a whole lotta fun
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.
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).
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.
Bel BD-80 gets a lot of use, especially on the modular with it's CV connectivity.
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 cool
mixer > valve eq > ssl compressor (but i have a clone)

this stack makes stuff good

space echo & tape machine as delay
bratley wrote:
I meant is there any outboard you consider essential, ie Distressor, Pultec EQ

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.
bratley wrote:

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

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.
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.
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.
Gringo Starr
bratley wrote:

Are you sure? razz
Gringo Starr wrote:

Are you sure? razz

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.
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 good Mixer
Eventide H3000 D/SE
Gringo Starr wrote:

Are you sure? razz

yes i am very sure Mr. Green 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 meh
Gringo Starr
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. :-)
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.
Does 'experience' count as outboard?
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 Mr. Green
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.
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