Clasp integrates analogue tape machines into digital audio production workflow, and follows the thinking behind Blade’s complement of modern and classic recording gear. With it, Blade can run an analogue tape machine alongside a DAW, combining classic sound and digital convenience.
The studio is running a Studer A827 with the Clasp (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system and an SSL Duality console – which combines an analogue path signal processing with DAW control. Recent studio sessions have involved Rolling Stones touring bassist Daryl Jones with Brady Blade on drums.
Bell (pictured) was in the process of selecting equipment for the new facility, when he came across Clasp online. ‘I read a couple of articles on it, and I thought it sounded very interesting,’ he says. ‘I grew up using analogue tape, but in recent years it’s just been disappearing. Last year. I think I only did one record on tape.
‘But Clasp opens up that possibility again in a very real, modern way. So I contacted my sales rep to track down a Clasp, and got in touch with Chris Estes, who invented the Clasp box and runs Endless Analog. He was immensely helpful, and he helped me get the unit up and running. That was just a few months ago, and we’ve already been using it on sessions here at the studio.’
‘The most important thing we do for our clients is create an atmosphere where they are inspired, breathe easy and feel great about the room and the sessions that are taking place,’ says Crompton. ‘We want them to perform confidently and enjoy the sound of their own voice and playing, and Clasp is an important piece of that puzzle – a tool to make that happen. A lot of people want to use vintage gear, but they don’t necessarily want the hassles associated with it – high costs for tape reels, time for rewinding or transferring things to Pro Tools and so on. Clasp solves those problems; you only need a small amount of tape, and no time is needed for transferring things.
‘The artist can always be in the moment, and no inspiration gets lost. That is a tremendous gift. Artists are generally more at ease when they don’t sense the pressure and ticking clock of burning through expensive tape. Now, they can walk in and see Clasp and think, “I can do a thousand takes; I can do a million takes, and it’s all going to tape and it all sounds sweet”. Clasp separates itself from all other gear – it’s like riding around in a beautiful old Gullwing Mercedes and not having to worry about it breaking down or anybody backing into it.’
‘It’s so nice to see reels of tape rolling again – everybody is so curious about the tape machine,’ Bell continues. ‘They say, “Man this is cool. We haven’t done this in a while”.
‘It really makes an enormous difference in sound, and since it’s not slowing down the session, you don’t really think about the fact that it’s there and working. You just know that feeling when everything sounds rich and nuanced, coming right from the moment of performance. The tape adds that smooth, full compression on the front end, so I don’t have to add as much compression later on – it’s changed the way I mix to more how I used to mix once upon a time, pre-digital. You can just let the tape machine do so much.’
Blade Studios had a very successful grand opening party on Saturday April 2, 2011. With close to 600 in attendance, the crowd enjoyed food and drinks while exploring the newly constructed studios. The highlight of the night was the jam session where musicians could sit in and jam with other fellow musicians. Brian Blade led the jam session starting out with his father Brady Blade Sr singing. The jam session was recorded on Blade Studios new CLASP system running to a Studer 827 then recorded to Pro-Tools at 96 Khz. Some of the mixes will be posted soon on the Blade Studios Facebook page.
Here is one of the songs from the jam session:
Here is a new tour video of Blade Studios:
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Tags: Analog Tape