Things have to contact to create a sound or vibration. That’s as important to me as having to touch each instrument to play it. In turn, a needle has to be on the record, the machine head having to connect with the cassette. It’s hugely relevant. I like the thought of people experiencing the music via these means.
Located in Portland, Maine, Prism Analog is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit recording studio producing music entirely in the "Analog Domain”— we record and mix down to tape. This was the process by which all music was produced from the late 1950s into the 1990s. Today, studio recording is over 99% computer-based.
Our mission is to pass on the vanishing art of analog production by making it affordable to all, even young and emerging artists who desire the rich experience of tape and its attendant process and rigor.
In contrast to modern computer-based recording techniques, analog recording encourages a “live” approach to studio work, favoring the well-rehearsed artist. Decisions are made in the moment that might otherwise be agonized over in post production.
Tape is expensive, whereas tracks and hard drive space are virtually an unlimited and free commodity in digital production. Limited tracks and finite tape encourage fewer overdubs, fewer "takes" and more planning ahead on the part of the engineer and the artist. The payoff? The freshest and most spontaneous takes make the cut!
Track numbers are low, ranging from 2-24 tracks, and a curated stack of spatial and dynamic analog effects are on hand to support our artists without overwhelming or confusing the process.
Not least, tracking to tape is arguably the only way to guarantee a future-proof master recording, and the only way to preserve 100% of your sound.
Prism Analog is not-for-profit. Our mission is to provide affordable tape-based production services to local and regional independent artists. Our rates include an engineer, however tape is billed separately.
Rates are as low as we can set them and still maintain the studio, including: preventive and repair maintenance for our equipment (some of which is over 30 years old), a marketing budget (e.g. underwriting local non-profits, maintaining our website, ads), engineering services, and our youth mentorship program. And heat and electricity. Oh, and rent!
Artists are encouraged to record live onto quarter-inch half-track tape for the most affordable and spontaneous results. Another strategy is to double the 2" tape time by treating the 24-track machine as a 12-track machine. 12 tracks still offer a lot of flexibility! Running at 15 IPS, a 2500' reel of tape runs 33 minutes. Or 66 minutes with the 12-track method.