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SONIC SCOOP – Endless Analog Demos Its Dream-Come-True CLASP at Avatar NYC

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

August 5, 2010 by Janice Brown  
Filed under Tech Scoop

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN: Nashville-based producer/musician/inventor Chris Estes demonstrated his revolutionary Endless Analog CLASP system in Avatar’s Studio G on Monday. The session featured ace-of-bass and producer Jerry Barnes laying down some of his thick, low-end goodness to Pro Tools HD via 2” tape and the CLASP.

The CLASP hardware unit is installed between your mic pre’s, DAW and tape machine.

Since the CLASP is such a newfangled, first-of-its-kind product, there’s a lot to understand about what it does and how it works. There are several great reviews and testimonials on the system here and plenty of information to answer any and all questions you may have. But here’s the gist:

CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) consists of a hardware unit that is installed between your mic pre’s, DAW and tape machine (pictured), and the native Bridge plug-in (RTAS and VST), which you open on any track in your DAW session and use to control the tape transport.

These days, most recordings being done to tape are then dumped into the digital realm for editing and mixing. CLASP allows for a totally hybrid workflow, where analog recording and overdubs are done in real time, controlled with the speed and efficiency of digital, and all audio is stored in your DAW, minimizing tape usage. You can use one reel of tape to record an entire record, or several records for that matter.

CLASP essentially allows the tape machine to be used like a plug-in. You control the tape machine and switch between tape speeds stored in the CLASP right from your DAW. And you can monitor analog in repro mode. See the CLASP connection diagram here.

CLASP's Bridge plug-in

The elevator pitch to engineers via Endless Analog’s website: “CLASP provides sample accurate tape synchronization with zero latency analog monitoring while delivering a true analog front end recording solution for Pro Tools.”

Seeing the CLASP in action, its functionality seems instantly essential. It totally streamlines a process that needs streamlining and will allow so many more people to utilize analog tape as part of their production.

At Avatar, the CLASP hardware unit was connected via MIDI to the Pro Tools HD rig and through an Endless Analog proprietary cable to the 24-track Studer A800. Once the tape machine was aligned and synchronized to the Pro Tools session at both 15 ips and 30 ips recording speeds via CLASP, Barnes tracked a bass line and then monitored off the repro head to select his preferred speed.

During playback, Estes pointed out: “Being able to monitor in repro is a really great thing for getting drum sounds, for example, because you can make judgment calls about what tape speed you want to use for a particular song.”

Chris Estes explaining the CLASP signal/workflow

“You can have it on whatever speed and then have the drummer play, mute his headphones, and then listen off the tape in Pro Tools. And you can make decisions about levels and EQ and things like that based on what you’re hearing.

“You can have the tape rolling while the drummer’s playing and, starting with the kick drum, you can bring the level up to find the sweet spot — right where we get just the right amount of tape compression — and dial it in so when you go to do your recordings, there are no surprises.”

CLASP stores information for up to three different recording speeds. Estes relayed to the group: “In a lot of sessions we’ve done so far, people will record the drums at 30 ips, then they’ll go back and re-cut the bass at 15. Then they’ll cut electric guitars at 7½, which sounds really great if the machine is aligned properly. With this [A800] machine, you’d vari-speed it down as far as you can get it and then do an alignment for that.”

“And if you wanted to use varispeed to overdub just a Tom Fill at 15IPS and have the rest at 30?” engineer Roy Hendrickson asked.

“You’d use the sync I/O in Pro Tools and vari-speed Pro Tools up,” says Estes. “So to make the toms sound bigger you’d vari-speed Pro Tools up and do the tom fill, put it back normal, and then the toms would be huge.”

Demo group at Avatar, Jerry Barnes at right

Estes also points out you can daisy-chain up to three CLASP hardware interfaces and synchronize three 24-track tape machines for a total of 72-channels of recording. You can use CLASP with 24, 16, 8 or even 2-track machines, you can combine different machines and tape speeds for different tones. In addition to Pro Tools, CLASP also works with Nuendo and Cubase.

But there’s even more to know…here’s Estes on-the-spot rundown of CLASP’s main functions and features:

1) First of all, the CLASP is a precision measuring instrument, which functions as a sample-accurate synchronization device, so it’s able to profile the tape machine, analyze the ballistics of the machine, calculate to the sample what the latency of that machine is — taking into consideration the transport, the flutter, etc. Then, it’s telling Pro Tools to change the time stamp of the audio that’s coming into the converters.

So, while you’re recording, the meters are actually late but then when you watch the wave forms as they’re going down, Pro Tools is drawing them in relationship to the grid in the correct time. So it’s an actual time stamp, you can take the session to another studio and you don’t have to have the CLASP. You only use the CLASP when you’re cutting tracks.

2) The CLASP is seamlessly controlling the tape transport for you invisibly in the background. It works a lot like the Quick Punch mode — it looks at the track-arming status and as soon as you have tracks armed and you start the Pro Tools transport, the CLASP, analog machine and Pro Tools Quick Punch all start recording simultaneously in the background. It’s extrapolating from the Pro Tools transport and track-arming status. So even though you might have punched in late, you can peel back audio with tape now. Which is impossible otherwise.

3) You don’t have to rewind the tape until you reach the end of the reel. In this case, it’s counting down from 30 minutes (@15 IPS), so you’d only have to rewind every half-hour or so.

4) You now have latency-free analog monitoring. We’re monitoring here through the master-grade analog hardware of the CLASP, not Pro Tools.

5) CLASP compensates for the converter delay times. If you’re using Apogee 16X converters with Pro Tools, for example, that’s 62 samples of converter latency at 44.1, so you simply type in 62 samples in the offset and then everything you play is perfectly in time with where it’s supposed to be when you play it back.

After the demo at Avatar, engineer Roy Hendrickson shared his impressions with us:

“I think what Chris has done here is quite brilliant. The fact that he is getting Pro Tools to record these files into the DAW with an adjusted time stamp is genius.

“And once you’re finished using CLASP and you go back to using Pro Tools normally, there are no side effects, there’s nothing you have to change about your workflow. You don’t have to move your files and it does all those little tweaks that you’d normally have to do — like re-compensating for things like delay manually — this takes care of all that for you in a really elegant manner so you don’t have to worry. You can concentrate on the performance.”

On the Endless Analog website, Chris Estes and Endless Analog VP Amy Becker Estes ask us to: “Imagine experiencing analog tape recording as fast, effortless and timesaving as Pro Tools.” The CLASP system, which Estes started developing out of his garage in Nashville over five years ago, makes this idea – once Estes’ daydream – a reality.

Endless Analog’s CLASP system is available now from Vintage King for $7,495.

Visit www.endlessanalog.com and www.vintageking.com/Endless-Analog-Clasp for more information!

AES NEWS – Dave Cobb Chooses Endless Analog’s CLASP® for Secret Sisters

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Producer Dave Cobb recording with CLASP at Blackbird Studios

Nashville, TN — Los Angeles-based producer, engineer and composer Dave Cobb has worked with some of the biggest names in neo-traditional country and roots music – Shooter Jennings, Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings, Jamey Johnson and Brooke White, to name a few. He recently discovered a promising young sister act, The Secret Sisters, composed of Laura and Lydia Rogers. As producer of the group’s upcoming debut album, which is being overseen by Executive Producer and GRAMMY®-winning roots music legend T-Bone Burnett, and set to be released on Universal Republic, Cobb is using the opportunity to masterfully match the Sisters’ unique vintage sound, reminiscent of classic late 1950s country-pop, with period-accurate recordings. A huge piece of that puzzle is Endless Analog’s CLASP® (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor), the critically acclaimed pro audio product that invisibly merges real Analog Tape with Pro Tools and other DAWs.

Cobb first became aware of CLASP through online recording forums.

"It piqued my interest immediately,” notes Cobb, “because I’ve always been into tape, and matching it with Pro Tools in this seamless way makes a really convenient, fast and easy workflow. CLASP seemed like the perfect marriage of the two. It lets me just work, and not have to think! Designer Chris Estes from Endless Analog gave me a demo at my L.A. studio, and I bought it on the spot. I’ve always had two-track tape machines, but lately I wasn’t using them quite as much. But now that CLASP has come along, it has completely solidified my workflow, and I’m back to using tape machines all the time.”

The Sisters’ project provided the perfect opportunity for Cobb to put the CLASP to great use. The album’s tracking sessions are taking place in Nashville at Blackbird Studio A, and Cobb made sure to go to every length to attain the classic sounds they were seeking. “We used a bunch of Universal Audio mic pre-amps, old RCA ribbon mics, Neumann U48s – all very period-correct stuff,” he recalls.

"There’s something really pleasing and honest about records from the 50s, 60s and 70s. CLASP enables us to get that classic sound with modern convenience. We used super-minimal mic-ing, period-correct compressors, instruments and setup, and gave the studio a vintage atmosphere. Really, the only difference in the way we tracked it now versus how they would have done it 50-plus years ago is that we have computers to act as a big storage device. With CLASP, we’re able to use one roll of tape, and just constantly hit ‘tape,’ and immediately it’s transferred into Pro Tools. We even used live slap going down to the chambers, and we were able to print it all to tape just as they would have done back then. All the sounds are coming from the rooms, the performers, the mics, the vintage mic-pre’s, and the tape, just like years ago. Pro Tools for us is a storage and editing medium only.”

He points out how CLASP has made their faithfulness to the vintage sound possible. He notes,

"If we’d done it before CLASP came along, we’d have spent probably $12,000 on tape alone, but with CLASP, you only need one roll. We were able to keep every pass we did on the computer – not that we needed a ton of passes – but we were able to keep them all and easily comp between those passes with the convenience of Pro Tools. And we were able to get the classic analog tape sounds without spending a fortune on tapes.”

As Cobb continues to work on projects at his L.A.-based 1974 Studio and elsewhere, he will be sure to keep CLASP as an integral part of his signal chain. He states,

"I don’t have to use plug-ins anymore to try and get the sounds I’m looking for. CLASP opens the doors to sounds that just don’t really exist in the digital realm. Classic-sounding records with modern convenience, that’s what CLASP allows us to do.”

CLASP is the world’s first and only pro audio hardware that lets you record on real analog tape with digital speed. CLASP provides sample accurate tape synchronization with zero latency analog monitoring while delivering a true Analog front end recording solution for Pro Tools. Already being used by top artists, producers and engineers worldwide, CLASP is re-inventing analog for the digital age. CLASP is employed by a diverse range of artists, engineers, producers and facilities, including Lenny Kravitz (at his new Bahamas-based Gregory Town Sound recording facility); Michael W. Smith; Denis Savage, engineer for Celine Dion; producers Nathan Chapman, Dave Cobb, Chuck Ainlay, John Fields and Tom “T-Bone” Edmunds; and studio facilities such as Clearwater, Florida’s Cleartrack Productions, Los Angeles, California’s Hemispheres Recording and Austria’s Prime Studios. Analog tape manufacturers recommended by Endless Analog for use with CLASP include ATR Magnetics and RMG International.

EQ MAGAZINE – Endless Analog CLASP Review

Saturday, July 24th, 2010


Bridging the Gap Between Analog and Digital Recording

by Grace Larkin

On Tuesday, July 6th, San Francisco’s Studio Trilogy held a two-hour demonstration of the newly released Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor, also known as CLASP. Five years in the making, CLASP is a breakthrough way to incorporate analog tape into digital production through turning any tape machine into a DAW plug-in processor. In other words, this product reduces rewind time as well as tape cost, allowing for the same reel to be used for an entire recording, running the reel front to back before rewinding. The release of this form of hybrid analog/digital technology is overwhelmingly exciting in the production world, and I was lucky enough to experience the processor in action.

Inside the studio, CLASP inventor, Chris Estes ran the show, explaining to various recording engineers, journalists, and curious faces like myself how the thing really works. Estes sat behind the control panel, with all of us over his shoulder, and effortlessly executed a live session with Bay Area band The Trophy Fire, a three-piece group willing to lay down a track with Estes while he simultaneously explained the process as they went. The band (guitar, bass, and drums) played through the song one time instrumentally, felt they had the cut they wanted other than a 5-second guitar punch-in fix, and were on to the vocals.

Because the major part of the recording went by so smoothly, and because the equipment was equally flawless, Estes was able to show us some of CLASP’s cool secrets. One feat was CLASP’s ability to jump between tape speeds on the fly to audition and then print, even mixing speeds in the same project – something that’s impossible in a production recorded exclusively on analog tape. Why is this important? Gino Robair, former editor of Electronic Musician and now contributor to Keyboard magazine, says, “In general, the faster the tape speed, the higher the fidelity. On the other hand, the slower the tape speed, the more old-school the sound becomes—rounded transients, beefier bass frequencies, and a bit more oomph. Because everything is, ultimately, sent to disk when using CLASP, you can do a recording pass of the vocals at, say, 30 ips (inches per second), and then do the lead guitar at 15 ips to fatten the tone. During the session at Studio Trilogy, Estes demonstrated the sonic differences that changes in tape speed make and the results were remarkable. It’s the kind of sound we all want from plug-ins, but never seem to get.”

The tape machine ran throughout the session, and it was hard to believe the digital side of things was really going to be fluidly integrated with this large piece of analog equipment. Beyond our expectations, though, Estes lay on the last vocal cut, mixing the final product with a sound so pristine it had us all drooling for our own Endless Analog/CLASP. Quick, easy, and professional beyond all expectations, the CLASP setup proves to be the biggest breakthrough in recording technology we’ve seen in years. Learn more about the equipment and how it could work for you at www.endlessanalog.com.


Me with CLASP inventor Chris Estes and the CLASP.

becker estes 0710

CLASP inventor Chris Estes and Vice President Amy Becker showcasing their new CLASP product.

Endless Analog Appoints Vintage King Audio As Exclusive U.S. Retailer

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Tape Op

Nashville-based Endless Analog, developer and manufacturer of the CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system, has appointed Vintage King Audio, a leading dealer of high-end new and vintage recording equipment, as its exclusive U.S. retailer for its CLASP system. Endless Analog president Chris Estes made the announcement.

Additionally, potential purchasers will have the ability to demo the CLASP system in Vintage King’s facilities as well as in Infrasonic Sound Recording Company—Vintage King Audio’s showcase facility in Los Angeles—and Media Right Productions in New York City.

"The appointment of Vintage King Audio is part of a comprehensive business plan that positions the next stage of growth for Endless Analog,” states Estes. “Vintage King is the acknowledged leader in boutique and classic audio products, which makes them a perfect fit to carry CLASP. Their staff is exceptionally well trained and uniquely qualified to offer Endless Analog’s product line, and their contacts and reputation in the industry are second to none. We look forward to working with Vintage King to spread the word about CLASP and analog/digital hybrid recording.”

"Vintage King is reaffirming its place as an industry leader by carrying the CLASP,” states Mike Nehra, Vintage King co-owner and Sales Director. “The CLASP’s revolutionary technology bridges the gap between classic analog recording and modern digital workflow; it’s a cutting-edge innovation that our clients will undoubtedly jump at the chance to work with. Vintage King is incredibly excited to offer them the opportunity to do so.”

The CLASP is a hardware and software system that seamlessly integrates analog tape recorders with digital audio workstations using a proprietary method called SST (sample synchronization technology). CLASP delivers an analog front-end recording solution offering the character of a tape machine while eliminating the delay associated with digital AD/DA converters. Endless Analog founder Estes created the CLASP in order to address the need engineers had for using DAWs in a familiar workflow while still getting the benefits that analog circuitry and real tape have to offer.

Infrasonic Sound will integrate a CLASP system into its existing setup (including the Rupert Neve 5088 console that the studio acquired from Vintage King last year), using CLASP with its three Otari units. CLASP will be available to all those tracking at the studio as well as any Vintage King clients interested in previewing the unit.

"By integrating The CLASP into our workflow at Infrasonic, we’re able to stay completely committed to the best of analog recording while taking advantage of the speed and fluidity of digital recording," says Infrasonic co-owner and Vintage King Los Angeles sales representative, Jeffrey Ehrenberg. "The majority of the sessions we have at Infrasonic track to tape, including the recent session my partner Pete Lyman completed with No Age [Sub Pop]. With the CLASP, we’ll save our clients’ time and money by eliminating consuming tape transfers and excessive tape costs. Additionally, the CLASP enables us to preserve the larger-than-life sound that you can only achieve when tracking to tape, yet edit, comp and tweak as today’s digital productions are accustomed to. I’m looking forward to not only using it myself, but giving Vintage King clients the opportunity to experience what it’s all about firsthand."

Read Kevin Becka’s review of Endless Analog’s CLASP system in the June 2010 issue of Mix.

For more information, visit www.endlessanalog.com, www.vintageking.com/Endless-Analog-Clasp and infrasonicsound.com. To schedule a demo, contact the Vintage King sales department at 248/591-9276.


Sunday, May 16th, 2010


by Clyne Media

Nashville, TN (May 14, 2010)–Working on material for his next album, contemporary Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith was introduced to the CLASP Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor system.

CLASP was developed, manufactured, and is exclusively distributed by Nashville-based Endless Analog, and Smith has reportedly become an ardent fan of the system. Grammy-winning producer/engineer Bryan Lenox has also been using the system, and together Smith and Lenox are integrating CLASP into the way they track and mix, aiming to make Smith’s next album a landmark album sonically.

“If there’s a downside to the digital revolution, it’s that we lost the warmness of what tape did. It makes a huge difference on some of the old records,” notes Smith. “But CLASP bridges both worlds, getting that big warmness of tape and being able to operate that in Pro Tools or another DAW. You have the brightness and fatness of two-inch tape, which you can run at 30, 15 or 7.5 ips – and the streamlined workflow of digital. I’m in the middle of making a new record, and we are using this piece of technology, and it’s pretty much blowing my mind. I’m so glad I didn’t sell my tape machine 20 years ago–it’s back in my studio and operating along with the CLASP, and it’s rocking.”

Smith notes that the CLASP has been useful for him as he tracks vocals. He adds,

“Every time we use CLASP, I am impressed, because it brings out the right sounds and colors. I’ve got a love song on the new record for my incredible wife called ‘Forever Yours,’ and obviously I’m recording all the vocals with CLASP. The tone is wonderfully warm, and it perfectly complements the song’s melody and lyrics in a special way. The vocal is so present that there’s no denying what you’re hearing, because you feel like you can almost touch it, it’s that present.”

BROADCAST ENGINEERING – Endless Analog Founder/President Chris Estes Addresses the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Arizona

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Broadcast Engineering

— Inventor-manufacturer of CLASP® (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) provides unique insights into analog recording and the use of CLASP, effectively bridging the worlds of digital and analog —

NASHVILLE, TN, May 7, 2010 — The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) recently hosted two days of workshops and seminars with Chris Estes, Founder/President of Endless Analog, the Nashville-based manufacturer and distributor of the revolutionary, critically acclaimed CLASP® (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor). Estes led four in-studio sessions at CRAS, where students and faculty were given the unique hands-on opportunity to experience CLASP and learn Estes’ insights on analog recording, ranging from tracking methods right through the final mix. Drawing upon his vast experience on both sides of the glass and as an inventor, Estes discussed analog recording and worked closely with the Conservatory’s Director of Education Kevin Becka and Conservatory Technician Jeff Harris for the sessions. Estes used CLASP to merge Studio A’s Studer A 827 analog recorder and the Pro Tools HD system into a singular system.

“Our time with Chris and CLASP was a mind blower for both faculty and students,” commented Kevin Becka. “CLASP is an inspirational piece of gear. It gives artists, engineers and producers an incredible array of tools for cutting great sounding tracks. We were easily able to audition and record tracks at different tape speeds during a session, giving us the ability to do overdubs with more or less tape saturation depending on the instrument. Students could easily hear the quality difference between straight digital recordings and tracks cut through CLASP.”

CLASP is a hardware and software system that integrates Analog Tape Recorders with Digital Audio Workstations using a proprietary method called SST® (sample synchronization technology). CLASP delivers a true analog front end recording solution with the sonic character of the user’s tape machine. No other product comes close to approximating what CLASP effectively accomplishes. CLASP is employed by a diverse range of artists, engineers, producers and facilities, including Lenny Kravitz (at his new Bahamas-based Gregory Town Sound recording facility); Michael W. Smith; producers Nathan Chapman, Dave Cobb, Chuck Ainlay, John Fields and Tom “T-Bone” Edmunds; and studio facilities such as Austin, Texas’ Yellow Dog Studios, Los Angeles, California’s Hemispheres Recording and Austria’s Prime Studios. Analog tape manufacturers recommended by Endless Analog for use with CLASP include ATR Magnetics and RMG International.

“I am very impressed with the Conservatory’s faculty, students and curriculum,” stated Chris Estes. “CRAS has a vibrant, dedicated pool of students and renowned instructors with a passion for recording. The school offers an excellent way for these talented individuals to get their start and education in the recording industry. I am proud to have been able to address them, and I am thrilled with the support they have shown for the CLASP system.”

Based in Tempe, Arizona, with a satellite campus in Gilbert, Arizona, The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is a premier audio recording, sound engineering and music production school teaching both analog and digital recording concepts from day 1 of their 30-week program. Every Conservatory student learns tape alignment on Otari and Studer 24-track tape machines, and the Conservatory has eight studios running both 24-track analog tape and Pro Tools HD 2 TDM systems. Over 800 students a year go through the Conservatory’s program, and in 2010, the Conservatory had 27 students credited on 55 GRAMMY®-nominated records with six GRAMMY winners on albums from Green Day, Booker T. Jones, Beyoncé and more.

For more information, please visit http://www.endlessanalog.com.

MIX BLOG – The Future Is Analog

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

mix_logo_07 By Kevin Becka

I spent two days this week with CLASP cutting tracks with live musicians in the SSL room at the Conservatory of Recording Arts. The system allows you to record through analog tape, coming off the repro head and immediately into your DAW. It was a mind-blower and more fun I’ve had in the studio in a long time. It made me realize how one-dimensional digital recording has become and how I’ve gotten into the habit of settling for poor results.

In my career, I’ve seen the pendulum of our business swing from analog to digital, and now back to an analog/digital hybrid that marries the best of both worlds. I record on a regular basis using a lot of great mics, preamps, plug-ins and monitors. And while excellent audio gear can shape a track in many positive ways, the weakest link is digital conversion and what the digital mix engine does inside the box. Using tape again brought that ear-friendly component back, even after conversion, making the tracks mix easier and offering a palette of sonic color that is lost in conversion straight from the mic.

CLASP turns your conception of analog workflow upside down. There’s no rewind time and tape cost is cut dramatically because you’re not using it as a format but instead, as a medium. You can monitor off the repro head at different tape speeds on the same take so you can make judgements on how hard to hit the tape, what speed is best and then mix and match speeds and saturation over a series of overdubs, on the same song. The end result is dramatic and discernible, even to the untrained ear.

During two days of sessions, I invited enginers whose ears I respect, students, even non-audio folks and to the last person, they “got it”. They could hear the difference in the bottom end, the musicality of tape and how it effected their perception of the music. The musicians also loved it, urging on the experimentation. It became a shared peak musical experience: the best part of music production.

To read more about how CLASP can be integrated into a studio’s workflow, check out my interview with Lenny Kravitz and his audio team. He owns two systems and uses it across a range of tape machines. Since October, inventor Chris Estes has sold 21 systems, about one a week, and sales are strong. With all the bad news in our industry including studio closings, plunging budgets not to mention crappy music, CLASP is a bit of good news for audio pros who got into this business because of the sound of music.


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

ProSoundNews Nathan Chapman Adopts CLASP 03.31.2010

by Clyne Media

Nashville, TN (March 31, 2010)–Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Nathan Chapman recently purchased the CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system.

Chapman recently garnered an Album of the Year Grammy for his work on Taylor Swift’s album, Fearless, and has twice won nominations for Producer of the Year by the ACM. He has recorded as a multi-instrumentalist for artists, including Trisha Yearwood and John Oates, written songs recorded by Martina McBride and other hit country artists, and produced artists ranging from Jewel to Point of Grace.

CLASP was developed, invented, manufactured and is exclusively distributed by Nashville-based Endless Analog. Chapman says that CLASP gives him the ability to tap into analog warmth on his classic MCI 24-track deck and still have all the speed and convenience of his Pro Tools DAW.

"The thing that put me over the edge would be the direct monitoring,” he explains. “When you hook up the CLASP system, the singer is hearing their vocal instantaneously. You’re not dealing with converting in and out of Pro Tools and the latency you get from that. It’s miniscule latency, but it’s significant enough to make a singer uncomfortable. This totally eliminates that; it’s just easier to sing, it’s easier to play, and that’s a really good thing.”

He continues, “The vintage microphones, pre amps, compressors that we love [were] designed to hit tape and have that color added to it. You have to hit tape [or else] you take away one [critical] ingredient that the original designer intended. I find that my preamps and my compressors open up and they sound better when they’re getting the tape ‘love.’ The really important thing that CLASP is bringing to modern recording is helping vintage gear sound like it’s supposed to.”


Wednesday, March 10th, 2010


ENDLESS ANALOG APPOINTS CLYNE MEDIA TO LEAD MARKETING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS INITIATIVES Clyne Media, Inc. March 10th, 2010 — Inventor-manufacturers of CLASP® (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) look to increase media exposure and market share —

NASHVILLE, TN, March 10, 2010 — Endless Analog, the Nashville-based inventor, manufacturer and exclusive distributor of the revolutionary, critically-acclaimed CLASP® (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor), announces the appointment of Nashville- and New York-based firm Clyne Media, Inc. to handle its directed marketing and public relations. The announcement was made by Chris Estes, Endless Analog Founder and President, and underscores Endless Analog’s commitment to its marketplace.

CLASP is a hardware and software system that integrates Analog Tape Recorders with Digital Audio Workstations using a proprietary method called SST® (sample synchronization technology). CLASP delivers a true analog front end recording solution with the sonic character of the user’s tape machine. Currently, no other product comes close to approximating what CLASP effectively accomplishes. CLASP is employed by a diverse range of artists, engineers, producers and facilities, including Lenny Kravitz (at his new Bahamas-based Gregory Town Sound recording facility); Michael W. Smith; producers Nathan Chapman, Dave Cobb, Chuck Ainlay, John Fields and Tom “T-Bone” Edmunds; and studio facilities such as Austin, Texas’ Yellow Dog Studios, Los Angeles, California’s Hemispheres Recording and Austria’s Prime Studios.

“We are thrilled to have Clyne Media on board as our PR team,” stated Estes. “Robbie and his group have a great reputation throughout the industry, with the right experience and expertise to greatly assist us in our ongoing media and sales efforts. Clyne Media will be a key element to help us increase brand awareness and capitalize on high-profile installations of CLASP by leading artists, producers and engineers — they will undoubtedly be an enormous asset for our company and end users. We are certainly on the same wavelength, and Endless Analog is looking forward to this partnership.”

Clyne Media is one of the nation’s premier specialized marketing communications/media relations agencies, serving the needs of leaders in the high-technology electronics and entertainment market sector and related industries. The company will pursue new editorial opportunities on behalf of Endless Analog and help focus public relations efforts with industry editors and independent journalists worldwide.

Agency President/CEO Robert Clyne will handle the account management, while dedicated company staff will cover media relations, technical writing, editing and other marketing communications initiatives.

“We are very excited to be working with Endless Analog,” Robert Clyne commented. “Their CLASP product is one-of-a-kind, and their principals are clear innovators with a revolutionary vision for the future of audio and the integration of digital and analog recording. They are the type of client with whom we are proud to do business, and an excellent addition to our current client roster.”

For more information, please visit http://www.endlessanalog.com.

MIX MAGAZINE – Lenny Kravitz’ Gregory Town Sound & CLASP – Cover Story

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Mix Cover Lenny Kravitz Lenny Kravitz’s personal studio is built 100 feet from the beach on eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, a 110-mile- long sliver of land 50 miles east of nassau. “I’ve always loved my roots,” says Kravitz. “My grandfather was born on an island called Ingua, the most southern Bahamian island closest to cuba. My parents used to send me down here for summers;we’d come here for christmas and holidays.” as if locating the studio in a caribbean para- dise wasn’t enough, Kravitz stocked it with a dream collection of gear collected throughout his career. From the start, Kravitz always knew the sound he was going for, which started his analog love affair. “I started recording at [henry hirsch’s] waterfront in 1985 or ’86, and I knew I wanted to make a certain kind of record,” Krav- itz remembers. “I saw the way technology was going in the late ’80s. records were sounding very processed—it was all about those big gated drums and everything sounding unnatural; in some cases, it was cool for different artists, but it didn’t work for me. I knew I wanted an intimate- sounding album.” Through his association with hirsch over a number of albums, Kravitz would be introduced to and then buy the gear that cre- ated his desired sounds. Gregory Town Sound started as a garage built by Kravitz to protect some of his belongings dur- ing hurricane season. It is a ranch-style concrete structure poured in place with a cantilevered roof. “It’s the most amazing studio that I’ve worked in, and it has the gear I’ve been collecting for 20 years,” says Kravitz. “It’s an incredible place to be creative.” also being an interior and furni- ture designer, Kravitz started with an aesthetic in mind and then brought in Miami-based acousti- cian and designer ross alexander, who has been doing studio integration and design since 1981. “what I do is put on paper what I want: wood here, cork there, do this and that,” says Kravitz. “Then ross does his mathematical measurements and tells me what I can and cannot do. From there, I can go forward with that design or change out a specific material so I’ll get the sound I want.” It’s the gear that shines at Gregory Town Sound, where vintage signal flow is king. It starts with an all-star array of mics from Schoeps, neu- mann, coles, aea, Sennheiser, Telefunken, Shure, aKG and more. all can be recorded through the studio’s wrap-around helios console or an eMI- designed reDD 37 once owned by abbey road and used in Studio 1. “The helios was henry’s choice,” says studio manager, gear and guitar tech alex alvarez about hirsch’s positive influ- ence in Kravitz’s gear-buying decisions. “[Kravitz] purchased a helios and was trying to go after more of a Stones and Zeppelin sound. That started off around the Circus album when we went that route.” after the Circus album, Kravitz sold the console and bought a strawberry-red he- lios from 10cc, which had some key components missing and ended up being racked for optimal use. Kravitz bought the current helios at Gregory Town Sound from leon russell about seven years ago. It sat for two years in a locker and then was refitted by tech Dave amels before it came to the Bahamas. The reDD 37 was purchased 18 years ago by Kravitz, who was urged to make the leap by hirsch. “Lenny had to take every dime he just made,” says alvarez. “he hadn’t sold a million al- bums yet and he took a chance at it.” other vintage gear is housed in the racks and includes eQ and dynamics processors from API, Fairchild, eMI, rca, Universal audio and retro. (For a complete list of lenny’s gear, visit mixonline.com.) Speakers are ATC ScM200 aSl and B&w nautilus 805 monitors, among others. The studio also has a collection of analog multitrack machines including a Studer c37 2-track, a J37 4-track once owned by abbey road, an 827a 24-track and an a-80 2-track, as well as a 3M M79 with 16-track headstack. There is also a Pro Tools system with apogee converters clocked by antelope audio.
The newest piece of gear is endless analog’s closed loop analog Processor (CLASP), which ties the analog recorders and Pro Tools together. “we have five machines now in the studio,” notes alvarez. “Three machines are dedicated to CLASP, the other two are for delay ef- fects.” Kravitz likes CLASP because he can use his tape machines as he would an ef- fect, jumping between tape speeds and machines. “I can say I’m going to record the drums through the 3M, or take my vo- cal and go through the Studer or the eMI. I get to pick and choose track by track, and then I’m in Pro Tools through my converters. I’ve finally got the best of both worlds.” CLASP stores setups for three machines, and CLASP creator Chris Estes is custom-designing an accessory for Kravitz that relay switches between his three machines with the click of the mouse. apart from alvarez (who wears many hats at the studio and on the road), the rest of the team at the studio includes engineer T-Bone edmonds and guitarist and Pro Tools operator craig ross. when asked about workflow, edmonds says, “we mix as we go. as it comes in, lenny will say I love that or this needs a little bit more top or bottom. once it’s gone through CLASP through whichever tape ma- chine we use and into Pro Tools, craig does what- ever editing and manipulation has to happen. we’ll add a plug-in here or a plug-in there, but normally if we want to change something, we’ll take it back out of Pro Tools and run it through what I call the ‘Juke Box,’ which is my playback system in the helios. I’ll eQ it, maybe run it through a Fairchild depending on what it is I’m trying to do and then send it back to Pro Tools. It’s really a team effort between, Craig, Alex, myself and Lenny.”
As for what’s ahead, Kravitz spoke about going to the oscars and upcoming projects, including a world tour to support his current album in prog- ress, Negrophilia. “I did this movie called Precious, I’m doing another film this spring with lee Daniels and I’m doing a photography show in europe this year.” For now, Kravitz couldn’t be more at home in the Bahamas. “I’m finding that I’m able to get all the sounds I’m looking for. I owe that to ross alexander who did an amazing job on the room. The flow of the writing is going well out here: Be- ing in the middle of nowhere, living a simple life is conducive to writing.” Click here to read the entire article @ Mix Magazine Online


Thursday, December 17th, 2009

" I love the CLASP. It has made it possible to finally use my entire collection of tape machines from the Abbey Road J37 to my 3M M79 and the Studer 827 all at different ips settings. I really like the way I can hit the tape machines as I normally do and instantly be able to edit in Pro Tools, without having to do syncing or bouncing back and forth between the two mediums. I’m happy someone finally figured out how combine tape and Pro Tools and now it is an integral part of my studio setup. Thanks Chris and Amy for preserving analog.”

Lenny Kravitz…

P.S. Tell Grandma I miss her brownies.
( photo credit Mathieu Bitton )
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CLASP inventor Chris Estes with Lenny Kravitz in Lenny's new studio Gregory Town Sound.

Beatles 4 track Studer J37 now supported by CLASP

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

It’s official. If you are one of the lucky owners of the classic Studer J-37, you can now use it as your ultimate vintage analog overdub front end solution with CLASP and Pro Tools HD.
“We have had requests from a few high level users who have asked us to support integration of the J37 with CLASP. This is something very special that only a few of the worlds best studios can offer to their clients. Overdubbing with the J37 and CLASP is a unique experience that has never before been possible in the world of Pro Tools. Imagine hearing your Pro Tools overdubs from such a heavy sounding machine. It’s absolutely amazing!”,
says Endless Analog President Chris Estes. The J37 made history as the first studio-quality, multi-track recorder to be produced. The Beatles used the J-37 in the recording of the Beatles’ historic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Beatles enthusiasts and recording artists will now have the opportunity to perform lighting speed overdubs using CLASP with this incredible sounding machine.
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Endless Analog warms up AES New York

Friday, October 30th, 2009

– One of the big hits of last years AES is now shipping–

plugsAES Convention San Francisco
By Nicole Cochran
October 5, 2008

New York – What a difference a year makes! During last year’s convention new manufacturer Endless Analog, Inc. of Nashville showed a prototype of their inaugural product, “CLASP”.

CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) integrates an analog tape machine with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for seamless analog recording in the digital domain. Endless Analog is pleased to announce that CLASP is finally shipping to the US market. The product has already been met with rave reviews and various industry awards.

Previously, CLASP had only been shown to a select group of AES members at Ocean Way Nashville. “We know we have a great product, it was good to have that affirmed by others in the industry and share their enthusiasm,” said Chris Estes, president of Endless Analog and inventor of CLASP.

The innovative new product from Endless Analog brought praise from analog lovers throughout the Javits Center including Chuck Ainlay, David Hampton (Prince, Herbie Hancock), Jeff Matulich (Digidesign/Avid Audio), and Denis Savage (Celine Dion). “People are so excited that they can now effortlessly record on analog tape while using Pro Tools because of the seamless integration that CLASP provides,”Estes said. “AES was a great experience for us because we were finally able to demonstrate CLASP working with Pro Tools HD. We overdubbed electric guitar tracks, with CLASP and Pro Tools HD, live on the show floor throughout AES.”

If you would like to arrange a demonstration in your studio call 866-929-4446. The company comes armed with a 2008 Mix Hit award, a PAR Excellence Award and most importantly a licensing agreement with Avid One for use with Pro Tools HD.

SONIC SCOOP – “Best of AES 2009″ List

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Best of AES 2009

By David

Endless Analog CLASP – Holy CLASP! What the heck is that? It’s the Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor (CLASP) from Endless Analog. Invented down in Nashville by Chris Estes, CLASP seamlessly integrates tape machines with Pro Tools. It’s that simple, y’all. Yes, it really works. Yes, Pro Tools and tape are now one.

We’re actually afraid this could have unintended consequences, like when the guys in Ghostbusters cross streams on their laser gun thingies, but it may be worth it if we can finally get that real analog sound down on our hard drives.

Click here for the Sonic Scoop Online Link

MIX MAGAZINE – The Well-Accessorized DAW

Thursday, August 6th, 2009


Aug 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By George Petersen


“The CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) from Endless Analog (www.endlessanalog.com) turns your 2-inch analog deck into a tape-flavored “plug-in” for your DAW. The system comprises a hardware interface, VST plug-in (one for every channel) and a sync cable. Just run the session from your DAW as usual and CLASP performs real-time, synched transfers from the repro head of your deck.”

Click here for the Mix Magazine Online Link

Digidesign Grants Full Developer License to Endless Analog

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Digidesign_LowRes_inverted Endless Analog’s CLASP hardware interface Nashville-based Endless Analog, which manufactures the CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system, announces that Digidesign has granted the company a full developer license. Endless Analog can now develop and release a certified Pro Tools version of CLASP, heralded by many as a product able to preserve the future of analog recording.
“CLASP is very cool,” says Jeff Matulich, head of Digidesign Developer Partnerships. “We think it will add value to Pro Tools.”
Producer/engineer Chris Estes, the president of Endless Analog, is excited to begin demonstrating how to use CLASP with Pro Tools. “We have performed all of our demos of the product with Nuendo and Logic because we were waiting for full access to the Pro Tools SDK,” Estes says. “Now that we are developing a certified Pro Tools version of CLASP, I hope that audio pros will be assured it does work with all formats.” Estes says he looks forward to working closely with Digidesign as the company rolls out CLASP during this quarter. CLASP is designed to successfully bridge the gap between analog tape and digital recording. Alvin Speights, a Grammy Award-winning mix engineer for artists such as India Arie, Outkast, TLC, Madonna, and Michael Jackson, attended a demonstration of the product. “CLASP is hot,” Speights says. “It makes me want go back to tape. The function of the CLASP makes the tape experience as easy as Pro Tools. I love it!”
Jim “Z” Zumpano, a producer and mixer who owns Zac Recording and Rentals in Atlanta agrees. “CLASP has given my lonely tape decks new ‘reason to live.’ As a studio and equipment owner, I am thrilled that I have regained my $100,000-plus dollar investments in analog.”
Endless Analog states that “with the use of CLASP, analog tape recording can once again become the norm but now can be experienced easily and effortlessly with the use of any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Endless Analog’s product allows you to achieve the warm and expressive sound of real analog tape while recording and editing with the speed of your DAW.” For more information, visit www.endlessanalog.com.   LINK TO MIX MAGAZINE ARTICLE >

BUSINESS TENNESSEE MAGAZINE – Endless Analog Across the State

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

business tn logo

By Kyle Swenson

Found in Translation


A new technology tries to recapture the warmth of analog in digital recording

It’s one of the music industry’s fiercest debates: digital or analog?

In the face of the recording world’s ever-growing need for speed, most artists and engineers have abandoned traditional tape machines for the easy production of digital recording, exchanging the classic warm analog sound for the flat feel of computer-based production.

But if one Nashville producer has his way, all that will change.

This summer, area musician and producer Chris Estes and his company Endless Analog unveiled the Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor (CLASP) system, a combination of hardware and software that allows users to digitally record with analog tape machines, bridging the gap between the much-loved sound of the classic technology and the convenience of 21st-century production.

“It’s going to become the new standard,” Estes says. “Some people are still having a hard time wrapping their heads around it because it’s the opposite of what everyone knows and is taught.”

A former musician and current producer, Estes first began to toy with the idea of wedding advanced technology to analog when he became fed up with the poor quality of digital sound. Knowing that many audiotape companies were nervous about the decline in analog recording, Estes shopped his ideas around to major manufacturers, hoping one would team with him and cover research and development costs. Although the companies were enthusiastic, they chose not to commit funds to spend on Estes’ idea.

Instead, Estes and his wife Amy decided to pursue the idea on their own. “We’ve spent the past several years in the music industry, and we’ve been investing our time and our money and our talents in other people,” Estes says. “We said we were going to invest in ourselves for once.”

Financing the research himself, Estes spent more than two years developing the CLASP system. The technology records using analog, but simultaneously transfers the recording in real time into a digital machine, where the track can be quickly altered or tweaked.

When Estes debuted his technology this summer at a local meeting of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) at Ocean Way Studios, it was immediately apparent CLASP could create a sizeable buzz. “Here in Nashville, it was standing room only,” Estes says. “We had to break it into two different demonstrations just to fit people in, and we received standing ovations.”

The industry excitement over CLASP is only growing. At an appearance at this year’s AES Convention in San Francisco, Estes came face to face with recording industry legends such as Chuck Ainlay and Alan Parsons, both of whom were interested in purchasing a system.

“It’s really the best of both worlds,” says Mike Poston, a Nashville sound engineer who has worked with producers and artists such as Ainlay and Mark Knopfler. “Digital can’t really duplicate the sound of analog tape, and CLASP gets rid of the negatives that we had with analog. It won’t be for everyone, but I think it will extend the life of analog.”

The retail price for the system is around $9,000 and can be built to each client’s specifications. Currently, the company sells the products themselves, but Estes is working to partner with various audio companies that will offer the system as well.

“This isn’t really something you sell at the local music store. It’s one of those things where a customer has specific needs, and they call me up and say, ‘Hey, I’ve got this type of tape machine,’” Estes says. “So we build a unit specifically for that client.”

Currently working with only his wife and one other employee, Estes says he plans to grow the business as much as is called for by incoming orders. And if the industry’s initial reaction is any indication, the CLASP system may revolutionize how music sounds.

“We project that we will be selling a lot of these things,” Estes says. “There’s a lot of movement right now to change the standard, and this will do that.”

Link to the Business TN Website

Analog In The Studio: Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

by Mike Rivers


Many of us dream of vintage consoles and recorders in our studios, but reality takes over when we realize that we don’t have a place to put them or can’t even get one through the door. Studios used to be large: not just the recording space, but the control room as well. Consoles of that era were all hand-wired, built to order one at a time, and few were made in any significant quantity. A recent tally of the Trident A Range consoles from the mid 1970s—much revered for their EQ—shows that about 13, in total, were ever built. Many of these consoles were constructed on-site with chassis wiring often done by studio engineers in between sessions and were truly one-of-a-kind. Few of these consoles survive intact today; those that escaped cannibalization or the wrecking ball generally reside in the few remaining high-dollar studios or in personal studios of wealthy artists.

The cost? Initially $60,000 to $100,000, which, in today’s dollars ($250k-450k), is in the ballpark of the cost of a new large-frame SSL or API console, so there isn’t a big change there. And, like in the heyday of large studios, only a handful of these large-format consoles are being sold and installed today. Such consoles were originally mated with 16- and 24-track analog recorders from Ampex, 3M, Studer, and later MCI and Otari. Today’s studios sporting a large console usually have an analog recorder the size of washing machine to go along with it. A two-inch analog recorder typically cost in the range of $1,000 to $1,500 per track—comparable to a modern Pro Tools system with high grade A/D and D/A converters.

What Has Changed

So have things really changed very much? Of course they have. The majority of today’s studios are built on a totally different scale. Now $20,000 can equip a reasonably highly capable DAW-based system, and minimalist personal studios—which represent the largest market segment—can be productive with an investment of 1/10 that amount.

The console and recorder of the 1980s control room were accessorized with little more than a reverb plate and a few compressors. A studio chose its console based on its designed-in characteristic sound. If you were a Neve-based studio, you attracted clients who preferred that sound over the sound of the studio across town with the API or Harrison console.

Downsizing, personalization, and changes in the way most studios operate today contributed to the manner in which “basic” studio equipment has evolved and how it is accessorized. With few studios physically equipped to track a full band or orchestra playing together in a room, the demand for a recording console with a large number of inputs has greatly diminished.

A taste of “the warm analog sound,” even when working with just a few inputs, resulted in clever engineers and entrepreneurs packaging input channel modules from decommissioned large-format consoles into convenient rack-mounted signal processors, bringing characteristic sound of a vintage console to the modern digital control room. Most of the available genuine console modules have been racked up and sold, so a plethora of new and fairly accurate replications of the older console modules appeared in rack-mount format.

Endless Analog's CLASP—an interface linking DAWs and classic analog tape machines—is a testament to the evergreen desire for analog processing in the studio.

Endless Analog's CLASP—an interface linking DAWs and classic analog tape machines—is a testament to the evergreen desire for analog processing in the studio.

Compressors and limiters used in studios of the 1980s were borrowed from related industries. The limiter was a staple in the broadcast studio, primarily to prevent overmodulation of the transmitter. As a standard component in a disk mastering system, the limiter was used to prevent the cutting stylus from jumping out of the groove, ruining the master and perhaps damaging the cutter head while allowing a higher average level to be cut on the disk. As multitrack recording became the norm in the studio, the desire to compress individual tracks to fit them into a complex mix as well as to keep the signal as far above the tape noise floor as possible sent new customers into the broadcast market for their UREI LA2 limiters (as well as dumpster-diving for the hard-to-maintain Fairchild 670 limiter that was being replaced in mastering labs). There’s still a demand for the many new analog compressors in the marketplace—some re-creations of the classics of the ’70s and ’80s, and some new designs.

One problem that has flummoxed a lot of digital studio owners who crave the traditional analog compressor or a classic equalizer in line when tracking is this: Where the heck should you plug the darned thing in? The configuration of a mic preamp integrated with a digital-toanalog converter—often incorporating a FireWire or USB computer interface—leaves no opening in the line level signal path for an analog processor. Manufacturers of these front-end boxes have finally caught on, and today we’re seeing devices such as the Mackie 1200F (recently reviewed in PAR) or the Focusrite Saffire Pro26 with normalled insert send and return jacks immediately following the preamp, at least on selected channels.

On Analog Recording And Tape

One retro area that’s been neglected is analog recorders. It’s not that nobody wants one, but nobody’s building them any more—though ATR Service’s Mike Spitz says he still has plans to do so. On one of the audio forums I frequent, hardly a week goes by when someone doesn’t ask about using an analog recorder to “warm up” a digital recording. What they often don’t realize is that the sound that they’re dreaming of isn’t as simple as using tape as a signal processor; it’s a product of the entire recording process of the era. There’s a sometimes desirable sound quality associated with tracking particularly drums and bass on an Ampex MM-1200 or Studer A-80, but you won’t reach analog Nirvana substituting a wellused but more accessible TASCAM 80-8 or your grandfather’s TEAC rescued from the attic. That approach will only serve to remind you of why people were happy to move away from analog tape.

Analog tape is still a viable recording medium. Spitz overhauls classic broadcast and studio recorders and is probably more committed to the preservation of analog recording than anyone else today—so much so that he built a factory in the USA to manufacture analog recording tape after 3M and Quantegy (Ampex) stopped production. Mike will tell you that, depending on the tape you choose and how the recorder is adjusted, tape is capable of providing a wide sound palette, not just “warmth.”

For those willing to take the plunge, there are still plenty of two-track Ampex AG 440s available. These are built to last a lifetime, can be had cheaply, and all but the worst of them (if not stripped for parts) can be put into good-as-new condition for under $1,000. In Europe, a Studer — because of the better parts availability over there — might be a smarter investment. Two-inch 16- and 24-track recorders are cheap as dirt these days. Unlike much of today’s digital gear, there’s more to using an analog recorder than simply buying it and plugging it in. You’ll need some basic test equipment, a calibration tape, and the willingness to learn to keep it in adjustment. With quarter-inch tape selling in the ballpark of $50 and two-inch tape at around $250 per reel, feeding these beasts is a serious commitment.

Lots of what was good in the ‘Good Old Days’ is still available as genuine vintage gear, modern vintage recreations, and newly designed analog gear designed to integrate nicely with today’s digital systems. You don’t have to be nostalgic for the old gear and the old ways — those options are still available.

Mike Rivers has a long list of engineering credits with the Smithsonian and is the author of the last Mackie HDR manual.

CLASP Wins PAR Excellence Award

Friday, October 17th, 2008


PAR Presents 2008 PAR Excellence Awards at AES

San Francisco, CA (October 17, 2008)–Pro Audio Review presented its 12th Annual PAR Excellence Award to professional audio companies who introduced significant new products at the AES Convention held October 2-5 at the Moscone Center.

Endless Analog’s CLASP (closed loop analog signal processor) were among the winning products chosen by a panel of audio engineers, professional end-users and reviewers who annually select the awards for Pro Audio Review. Products are chosen for the PAR Excellence Award based on their potential to enhance the quality of an audio professional’s work. “We are excited and full of gratitude to have been chosen for this award,” says Amy Becker Estes of Endless Analog. “AES was incredible this year and we are glad to see more and more professionals recording with Analog Tape.” The Criteria for the PAR Excellence Award includes innovation in design, performance/value ratio, enhanced features, and performance improvements over previous versions.


CLASP Scores #1 Single in Germany with Music Artist Derek Sholl

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

By Harold Dunn

Nashville TN – Germany


Nashville country music artist Derek Sholl is on his way. His current hit radio single “(I’ll be) Here” shot to #1 in Germany this week. The single was recorded and produced by Chris Estes. “We recorded Derek’s single using analog tape and CLASP”, says Estes. “Derek was on a tight schedule so we had to work very quickly and efficiently. CLASP allowed us to do just that. When we started the recording session, we did a shootout, we tried recording Derek’s’ vocals both to digital and analog. During the comparison, analog tape with CLAS P was the unanimous winner, hands down. “Using CLASP with our Studer 827 and Nuendo, allowed me to work with incredible speed recording Derek’s vocals and I was able to perform comping and editing on the fly while simultaneously recording to tape.”

Click here to visit the German Music Chart 


MIX MAGAZINE – Mix Certified Hits Awards honors CLASP

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

By the Mix Staff Certified Hits Here are our editors’ picks for the Top-10 Certified Hit products from AES, listed alphabetically:
  • Allen & Heath ZED R16
  • Cakewalk SONAR V-Studio 700
  • CLASP Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor
  • DiGiCo SD8
  • Digidesign Pro Tools 8
  • JBL EON 500 Series
  • Korg MR-2000S
  • Neutrik ConvertCON
  • Soundcraft Si3
  • Universal Audio UAD-2
Click here for the Mix Magazine Online Link

Technology Highlights of AES 2008

Monday, October 13th, 2008


By the Mix Staff

Analog Comes Alive in a Digital World

Sweet Analog Outboard “Among the bright new ideas at AES was CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor). The brainchild of Nashville producer/engineer Chris Estes, CLASP turns your 2-inch analog deck into a tape-flavored “plug-in” for your DAW. The system consists of a hardware interface, a VST plug-in (one for every channel), and a sync cable between the box and your recorder. Just run the session from your DAW as usual and CLASP performs real-time, synched transfers from the repro head of your deck. As the entire length of a reel of tape is used, there’s no waiting for rewind while quickly shuttling between session markers in your DAW.” Click here for the Mix Magazine Online Link

CLASP is a Hit at AES San Francisco

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

– Endless Analog debuts CLASP to clamoring analog fans –

plugsAES Convention San Francisco
By Nicole Cochran
October 5, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO – One of the biggest buzzes from the AES floor came from “analog alley” where CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) shared a booth with ATR Magnetics.

The innovative new product from Endless Analog brought praise from analog lovers throughout the Moscone Center including Chuck Ainlay, Alan Parsons, and Chris Lord-Alge. “The thing we heard over and over was that people were excited that they could once again record on tape using their DAW and the ease that it provides,” said Chris Estes, president of Endless Analog and inventor of CLASP. “AES was a great experience for us because we were finally able to debut the product to a wider audience.”

Previously, CLASP had only been shown to a select group of AES members at Ocean Way Nashville. “We know we have a great product, it was good to have that affirmed by others in the industry and share their enthusiasm”.

“We expect to book several orders based on verbal committments from the show.” he enthused. “It just goes to show that ‘long live analog’ is not just a catch phrase….people thirst to make records on tape again.” According to booth visitors CLASP is going to provide that opportunity.

PRO SOUND NEWS – Endless Analog Debuts CLASP

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008


by Frank Wells

While plug-ins modeling analog processing elements have replaced many legacy products, complete digital emulation of the complex sonic character of analog tape recording has remained ellusive and the interface of analog tape recording within a DAW centric recording project can be cumbersome and expensive. So, what if recording a true analog record path were as simple as using a plug-in?

“Being able to work the normal workflow that you’re used to with your digital audio work station, but getting the true sonic benefits of real tape, of a real tape machine, of the analog circuitry in the tape machine,” are the stated goals of Endless Analog founder Chris Estes. As a producer, Estes preferred the sound of analog tape, but worked in a DAW-dominated world. Some five years ago, he had what he calls his “eureka” moment, and began the quest to realize his vision of seamlessly marrying analog and DAW recording. “This has never been done before,” says Estes, citing the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. “I wanted to be able to use tape, ’cause that’s what I started out on–I think we all started there, and I wanted to get back to the sound of real analog.”

In mid-August, at a meeting of the AES Nashville Section, Estes unveiled the physical manifestation of his quest: CLASP, for Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor. The two basic components of the CLASP system are a hardware interface and control unit, and a companion VST plug-in. Rather than making analog connections directly to the A/D converters feeding the DAW, the signals are first connected to CLASP, which is interfaced with an analog tape machine. When a track is armed inside the DAW, the VST plug-in automatically sends track-arming and transport control information via MIDI Machine Control (MMC) to the tape machine through the CLASP interface. The engineer works inside the DAW as normal, operationally ignoring the tape machine. When any DAW track is armed, pressing Play on the DAW rolls the tape machine, and when Record is punched in, corresponding tracks on the tape machine enter record. Armed tracks are recorded on tape and the playback head signal is then immediately fed to and recorded by the DAW. “The plug-in–,” says Estes, “the only thing that it’s doing, is communicating what the mix engine needs to do to sync things up,” such as automatically adjusting for analog record path latency. A direct path through CLASP allows zero-latency monitoring. “If you’re using a digital console,” Estes says, “or even a digital headphone distribution system, those devices always have some sort of inherent latency that they introduce to [the signal path] and everybody just kind of deals with it. With CLASP, you can enter that information, and it’ll compensate for that as well.”

Estes undertook the R&D challenge himself, learning programming and circuit design, and forming Endless Analog, along the way. Before CLASP, says Estes, DAW users were turning to various emulation plug-ins to try and attain the sound of analog recording. “I figured you’ve got all these great tape machines that cost tens-of-thousands-of-dollars that are just collecting dust, and nothing beats the real thing. People would love to use tape, but the traditional method of using tape is such a headache. CLASP solves all those problems; there’s no headaches anymore.”

Estes cites a number of the problems associated with that “traditional method.” On his list: “having to use SMPTE time code; working with synchronizers; having to have your digital audio work station chase your analog recorder as opposed to the other way around; the cost of tape–having to buy multiple reels of tape to do an album project; the sound of tape, after it sits around for a while, it looses its energy and it doesn’t sound the same as when it’s first recorded; not being able to hit Undo–that’s a big one–everybody has gotten used to being able to hit undo, to work really fast.

“I’ve used it on numerous sessions,” says Estes, who’s worked with a prototype for over a year. Rather than accumulating a stack of analog tapes during the course of a session, he says, “with CLASP, you can do your entire album with just one reel of tape”-tracks are recorded off of analog immediately, with no need for later synchronized dumps to DAW. In this mode of working, the only operational differences CLASP adds to the DAW methodology are short reel time remaining warnings and (automatic) rewind time “In fact,” Estes adds, “sometimes during sessions, we’ve forgotten that the tape machine was even there–you’re not paying attention, and all of the sudden it’s rewinding.” An additional feature is the ability to change tape speed at any time with a push of a control panel button. Estes also says it is simple to do hybrid sessions–bypassing the CLASP path on select tracks.

Thus far, CLASP has reportedly been used with a Studer A827 and A800, an Otari MTR-90, and even with an Otari MX5050 two-track. Estes says as long as a tape machine has a rear panel control port, all Endless Analog needs to know is the machine type and they can ship CLASP with the appropriate cable. The complete CLASP system–the control chassis, interface cable and plug-in software–are expected to run around $8000.00. CLASP is DAW system agnostic, as long as the DAW supports VST (either directly or via a wrapper) and the system has a MIDI port available for MMC. Rear panel audio interface employs 25-pin D-sub connectors using the widely adopted eight channel pin-out per connector. Endless Analog will begin taking orders mid-September from its new headquarter space in the Emerald Sound Studios building on Nashville’s Music Row.

Estes says the goal for CLASP is “to bring analog tape back into the music production world to improve the sound of recordings. The main thing that people have to understand is that it’s not a plug-in that simulates tape–this is really using tape. It’s going to, hopefully, start an analog revolution. I’d love to get people excited about using tape again.”

FUTURE MUSIC – Endless Analog Readies CLASP

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

future music

Endless Analog Readies CLASP Tape Signal Processor

Endless Audio is readying their new CLASP, Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor, for its official release on September 15th. Endless claims that CLASP bridges the gap between analog tape and digital recording, “changing the way music is recorded forever.” A big claim, indeed. Endless Analog has developed and created a new product provides the warmth of analog tape recording by simplifying the process. No more time code, transfers, buying multiple expensive reels of tape, or worrying about storage and archiving. Now you can have the warm and expressive sound of real analog tape combined with the speed and editing capabilities of your DAW.

The basic idea behind CLASP is to achieve all the benefits of analog tape warmth within the normal workflow of your digital audio workstation. According to Endless Analog founder Chris Estes, the two basic components of the CLASP system are a hardware interface and control unit, and a companion VST plug-in. Rather than making analog connections directly to the A/D converters feeding the DAW, the signals are first connected to CLASP, which is interfaced with an analog tape machine. When a track is armed inside the DAW, the VST plug-in automatically sends track-arming and transport control information via MIDI Machine Control (MMC) to the tape machine through the CLASP interface. When any DAW track is armed, pressing Play on the DAW rolls the tape machine, and when Record is punched in, corresponding tracks on the tape machine enter record. Armed tracks are recorded on tape and the playback head signal is then immediately fed to and recorded by the DAW.

Endless claims that CLASP has been used successfully with a Studer A827 and A800, and an Otari MTR-90 and MX5050 two-track. Endless believes that as long as a tape machine has a rear panel control port, they can ship CLASP with the appropriate cable. In addition, CLASP will reportedly work with any DAW as long as it supports VST and MMC.

Endless Analog’s CLASP system, which includes the control chassis, interface cable and plug-in software is expected to cost around $9000.

Endless Analog - Digital Controlled Analog Tape Recording