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Will I be able to stand tracking to digital now? Other Controllers
Old 4th May 2003
Lives for gear
Ted Nightshade's Avatar

Will I be able to stand tracking to digital now?

It seems that Dave Derr's apparently fine devices are designed to do some of what tape does- that harmonic enhancement, to cop Dave Hill's phrase, that makes my voice sound like my voice on playback.

I've found that plenty of harmonic enhancement is just enough- track to tape thru tubes, mix to the HEDD in process most times. Only touch the tape simulation on the HEDD 192 for jokey old time special effects, though- sounds nothing at all like what I lie about tracking to analog.

All this, to get a sound coming out of the speakers that resembles noticeably the sound I heard in the room- going for natural here, and finding that flat as a pancake all the way through to digital sure doesn't seem natural to me.

One wonderful thing about tracking to tape- if you hit it at the right level, it sounds right, not too many knobs to twiddle, each of which represents a potential and un-undoable disaster to the sound.

One good thing about music- when it hits you feel no pain. Let's try to keep it that way, or achieve that mythical state? I did find it was true of Bob and the W's.

So whatcha think? Anybody had their tapelust quenched by one of these Empirical (i love it, that means you listen and find out, hey?) devices?
Old 5th May 2003
Yes, the Fatso...

On the Mix + platform it aids recording audio that sounds "OK" on playback & that you dont totally hate.


Old 5th May 2003
Gear Addict
mdbeh's Avatar

I find it makes it a lot easier getting drums and guitar to sound "right" going to digital. It doesn't sound exactly like a 2" (which 2"?), but it's made it possible for me to record rock directly into PT and not cringe, which is definitely a new experience.
Old 5th May 2003
Yes, the "non horrible" outboard device...

Perhaps that's a marketing slogan Dave?

Old 5th May 2003
Lives for gear
Ted Nightshade's Avatar

That's some strong language, y'all.

Them's fightin' words!
Old 5th May 2003
The Distressor's "daddy"
Dave Derr's Avatar


Nahhh, theres no fightin goin on... just passionate opinions! (Laughing)

You know what cracks me up? I remember the first Digital Recorder I had called a SONY PCMF1 that I borrowed from a friend Craig Melvin who worked at Maryland Sound at the time. Just having started doing my own recordings, after years of being a musician and recording at big mongo studios, I was shocked and stunned at the lack of noise, and just plain PUNCHINESS of the Sony Digital recorder. (If I remember, this was around 1983/84?). I did a lot of (terrible) mixes to it and then had to give the F1 back to Craig after a couple months. I went back to my Revox Two track analog tape deck for mixes and just plain COULDNT STAND THE NOISE AND LOSS OF TRANSIENTS! I begged Craig Melvin to bring back a SONY PCM501ES digital recorder back from Japan next time he was on tour. (And he did God Bless his soul). And keep in mind I had a pretty insensitve ear at this time, because afterall, I was a guitarist who was used to 125 dB of screaming thunder from my tube amps. (OOoo those days!)

To finish my point, I remember the thrill of Digital recordings for myself and everyone back in the 80's and 90's. If you were really lucky you could afford to mix to digital, and if you were really rich (laughing) you could actually track to Digital! People were craving to be ALL DIGITAL (DDD) and bragging vociferously when they did.

Now here we are a couple decades later... and if you are Really Lucky you can mix to ANALOG, and if you are Really Rich, you can track to ANALOG!

Funny how things change.
Old 6th May 2003
Lives for gear
Ted Nightshade's Avatar

I remember the first time I recorded a live show to someone's consumer DAT, we turned it way up and listened in on all the conversations going on between tunes. That much really was impressive.

Now I'm about good for one generation of analog, and that would be tracking. The noise and loss of transients gets me when we head off to analog mixdown. Too much of a good thing, to my ear. It seems a variety of kinds of harmonics is to my liking. 1 time through tape, 1 time through the HEDD, and I'm guessing the Fatso on the way to the HEDD would be colorful without being redundant.

I'm a puriste nut, but it don't sound pure to me without harmonics growing on the harmonics...
Old 6th May 2003
"and I'm guessing the Fatso on the way to the HEDD would be colorful without being redundant."

These days I tend to over dub everything via A Hedd / Fatso combo, with no process dialled in on the Hedd (save that for mixdown) WARMTH 2 OR 3 on the Fatso does me fine most times..
Old 8th May 2003
The Distressor's "daddy"
Dave Derr's Avatar

Jules, you are an ANIMAL. Is that why the cheerleaders are always over your house?

Dave Hill who designed the HEDD, is a genius. Quote me on that. Im 99.9% sure that he does all his clipping and distortion in the digital domain in that box... and thats tricky to pull off. AND HE DID IT, BRILLIANTLY.

The FATSO on the other hand does all its clipping in the analog domain, with digital controls. That's much easier.
Old 8th May 2003
Lives for gear
malice's Avatar

If only competitors could always be gentlemen like Dave heh

Old 8th May 2003
Originally posted by malice
If only competitors could always be gentlemen like Dave heh

Dave is quite the gentleman, and always speaks his mind, even when I think he shouldn't!

His respect for others' designs and products, including Daking, Manley, Crane Song, Avalon, etc is based in part on his knowing how hard they all work to get it right.

What they all have in common is the passion with which they approach their designs and their business. This is a tough industry, especially during tough times, and not everyone is getting rich. In an era of me-too, carbon-copy cheezy signal processors from mass-market manufacturers, it is refreshing to see products from the smaller, passionate manufacturers be so highly respeceted and stay in demand.
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