Way Back When........
This being a professional musician takes its twists and turns. At first, which, for me, was 1980, it was understood, back in the days before digital compact equipment, that for a quality recording we would practice our songs then go into a proper studio.
We'd lay down up to 24 tracks on 2" reels and have an well trained engineer mixdown to stereo before sending our music to a mastering house before being stamped ontointo 12" L.P. records.
It was a very exciting time. Our chests would puff with pride as the needle fell onto the outer edge of the white label test pressing.
The last time we heard the recordings it was through very powerful and tasty equipment. Even decent domestic equipment could not match up. However, after a few listens, we'd calm down and realise that those sound engineers really did know what they were doing.
It's a great feeling when the anxieties settle and you sit back honestly believing that you have managed to be up there with your favourites. (Please hear my track "Up There With 'Em")
Analogue equipment got smaller. So, for a longish time we all used decent gear that was maybe OK but we had to work harder to get an acceptable result.
That said, we did OK and most certainly left behind those who thought it was absolutely fine to throw out cheap and nasty cassettes. Selling sub-standard hissy recordings to adoring fans, at a massive profit, which lost many bona fide folk musicians the public trust.
Also, those who could afford to have this decent equipment were not necessarily great producers. We were kinda at their mercy. This situation worsened with the introduction of digital equipment. Yes there were still experts but often one would find themselves, again, at the mercy of "engineers" who were maybe not giving you exactly what you wanted. Could it be we could do better ourselves?
Well. With a bit of investment, we were able to give it a go.
In my case, I started with a Fostex 8 track recorder and Mackie Mixer.
Without training I most certainly was not up there with the hardened pros. Not understanding Aux Sends, not really knowing about compression and where to maybe find our favourite effects that make all the difference.
After a few goes one starts to make sense.
The First Recordings That I Made...
Paul Hutchinson, one half of Belshazzar's Feast made a very long trip up to Glasgow with his pal Tony Harris. We sat around some decent microphones and laid a simple stereo track. It was "The Tinkerman's Daughter" which made it onto the "30 Years of Bromyard" CD back in 1997.
Having had difficulty with the technicalities of home studio multitracking, I thought I'd better read up on it.
Oh boy! I was enjoying this whole concept and moved onto an Alesis ADAT 8 Track Recorder. It recorded onto professional standard VHS Tapes. What a machine! I still have it and, if I felt inclined, it would still make a stunning recording.
It did a great job on my only Traditional CD, "Hodden Grey", which was produced by Dr. Fred Freeman, who does not involve himself with anything less than sparkling recordings.
I read 15 reviews of this CD. They were all glowing. It seems I knew how to record.
Next was "To Be The Nation Again" for Coel Mor Records. This was another Dr. Fred production which met with mixed reviews. Fortunately for me, none of the down comments were recording related.
I was now quite confident behind the sound desk and ever since I have recorded all my own albums in my own studio, which, by 1999 had become computer based. Good ol' Cubase.
My Studio Was Maturing
Yes. As time went by equipment would be upgraded. Pentium chips would increase their power. Sound modules and software would become better and cleverer. I finally went Apple Mac and upgraded all my mics and peripherals.
As more acts were using my studio I was gaining more and more experience.
I have now recorded numerous albums of my own and for other musicians/groups. (Please see "Ian Bruce Productions)
I love it.
You'll hear various genres in my recordings but
I mainly prefer to record audio acoustic music and don't delve too much into MIDI although I have been known to with some success.
The Studio Moved
In November 2016 we moved home. Once again I had a couple of rooms I could dedicate to the studio in Letham. A small village near Cupar, Fife.
It's now 2021 and the latest projects have been very exciting. I produced my brother Fraser's first album in 50 years. (I love it.) It was released by Greentrax. CDTRAX413
My own new album YOUNG TERRITORIAL (Ian Bruce & The Tartan Spiders) also was released on Greentrax. One catalogue number up. CDTRAX414.That must surely be unheard of???
At this stage it has received no reviews as such but the reaction and attention is good.
The next project is already 75% complete. Another Ian Bruce Production. It's kind of duets with some great old folkies.
It's been a privilege working with Barbara Dickson, Jez Lowe, Bob Fox, Artie Trezise, The Sangsters, Ian & Moe Walker, Sheena Wellington, Jim Malcolm, Arthur Johnstone, Jim Mageean, Carol Jamieson, Fraser Bruce, Carole & Alan Prior, Aleksander Mežek & Flekkefjord Sangforening, There is further promise from Dick Gaughan, Rab Noakes, Archie Fisher, Alastair MacDonald, Watt Nicoll, Ragged Glory, Reel Time & Garry Alexander. We'll see how for we get with that. It's shaping up beautifully.
Most of the vocals were recorded in the other singers' living rooms. Mobile gear. Very handy.
We're hopefully starting to put Covid-19 behind us...WE HOPE!. Let's see if we can get touring and recording again???
When not touring I love to record and produce. Please take a listen to some of the tracks I've recorded and give me a call if you think we could work together well.
By the way. I design most of the covers that my recordings regale. using Adobe Photoshop and Indesign.
0044 (0) 7736 807272
The Row Studios
Computers - iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, 2017) & MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four Thunderbold 3 Ports
Mackie MCUPro Control Surface and Extender
Audio interface - Apogee Ensemble Thunderbolt 2
Monitor speakers - Genelec 1031a Active Monitors with matching bass unit., Neumann KH120A Active Monitors & Avantones
Effects Unit - UAD2 Satellite Thunderbolt
Microphones - SE Electronics Gemini and Gemini 11, SE Electronics RNR1 Neve Ribbon Mic, SE Electronics 4400a Matched Pair, Rode NT2, Rode NT4 Stereo Mic, Rode NT5 Matched Pairs Shure Beta 87a, Shure D11, AKG C1000 S
and, of course, there's the ubiquitous collection of SM 57 and 58s
There's a fine selection of hi end Headphones. Sony, Beyer, Shure, Sennheiser....