Can anyone recommend a piece of kit or plug-ins that would really get the most out of recording the s2400? This is only a hobby for me, so I’m not looking for the latest and greatest gear. More like some budget maneuvers to get really nice recordings. I’m thinking of an Alesis 3630 compressor and a Softube Tape Saturation Plug-In but would love to hear what others use and love.
What do you use to record at the moment, and what software do you already have?
I run the s2400 8 outs plus a couple of synths to a Mackie 1642 VLZ Pro into a behringer 1820 audio interface. Using Bitwig 16 as my DAW.
A single printer cable and a copy of REAPER is pretty powerful. You can have 8 clean, loud stereo inputs running in seconds if you have a mac. There’s also a 9th that contains the mixed output if you want to mix on the sampler. The mix out has great saturation already.
My stems go from thin and wispy to thick and crispy real quicky this way. Software is good for EQing though, since Isla has only filters.
Does this method bypass the analog filters tho? I use those most times I’m on the 2400.
For most people here, that’s a dealbreaker. The trade-off is managing at least 16 physical connections, using appropriate gain staging and all the losses and troubleshooting that goes along with that – I’m a little too obsessed with dusting to maintain that these days.
I will switch to a hardware mixer and cables for live stuff though, I think, since there are stability issues with using it as an audio device on a computer, as well as processing that many independent audio streams in general.
Hey man. I’m in the same boat, looking to improve my recording setup and think I’ve finally settled on my ideal solution. It’s just a hobby but I am really trying to capture the raw, gritty, tape saturated, vinyl mono club speaker sound of mid 90’s house, garage, jungle, D&B. To this end I’m not that into Hi-Fi or ‘bright’ recordings.
I just discovered the Allen & Heath Z420 mixer, found one for dirt cheap on the used market. It’s similar to their Mixwizard range. Enough inputs, inserts, decent sweepable EQ, 4 Bus, direct outs for multitracking to interface/DAW + stereo out if I feel like experimenting with tape (The cheaper A&H Zed range mixers don’t have the same EQ and are missing stereo out). But you already have the Mackie so I digress.
Last night I gave in to GAS and bought a dbx 160X compressor to use on my drum bus, a little pricier than the 3630 but by all accounts punchy as hell and a firm staple in the industry. It seems I’m heading towards 100% OTB (just for fun) but I’m keeping it hybrid to enjoy the best of both worlds.
My go to weapons for added colour, saturation, EQ and mastering. I prefer not to overdo it, less is more, make it sound good going in so I don’t have to do much, that kind of thing:
- AA Diamond Lift - very nice saturation, ‘lifts’ the mid range up very smoothly
- AA Purple Pultec EQ - not surgical at all, but a classic with some tricks up its sleeve, lots of character
- BX_Digital_V3 - amazing mono/stereo EQ, makes everything sound better on the stereo bus
- BX_Console_N - channel strip with great sounding THD
- Fabfilter Pro L2 - gets the track louder with a real punch, dead easy to get good results
- Ozone 9’s Free mastering assistant - nice and simple easy to get good results and tweak from there
I’m by no means an expert, these are just what I’ve used in the last few years, I’m sure others have used better tools for the job, I’m here for it all. I’m just looking forward to getting this recording rig in place so I can focus on composition. Set and forget!
Awesome reply, exactly the kind of stuff I’m looking for. Thanks!
Big up the middle age dads trying to recreate sounds of their youth crew!
am really trying to capture the raw, gritty, tape saturated, vinyl mono club speaker sound of mid 90’s house, garage, jungle, D&B
should get an amiga thren
I’d love to learn trackers at some point. Maybe a Polyend Tracker or Amiga/Atari emulator would be better than the old hardware and peripherals.
Renoise is amazing and changed my life. Lots of of my compositions start there and then make their way to the sampler as stems because it’s about 25 times faster for cutting detailed breaks.
It’s on a very short list of IP I have actually paid for to be quite honest. One day I will face retribution. It’s like 40 bucks or something.
Nice I’ll check it out! Heard good things about it. I need to find a quick way to get my breaks into the S950 but I’m not sure there is one. I want to sample hot through the S950 input to get that saturated sound, then slice for triggering from S2400. I’d love to hear other peoples methods for speeding it up.
It’s software but one I recommend for everybody is Oeksound Soothe 2. Nothing comes close in the hardware world, and there are very good drip-down derivatives in software which come close but don’t match it for easy, clean, surgical removal of harsh frequencies.
The SSL Native Drumstrip is currently on sale again at Plugin Boutique, and it’s a brilliant tool for sculpting your S2400 drums.
In terms of mixing/mastering hardware, the SSL Fusion is perhaps the best bang for buck you can get. For less money, the Elektron Analog Heat is arguably the ultimate bang for buck. 11 stereo drive circuits, stereo EQ, stereo multimode resonant filters with envelopes, an LFO, a wet/dry control and a USB audio interface with a plugin that allows for tinkering in the box… It’s very special.
I’ve had my eye on an Analog Heat for a while, just a bit outside my budget at the moment. One day tho. Thanks for the other suggestions, Ill check them out.
Iv’e been through so many mixers and have come back to the Mackie VLZ that you have. It has insert outs that I patch directly into my soundcard (RME). Its a perfectly flexible solution that has character and the fast ability to insert effects and other bits of hardware while maintaining the tight timing relationship that only analog gives you. Get a Mackie Big Knob and switch between digital and analog monitoring. It’s impossible to beat Logic Pro and it’s internal plugins for $199. My recommendation is keep hardware and software separate as long as possible in your process. The Logic Compressors are brilliant, the EQ is functional and transparent and you can create great mastering chains. Don’t bother with tape saturation unitl youve explored overdriving the mackies analog pre amps.
The BX_Console series is worth it when its on sale. I love the Amek 9099. It’s my most used plug in.
For Saturation effects the RC-20 is great. But you could also bounce to VHS or cassette. for less $
Good monitors help too!
I’d love to hear from anyone with experience on the A&H Z420 or similar. The Firewire R-16 stole the show but the Z420 appears to have some pretty good routing options and a decent 4-band EQ for home use (minus Q control that R-16 has).
But there are next to no reviews or threads about this mixer whist the R-16 has 6000+ posts on a 14 year old GS page. Funny thing is its FW audio interface has rendered it obsolete after the unit was discontinued, so users are having to find ADAT workarounds to keep it alive. That’s what I’ve surmised after a couple of weeks trying to find a mixer that ticks all boxes. I wanted an original 1604 or A&H Mixwizard WZ3 but those things are decades old and the Z420 seems like a worthy successor, because having direct channel outputs is a must.
Last night I played around processing my S2400 with Drambo on iOS, it is a really nice way to spice things up.
I just mapped a bunch of knobs in bank E to some of the modules and went to town. I highly recommend anyone who has both to give it a try.
Being able to process all channels over a single usb is really quite something.
I feel like I’m missing out on tracker workflow shortcuts, trying to make jungle on the S2400 sequencer. The type of variations and fills that jungle/D&B call for are quite tedious to program on the 2400. If I were to buy Renoise I would literally only be using its sequencing features to trigger external gear. Does it excel at that? I am still watching videos and don’t fully understand how to structure a full song with trackers (having never used one) but I feel like I’m missing a trick. Are there any downsides? I use ‘midi input focus’ all the time on the 2400 with a keystep 37 and would miss that simple workflow of switching synths with a button press and easy recording. I assume that can all be done within Renoise as well.
My roommate @katerkeit uses Renoise with his S2400. Maybe he will explain the tricks of the trade regarding song structures in trackers