October 20, 2011
Converse Rubber Tracks is stacked with gear from Guitar Center.
To create our state of the art studio and performance space, Converse Rubber Tracks linked up with Guitar Center Professional. This collaboration is how and why you’ll find a compound equipped with state of the art new equipment as well as key vintage components. In fact, thanks to Guitar Center, Rubber Tracks is the only studio on the east coast outfitted with Oceanway Monitors, the premiere studio monitors in the industry. It’s this expert attention to detail that makes Rubber Tracks a destination not just for casual musicians, but also for seasoned pros.
Fender Jazz Bass
This bass has the kind of power that can put its player right at the center. If you’re looking for something with a strong, thick low-end that is pronounced even amid the most furious guitar and drum whirlwind, this bass stands out enough to – despite its name – have a strong place in even the most heavy of heavy bands.
Fender Pawn Shop ’72
Although it is thoroughly modern in terms of the way it sounds, this semi-hollow guitar is actually a throwback to Fender’s experimental period (everyone has one). If you’re looking for an uncommon guitar that looks classic and sounds great, this is the one.
Fender Telecaster (USA)
Strong and reliable. The Fender Telecaster has a smooth, rounded body, to the point that when people would describe their guitar as a woman, this is probably the one they were actually thinking of. It’s the perfect universal guitar, whether you’re playing in the Rubber Tracks studio or your dad’s garage next to the lawnmower, it’s going to sound great.
Fender Telecaster (Mexico)
Like the American version, but made in Mexico.
Fender Stratocaster (USA)
This is possibly one of the most imitated guitars of all time—for a reason. It’s got a classic look and the sound is bright and clean. If you’re looking for a guitar that everyone has used at some point, you’re looking for the Fender Stratocaster.
Gibson Les Paul Dual Pickup
Basic, classic look, feel and sound. Good for playing by yourself or when you’re in front of a whole crowd.
Music Man Classic Stingray Bass
Although bass players are normally known as the ones that stick to the back and provide solid, un-flashy rhythm, meaning it sounds great as an anchor, but is also totally up to the task of wild slap theatrics and the kind of basslines that can carry whole songs.
Music Man JPXI Guitar
Great tones, but also perfect if you’ve got small hands—the neck is compact and thin (also light). But it’s not like the guitar looks miniature.
Taylor Acoustic Guitar
The thing that separates this from your standard acoustic guitar is that the neck is one solid piece of wood all the way through. That means sturdiness, and appropriately, some dudes that are known for being killer guitar players use this one.
Yamaha Motif XF7
Endlessly customizable to the point that it feels like there are a million different ways to use this (not actually, but it might be close). The XF7 works smoothly with other software but can happily exist on its own as an all-in-one go to for phenomenal sounds.
Micro Korg with Vocoder
As close to an analog synth sound as you’re going to get without actually being an analog synthesizer (it looks and sounds like one!) It also has 128 presets.
M-Audio Oxygen 88 Keyboard
Although this has all the power and capabilities of a MIDI controller, it’s designed to look and feel like a piano, so no worries about feeling unfamiliar with this keyboard.
This one speaks for itself. There’s a Wurlitzer here! The Wurlitzer is a classic organ, to the point that when you think about the look and sound of an organ, you’re thinking about a Wurlitzer. One of the most timeless instruments around.
With more gain than any other Marshall amp ever (!) this is the head that will give you a universally great sound, no matter what you’re going for.
Lots of power and lots of effects. This isn’t going to completely replace your pedal repertoire, but it comes pretty close.
Marshall is one of the most trusted amplifier brands around because they’ve got a whole history of quality behind them. That’s basically the idea behind the JMD100, which is less about reinventing the wheel and more about looking back and giving a whole selection of classic Marshall sounds from throughout their storied history.
Reliable and sturdy, this amp has effects, but it’s also one of the brand’s flagships, meaning it can go loud and sound good while doing it.
Go as loud as you want and this update on a classic Marshall cabinet will still sound great.
If you’re looking for an amp with a clean sound that also is a standard for Metal dudes, try this.
Marshall JVM 215C (Combo)
If you research this online, it’ll talk about how it can go from the cleanest to the “filthiest” sound. Filthiest! That’s a serious claim. Filthy is beyond grimy, and if that’s what you’re after, this one has it.
Marshall JMD: 1 (Combo)
Lots of tones and effects, but still incredibly intuitive to use.
Fender ’65 Twin Reverb
When you think of guitar amps, you probably imagine the Fender ’65 Twin Reverb, which covers just about every possible musical angle. A perpetual classic that crosses all genres. It’s used to make guitar screeches as well as the clean tones.
Fender Hot Rod Deville
Has that classic Fender reverb that seems close to impossible to imitate, but even if reverb isn’t your thing, give this one a shot, it’s versatile enough for any style.
You know how people talk about vinyl producing a warmer sound than CDs? This amp looks like its responsible for making that warm sound. In addition to looking great, though, it also allows for extreme tone control, perfect if you’re a stickler about the smallest details of the sound you’re producing.
Another classic looking (and sounding) Vox Amp. This one has vintage speakers and the same attention to tone detail.
Blackstar Series One 200 (head)
This is all about subtlety. At a much lower volume than normal, you can get beautifully textured distortion.
Blackstar One 412A (cab)
Vintage speakers and a classic look.
Acoustic B600 (head)
This bass head allows you to tune silently while on stage, but in the studio it really shines, providing the perfect high or low tone.
Acoustic BB10 (cab)
Vintage sound with classic speakers, good to use with the Acoustic B600 head.
The drummer’s drum kit, in the sense that it looks gorgeous and sounds great. Perfect for any studio or stage work you might be doing. Also good if you want to take your picture next to it.
Orange County Percussion Avalon
Throw this drum in with any kit in any situation, and it’ll do the job. Solidly constructed and supremely adaptable, it’s great to have on hand whenever you think you might need it.
Fill Sabian Cymbal Set
From splashes to hi-hats to rides to multiple crashes, they’re all here. Accent your drumming or go nuts with expansive washes of cymbal trill.
Although it’s perfectly okay to play the congas standing up and wildly fast, there’s also subtle strokes that make different sounds depending on how and where you hit them. Use them as the central percussion element on a track, or just to add some flavor to what you already have.
Like regular congas, but smaller.
Like the congas, you play this by hand. But it’s smaller. You can carry it anywhere and usually hold it between your knees. Because you stick to the edge of this drum when you play, it has basically the same effect as a cowbell: ideal as extra rhythm, but maybe not the best look as a centerpiece.
Looks like a standard tom-tom, but has a metal shell. The beauty of this one is that not only can you hit the top of the drum, but also the sides, to completely different effect.
Like a tambourine, but more subtle. You can cup your hand to get different sounds out of the Pandeiro.
Generally used in Latin jazz, this has loops of steel balls around it that rattle and slide so calmly and smoothly.
Quite possibly the most fun instrument to shake relentlessly, the maracas are a celebratory rhythmic instrument used in most forms of Latin music.
This is a classic. You probably owned a tambourine at some point in your life. Shake it or hit it or do both at the same time. Go nuts.
This one is crazy! If you’re looking for a smooth, kind of harsh tone that goes on forever, the Vibra-tone is your instrument.
One Handed Triangle
Like the regular Triangle, except you can do everything with just one hand, which is actually totally wild if you think about it. A bit hard to get the hang of, but when you do, it could change your perception of Triangles forever.
This is actually a water jug, but instead of pouring water out of the hole, you hit it with your palm. Great to store water in or great to use as percussion, but probably not both at the same time.
A piece of wood you hit with a stick to make a pretty cool noise.
Primarily used in merengue music, the Tambora is a classic drum that used to be made out of rum barrels and should not be confused with the volcano of the same name. Use this if you want a similar vibe to the congas (or jr. congas).
OceanWay HR2 Main Monitors
Rubber Tracks is the only studio on the East Coast with these monitors. In fact, barely any studio anywhere has these things. They have a distinct, clean sound – even the empty space has a textured, brilliant feel. These monitors allow you to hear the music you’ve made in full, glorious detail. You’ll notice how precise these are the second you hear your music coming from them. They are literally unparalleled.
Adam A7X Nearfield Monitors
When recording, having a sturdy, reliable monitor is a hugely important, but often overlooked aspect of the process. The A7Xs are great reference monitors with crisp, reliable sound.
Yamaha NS10 Nearfield Monitors
Although this monitors are no longer in production, they’re a studio standard for one great reason: if it sounds good on these, it’s going to sound good on any other monitors.
Yamaha HS80 Monitors
While the NS10 monitors are no longer in production, the HS80 monitors are similar, but updated, providing a flat, true sound so that you can accurately judge your recording.
Auratone 5C Sound Cube
Like the NS10, this is a classic in its field, providing accurate sound for everything from studio mixes to what your tracks might sound like in your car.
AKG C414 B-XL II
It’s not that hard to grab a cheap microphone and sing into it, but it is difficult to find one that captures all the nuances of the human voice. This AKG is fragile, but great for studio use.
Although this is a kick drum microphone, it can also work for trombones and bass cabinets both in the studio and onstage. It’s great at capturing your low-end without loosing any of the punch that comes along with that sound.
Electro Voice RE20
Another voice microphone, but when you see this one you may recognize it as the one that radio broadcasters use. A total classic, but not technologically outdated at all.
Neumann KM 184
Tremendously versatile. This mic is great for brass instruments, cymbals, all percussion, and all the intricacies of an acoustic guitar.
This is a classic vocal mic. It looks exactly like studio microphones from the ’50s and ’60s, only it’s outfitted with more modern technology so it can compete with other studio gear.
Neumann U87 Ai
Although this microphone is often used for orchestra recordings (so much nuance), it works equally well on individual instruments and with vocals.
The big thing with this, is that it was one of the first mics to ditch the bulky design and go for slim, compact and resilient. Years of tinkering means that even though you’re going without the extra hardware, it’s still going to sound as warm as ever for everything from guitar to brass instruments to drums.
Sennheiser MD42 1 II
A natural, sturdy choice for recording guitars and drums at just about any sound level.
Great for live recordings as well as studio ones, this microphone is great for reproducing the exact sound of a room.
Like the KSM32, but with an emphasis on excellent vocal pickup.
This is a great studio mic, for instruments, but if you want to go live with it that’s an option as well.
Weirdly, this one works equally well for amplified instruments and intimate vocals. Nuanced!
Great for all studio recording, including talking if you just want to talk into it and record that for awhile.
Search around the internet and you’ll see this microphone labeled as “rugged.” That’s because it both looks (and is) extremely sturdy. But it’s also nuanced, with mesh layers that reduce extra noise from the breaths you take when you’re not singing.
A sturdy mic used by everyone including the President of the United States.
Great for both lead and backup vocals in the studio or on stage.
A great mic for recording acoustic instruments.
Sterling Audio ST31
This is a tiny microphone, but it’s excellent at capturing all the nuances of acoustic instruments.
Sterling Audio ST59
Another sturdy studio microphone that is extra smooth and perfect for almost all types of recording.
Sterling Audio ST69 Tube
This is really a top microphone that covers all the traditional needs (picking up your voice) with a modern twist (there’s no loss of tone or warmth). Good for vocals and all instruments.
Radial JDI Direct Box
A favorite of audio engineers, this is a great DI for guitars, bass and keyboards.
Radial ProD2 Direct Box
Gets rid of all unnecessary buzz and hum, so your instruments can be picked up without distractions.
Radial Studio Pro ReAmp
Easy to use, but with a sturdy, tough design, this’ll keep all your audio running silently and smoothly.
Livewire Passive Direct Box
High instrument output and input, is great for juggling lots of instruments without feedback and buzz.
Mytek Private Q Multichannel Headphone System
A good studio headphone system can’t go overlooked, and this one is so crisp and clean.
Sony MDR7506 Headphones
Great for isolating all the sound except what you want to hear when you’re in the studio or playing elsewhere.
Beyer DT770PRO-80 Headphones
These work really well for all your bass heavy recording needs.
API 1608 32 Inputs
Vintage soundboards might have all the capabilities and options that result in such rich sounds, but they also come with plenty of wear and tear and mechanical problems.The API 1608 sidesteps this by giving that same sound while simultaneously providing a clean and sturdy updated feel and look.
Pro Tools HD2
This is an industry standard that allows you to compose, edit, record and mix your music from one program. The HD2 edition is full of plug-ins and virtual instruments as well, so you literally have an entire studio at your fingertips.
UAD Quad Card
Because even the most tricked out studio is not going to have everything, this card is packed with plug-ins that sound exactly the same as their hardware counterparts.
Pro Tools 9
In general, Pro Tools is a studio necessity, whether you’re recording from your home computer or in an actual studio. Pro Tools 9 is an exceptional update on the program, though, allowing for bigger mixes across more tracks in addition to all the composition, writing, recording and editing that the program normally is so helpful with.
Moore plug-ins, easy tempo manipulation, and a great system that allows you build guitar rigs and pedalboards from within the program.
Recently, Ableton has become more known as a DJ tool than a piece of studio equipment. That’s absolutely a valid use for it, but it’s also a great program for composing and arranging music. Plus, because it’s designed for use live, you can treat it like an instrument itself.
Peak Pro 6
Much like the other DAWs on this list, Peak Pro 6 is used to create, compose and edit music. The difference is that Peak is extremely user friendly and is a flexible, fun tool to use when composing at home or in the studio.
Waves Horizon Bundle
Because you can never have enough plug-ins (see also: options) when you’re recording in a studio, this bundle includes plenty more.
Autotune 7 TDM
It’s no secret that Autotune is an industry recording standard used to make rough vocals sound cleaner, and it’s also no secret that there’s a backlash surrounding it. However, when used correctly, it can be the perfect finishing touch on your vocal tracks.
Empirical Labs Distressor
This is an automatic volume control device that can control volume from any instrument, rounding it out and making it sound more clear and full.
Universal Audio LA3A
This is an update on the LA2A, which was a studio standard. The LA3A has all the same features as the 2A, but slightly updated for better performance and sturdiness.
Universal Audio LA2A
An industry classic, compact enough to be used in the van during the recording of Purple Rain.
Universal Audio 1176LN
Another studio mainstay. This compressor and limiter is still competitively modern, but it’s also been around for almost 50 years, thanks to smart but subtle tweaks and updates.
Smart C2M Stereo Compressor
Some of the truest stereo sound you can get, this compressor punches up everything you run through it, while also emphasizing the familiar elements of what you decide to use it with.
API 2500 Stereo Compressor
Great for changing the tone of your stereo mixes. What’s most interesting about this one, though, is that it allows for “old” compression, in the sense that it can be used similarly to older compressors for a more vintage sound, if desired.
This is another industry standard that’s easy to use and great for adding punchiness to your recordings while also removing any unwanted clicks and pops.
Langevin LPEQB Pultec EQ
Great for isolating bass heavy instruments like kick drums, as well as keeping higher, sweeter tones like guitars clear and separate, while still sounding part of a whole.
Neve 1073DPA Dual Mic Pre
While some pre amps work best with specific genres, this one is universal. It’s able to clean and punch up anything from hip-hop, to rock and even to classical. That’s about as wide a range as it gets.
A huge library of sounds, plenty of presets, lots of reverb options, this is the go-to for digital audio processing, both live and in the studio.
While the PCM92 is the gold standard, this one is a vintage processor from the ’80s. It’s got different options than the 92, but many more vintage ones, if you’re going for a throwback sound.