Are we hipsters yet?

by Dan Coggins

Analogue Recording comes to Core!

So far today among the Core Music personnel we’ve counted 4 beards, 2 pairs of man-sandals and brewed 3 pots of Fairtrade coffee. Hexham may not be the new Shoreditch just yet, but we at Core Music are about to set off on our ironic bicycles into the world of analogue sound.

Not only have we received our first stock of vinyl records but, due to the kindness of a local retiring audio engineer, we have become proud adoptive parents of an old analogue recording console with reel-to-reel tape. Coming from a digital recording background, Julie (from Rolling Audio) and I were wondering whether there really was the appetite to journey back in time if the world of digital sound is available here at our fingertips. We can make first class recordings with a laptop and some fancy software, so why the heck would we want to lump a ton of old wood, metal and capacitors up a bunch of staircases?

As soon as we turned on the desk and saw those lovely green and red lights it became apparent that this was already more fun than staring at a screen and fiddling with a mouse. All those leads and wiring connections suddenly seemed like a big fun puzzle (at least for the first 3 hours…) and by the time we plugged mics in and got some noise through the old beast we were like kids in a candy store. There’s something very human and intensely satisfying about pushing physical faders, turning knobs and hearing the results.

Whether you’re a musician or engineer, recording to tape isn’t for the faint-hearted and even with the great old outboard equipment we’ve got, you’re missing the endless possibilities of the digital realm but there is an argument to be made for having perimeters and boundaries – as anyone who’s spent days agonising over endless changes to a final mix will attest. When it’s committed to tape you’re less likely to want to change it the next day. That’s not to say we can’t have the best of both worlds and transfer to digital afterwards, but for now we’re going to give the straightforward simple way a try. Now, which one of my 47 varieties of muesli do I fancy..?

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