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-   -   Did the Pumpkins record their albums through digital or analog equipment? (http://forums.netphoria.org/showthread.php?t=170053)

Virgo Thing 03-25-2010 10:29 PM

Did the Pumpkins record their albums through digital or analog equipment?
 
I've been dying to know, as this will affect the way I record music.

Rider 03-25-2010 10:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgo Thing (Post 3611291)
I've been dying to know, as this will affect the way I record music.

Seriously just leave now, it will save you a lot of tears.

xforewarnedx 03-26-2010 12:15 AM

tape to pro tools back to tape from mellon collie is my guess.

redbreegull 03-26-2010 01:29 AM

Everything until Adore was analog. Adore was pro tools. I don't know how they recorded after that.

Corganist 03-26-2010 01:29 AM

They made a pretty big deal about Zeitgeist being analog.

srt4b 03-26-2010 02:50 AM

I'm guessing Machina was pro tools as well.

Ado 03-26-2010 07:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by srt4b (Post 3611320)
I'm guessing Machina was pro tools as well.

Yes and no. I recall at the time Billy mentioned about it being recorded in live takes on to DAT.

According to Signal To Noise:

"The majority of the songs were recorded into Pro Tools through Corgan’s API Legacy board, but the band had multiple mixing consoles to choose from at Chicago Recording Company, so Flood performed a litmus test. He transferred two songs onto tape using a Studer A280, which as luck would have it, was found in each of the mix rooms. He then ran the tape through each console with all the faders at zero—no EQ, no panning—and then into a DAT machine. When he compared the recordings, the differences were unbelievable. Of the Neve VR72, SSL 6056E, and the ’80s Neve broadcast console that Corgan brought in, the SSL won out. Its low-mid punch would help tighten up the record’s bright sound. Though Corgan wasn’t a big fan of SSL boards, the team found a workaround."


They also point out Pro-Tools (a very eary version) was used for Mellon Collie:

"For Mellon Collie, Flood would generally work with Corgan in the A room on the Otari and an MCI board, while Moulder worked with Wretzky and Iha in the B room on a Pro Tools rig slaved to both TASCAM DA-88 digital recorders and two-inch tape. The combination of analog and digital opened up a world of recording possibilities, and played to the creative strengths of Mellon Collie’s adventurous spirit. A track like “Thru The Eyes Of Ruby,” which contains approximately 70 guitar tracks, would have been nearly impossible to do with tape alone."

Adore too was a mix of analog and protools:

"Material was recorded on a mix of analog and digital formats. Already familiar with Studio Vision Pro for MIDI and audio editing, Corgan used ReCycle to chop up and manipulate drum loops. A Kurzweil K2500 and an Alesis HR-16—the same drum machine used to create the beat for “1979”—were also used for additional rhythmic elements and sequences. Wood’s classic EMS VCS3 “Putney” was featured prominently on “Ava Adore.” As it was with Mellon Collie, experimentation was paramount. Boxes would show up in the post every other day, each one containing a new sample library, vintage synth, or rack module gobbled up from eBay or plucked from the pages of Keyboard magazine. Still, the pieces weren’t fitting together and, eventually, Corgan and Wood parted ways ... The mix of disparate Pro Tools sessions and oneinch tape created a textured canvas that proved difficult to homogenize, and the tension between band members was palpable. The band worked at Sunset Sound until reoccurring technical difficulties with the Neve console forced them to complete the project at the Village Recorder in Santa Monica. To further Adore’s maudlin, Goth-tech spirit, Corgan assumed a Max Schreck-like persona, emphasizing his shaved head with lighting and make-up and donning long, flowing garb that accented his 6-foot 4-inch frame."

soniclovenoize 03-26-2010 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ado (Post 3611336)
Yes and no. I recall at the time Billy mentioned about it being recorded in live takes on to DAT.
[/i]

You mean ADAT. ;) Machina def has the ADAT sound. :hurl:

But they would record a version of a song, rework it and record it, rework it and record it, rework it and record it. All the while, Flood would route the guitars or whathaveyou through ProTools and digitally manipulate the sound, feeding it back to the tape, live, so that the end result had about 30% the original guitar sound and 60% of Flood's manipulation of it. So much so that they eventually lost track of what was going on, and the guitar sound of whatever song "just is." See Imploding Voice. :p

As for Adore, yeah, I believe they had Neil Pert and others manning ProTools and interpreting what Billy wanted and making it happen digitally, what couldn't be done on tape. I remember Neil Pert telling me they constructed the drum track for Blissed and Gone from random samples of people talking on the radio, using like a "th" sound has a hi-hat and a "pb" sound as a kick, and so-forth.

Virgo Thing:
Your own music is our own music, but I would suggest to rethink your idea that your choice of digital VS analog would be based solely on what The Pumpkins did. To oversimplify things, SP started out very analog and "vintage" sounding (Gish, Siamese) to very cold and digital sounding (Adore, Machina), and if you ask the opinion of the many audio-tech and audiophile SP fans out there, the sound of the early SP material was much better than the later; the common view of Machina is the production ruined the album.

So if you choose to go that way, expect harsh criticism. I personally hate drums recorded on ProTools. They sound thin and wimpy to me. I hear it on so many new recordings now a days. I record all my drums on analog and do a stereo mixdown of the analog multitrack masters into a digital multitrack program (SONAR, actually, which is Cakewalk's rip of ProTools, that I believe soudns much better!). So if you end up producing music that has the production value of Machina, expect projectile vomiting.

I've been playing in bands for 14 years and I've been recording them for 8, and let me give you some advice: base your recording methods on what's best for your music, not what some band from the 90s did. Think what's gonna sound good and the most cost effective. I assume you're just starting out? If so, I suggest getting a 4-track analog recorder. I know that might seem stupid in this day and age of digital, but learning to use the manual analog tape and limiting yourself to only 4 tracks teaches you discipline and how to plan the sound design of the project before you record. In one of my audio production classes in college, we started out splicing tape with a razor before moving on to editing wav-forms. You have to start from the beginning to get to the end. And also, just like a msuical instrument itself, as you progress and become a better musician/producer you can work your way up to a digital platform. If you're gonna let someone else record you, it'll probably end up recorded into ProTools, the industry standard. Not because it sounds better, but because they have really really good PR.

Also think of current trends--as aforementioned, you go to a cheap studio, they'll record you to ProTools. It's hard to escape form that. But also there is a resurgence in "analog" and the desire to have a warmer sound, so I'd think you'd have the options of tape. But then again, I think people are putting some gay ProTools plug in that just generates tape hiss and just puts it in the background. :dammit:

So think before you leap, man.

Virgo Thing 03-26-2010 08:51 AM

I desire to use a four-track analog recorder, but I'm worried about the availability of cassette tapes to record, not to mention a functional four-track analog recorder I have to find. Tape is dead, isn't it?

Shallowed 03-26-2010 08:56 AM

What is the benefit in recording to tape, then transferring that to digital?

As opposed to recording straight to digital?

Shallowed 03-26-2010 09:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgo Thing (Post 3611341)
I desire to use a four-track analog recorder, but I'm worried about the availability of cassette tapes to record, not to mention a functional four-track analog recorder I have to find. Tape is dead, isn't it?

You don't need any special tapes to record to record with a 4-track. Cassettes have four tracks on them: left and right to be played on one side and left and right to be played on the other side. 4-tracks just record on all four in one direction.

Finding a 4-track cassette recorder may be a different story, I don't know how hard they are to get ahold of.

soniclovenoize 03-26-2010 09:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgo Thing (Post 3611341)
I desire to use a four-track analog recorder, but I'm worried about the availability of cassette tapes to record, not to mention a functional four-track analog recorder I have to find. Tape is dead, isn't it?

Tapes are available, just a few dollars more expensive than what they were ten years ago.
http://www.google.com/products?hl=en...ed=0CEAQrQQwCQ

I just bought a Tascam 424 for $40 on ebay yesterday. ;)
http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trk...All-Categories


Quote:

Originally Posted by Pasta of Muppet (Post 3611342)
What is the benefit in recording to tape, then transferring that to digital?

As opposed to recording straight to digital?

Soundquality. You get the analog sound in your initial recording, then once it's transfered to digital you are afforded the benefits of digital. So my own music is a hybrid of analog and digital--drums, bass and some guitar: analog; vocals and other things: digital. This is a common thing in pro studios: recording to tape then transfering to ProTools for mixing. You'd think you would lose the analog sound, but no really!

slunken 03-26-2010 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgo Thing (Post 3611341)
Tape is dead, isn't it?

No.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pasta of Muppet (Post 3611342)
What is the benefit in recording to tape, then transferring that to digital?

As opposed to recording straight to digital?

The waveforms are shaped differently. I bounce a lot of stuff back and forth from tape to digital to tape and am learning the limitations. Tape to digital sounds okay but have to be careful with digital back to tape. Clipping and such. And Digital clipping sounds like hell whereas tape clipping ("in the red") just adds compression, which can be cool. The former just adds annoying cracks and pops.


This conversation reminds me that I need to get my ass in gear about replacing the dubbing heads on my reel-to-reel.

IWishIWasBlank 03-27-2010 11:42 AM

Digital tapes at the radio station were still better than using the CDR machine, actually.

FlspnutIsCool 03-27-2010 09:44 PM

im pretty sure the older albums are analog, but i heard that the new stuff is just a tape recording of billy corgan masturbating.

russian iha 03-28-2010 06:41 AM

Great thread.

soniclovenoize, being by no means a sound pro, I'm still a fan of Machina (sans the final mastering clipping) and shoegaze sound approach in general. I assume it's just a matter of taste and purpose. I'd kill to get a rusty drowned-in-ocean Machina sound for my music, and I suppose it's gonna suit it well. Machina is accomplished in achieving a outworldish grandiose sonic pallete, it just works in terms of ambigious concept album, and it just won't click on every album.

soniclovenoize 03-28-2010 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by russian iha (Post 3611755)
Great thread.

soniclovenoize, being by no means a sound pro, I'm still a fan of Machina (sans the final mastering clipping) and shoegaze sound approach in general. I assume it's just a matter of taste and purpose. I'd kill to get a rusty drowned-in-ocean Machina sound for my music, and I suppose it's gonna suit it well. Machina is accomplished in achieving a outworldish grandiose sonic pallete, it just works in terms of ambigious concept album, and it just won't click on every album.

Yeah, I hear what you're saying. I mean, of course music is subjective. And there are elements I can appreciate about Machina--I have no problem with Flood's digital distortion and manipulations (although I much prefer the big muff sound of 1993), and some of Corgan's best songwring. BUt I think it's the "when is enough enough" scenario... I know this was their intent with Machina, to go to the extreme, but by the time I hit Blue Skies I can't take much more of the overblown songs. I went on a huge geeky rant in the Machina Appreciation thread about it actually, how I believe they should have just said "Eh fuck it!" and put Machina out as the double-concept album it should have been. I posted my own reconstruction of the tracklist (using MI and MII tracks) in that thread if you're curious.

But I digress. My point I forgot to make is I much prefer analog distortion (from effects pedals or overdriven amplifiers) than digital distortion. It has to do with honesty and warmth in my eas (ears?)... Digital distortion just seems cold and lifeless--almost painful!--while analog distortion just seems more alive. If they would have done that on Machina, maybe I would like it a bit more. But then they'd be moving backward rather than forward. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

So I suppose that's the crux of it, and explains my obsession with really pro-sounding homemade recordings, that they sound more honest than studio recording now-a-days... probably because digital is starting to be the industry standard. One of the bands in our circle of friends/bands just recorded an album in a pro studio (owned by some Hold Steady guys actually) and I think it's great, but I still feel like it doesn't have the warmth it could. Why? Because it sounds so digital, so ProTools. Sure, they got to use $1000 mics, but I still think using $100 mics in a 4-track very carefully sounds purer and more honest than a big-$$$ studio. Just my two cents. :p

brendo_91 03-28-2010 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ado (Post 3611336)
Yes and no. I recall at the time Billy mentioned about it being recorded in live takes on to DAT.

According to Signal To Noise:
- Flood performed a litmus test. He transferred two songs onto tape
- then into a DAT machine. When he compared the recordings, the differences were unbelievable.

DAT is two channel. Pretty sure this is referring to just A/Bing the sound of the desks and not the recording medium for the album.

brendo_91 03-28-2010 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Virgo Thing (Post 3611341)
I desire to use a four-track analog recorder, but I'm worried about the availability of cassette tapes to record, not to mention a functional four-track analog recorder I have to find. Tape is dead, isn't it?

you will get better quality recording digital rather than onto a portastudio. tape speed isnt high enough on those things to get decent quality. you want at least 15 inches per second, those things run at... 3.5 ips or so. normal cassette runs at half that again.

soniclovenoize 03-28-2010 10:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brendo_91 (Post 3611768)
you will get better quality recording digital rather than onto a portastudio. tape speed isnt high enough on those things to get decent quality. you want at least 15 inches per second, those things run at... 3.5 ips or so. normal cassette runs at half that again.

"Decent quality" is subjective. Some of my favorite albums were recorded on 4-track. Also, you're suggesting a beginner go to 15 ips? Are you just fluffing your feathers here?

Quote:

Originally Posted by brendo_91 (Post 3611767)
DAT is two channel. Pretty sure this is referring to just A/Bing the sound of the desks and not the recording medium for the album.

...or he meant ADAT instead of DAT. ;)

charade 03-28-2010 12:52 PM

pumpkins record on extraterrestrial equipment from beta reticuli.

slunken 03-28-2010 04:05 PM

me too. sounds great.

soniclovenoize 03-29-2010 02:09 PM

The interesting thing is that is completely possible, since the "Greys" that abduct people are from Zeta Reticuli; you could have somehow gotten your recording equipment form them...
http://planetsmilies.net/alien-smiley-126.gif

brendo_91 03-30-2010 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by soniclovenoize (Post 3611772)
"Decent quality" is subjective. Some of my favorite albums were recorded on 4-track. Also, you're suggesting a beginner go to 15 ips? Are you just fluffing your feathers here?

recorded on portastudio?

no, im saying a beginner shouldnt have to fuck with tape machines of sub standard quality.

slunken 03-30-2010 11:28 AM

So you're saying a beginner should drop tons of cash on something they may not be interested in further down the road? Also:


* Primus' debut album Suck on This, a compilation of several performances, were all recorded on a TASCAM quarter inch 8-Track Portastudio.

* John Frusciante recorded his two first solo albums Niandra Lades & Usually Just A T-Shirt and Smile From The Streets You Hold on a 424 Portastudio. (source: VPRO 94 interview)

* Bruce Springsteen recorded his album Nebraska on a Portastudio 144.

* John Vanderslice, an analog recording enthusiast, made Life and Death of an American Fourtracker, a concept album about home recording, including the song "Me and My 424".

* Recording Studios, a compilation of several performances

* Marilyn Manson recorded The Family Jams on a four-track Portastudio

* Alan Wilder recorded his first solo album 1+2 under nick-name Recoil on a four-track Portastudio

* Ween recorded their second album The Pod on a Tascam 4-Track

* "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded half of his songs on his debut album with a Portastudio in his drummer's garage before signing up for a proper studio.

* Wu-Tang Clan's debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), was mixed down to a Portastudio 244.

soniclovenoize 03-30-2010 03:41 PM

Thanks slunken, you saved me the trouble. :cheers:

And there are tons more. Again, one's definition of "substandard quality" is subjective. I personally think big-budget studios currently sound cold, lifeless and dishonest. I'd much prefer an album recorded at home on a 4-track than at fucking Sunset Sound--more intimacy, more honest, less self-conscious. The fact that cassettes are "coming back" and artists are inserting tape hiss into digital records shows I'm not alone in thei belief.

slunken 03-30-2010 04:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by soniclovenoize (Post 3612186)
and artists are inserting tape hiss into digital records

This just blows my mind. Makes me think of how everybody flipped out when they discovered Wavves made his stuff using RockBand or GarageBand or whatever the hell that computer program is called.

I mean, if I had the money, I would love to get a polished, ultra-clean sound. But I don't so I use a 4-track I got for free. Even though I use it I still try to get the best sound possible.

There's a really good interview with Psychedelic Horseshit explaining this whole phenomenon. It just comes down to trying to get the best sound with the equipment you have. A shitty song will always be a shitty song, no matter what it was recorded with.

Shallowed 03-31-2010 12:41 AM


charade 03-31-2010 04:13 PM

I started with a tascam 4-track too. it wasn`t a 424. I guess it was a cheaper model. generally you can make good recording if you take a very very very good pre-amp (maybe an apogee duet), a good mic and treat your room.
nevertheless a 4-track is still just a cassette-recorder. so don`t await the best, it can sound muffled if your device is not set up right and if you take bad casettes. a good studio-tape machine will mostly sound better. hmm, sorry, my english is sometimes not the best. no, I`m not billy corgan, I`m from germany!


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