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Busy San Francisco Project Studio Equipped With 1-inch Analog

According to a San Francisco-based recording artist and producer, wide-track analog mastering is the perfect companion for Pro Tools HD, even in a relatively modest project studio setting.

According to a San Francisco-based recording artist and producer,wide-track analog mastering is the perfect companion for Pro Tools HD,even in a relatively modest project studio setting. “It’s agreat machine, as I knew it would be,” says Joel Dech (whorecords under the name Infa Red, pictured at right in his studio),referring to his newly restored 1-inch Ampex ATR-102. “I’veused it on a number of projects already, and it really makes a hugedifference in the sound.”

Dech operates a residential project studio inside a two rooms of hisfirst-floor flat in San Francisco’s multi-ethnic InglesideDistrict. Dech’s new ATR-102 was remanufactured by Michael Spitzof ATR Services in York, Pennsylvania. The vintage recorder wasrestored to original operating specifications, and also modified toaccept the new 1-inch 2-track recording format.

After years of mixing to analog half-inch at other studios, Dechdecided to take the plunge and invest in his own machine aftercalculating the long-term costs. “I added up the costs of thestudio time, and I realized that if I got my own machine it would payoff long before I die! And that was just on my own work. When I addedmy clients into that, I realized it could pay off veryquickly.”

In addition to handling the stereo mixdown, the new ATR also servesas an effects device on individual tracks prior to mixing, according toDech. “Sometimes I will take an individual track out of ProTools, record it onto the tape, bounce it back into Pro Tools and Ihave what I call my magic Neve-like sound without having to buy a biganalog console.”

In addition to mixing and editing, Dech uses his own studio forkeyboard recording, sampling and vocal overdubbing. For the latterchores, his other prized piece of gear is a Sony C-800G tube condensermicrophone.

In addition to recording his own music as Infa Red, Dech producesseveral noted Bay Area rap/hip hop/soul artists such as The ConsciousDaughters. Several of the CD releases are on his own Roulette Records,a new enterprise not related (except perhaps in spirit) to the defunctEast Coast label of the same name. Dech may be contacted at415/334-8742 or via [email protected].

ATR Services Inc. specializes in production, parts support andservicing of analog studio recorders and associated electronics. Formore information, please contact: Michael Spitz, ATR Services at717/852-7700 or go to their Website at