How to build an analog recording studio WITHOUT computer or DAW

Multi-track recorders (outboard/hardware)

Now that you are recording without a computer, then you are not anymore saving digital audio to your computer hard drive. What you need is a multi-track recorder that can accept 8-channel inputs at once.

Back in the old days, multi-track recorders are all analog, so they are using tapes and reels. Nowadays, these are vintage equipment’s. I would suggest going out for an ADAT recorder such as Alesis Black Face or other equivalents:

ADAT black face

ADAT black face

Outboard effects

You cannot use digital effects such as plugins. So you will be using outboard effects such as compressors, limiters, and reverb during your mixing. There are so many brands of outboard effects, some are very pricy such as Focusrite red compressors and Lexicon reverb.

Focusrite Red

Focusrite Red

To connect them, you will connect compressors mostly in series and reverb in parallel. You can read the following tutorials:

How to Connect Compressor-EQ in Mixer Inserts and Reverb in Aux Sends

How to use Reverb unit with Mixing Console using Aux Sends and Returns

Connecting Mixing console to Multi-track Recorder

Connecting them is relatively simple. First, you need to connect each direct out of each channel to corresponding input of the multi-track recorder. Supposing you will start at mono channel 1; connect Direct out 1 to Input 1 of Multi-track recorder. Do this until you completely connect the 8 direct outs from the mixing console to the 8 inputs of the multi-track recorder.

For details, I have found some great schematic guide regarding connecting the multi-track recorder to your mixing console:

Mixer setup

Mixer setup

Then for the output of the multi-track recorder connect it to either the tape return input of the mixer or line input 9 to 16 of the mixer. So if you are recording 8 tracks at a time, connect the microphones to the XLR preamp input of the mixer. Then this will be recorded to the inputs 1 to 8 of your multi-track recorder.

Content last updated on July 21, 2012