When you’re looking for a great place to record your music, there is an obvious priority to make sure a studio has great tools available at their, and your, disposal, and Popside Recording is a gorgeous studio set up with full digital capabilities, a good selection of analog outboard gear, and loads of instruments and equipment to help you get just the right sound!
Popside Recording features a Pro Tools 11 rig with 16 channels I/O capability, and for the lay musician, that means you can have up to 16 things recorded at once.
All those channels help make recording a breeze for an average band of three to five members. Things can get a bit more challenging when recording a band like locals, Lioness, who recently recorded at Popside and currently have eleven members, but Micah Carli, Popside’s owner, engineer, and producer, knows how to make his equipment work for him.
Most recording today is done digitally, via computers, but if your preference is to record analog, Popside has a fair selection of outboard gear to choose from.
At around $160 for a roll of tape though, analog recording is too expensive for most bands and musicians, and on top of that, you can’t edit in any of the ways that you can with digital recordings. With analog recording, artists have to be at the top of their game and/or take the recordings “as is”. According to Carli,
“Digital recording is awesome and is here to stay, but it’s also easier for musicians to sound better than they may actually be, myself included. Compared to say fifty years ago when you might have had only one or two mics in a room and everyone had to get their parts perfect, people just don’t have to be as good as they used to.”
There is a special quality to analog recordings though that many artists feel just can’t be captured in a digital recording, so if you’re ready to go that route, Popside has the gear to get the job done.
On top of all the fantastic recording gear in house at Popside, one of the things that really sets this studio apart is the amount of instruments and other equipment that Carli makes available to clients.
With 20 different amps, around 30 guitars, racks and racks of pedals, a 1960 Hammond M100 with Leslie Pad, a 1929 Baldwin piano with ivory keys, a 1976 Yamaha electric keyboard, and various other instruments in and around the studio, it’s a bit like a kid walking into a candy store.
Everything in the studio gets a fair amount of use, but according to Carli, the guitars and amps definitely get used the most. There are several rare and vintage amps not commonly found, as well as modern amps like Mesa and Soldano. The Hi-Watt Custom 100 amp (used by Pete Townsend of The Who) is a favorite of Carli’s because with its “cranked up, unique gain structure, it cuts through the mix in a great way.”
It’s really all about what sounds best though. There’s no requirement to use anything you’re not comfortable with, so some artists stick with the gear they have and some artists don’t come in with any gear because they already know that Popside has great gear waiting for them.
Having recorded at some of the hottest studios in the country, Carli will tell you that at the largest, high-end studios, you’re a lot less likely to find a ton of amplifiers, guitars, pedals, and other instrumentation options, and that’s mostly due to the fact that at that level, most musicians tend to already have all the gear they need. That being said, Carli has collected a lot of gear over the years and has no problem with anyone who has the time and inclination to “go down the rabbit hole” and check out different gear. Even with all the gear he has though, he’s still always on the lookout and usually picks up a handful of new pieces every year to add to his collection.