Recently I decided to build a recording studio. This was not a completely new idea, as I’d built up a small 8-track studio back in the late 1980s, and often considered re-building. But times and technologies have changed, as have I, in the last couple of decades. Over the years, I’ve dabbled in digital recording, but found the products and workflow to be frustrating, and not conducive to creating music. My efforts usually ended with frustration or boredom.
A turning point came when listening a rough mix of friend Dave Hudson’s band, The Boxcar Saints. He and his band had self-recorded an album, but were unsatisfied with their recording; they re-recorded the tracks at a studio in Northern California, on a 16-track analog recorder. Even listening to this rough mix in Dave’s apartment on small speakers, the depth and emotion of the music really shone through. I realized then that perhaps the “state of the art” technology — specifically, digital capture into an audio workstation (DAW), with all processing and mixing done “in the box” — was perhaps the wrong path for me. As evidenced by the Boxcar Saints’ recording, analog was most certainly not dead.
Curious about why this could be, given the huge amount of hype and gear dedicated to digital recording, I began exploring what audio recording means today. Happily, I’ve found many alternatives to the “studio in a computer” hype — in fact, a far larger spectrum that existed when I had my first studio, twenty years ago.
This blog is an attempt to document that exploration. I didn’t think to start the blog at the beginning of my research, so I will first play catch-up with myself. As I build the studio, I’ll do my best to document the process. Of course, the final proof will be in the pudding of actual audio tracks uploaded here.