80: What is it about that classic gear? (Louder Than Liftoff)

Neve. SSL. API. 1176. LA2A. Pultec. We’ve all heard these names. We’ve all seen the countless plug-ins that emulate them. How did these names become so coveted in the recording world? Is there really an audible difference or is it all clever marketing? 

These are just some of the questions we had for gear lover/designer/inventor Brad McGowan of Louder Than Liftoff. 

Louder Than Liftoff is a company that asked the question: “What is it about classic gear that people ACTUALLY want?”. They then went ahead and designed a bunch of gear that gives you classic goodness for a modern workflow. 

On this episode, you will learn:

  • About Brad’s own journey in learning to “hear” the difference between pieces of classic gear
  • What is it that we’re actually finding pleasing about analog gear and analog gear emulations
  • The “Four T’s of Tone” – Tubes, Transformers, Transistors and Tape
  • How gear is designed and tuned
  • Why you have to push gear and plugins to understand them
  • Where to start if you’re interested in experimenting with some analog gear
  • And more!

Where to Find Brad and Louder Than Liftoff
https://store.louderthanliftoff.com/
https://www.instagram.com/louderthanliftoff/

Where to Find the Guys
Free DIY Recording eBook: https://www.howtorecordyourband.com
Vadim’s Studio Site – Get your FREE test mix today! – https://www.calmfrogrecording.com
Benjamin’s Studio Site – https://www.dreamloudstudio.com
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Neve. SSL. API. What is about this stuff that people claim to love?

If you’ve been recording music for more than about 5 weeks, you’ve probably run across people salivating over terms like Neve, API, SSL, 1176, Pultec, etc.,

Classic analog gear. The gear used to make some of our favorite classic records.

There are hundreds of digital plug-ins out there imitating this gear.

There are thousands of forum threads where people talk about which ones come closest to “the real thing” and where other people tell them that no plug-in will ever come close to the real thing.

Most of us in the DIY sphere will never get to touch “the real thing”. 

A large format Neve console can lighten your bank account by tens of thousands of dollars.

So, how will you get to know if there’s really something to it?

On Episode 80, Ben and I chat with Brad McGowan of Louder Than Liftoff.

LTL is a small company with a huge idea for revolutionizing analog gear and the availability of classic circuits for the home studio.

If you listen to the episode, you’ll hear my coffee shop analogy and I’ll spare you that here but, in my view, what Brad has done is asked (and then answered) two very important questions:

“What is it that people ACTUALLY want when they talk about classic gear?”

“What circuitry is ACTUALLY responsible for what people want?”

By answering these questions, Brad and the LTL crew are able to design relatively affordable gear which contains the actual essence of classic circuits that people rave about – all with a design philosophy focused on a modern workflow.

Before, I sign off, a note about gear guilt.

We believe that the quality of your production depends very minimally on gear. It’s true. It’s literally in the DIY Recording Guys mission statement.

That said, if you love this recording stuff, you shouldn’t feel bad for wondering about gear and what different pieces would do to your sound. It’s a bit of a fine line to walk but I do think there is such a thing as a healthy interest in gear that is integral to the learning journey we are all on.

Personally, I’ve had periods of going overboard and purchasing gear that I didn’t understand or need. I’ve also had periods of swearing off gear and going on selling sprees.

I have a lot more to say on this topic but I’ll save that for a future date. 

In the meantime, enjoy the episode and feel free to brag a bit or nerd out. Hit reply and tell us what YOUR favorite piece of gear is right now? What’s one that you would love to own some day?  

Check Brad and Louder Than Liftoff on out Instagram 

Vadim Kharaz

Vadim Kharaz mixes and produces music through his studio Calm Frog Recording.

He co-hosts the DIY Recording Guys podcast with Benjamin Hull because he knows that with a bit of knowledge and minimal gear, it’s possible for DIY musicians everywhere to get pro-quality recordings.