Paul, leaning back in a chair, hands clasped behind his head, says, “Our story and we’re sticking to it is: you can use technology for a good human purpose. You use the digital parts of the recording process for what makes it more cost effective and easy, and you use the analog portion to make it sound rich and warm.
“One of the advantages to going digital is that it’s cheap. You can get into it very inexpensively, but you won’t get a good finished product. With cheap digital equipment, you get a demo. You’ll get a representation. People might say, ‘That’s interesting.’ They might say, ‘That’s good material.’ But they’re not going to sit back and say, ‘Wow, that sounds great!’
“The thing to blast about digital recording is that it can be very sterile…it can lack a human sound. Because it is more cold, you don’t get the warmth unless you stumble onto a device that costs several thousand dollars, [and] makes it sound more analog like the MixDream. That big device over there, gathering dust,” Paul points to the Studer, “Is a 24 track, 2 inch tape [machine]. Everyone goes gaga …but no one wants to pay extra, and they don’t want to pay for the time. Tape is expensive.
Matt explains, “The recording process is a lot simpler in the digital world, and the editing process…infinitely simpler, [but] it’s sort of like the price of convenience. A lot of professionals have an ambivalent attitude toward ProTools and digital recording. You can do all this stuff, and in here, it sounds good. We did a test between the Studer and ProTools, and ProTools sounded great. I mean it sounded really fuckin’ good, but when you mix it down in the box, you lose a lot. That’s why we use the MixDream—it opens it up.”
“One of the differences too—one of the reasons that we can make it sound better with ProTools—is because of the many thousands of dollars right here.” Paul points to a sleek modern panel with LED lights, buttons, and a digital readout.
“And right below that state-of-the-art-digital/analog converter,” Paul moves his hand down to the Teletronix reissued LA-2A compressor. “[is]technology that was as good as it got [in the early days of rock ‘n roll].”
“When you hear vocals from Angus Mohr, they’re going through that.” Paul points to the Teletronix’s toggles, switches, and analog meter. “On an iPod you might not hear it, or on little ear buds you might not, but on a big system—you go ooooooh.”