Who here actually prefers digital?
Old 9th December 2007
  #1
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Thread Starter
Who here actually prefers digital?

I hung out with a jazz musician/engineer today who preferred digital to analog. I played him a cd of one of my favorite engineers, who recorded all analog. The low-boost, saturation, and hiss were all there. He wasn't feeling it. He played me some of his favorite recordings, which were done in Pro Tools. He preferred the pristine, clear sound, where the instruments were not altered by tape characteristics. In his world, only pre's are needed in your rig to capture full, precise tonal characteristics and good signal-to-noise ratio. He cared about warmth, but not about saturation and tape compression. He didn't care for outboard compression, he likes plugins that sound good but stay within the digital realm without the extra conversion.
Old 9th December 2007
  #2
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Chris Parsons's Avatar
 

I prefer digital recording mediums because you get what you put into it, nothing more, nothing less.
Old 9th December 2007
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Parsons View Post
I prefer digital recording mediums because you get what you put into it, nothing more, nothing less.
I 2nd that, nothing wrong with tape/analog colouring. But I prefer to be in control of the colouring, not the medium. It s all about choice for me, nothing stops me from adding analog saturation or an emulating plug afterwards.

Pzz

PS: this will end in a beautifull ana vs. digi debate like all the 10 000 other threads on here...
Old 9th December 2007
  #4
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I believe that the number of people who prefer digital is much larger than one would think. Those who are passionate about analog as a recording medium are more likely to be vocal about it. The people who prefer digital aren't as emotionally attached to it, and "just use it." (Please don't misunderstand me... this doesn't mean that people who prefer digital are not passionate about sound.)

Personally, I have made thousands of recordings in my career, many of which have been analog, and many of which have been digital. Several of these recordings I have liked, and others I have disliked. The reasons I've ever liked or disliked a recording of mine has never been merely a result of the recording medium. That would be a gross oversimplification of what contributes to a good sounding end product. I think a good engineer should be able to get great results with either medium, provided that all the other vastly more important issues are attended to (good songs, good arrangments, good playing, good recording & mixing technique, good coffee, etc).

I like analog just fine, but having done more than half my career using nothing but analog (and remembering when it was our only choice), I don't romanticise it either. It sounds fine, but so does digital to me. I don't see it as a holy grail at all.

Ben B
Old 9th December 2007
  #5
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vernier's Avatar
I don't mind it for certain vocal tracks.
Old 9th December 2007
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by bionic brown View Post
I hung out with a jazz musician/engineer today who preferred digital to analog. I played him a cd of one of my favorite engineers...
You should have played him a RECORD instead!
Old 9th December 2007
  #7
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Nice balanced, unhysterical post Ben.....

There are aspects of both I like. But I no longer feel unclean recording digitally which I did back in the ADAT era.

Even though I just committed quite a bit to making sure my studer is around in 10 years, if the project isn't specifically going to benefit from the extra time and money the analog thing incurs, I'l stay digital. I like the sound of both at this point, if its done well.

And, like it or not, I see the move to digital to be inexhorable at this point.
Old 10th December 2007
  #8
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I prefer digital in situations where convenience/budget is the most important criteria.
I prefer analog when sonics are the most important criteria.
This applies to both recording mediums and processing.
Some guys that make records I love see if differently.
I use both all the time.
Old 10th December 2007
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
You should have played him a RECORD instead!
as the thread starter stated, "precise tonal characteristics and good signal-to-noise ratio" two things that digital does better... unless you're willing to drop the coin for a serious vinyl playback system. and even then the best vinyl playback systems fall short of digital in both categories.
Old 10th December 2007
  #10
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I like using analogue for everything but storage, and therefor I record to PT. But mixing, I'm all about OoTB.
Old 10th December 2007
  #11
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mr.

1-We are in a creative revolution that would NOT have happened without digital.
2-It sounds GREAT to me, and I have recorded in 2", neve board all analog studios.
3-No more noise reduction (tape hiss) to kill the high end!!!
4-Unbelievable editing power.
5-I like powerful sounding heavy music....(digital limiting!!!)
6-Digital has exponentially expanded the gearslut community. Come to think of it actually created it.

I believe if we started with digital first, and were introduced to analog we would all say "What kind of noisy, cumbersome, hard to use, expensive crap are you trying to sell me"!!!
Old 10th December 2007
  #12
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Thread Starter
Yeah, I look at the situation like I look at digital cameras vs. film. There was a point when NO digital picture could convince me that it was film, but then the resolution got so high, that the pictures I starting seeing were breathtaking, although in the back of my mind I knew they weren't film. The grain wasn't there, the artifacts, it was different. Digital images these days are amazing in their own right, they just don't carry those noise elements you get with film, which has grown to be part of an aesthetic.

I see Pro Tools in the same light. When recorded properly, it should sound fantastic. It's not tape, so a certain texture is absent, but it certainly isn't lo-fi imo.
Old 10th December 2007
  #13
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I prefer great sound... and at the end of the day, it is probably the design of the equipment that has more to do with its qualifications than whether or not it is digital or analog. (and isn't everything really analog... unless you are just talking DSP? or at least part of it / or the part that you "hear")

from a workflow stance - digital - hands down.

for the most part, I think I'm in a digital camp for the stuff in the middle, but obviously pre's and output devices are all analog, aren't they?
Old 10th December 2007
  #14
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i think to an engineer there are MANY MANY conveniences, "neatnesses" (easy editing, no hiss, recall, etc), and economic positive factors that come from digital......

but as far as simply huge amazing warm plush sounding recordings.....analog is still king and then some. i'm waiting for the recording that will change my mind.

even in photography a large number of the most serious art photogs (As opposed to journalists) will only use large format analog film (which is kind of the visual equivalent to 2" 16 track or maybe 2" 8 track!)

and i am talking as someone who will most likely never get to record regularly on top quality analog.
Old 10th December 2007
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Parsons View Post
I prefer digital recording mediums because you get what you put into it, nothing more, nothing less.
Umm,,, a properly aligned 2" machine will give you what you put into it and not color the sound.




.
Old 10th December 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Umm,,, a properly aligned 2" machine will give you what you put into it and not color the sound.




.
Old 10th December 2007
  #17
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Sigma's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Umm,,, a properly aligned 2" machine will give you what you put into it and not color the sound.




.
you are kidding right? lets start with edge track response and move in to low end bump that moves with tape speed on the best aligned machines
Old 10th December 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Umm,,, a properly aligned 2" machine will give you what you put into it and not color the sound.

.
Awwww, come on Steve! I agree with you 99.99% of the time, but the reason people choose analog over digital is the extra goo / thickness / warmth / tape compression / saturation / color that it brings to the table. Sure you can get a analog deck to play back pretty uncolored. But not as uncolored as digital. That's why 98% of engineers flocked to digital when it came out. Granted, after the love afair wore off we saw the warts and wrinkles, but digital still does a better job of spitting back out what went in than analog.

If you start a post asking "why should I go to the extra effort and expense to record analog", you'll get dozens of great responses, but I'd be willing to wager a fair amount that not one of them will be "because it's more transparent".

In reality - NO - recording medium is transparent. They all leave their imprints. It's why we choose one mic over another or one compressor over another. We like what it brings to the equation.

But back to the original topic - I love and appreciate both analog and digital. At this juncture in time, I have chosen digital as my prefered medium. I had a jh24 that I *could* have kept along with my PTHD systems. It just didn't seem to get much use anymore and the space was more important to me than the sound. I didn't get much money for it, so really, it was a choice that I made unbiased.

To each his own though....

thumbsup
Old 10th December 2007
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
Umm,,, a properly aligned 2" machine will give you what you put into it and not color the sound.
.
You really feel that way? You don't hear any tonal change or effect on transients when recording to 2"? I most definitely do. Perhaps we define "color" in different ways, but I struggle to see where you're coming from on this one.
Old 10th December 2007
  #20
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Yankee Doodle's Avatar
 

As they say in hip hop..."it's all good."

Love em both....I lean toward digital due to the non-destructive editing and clean sound. Then there's the cost to consider.

Of course it's near impossible to purchase fresh 1/2" tape stock...

Some years ago I heard some pro-tools sessions from Bennett Studio's in New Jersey. They did an amazing job mixing and mastering the sessions. It kinda opened my mind to the possibilities with digital - That is if your engineer does a great job like they do.

Rock on!
Old 10th December 2007
  #21
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Maybe its just me(i hope its not) but i like digital for the low end you can get. Analog has great width and depth, but digital can just effortlessly reproduce low end( with the right converters)
Old 10th December 2007
  #22
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vernier's Avatar
I like analog but can get along in digital, no sweat.
Old 10th December 2007
  #23
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Isn't this whole thing a false dichotomy, or at least a gross exaggeration? It's not possible to make a digital recording without analog gear (well, assuming there is at least a vocal on the recording). And there must be precious few "analog" recordings made these days that never see any digital processing from tracking through mastering.

If you want to make a good recording of real, physical sounds, you've got to have good analog equipment. If you want many kinds of modern effects (including vocal tuning, certain kinds of delays and filters, etc.) you've got to use digital processing to get them. So, it's a hybrid world.

-synthoid
Old 10th December 2007
  #24
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I wasn't comparing it to a daw, I was responding to the OPs statement that with analog recording "The low-boost, saturation, and hiss were all there."
im just saying that those things aren't always there on my multi track machine when its aligned properly.

The machine that im using now changes the source so little that it sounds the same on playback.

I can align it to impart compression or eq change if i want

and i do agree that digital is cleaner, with no wow, flutter, hiss, ect...
thats the reason i switched to it back in the late 80s

and,.. every medium will change the original source, some more and some much less

i like the way tape changes it more than the way digital changes it


cool ?



Old 10th December 2007
  #25
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Digital. I prefer it.

I miss analog tape like I miss rotary-dial telephones.
Old 10th December 2007
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevep View Post
i like the way tape changes it more than the way digital changes it

cool ?


thumbsupthumbsup Cool!
Old 10th December 2007
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Parsons View Post
I prefer digital recording mediums because you get what you put into it, nothing more, nothing less.
Do you really believe that? I sure don't. Have you ever multed the output of a mic pre, sent one right to the console and one through your conversion of choice? Or compared the 2-mic out of the console compared to the return from the conversion? I have and digital does not sound exactly like 'what you put in." The only time I thought it was exact was running a RADAR V at 192k.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Chemist View Post
I like using analogue for everything but storage, and therefor I record to PT. But mixing, I'm all about OoTB.
There are many that worry about hard drives running or having what will be old technology optical drives that work 50 years in the future. But anyone with good mechanical and EE skills can make a tape deck run.

Steve Albini's biggest gripe with digital (contrary to popular belief) is long term storage

Quote:
Originally Posted by vernier View Post
I like analog but can get along in digital, no sweat.
I agree with that. I personally hate dealing with a DAW, but that has to do with computers not working in a way that makes sense to my feeble little mind. But good audio can be done digitally. I just find analog more euphoric and pleasing.
Old 10th December 2007
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumsound View Post
Do you really believe that? I sure don't. Have you ever multed the output of a mic pre, sent one right to the console and one through your conversion of choice? Or compared the 2-mic out of the console compared to the return from the conversion? I have and digital does not sound exactly like 'what you put in." The only time I thought it was exact was running a RADAR V at 192k.


WHEN comparing old converters like the ones in mitsubishi X850's i agree but by your own statement newer generation high quality digital is better than analog

There are many that worry about hard drives running or having what will be old technology optical drives that work 50 years in the future. But anyone with good mechanical and EE skills can make a tape deck run.

err and parts and mechanical machining? proprietary digital decoding is software/algorytm centric so in reality chipsets etc are not a big issue ..just the way to reproduce the soft decoding process

Steve Albini's biggest gripe with digital (contrary to popular belief) is long term storage

hey get him an aluminum foil hat and a rotary dial phone for xmas



I agree with that. I personally hate dealing with a DAW, but that has to do with computers not working in a way that makes sense to my feeble little mind. But good audio can be done digitally. I just find analog more euphoric and pleasing.
Old 10th December 2007
  #29
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Digital is fine with me!
Old 10th December 2007
  #30
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LewisWu's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eligit View Post
even in photography a large number of the most serious art photogs (As opposed to journalists) will only use large format analog film (which is kind of the visual equivalent to 2" 16 track or maybe 2" 8 track!)
large format film is more detailed than what you suggest... medium format is more like this semi-mythical perfectly aligned 2" 8-track i keep hearing about.
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