Bartering for Analog Gear

Somewhere around 1985 I saw an ad in a San Francisco paper: “WANTED: wood-floor work in exchange for recording equipment.” Wonder! Brief disbelief? Reader & Reading material (re?)UNITE. A drive to the hills of Berkeley, California to meet the infamous Dan Alexander. Before boxes of WINE stacked HIGH (a recent BARTER: booze to record BLUES band); a deal is made & a strange & mysterious friendship is formed. Many dirty hours later the goods arrive: 4 API pre-amps (what?) & 2 Neumann microphones. Plug the microphone into the pre-amp, send the pre-amp straight to the tape-deck (an Otari 50-50 8-track), NO EQ, NO mixing board!!

Over the years there would be many trips to Dan’s house: microphones, compressors, a Studer 2-track, an EMT plate-reverb, the BIG REDS; all would be carted back to QUESTA. Hippies (as Dan called us) worked away at basements & staircases & doorways while Dan found us gears to “make my voice sound good!” (the plate), or something to mix down to other than a DAT, (the Studer b67). The studio filled up slowly. Every piece with a sweet story. Like that kid with the magic beans…


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