Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Blackbird Rider Nylon w/RMC Polydrive: First Test Track

I have to go to Indiana for several days, and I wanted to get a test track recorded before I left, so here it is.

Here's my main recording setup:

The preamp and effects unit I'm using is a Lexicon MPX-G2 Guitar Effects processor. 2009 marks ten years that I've been using these exclusively, and there is still nothing anywhere near as good, despite the fact that they have been discontinued for several years now. Because recording the MPX-G2 direct results in a too-clean and clinical sound, I run it into a Lexicon Signature 284 All Tube Class "A" Stereo Recording Amplifier. I bypass the Sig 284's preamp entirely by just running the MPX-G2 into the effects returns, which allows me to use the class A power section only for just the tube dimension and warmth.

The 284 has balanced recording outputs and a very low noise floor for a tube amp, so those outs go into my Digidesign Digi 002 Rack Firewire recording interface. I have a PowerMac G5 Dual 2.3GHz machine running Mac OS X 10.5.8 and I'm using the Digidesign ProTools LE version 7.4.2. it's not freakishly up to date, but more than good enough.

Unfortunately, one PITA aspect to using the Signature 284 is that the recording outputs are ungodly bright compared to the speaker outputs - and no, I don't have the bright switches depressed - so I never know exactly what I'm going to get until I play the track back. This has resulted in an initial test track that is far too bright, even for me, and so the next round I'll dial back the highs... a lot.

Nonetheless, this demo shows how incredibly finely balanced and even the Rider is, as the texture of this piece is five-part harmony (!) and every voice is perfectly clear. The Godin is clear too, but not as well balanced, and the Parker is fairly well balanced, but nowhere near as clear due to how dark the cedar sounds. The Rider really is in a class by itself.

The piece is, Prelude No. 23 in D Minor from my Twenty-Four Preludes for Solo Classic Guitar, and it's in drop-D tuning [D, A, D, G, B, E]. I wanted to record a contrapuntal piece to contrast with the prelude, but I simply ran out of time.

When I return from Indiana, I'm going to try out my new mobile recording rack, which has a MESA 20/20 class A/B tube power amp in place of the Signature 284. Though the slave outputs on the MESA are not balanced, I'm hoping they'll match the speaker outputs better. If that's the case, I'll probably sell the 284 and replace it with a MESA Stereo Simul-Class 2: Ninety power amp. If I do, it will be another fully circular evolution for me, as I sold a 2: 90 five years ago when I decided to perform with Bryston solid state amps. I always loved the 2: Ninety, but I was unwilling to risk tubes going out on me at the time - and the 2: 90 was always losing tubes at the worst possible moments - so I sold it. Oh well.


Blogger Minicapt said...

... still not enough. Needs a tablet ...


3:47 AM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

Yes! I could replace the entire rig with an Apple tablet. That's the plan. :-)

11:40 PM  

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