Producer Dave Cobb at Blackbird StudiosNashville, TN (September 28, 2010)—Producer/engineer Dave Cobb recently discovered a young sister act, The Secret Sisters, and is using CLASP on the group’s upcoming album.
The album, which is being overseen by Executive Producer and GRAMMY-winning roots music legend T-Bone Burnett, finds Cobb using the opportunity to match the Sisters’ late 1950s country-pop sound with period-accurate recordings. A piece of that puzzle is Endless Analog’s CLASP (Closed Loop Analog Signal Processor), a 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 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 miking, 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.”