Busy San Francisco Project Studio Equipped With 1-inch Analog

May 26, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors


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According to a San Francisco-based recording artist and producer, wide-track analog mastering is the perfect companion for Pro Tools HD, even in a relatively modest project studio setting. “It’s a great machine, as I knew it would be,” says Joel Dech (who records under the name Infa Red, pictured at right in his studio), referring to his newly restored 1-inch Ampex ATR-102. “I’ve used it on a number of projects already, and it really makes a huge difference in the sound.”

Dech operates a residential project studio inside a two rooms of his first-floor flat in San Francisco’s multi-ethnic Ingleside District. Dech’s new ATR-102 was remanufactured by Michael Spitz of ATR Services in York, Pennsylvania. The vintage recorder was restored to original operating specifications, and also modified to accept the new 1-inch 2-track recording format.

After years of mixing to analog half-inch at other studios, Dech decided to take the plunge and invest in his own machine after calculating the long-term costs. “I added up the costs of the studio time, and I realized that if I got my own machine it would pay off long before I die! And that was just on my own work. When I added my clients into that, I realized it could pay off very quickly.”

In addition to handling the stereo mixdown, the new ATR also serves as an effects device on individual tracks prior to mixing, according to Dech. “Sometimes I will take an individual track out of Pro Tools, record it onto the tape, bounce it back into Pro Tools and I have what I call my magic Neve-like sound without having to buy a big analog console.”

In addition to mixing and editing, Dech uses his own studio for keyboard recording, sampling and vocal overdubbing. For the latter chores, his other prized piece of gear is a Sony C-800G tube condenser microphone.

In addition to recording his own music as Infa Red, Dech produces several noted Bay Area rap/hip hop/soul artists such as The Conscious Daughters. Several of the CD releases are on his own Roulette Records, a new enterprise not related (except perhaps in spirit) to the defunct East Coast label of the same name. Dech may be contacted at 415/334-8742 or via rouletterecords@earthlink.net.

ATR Services Inc. specializes in production, parts support and servicing of analog studio recorders and associated electronics. For more information, please contact: Michael Spitz, ATR Services at 717/852-7700 or go to their Website at www.atrservice.com .

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