So, Eden’s trying to do another mix CD (http://uncarved.chaos.org.au/), which is a good thing, cos he does excellent mix CDs (despite — or possibly because of — the fact that he can’t, and apparently doesn’t need, to actually mix. So, you should all be excited.

However, the trouble he’s experiencing is due to him taking a Big Bang approach to mix CD compilation. Just picking up a load of vinyl, firing up the decks and switching on the recorder is alright if a) you get a chance to practice properly, at decent volumes, on a regular basis, b) your (almost certainly digital) recorder is consistently plugged in and needs no more set-up) and c) you can go back and re-do it several times.

None of which is possible if you have children, a relatively normal relationship with your spouse, and a normal income (all is possible if you have a team of nannies doing the childcare for you, but that’s not really parenting, is it?).

What John should be doing is recording bits of mixes in between baby-minding and blending them together. That way he can build up a mix by accretion. It’s a lot easier to record a bit of mixing that’s good and then stick it with some other bits that are also good, without worrying that THIS WHOLE MIX HAS TO BE GOOD IN ONE TAKE OR IT’S NOT WORTH HAVING! This would also suit his mixing style. Of course, many would also say that such an approach lacks “authenticity”, or something. Well boo sucks to them. They don’t have to try to compile mix CDs within the hour and ten minutes of personal available in a day (available that is if you cut down on civilised communications with your partner). I blame capitalism, for obvious reasons.

Unfortunately, as he has complained about at great length in his blog, his Mac is in a different room to his decks, so this is difficult to achieve. What he therefore needs is either a long cable running from the mixer to his Mac (feasible, but Macs running SoundEdit have a tendency to crash if you don’t stand over them), or something like a MiniDisk recorder (or Archos MP3 recorder??) by the side of the decks to record into, a mini-optical to full-sized optical cable to take a digital out from the MD recorder (possibly with an opticaltocoaxial converter box), and something like an Edirol USB UAD1 digital audio capture device (basically a cable with a USB connector at one end and a coax digital connector at the other. They’re ace, I want one cos my old Korg 1212’s digital cables went walkies years ago so I can’t record digitally. They’re only about 60 quid. But John doesn’t have 60 quid.

Or, he could take the low-tech route. He could record bits of mixes onto ANALOGUE tape using his old tape recorder, which still functions pretty well, at his leisure, with no pressure or hassle (other than remembering to switch the tape deck on, but John is good with discipline like that). Then he could plug that tape deck, or even just a walkman, into his iMac’s sound-in port, record into soundedit the bits he likes, and compile the CD (ideally using ProTools Free).

Voila. No further expenditure, cheap media, lovely. Sound quality won’t be crystal-clear digital beauty, but analogue tape and reggae go together pretty well. And anyway, he can always bung the pre-master of the CD over to me and I’ll process the tracks with my very expensive collection of Waves Plug-Ins (something like Renaissance EQ for the top end sparkle, Ultrabass for the low end, and C4 to keep everything under control). Best of both worlds, innit.

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