29 March 2008

AtmoSphere Studio Tech (Part 8)

In the past I used only software sounds effects like reverbs, filters and delays. While mastering my first album at Groove though I heard how much better their hardware sounded. So I started looking for some outboard gear as well. The advantage of outboard gear is off course that it is dedicated for that purpose only and it saved a lot of CPU usage on the audio PC. Disadvantage is that syncing is a bit more difficult and you have to compensate for latency. But sonar takes care of that for me. In the picture on the left you see a simplified version of my studio tech schematic again with only the relevant stuff on it for my effects equipment.

The two units I use the most in my studio are my reverb units. My best one is an Eventide Eclipse. The sound of this one is so great I cant describe it, everything you run through it becomes better :) It doesn't to only reverb, it also has delays and harmonizer patches. The second unit I use is a Behringer REV2496. It sounds very good and is really underrated. The brand Behringer has a bad name. This is because they sell some very bad products as well. But actually the REV2496 is very usable and it is even dual engine so you can use it twice. I use both units via SPDIF in and out connected to the Friend-Chip DMX32. This way I can route audio through it easily. Since I use them digitally both of they are also synced to Word Clock on the Big Ben. You can find more information here:


I also use two units that are attached directly to the PC. The top ons is a Pod Pro XT. It is actually a guitar effects units but I use it for synthesizers. It has nice delays and distortion models. It is connected with USB to the audio PC. I use it with a software program called Gearworks that makes it available as a VST plugin in Sonar. I can use it multiple times and this way it syncs perfectly. The other unit is a PowerCore X8 that is attached with Firewire to my audio PC. It works also as VST's inside Sonar. For both units you can buy extra models of classic reverb and tape delay units. For the PowerCore I bought the TC Electronics System 6000 plugins and they sound really great. The nice thing about the VST stuff is off course that all settings are saved with my projects as well. You can find more information here:


Next to all this high tech effect units I also use some low tech guitar effect units that I usually run one synthesizer trough directly. My favorite units are the Elektro Harmonix Mistress that you see on the left in the picture and the Elektro Harmonix Smalltone (Russian version). Both are phasers that were used by Jean-Michel Jarre on his famous Oxygene album. If I run my Eminent 310 organ (that Jarre also used on this album) through it you really get that genuine Oxygene sound. I love it. But these units are also very usable on other synthesizer to make the sound more alive. Besides this I also use some other units like the Boss SE-50, SE-70 and the RE-20 that I recently bought. More information:


Using good Effect Equipment really makes your own sound. I'm always looking for more special stuff and found that especially guitar pedals make a nice addition. They are cheap and strange :)

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