100% All-Analog Drum ‘n’ Bass, All The Way To The Needle

Analog Drum ‘n’ Bass is a new track, by KinetiX, made using a 100% analog signal path – from the synthesizers creating the music in real time to open reel tape to mastering the tape with outboard analog equipment and finally to cutting the tape directly to vinyl.

Here are the technical details on the gear used:

Modulars : Roland System 700 (Drums), Moog series 900 (minor chords), Roland System 100 (sub basses, wind sfx, sirens), Arp 2500 (squelchy stabs), Buchla 100 series (SFX).

Other Synths : modified x0xb0x (low bass) Korg MS-20 (other bass), Roland System 100 standalone synth (other bass), modified Korg Monotron Duo (other bass)

FX : Roland Space Echo RE-501 (tape delay, chorus, spring reverb), Roland DC-30 (analog chorus-echo), Roland Dimension-D Analog Chorus.

Mixer : Tascam M308b

The mixed signal was recorded in a separate studio using a Studer mixer and tape machine. The premaster was then brought to a third studio where the tape was mastered using the following gear.

Studer A812 tape machines
ORAM BEQ Pro 24 mixing console
API 550b EQ
Tube-Tech CL 1b compressor
Universal Audio Urei 1176Ln limiting amplifier
Amek limiter
Emt140 plate reverb

The master was then brought to a forth studio where it was run from tape through a few more pieces of outboard gear to finalize the signal and cut directly to a 12″ vinyl record.

This video was taken with a cell-phone camera at the various locations and the audio for the video recorded and limited in a digital audio workstation in parallel to the analog signal flow.

It’s also available via bandcamp.

52 thoughts on “100% All-Analog Drum ‘n’ Bass, All The Way To The Needle

  1. Arguably the most hip d&b tune ever made. Also the most expensive and unnecessarily complicated in terns of underlying setup.

  2. I nice piece considering the self-imposed limitation. Yet, I find it only stands up with the over-explaining of that process – bit of a shame as it then subverts context and rational. Likewise, if a modern 2D artist over explained how he made a fine art piece with self-imposed limitation from the 17th century. I always find it a bit strange, to want to express oneself with random limits of technology, based on warped notions of little substance. I don’t think it serves the art, the artist, or the world very much. And I’ll always honestest judge it next to others not using such limitations, defending the reasoning for it – “It is good considering…. blah, blah, blah…” which is really the same as saying , “I would have been on time but I sold my motorbike and got a horse.”

    1. This is a cool tune. But it’s hard to get excited about someone having “achieved” the same process we all did a couple decades ago. And back then, we were all dying for easier and faster ways to get things done. It’s a limited time window in which anyone can wave this flag and have others be impressed with it, so kudos to his timing as much as anything else. I guess pretty soon we will see people bragging again about making web sites in only a text editor? Or placing a person to person phone call using only land lines? Because god dammit, your voice just sounds better on a land line!

  3. or is it just “lo-fi” elitism?…. after all, there’s a total contradiction in this whole exercise.

    1. 10 up votes? What’s elitist about this exactly? That he has more gear than you (and me)? I didn’t see anything where he said “this is a better way of working” or “digital suxxx” or “you need this sort of gear to make serious music” or anything like it. It’s an experiment. I happen to quite like the output.

    2. Maybe check out some of his other analog d&b experiments like this one that uses physical drums played by a robot.

      I’m glad people like this exist.

  4. its just a plain fact you can drive analog signals way hotter because the distortion doesnt sound like shit.. thats what im hearing here, and its cool but the vast majority of people wont notice it

    im a sound engineer so i have to hear the details, its part of my job – but yeh, most people are just gonna say “bullshit!” or “who cares. mehhhhhhhhhhhhh” because theyre fucking plebs

    1. Lovely trolling comments from missinformed people who have clearly missed the point of the track. Yes, analogue has its limitations. The track has been created on old skool hardware that requires time and attention to programming, not to mention patching. So in essence, the writer/creator has put a great deal of effort into the track and kudos to him.
      You could knock something together in 2 minutes on a computer or 5 minutes on an electribe, but so do the people who write backing tracks for nicky minaj and justin bieber.
      I cant trust anyones credentials who feels the need to say “im a sound engineer” (what a tool) and if you dont agree with me, youre a ” pleb”. The track isnt about the creators mixdown or mastering skills (in any case, any minor sound quality loss could be down to video software and compression at upload to the web). Its about the creation of the track – a good track.

      1. Explanation of what exactly? All i read was you hear distorion that “doesnt sound like shit”….because youre a “sound engineer” lol and “most people wont notice it”…..its because theyre “fucking plebs”.
        Well done give yourself a clap for insulting just about everyone who visits this site….Even better, lets see some of your amazing work.

    2. for a “sound engineer” you’re pretty misinformed. did you just graduate from one of those $100k AE degree mills or something?

  5. Is it ironic that we can only hear this recording on a DIGITAL FORMAT? Kind of takes the whole point away, doesn’t it.

  6. I fuckin well love this!!!!!! Even if i didn’t know about the equipment used, i’d still like the track. As someone stated above, it’s the nice analog distortion, and i guess you really drove the sound to the red to get that juicy tape saturation. And it makes it sound other worldly, especially in this day and age. From what i know, i heard years ago that alot of d’nb producers usually ran the signal through analog gear (probably at the mastering stage, just before vinyl cutting) and pushed it pretty hot. I wish i had these options. Amazing work, thanks for sharing.

  7. That track sounds absolutely massive. Even with the digital compression of vimeo which is something like 128kbps AAC it sounds really good and would probably sound even better hearing it from the master tapes or vinyl but it’s definitely not the only thing that contributes to the sound. I’m just as impressed by the fact that someone owns Roland modular systems, a Arp 2500, Buchla 100 and actually uses them to write and release music, and doesn’t just store them in some room as “collector pieces”.

    In general IMO it’s a good idea to limit how many times audio goes through a A/D D/A conversion stages but the real magic in this track is the sheer quality of the initial instruments used and of course the analog mastering process. If it was printed to vinyl or presented as high quality digital lossless file you probably couldn’t tell much of a difference but those earlier stages and all of the subtle analog overdrive it adds definitely makes the sounds stand out a lot.

    Somebody is probably going to argue with me about this and say Analog/Digital doesn’t matter, doesn’t make a difference, but I think it does when it comes to certain things. Subtle analog overdrive is much more rich in pleasing harmonics that digital saturation is. In general. It’s just not something that’s very easy to emulate in the digital domain.

    1. You are right man, but to be honest nowadays you can just work in the box 90% of a tune and then send the stems over to a mastering studio to beef it up with analogue gear, so…not really worth

  8. Cool concept and well executed track. I really enjoy a lot of the new analog gear (and old) but i really hope people arent forgetting the amazing capabilities of digital gear. Again, this is really good. Im just missing digital synthesis in a lot of diy production.

  9. Pretty cool set up and process and a decent D’n’B track overall but at the same time I think this set up is holding back the artist from putting together a much better track. Analogue has it’s merits but when it comes to this extent I think it’s more of a hinderance and far more likely to yield a mediocre result than had it been done through more conventional means. At the end of the day though, I can appreciate what they were going for here in context.

  10. I wonder what the comments would be like if the title didn’t say “analog” instead just saying cool d&b song.

  11. Love this, really cool stuff. Now that I produce tunes I really like discovering the process people have gone through to achieve a certain goal / sound. I don’t think it’s about elitism, just exploring an idea and seeing it through, in this case a Dnb tune that’s all analog from start to finish.
    I would equally like to watch someone creating an entire Dnb tune on something like an OP-1 or whatever. Self imposed limitations often yield really interesting results and inspire me.

  12. All analogue until the filming, phhhhh on mobile phone! ( sell out) where’s the super eight, where’s your morals MAN, how can you sleep at night!

  13. Thought this discussion was up its own arse so good to see discontent with muso arrogance.
    Absurd amount of gear to make a 10pence drum and bass tune .

  14. i wonder how many people on the dance floor are going to point out this tracks all analogue make up as its stand out feature from the rest of the tracks been played? whilst different processes of creating music can lead to variations that could not be achieved by more familiar or common practices. their is all so a real danger that esoteric practices can lead you to alienating your audience/listener by such means.

  15. superb! no samplers or sampled breaks, no DAW or screens.. like said earlier achieving and producing a track this way with this type of gear requires extreme patience, skill and craftsmanship. by no means this is slicing up a break and add some sounds as we easily do nowadays. Say in the 90’s we used hardware samplers and we had to edit samples inside the machines, later came programs that helped with the slicing or micro edits before putting it back into the sampler. This though goes even further.. there is no sampler, just oscillators , filters, analog verbs and echo’s, brilliant distortion .. i can only say it’s absolutely brilliant and i deeply respect the artist! well done!

  16. While I was watching this I heard my girlfriend walking up the stairs. Hurriedly I typed “boobies” into my search engine, in order to ensure that something less pornographic was on the screen when she came in the room.

    Joking aside, I really don’t see the 100% analogue signal path as pretentious or pointless. Analogue synths sound great, good tape has great characteristics and analogue hardware in general tends to have a nice warm sound. If I didn’t have to use an ADAC I don’t see why I would choose to.

    Essentially all that gear was designed for creating or manipulating sound and that’s what the artist did. That’s not pretentious; pretentious would be using midi controlled vacuum cleaners to create a new sub-genre of music called “clean house”.

  17. I like the track, it’s fun to work with analogue, I guess this was just a project. A lot of people who owns ths kind of equipment rarely outs it to use so this was cool to see. I am not much into vocals so I am glad there is none of that

  18. This is utterly mind blowing, considering how well crafted the tune is, and how laborious the programming and patching must have been. If you can’t appreciate this ‘experiment’ for the those reasons alone, then you are missing the point of the project. Of course you make this tune on a laptop in a fraction of the time and with far less gear, but that’s what everyone is doing. It takes experiments like this to find new and interesting methods and creations. Some of us will see this as being “creative”, and others of us will not see anything at all.

  19. I’ve listened three times. The sounds are just amazing, even via Vimeo and I like the tune itself. It’s a drum and bass track that doesn’t take ripping your face off with breaks and booms as it’s primary goal and I appreciate it.

    I love digital synths but I challenge the naysayers to recreate this with your favorite plugins. There’s a whole lot of, shall we call it, “warmble” in there that I think would be pretty much impossible to recreate. Even if one could eek that warmble out for one or two of the lines, there’s a sonic clash happening here that just isn’t going to be recreated. Doesn’t detract from other ways of working and their own sonic potentials.

  20. @synthhead could you maybe follow up with him about how he made this happen in real time live to two-track? Think we’d all be interested to learn more about that part because… holy wtf?

    1. Hmm, sequenced via QX-1 perhaps. He’s got another ‘analog drum and bass video’ that shows the studio in real time.

      Kinda funny to see all of that $ynth and two crappy Boss speakers.

  21. It makes me sad to see such small minded people calling themselves musicians. This video is great and shows someone who spent hours upon hours to follow his vision through. Why would would you possibly go out of your way to comment negatively about that? Just because you’re to cheap to invest in hardware equipment don’t take it on others. My guess is this guy either makes good money and chooses to spend it having fun making music, rather than a nice car or something, or is a student having a blast with the resources available to him. Either way, good on him! Great track, reminds of the good old Ed Rush/Optical collabs.

  22. My first thought was this is some crazy expensive analog fetishism… though it sounds cool.
    But then watchin in HD on vimeo I noticed
    “Big thanks to the Tokyo University of the Arts for facilitating the creation of this track”.

    So while there’s obviously no need to use ~$200k? in vintage analog gear, if you had a chance to use this studio you’d do the same thing.

  23. People are missing the point of this. KinetiX isn’t trying to say, “Hey, look at me! I made a track that’s really cool, but using old stuff,” nor did he make this track because Analog equipment has a better sound. He wanted to see if he could do it, what it would sound like, and whether it would be good.

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