John Tyler / Blog

I couldn't afford recording gear until............

Wow! I thought I couldn't afford a good system. I purchased a Tascam 2488,a boss BR 1180, Tascam DP01. I never liked them,They just didn't sound good,and I had to break out the manual every time I started recording.There were too many windows,menus,and I had to scroll thru the menu's to make critical adjustments. I hated these systems. I might use them for a target stand for my .308

Then I discovered eBay!

Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro Original cost $900 , ebay (used,perfect condition) $250 ADAT XT-20, Original cost $2,300 ebay (brand New) $400 Backup XT-20 (used) $140 Also bought the cables on ebay! The mixer is right there in front of you,has inserts on every channel,6 aux sends,4 sub groups,Direct outputs on Channels 1-8, and it has twisty knobs and faders. You can look at it and see what is or isn't at a glance.


The ADAT has 3 basic functions. Arm/disarm tracks, record, and Playback,and the transport controls are identical to a common cassette recorder or reel to reel tape deck ,Sweet! The ADAT has VERY HIGH HEADROOM, and your levels should be set at -24 .If not ,you will have severe audio clipping in the main mix. Everything else is controlled by the mixer (including trim for the ADAT). You'll need 16 RCA to 1/4" cables to hook it up,but it is also easy to trouble shoot,and when connected to the mixer, you can add any kind of hardware, like, compressors,EQs, reverbs, delays, etc.

The 1604 has 16 channels,the ADAT has 8 tracks. This is a good thing.you can have 1-8 as recording channels,and 9-16 for mix down.Channel 1 Direct out (ADAT trac 1 ) corresponds with Channel 9 (output to main mix)

Mixng is joyful,and not complicated.

The insert function on every channel is critical for dedicated compressors,and now you can do side chaining (for mix down).

I used the side chain function on "Fly My Guitar" for the first time. I used 2 compressors (actually 4 via dual mono), 1 for the main buss and 1 for side chaining my Bass Guitar and Acoustic Guitar. I ran an insert cable to the bass guitar mixer insert (mixdown side), and did the typical in out configuration on the 3630. I used a mono cable inserted to the first click on my kick drum insert channel in my mixer,then ran the cable to the dedicated bass compressor (side chain) inserted to the second click. The kick drum triggered the compression (ducking) on my bass guitar and I could have better bottom end gain than normal,and the kick drum blended smoothly with my bass guitar. I also had a dedicated compressor for my acoustic guitar. I used the channel insert from the electric guitar to trigger ducking on my acoustic guitar.. The acoustic guitar was loud,and when I played the electric guitar ,it blended nicely.

I used heavy compression with attack times at 1 ms for ducking the bass and acoustic guitar. Release times are 50ms.

There was no compression on the electric guitar or kick drum.

The main buss compressor was set at 2-1 which is mild. Nice mix![less]