Over the years Joe’s music production needs and tastes have evolved. Initially, it was all about vintage drum gear and keeping a number of rare kits around the studio.
But over time he discovered that something was missing—he felt that his recordings needed extra depth that he couldn’t find using just mics and drums.
Joe realized he needed to get his hands on a few select pieces of outboard gear to give him more control over the effects and overall grit of his recordings.
“I got to a point where I’d amassed a huge collection of vintage drums, but they just sat there on the shelf while I played shows all year. So I sold one of my favorite kits—a 1950s Slingerland radio king, just a beautiful kit that I’d never played professionally once—and I bought my first foray into outboard, a 70s Roland PA mixer.”
After getting to know how the PA mixer worked, Clegg found that among other things it really helped with adding a crunch that he couldn’t achieve in his typical recordings.
“So I’ve got this six channel PA mixer—it’s got a stereo output and you sum through it, it’s got attenuation and EQ on it. When you drive drum machines through it crunches in a beautiful way, and it’s got a spring reverb inside it which was the spring that Roland made that became the RE-201.”
The vintage PA mixer spurred on a handful of future purchases—including a set of other spring reverbs with different characteristics, delays, chorus and more.
“I got this Japanese Horck Stereo Spring reverb, and I got an ASON mono tape echo.”
The main advantage of using outboard that comes with a higher price tag?
Clegg says it’s the added level of tactile response and analog sound they produce.
“That really was the catalyst for me as a tactile person, to understand exactly what happens with an RE201. It’s such a musical piece of gear, you can ride the intensity and the repeat rate and make really musical things.”