|Jared Neimann (left), Brian Kolb (center) and Dave Brainard (right)|
with one of their two CLASP systems.
The pair use a CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor) system from Nashville-based Endless Analog, which sends digitally-recorded audio to analog tape and back to a DAW in order to achieve the sonic qualites of tape-based recording. Brainard and Kolb work on Pro Tools systems in separate control rooms at Mix Dream Studios. When overdubs are finished, they begin to run individual tracks, up to four at a time, to a vintage Studer A807 MkII ?-inch 4-track deck via CLASP.
“The advantage here is that we can take a single track or group of tracks and listen to them individually as they go to tape from the Pro Tools environment,” Brainard explains. “We can process the bass guitar at 7.5 ips, greatly adding to the low-frequency effectiveness, and the kick drum at 15 or 30 ips, which lets it retain the transient that gives it its punch. We can also see how each track reacts to different kinds of analog processing – tape speed, saturation, compression and so on – and treat it for maximum effectiveness. The idea of being able to have different tape speeds on the same song is incredible. Every track gets exactly what it needs.”
Kolb, who mixed Scott’s record and others at Mix Dream using CLASP, says he applies it to virtually every kind of track. “I have clients who come in to listen to a mix and they tell me they’ve never heard their vocals sound so good,” he says, noting that a vocal for country and gospel singer Sonia Isaacs was recorded and mixed with no EQ, with the only processing coming through the CLASP system and tape. “She agreed that it sounded amazing,” says Kolb.