If you have ever wanted to know why albums are so hard to do, and why they take so long, I’ve got a bit of insight. For me, it has always been the pre-production phase that takes the longest. In so far as Anything Box is concerned, this always begins with months of making new sounds and cataloging them. After this comes the task of figuring out how they will be used. I usually make ‘house rules’ for myself to keep me from straying too far from the path I set out. Of course, as the work progresses, the album’s artistic direction will take over and grow its own consciousness. For the new stuff I’ve been working on, I have decided to revisit many paths of the electronic genres with a twist. The new rule is to make stuff on the fly. I want to record as much as possible the sonic ideas that result from simply playing with technology and organically manipulated sounds around the studio. Live singing in the control room is a must. Live sampling is a must. The Laptop will become an instrument, and the main Studio computer the 24 track tape machine. I’ve designed the new setup to be as easy as can be to make things (art) on the fly. However, this is not easy! I’ve got so many toys, you know? I warn you, the next part gets a bit technical… I’m writing this down to make it easier for me… I have to wire this all together this week!

The 2009 Challenges:

The First task is the ability to have all LIVE SOURCES be processed through the Korg KP3 (Laptop Studio, Kaosillator, Drum Machine, Nintendo, Omnichord, Microphones, Radio, CD players) and be recorded back to main Studio Computer. The second task is to monitor incoming signal from my Raven microphone latency-free with playback from Studio Computer. The third is to provide enough input sources for Listen Show. The last one is the easiest and will be solved by the first hurdle. Here we go…

So, all sources will go to the console. That’s easy. The second part of the equation is sending the signals to the KP3. That part is easy, too. They would go out via Aux 1+2 (stereo). In this way, anything coming into the mixer can be processed by the KP3 in varying degrees and then recorded. This solves part of the first task. Now the issue of monitoring and recording this signal… In my case, I would like the KP3 signal to be sent directly to the line inputs of my Tube Preamp, a TL Audio EQ1. This way, I can actually ‘color’ and tone-shape the signal before being recorded. By then sending this signal onto the TC electronic Konnect24D’s (K24D from now on) inputs 1+2, the signal is passed unchanged to a channel on the board. It looks like:

All Sources –> Aux 1+2 –> KP3 –> Monitor* –> EQ1 –> K24D 1+2 –> Console (playback)*

* By not sending this ‘playback’ channel out of Aux 1+2 we avoid a feedback loop. Why? Although the signal is being sent to the KP3 first and the computer second, the ‘playback’ or ‘monitoring’ of the signal is not. It just goes out of the main outs of the console. Just don’t turn up the aux sends on that channel! So, to recap… I hear or play something live that sounds good? Made a great loop between the radio and the Omnichord? I can now process it and record the signal. Cool. That’s the first task completed. Onwards I go…

The second task is to hear ‘playback’ from the Studio Computer and monitor it on the console, and to also monitor the Raven through the EQ1 without latency off the TK24D. Well, anything going to inputs 3+4 on the TK24D goes straight out, so by taking the signal and routing it back to a channel on the console would allow me the luxury of monitoring the Raven (latency-free) onto a channel, while playback tracks are monitored off of outputs 1+2 of the TK24D. This would look like this:

Raven –> EQ1 –> TK24D 3+4 –> Console (‘playback’ from TK24D is present from outputs 1+2) **

** Since playback is coming from outputs 1+2 of the TK24D, this leaves 3+4 free to pass the signal onto a channel on the console. I now have two signals, playback and microphone. So I can set playback levels as I like without compromising the signal that the computer is recording, and I can sing live! All that I need to remember about this setup is that we are recording “Input 3” in Nuendo. This setup of course works perfectly in Ableton Live since I plan to use it as a ‘sampler’ as well as a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation).

So that’s all for now, insofar wiring is concerned. The console, an Allen & Heath Zed14, arrives next week, as does my Kaosillator. As far as The Listen Show goes, everything is treated as sources just as they were before, with the added ease of playing the music from my Laptop instead of having to burn and CDs. More room for guests, too.

— Claude

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