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Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Review

Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Review

 

I bought this pedal in 2012, after listening to and trying out many other delay pedals, this won in the end for lots of reasons. It has everything I want in a delay pedal including tap-tempo, an analog sound, sound on sound looping and even a spring reverb built into it, but without the maintenance of a real analog machine.

FEATURES:

3 different Tape Head types:

Fixed Head

In this mode you get 3 different delay lengths, short medium and long, this depends on where the mode switch is set, A, B or C.

Multi Head

This emulates a multi-head analog tape echo such as a WEM Copycat or Roland Space Echo, so you can select different head combinations, for example heads 1 & 2, heads 2 & 3 and heads 1& 3. The heads create different echo times and perfectly recreate a real analog magnetic tape head set at differing lengths along the tape loop, in this mode you can get some sounds that would be close to impossible with a real analog machine, it goes a lot further with the possibilities.

Single Head

This is supposed to emulate an echoplex style sliding record head, when you move the time knob the delay time changes, it is at double speed in mode A, normal speed in mode B and in mode C it goes into Sound on Sound mode. When in sound on sound mode you can get either 10 seconds of tape loop time with the time knob set to the left of 12 o clock, and 20 seconds to the right. Where it gets really interesting is you can create pitch shifting effects by recording in the long sample mode, then shift it an octave higher and double the speed, this can create some pretty crazy psychedelic sounds, not unlike the Beatles experimental years.

Continue reading “Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo Review”

Strymon Ola dBucket Chorus & Vibrato Review

Strymon Ola dBucket Chorus & Vibrato Review

FEATURES:

  • 3 modes ; normal, envelope and ramp mode
  • Favourite Switch (for saving your favourite sound)
  • 3 types of modulation – Chorus, Multi and Vibrato
  • Speed, Depth, Mix, Ramp/Env (Speed/Sens), and Tone controls
  • Mono and True Stereo inputs and outputs
  • True Bypass on/off switch
  • 24 bit/ 96kHz DSP processor
  • Deep Rich Blue colour

INTRODUCTION:

I have been using this pedal since 2012 as part of my live and studio pedal rig. I thought it was about time I reviewed it and let you know what I think.

If you are looking for a versitile chorus that has that classic analog vibe, look no further! yet it goes way beyond what other chorus pedals I have owned in the past were capable of.

Let’s talk about the 3 MODES first:

Continue reading “Strymon Ola dBucket Chorus & Vibrato Review”

Rupert Neve Designs 511 Mic Pre Review

Rupert Neve Designs 511 Preamp Review

FEATURES

  • 72 dB of useable noise free gain
  • trim + gain knob
  • military grade switches
  • custom wound transformers on both input and output
  • 48V phantom power
  • phase reverse switch
  • High Pass Filter 20Hz – 250Hz
  • Silk Red + Texture knob

SOUND

Ultra Smooth high end, detailed Midrange, huge extended bass end without ever sounding muddy, exceptionally clear and detailed without sounding clinical,  capable of a more vintage neve sound with silk mode engaged, higher fidelity than the classic neve preamps with a more extended frequency spectrum.

It works particularly well for digital recording giving it an analogue flavour, and is my no1 choice for a 500 series preamp, as it has just the right balance, at first you may think the high end is lacking, until you listen back on a high fidelity system and you realise it’s extended way beyond 20kHz,  it has a whole other octave below most preamps, easily extended into the sub frequencies, with unbelievable midrange detail and clarity and a smoothness in the high end that is unmatched.

When you combine tracks stacked together in a multi-track project this adds a certain warmth and fidelity that very few preamps can come close to in this price range. It also has the lowest self noise I have ever heard in a 500 series preamp, meaning you can use some older vintage mics without the noise being obvious.

SILK

The silk on/off switch adds a nice analog colour which you can dial into any recording session. This particular preamp has the silk ‘red’ which adds more harmonics and overtones to the sound, you then use the texture knob to control the shape of the harmonics, when it is to the left you get a softer even harmonics sound, the further to the right you go the more odd the harmonics are, and it sounds more intense and up front sounding, absolutely incredible with electric guitars or a rock vocal. The silk gives you a more vintage sound and makes it a lot more versatile.

HPF (High Pass Filter)

This is a feature that for me is essential on a mic preamp, especially if you don’t have mics with one built in. The way this filter sounds is very natural, transparent and it has that analog charm, from 20-250Hz you are getting a lot of control there, even at 20 Hz it sounds tighter, and all the way up to 250 you never loose any warmth or presence. I have used it to remove subsonic rumble with ease as well as creating a deliberately bass cut sound on tracks like percussion and close miked vocals

EXPERIENCE

1-2 years of use of over 100 recording professional sessions, recording classical guitar, electric guitar, percussion, oud, saz, vocals and acoustic piano, used with many different microphones from low to high end in my own studio.

SUMMARY

I waited more than 18 months before reviewing this mic pre, just to see if my opinion changed since buying it, well it hasn’t. I think this mic preamp is ideal if you want a very high quality, high end, high fidelity preamp and you want to get into the 500 series system, and you want that classic ‘neve’ sound and quality you can only get from a Class A, fully analog, transformer based mic pre. What I love about this mic preamp is that is takes that old 60s and 70s sound and brings it into the 21st century by extending the frequency spectrum, whilst allowing you to go back in time by dialling in the silk. I use it daily at electric hotel studios and can’t recommend it enough, you really need to try one out!

http://rupertneve.com/products/portico-511-500-series-mic-pre-with-silk/

© Ben Tyreman 16/06/2017 (Audio Engineer@Electric Hotel Studios)

Line Audio CM3 Review

 

It was this time last year that I purchased a matched pair of Line Audio CM3 mics.

I had heard the rumours on forums like gearslutz and they sounded too good to be true, so it was time to bite the bullet and buy a pair.

The microphones are a small diaphragm condenser microphone handmade by one man in Sweden, they are designed to be extremely flat, colourless and accurate with a wide cardioid pattern, and share a similar sound tonally to schoeps… but without the price tag.

click here http://www.lineaudio.se/CM3.html for more detailed information and specs.

When I first saw them in the flesh I couldn’t believe how small they are, measuring just 77mm long x 20mm diameter, they are also extremely light and black in colour, they come in a nice looking transparent plastic box which holds the mic, clip and windshield in one place.

Line Audio CM3-3

Lets talk about the sound now:  Continue reading “Line Audio CM3 Review”

Mix Prep

Mix Prep Top 10 Guide

  1. Label the tracks! You would be amazed at how often tracks are unlabelled or not labelled correctly, use shorthand text. e.g. LV = Lead Vocal.
  2. Be careful with Edits Listen to tracks soloed on headphones to make sure there are no pops or clicks, especially at the start and end of audio files, let the track breathe, and remember to not fade out tracks too abruptly, use cross-fades for fast edits. The tempo dictates the speed of fades and it creates space and depth creating a more expensive sound.
  3. Fix it in the Recording not the mix If something is recorded clipped or too distorted, it can’t be fixed in digital audio, the key here is HEADROOM, try and aim for -18dBFS as the average level, with peaks at around -10dBFS>-6dBFS, this means there’s plenty of room to add effects such as distortion plug-ins, compression and EQ later on.
  4. Commit! This is often the difference between something being amazing and something being good. If you have a hardware compressor on the drums when recording and it sounds great, it’s better to commit to that sound than spend hours and hours later trying to re-create it. Hit Record whilst you are still inspired.
  5. Arrangement When you have a bad arrangement, it’s like being given a glass that’s half empty, you are robbing the audience of the chance of your track rising above everything else, just think of the Beatles Yesterday without the String Arrangement, it would still be great, but not as special.
  6. Patience Remember that it’s not going to be perfect the first time and recording takes hard work and hours and hours of dedication, even the greatest musicians in the world have made a lot of mistakes to get to where they are.
  7. Have Fun! Remember to not get bogged down and remember that being creative is a lot of fun, if you aren’t enjoying it, then it’s time to have a break and come back to the track you are working on with fresh ears.
  8. Emotion This is very overlooked, especially by new bands who are expecting instant stardom, music is an emotional connection, you are engaging and expressing emotions, thoughts, feelings, if it’s not coming across how you imagined it, you need to work on your performance and come back to it, when it’s right you will feel it is right in your soul.
  9. Tuning Making sure all the instruments are in tune is very important, this might sound obvious, but an out of tune guitar that is slightly flat or sharp will ruin an entire mix, it can’t be fixed and will always be a compromise.
  10. Timing Another obvious one I know, but all it takes is one instrument playing too late to ruin the whole groove of a band, it can be edited and made to fit, but it takes away something magical about the original performance. You don’t have to be a machine, the most important thing especially for bands is KNOWING when you aren’t in the same groove as each other, it’s an intuition that has to be learnt through experience.

written by Ben Tyreman ©2016