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Where are we up to with Digital?
Old 31st October 2002
  #31
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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chrisso and groundcontrol, I agree with you guys 100%. Great posts.

In trying to do something different from everyone else, one path that I'm currently enjoying exploring is severely closing my options (of editing/comping/autotuning) and doing everything live to analog with a 100% analog path from mic to mastering, not going digital until the end. That's just my personal fad at the moment, and not by any means a company line. In fact, I'd rather everybody else keep editing the **** out of the music and autotuning the **** out of the vocal in the hopes that my little thang might better stand apart. That's very naive of me, of course, but it's my little bit of fun at the moment.

Of course, digital is terribly convenient and useful...and I've used and abused it terribly. Hand over heart, I'm guilty.

Rock on, guys.
Old 31st October 2002
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Volodia's Avatar
 

I just read that on another forum but I thought I had to share for this thread :
The following excerpts appeared in the November 2002 issue of Pro Audio Review in an article by Ed Foster of Diversified Science Laboratories titled "The ABC's of SACD and PCM."

quote:
------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Ears Have It
"When a click is presented binaurally over headphones, the average person can distinguish an interaural delay of 15 microseconds. Some reportedly have been able to discern differences of 3 to 5 microseconds. …A 44.1 kHz sampling rate provides new data every 22.67 microseconds....192kHz sampling updates every 5.2 microseconds. Is that good enough?"
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Old 31st October 2002
  #33
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by groundcontrol



I had the chance to start working in a couple of nice all analog rooms when I started some (ahem... so many already!?!) years ago. When I listen to my early works, I'm always amazed at the well defined roundness of the bottom and the softness of the top. The depth-of-field of the soundstage and the general effortless quality of the sound. I can assure you this is not due to me classifying as anything near half-competent. At the same time, I can't figure for the better of me the weird mix balances decisions, general mumbo-jumbo of the arrangements and total lack of intelligent sculpting of the so-critical mid-frequencies spectrum.
Very well said. Every medium has its ups and downs. The problem I have with analog-sounding digital devices, whether it be a saturation plugin or converters that allegedly sound more analog, is that in the process of getting a more mellifluous sound you've also crippled yourself and have to once again figure out how to get a coherent sounding midrange to punch out through the mud. Before there was a digital alternative, engineers were tearing out their hair trying to fit all that rock n roll onto tape in a way that it would still be there at the end of a long chain. Furthermore, with everyone still using front end equipment designed to accomplish that, it's no wonder that digital recordings often sound like crap.

I've gotten back into my LP's big time, lately. But if you make a conscious effort to remove the veil of nostalgia it's amazing how shitty a lot of that venerable analog stuff sounds by today's standards.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 31st October 2002
  #34
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
The problem I have with analog-sounding digital devices, whether it be a saturation plugin or converters that allegedly sound more analog, is that in the process of getting a more mellifluous sound you've also crippled yourself and have to once again figure out how to get a coherent sounding midrange to punch out through the mud.
I believe groundcontrol was talking about using real analog, not plug-ins and converters that simulate it.

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Before there was a digital alternative, engineers were tearing out their hair trying to fit all that rock n roll onto tape in a way that it would still be there at the end of a long chain.
Speak for yourself, my fellow gearslut. I don't find it a problem. Nor do the freelancers here that track to analog (and then fight not to lose too much in the xfer to PT for the editing and autotuning...a different story, that).

Old 31st October 2002
  #35
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by jon


Hmm...making judgements just from reading a magazine article is pretty dangerous. Also, ever been interviewed and badly misquoted? Finally, anything and the contrary of it can be "proven" with reference to a piece of journalism somewhere.


In real life, the pro engineers I have seen in action understand and use digital without issues of incompetence.

The rare exceptions just leave it to the assistant, like the one guy I know who notoriously refuses to operate ProTools with his own hands.

Either way, the digital gear was expertly-used.

I wonder if a lot of the sour grapes toward "engineers who don't understand digital" doesn't come from internet forum exchanges (with many of the most outspoken folks hiding behind pseudonyms).

In the end, digital has been around for 20-25 years now in pro audio, so one would have to be pretty old to have never gotten down with it.
Surely you're not defending the ignorance betrayed by that MIX article, are you? It was just plain bone-headed, especially with regards to the idiotic reasons some people came up with for doing what they are doing. I don't see any sour grapes toward "engineers who don't understand digital". If anything it's just the opposite. And who's hiding behind their pseudonyms? Mixerman?

You say that the pro engineers you know use digital in a competent fashion, yet you apparently seem to think that it doesn't sound good. Well maybe in fact they are not doing it right after all. Moreover, learning to use digital 20 or 25 years ago has little bearing on the skills required today to produce music with smooth converters and plugins within a modern DAW.

And yes, I've welcomed each new Protools update as sounding better. To me, it was MixPlus at which point the system became musically useful, and now with HD it pisses on my Trident/JH-24. Especially using the DRS-2 preamp, which was designed to sound good when reproduced faithfully in the digital medium, unlike whole arsenals of gear that require the kiss of tape to round them off and make them sound pleasing.

I hope that when you finally update to PTHD, (and you will), that you approach it with a less grudging attitude. You may be surprised to find your talents leading you in new and unforseen directions.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 31st October 2002
  #36
Lives for gear
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by groundcontrol



I had the chance to start working in a couple of nice all analog rooms when I started some (ahem... so many already!?!) years ago. When I listen to my early works, I'm always amazed at the well defined roundness of the bottom and the softness of the top. The depth-of-field of the soundstage and the general effortless quality of the sound. I can assure you this is not due to me classifying as anything near half-competent. At the same time, I can't figure for the better of me the weird mix balances decisions, general mumbo-jumbo of the arrangements and total lack of intelligent sculpting of the so-critical mid-frequencies spectrum.
Very well said. Every medium has its ups and downs. The problem I have with analog-sounding digital devices, whether it be a saturation plugin or converters that allegedly sound more analog, is that in the process of getting a more mellifluous sound you've also crippled yourself and have to once again figure out how to get a coherent sounding midrange to punch out through the mud. Before there was a digital alternative, engineers were tearing out their hair trying to fit all that rock n roll onto tape in a way that it would still be there at the end of a long chain. Furthermore, with everyone still using front end equipment designed to accomplish that, it's no wonder that digital recordings often sound like crap.

I've gotten back into my LP's big time, lately. But if you make a conscious effort to remove the veil of nostalgia it's amazing how shitty a lot of that venerable analog stuff sounds by today's standards.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 31st October 2002
  #37
He said "mellifluous"

heh
Old 31st October 2002
  #38
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman

I've gotten back into my LP's big time, lately. But if you make a conscious effort to remove the veil of nostalgia it's amazing how shitty a lot of that venerable analog stuff sounds by today's standards.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
I don't know. I think drums used to sound better.
It has to be said though that part of that is the over use of ambience and fx IMO, another problem is that many engineers are only recording drums a few times a week (if that) rather than twice a day everyday.
Old 1st November 2002
  #39
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

youve GOT to be kidding me about drums sounding better in the daze of old... they sounded like SHITE! most older recordings sound like shit. i would LOVE for hendrix to have an album with modern sounds... i HATE the sonics of his albums, love the ideas... hate the sound. the who's drums sound gawd awful like cardboard... zepplin, nah... i dont think so. stones... give me a break, i have heard tunes where proportions were so far out of whack you'd think keith richards mixed them himself while smacked to the brim. i could go on and on.
Old 1st November 2002
  #40
Gear Head
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
youve GOT to be kidding me about drums sounding better in the daze of old... they sounded like SHITE! most older recordings sound like shit.
...


Well thats certainly a sweeping statement.

Hmmmm.
Old 1st November 2002
  #41
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

yeah... it is. but im not all nostalgic about old recordings. so show me a recording that sounds as good as say, sparklehorse 'its a wonderful life' or becks 'mutations'... or even material 'hallucination engine'.
Old 1st November 2002
  #42
Lives for gear
 
Steve Smith's Avatar
 

Jon,

Cool about the all analog signal path challenge.. it is fun to mix up the way we make records.. I am in the middle of a indoe projec that used, ( get this) no guitar amps.. it is strictly guitar, bss dircet box, my Amek CIB purepath into PT and amp farm.. with lots of the soundblender stuff. I have never had the balls to do this before, but the producer really wanted to try it out, and sincve the EGT sounds are mostly pretty effected anyway I said what the hell, and believe it or not, the gts sound great.. at least they sound exactly like they should on this record..

As far as drums and analog vs digital, there is no better in the end product,, just preferences as to how you get there, IMHO.

AN alpha is right alot of old records sound like ass... not all, but alot


God, I am an analog nut generally, I still cabt believe I did two days of guitars without turming on the Mesa or the Reverend...
Old 1st November 2002
  #43
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

just to clear up my statement... i didnt say analog drums sound like ass... in fact all 3 reference i gave were analog productions.

for a digital drum production that sound immaculate... its clutch's Jam Room.
Old 1st November 2002
  #44
Lives for gear
 
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Beck's "mutations" does sound good... I really have to go get the last one!
Old 1st November 2002
  #45
Alpha, I have to disagree with you.
It's not down to nostalgia with me.
I can't stand 'Breakfast in America' by Supertramp but the drum sound is fantastic. I think they spent a week getting it BTW.
In older productions (I'm talking 70's to early 80's) drums sounded like drums.
These days they sound anything but, electronic gizmos like filters and loads of ambience.
I'm just totally bored with all that ambience crashing about.
The drum sound on your average Steely Dan record is phenomonal IMO. 'Spectrum' by Billy Cobham (produced by Ken Scott). Etc, etc....
I'm sure all three of your examples have got superb drum sounds, I'm talking about the average or norm though.
Maybe we can agree that there are good and bad examples in both era's?
I guess maybe not.....
Old 1st November 2002
  #46
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
I don't see any sour grapes toward "engineers who don't understand digital". If anything it's just the opposite. And who's hiding behind their pseudonyms? Mixerman?
For the sour grapes referred to, look no further than this thread. You read it before posting, I presume.

No, I am not referring to Mixerman, who I consider a friend, not a pseudonym.
Old 1st November 2002
  #47
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
You say that the pro engineers you know use digital in a competent fashion, yet you apparently seem to think that it doesn't sound good. Well maybe in fact they are not doing it right after all. Moreover, learning to use digital 20 or 25 years ago has little bearing on the skills required today to produce music with smooth converters and plugins within a modern DAW.
I think PT can sound bad to pretty good, depending on the converters and clocks used with it. However, a well-aligned ATR does indeed sound better to me on most things. I am confronted with the comparison daily. It's pretty flagrant. Anyone in the room can hear it. And it doesn't really matter which of a dozen different mic pres are used in the sense that most people, given a choice and hearing both, usually prefer the sound of tape. Were it not so, life would be simpler and easier, but it is so.

You write about "the skills required today to produce music with smooth converters and plugins within a modern DAW."

Remarks like these are common on the internet, yet they strike me as paradoxical to the extent that anyone and their grandma can operate a 'modern DAW' but not everyone is competent in more essential areas. For example, most any studio intern can operate one or several DAWs which they used at school or at home and read advice about on the internet, but they generally lack experience in other, more essential areas.
Old 1st November 2002
  #48
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
unlike whole arsenals of gear that require the kiss of tape to round them off and make them sound pleasing.

I hope that when you finally update to PTHD, (and you will), that you approach it with a less grudging attitude. You may be surprised to find your talents leading you in new and unforseen directions.
Mmm, the "kiss of tape"...



PT HD is potentially useful to me for the many outputs to the console it can provide for the money.

Sonically, I tried the HD192 converters at 192kHz and in a blind test I preferred the Apogees at 48kHz and a Trak2 at 96kHz.

It is much more interesting, however, to folks that use plug-ins and mix in the box. If that's what you do, then HD is for you.
Old 1st November 2002
  #49
Lives for gear
 
C.Lambrechts's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon

Remarks like these are common on the internet, yet they strike me as paradoxical to the extent that anyone and their grandma can operate a 'modern DAW' but not everyone is competent in more essential areas. For example, most any studio intern can operate one or several DAWs which they used at school or at home and read advice about on the internet, but they generally lack experience in other, more essential areas.
true .... very true and one of the main reasons why DAW's can sound bad. But I'm willing to bet some money on it that those same people will make tape sound bad too.
Old 1st November 2002
  #50
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
Maybe we can agree that there are good and bad examples in both era's?
yes, things are capable of sounding bad in all eras... BUT what im saying is the best of the best are getting better than the past now. and we should HOPE that is true or we are becoming dumber with evolution instead of smarter.
Old 1st November 2002
  #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso

I don't know. I think drums used to sound better.
.
That is the tail wagging the dog, isn't it?

These discussions are really all about drums, aren't they?

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 1st November 2002
  #52
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
yeah... it is. but im not all nostalgic about old recordings. so show me a recording that sounds as good as say, sparklehorse 'its a wonderful life' or becks 'mutations'... or even material 'hallucination engine'.
Alpha, I'm with you all the way on this false nostalgia for old drum sounds. You'd think all those guys were banging on oatmeal boxes. I just made a best-of CD for the 15 year old artist I've been working with, and bought her the first Hendrix album as well, just so she knows. As we listened around to stuff I was appalled also at how lame the Hendrix recording was next to modern stuff (Eels, Beck), although emotionally it still kicks butt.

I should point out, however, that, AFAIK, "Mutations" was an analog recording done at Ocean Way.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 1st November 2002
  #53
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Quote:
Originally posted by jon


For the sour grapes referred to, look no further than this thread. You read it before posting, I presume.

No, I am not referring to Mixerman, who I consider a friend, not a pseudonym.
Looking back over the thread, I'd say Trogg was shaking the tree the hardest about all this. However, he did state his position quite categorically as follows:

"All I can say is that for what I do, which is a lot of overdubs for myself and a growing number of fellow singer songwriters, I would not trade the gear I have for any analog room stocked with any manner of esoteric and legendary analog gear. "

Nothing sour grapes about that at all. And none from me either, as I quite cheerfully work in PTHD, Digital Performer, 2" analog, or whatever format and venue that suits my needs at the time. It's great to have all these fantastic options.

I should also point out that "Mixerman" is not the guy's real name. Is your friend "Mixerman" or is it *********, who plays "Mixerman" on the internet?
I like Mixerman a lot, but if ever there was a poster child for somebody hiding behind a pseudonym, it would be him. (Was it D.H. Lawrence who once said "Don't confuse the author with his characters"?)

In any case, enjoy your analog adventures. I'm overdue to have at it myself again soon, just to keep things in balance.

One last comment. When I, and presumably others, refer to engineers not understanding Protools, it doesn't mean that they don't know how to clik the mouse and physically implement the program. It refers rather to an aesthetic skill set that requires experience and open-minded exploration. If your only goal in working with a DAW is to make it sound like an analog recording, then you're wasting your time and all this is moot.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 1st November 2002
  #54
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman


That is the tail wagging the dog, isn't it?

These discussions are really all about drums, aren't they?
What?
I don't understand, I really don't understand.
It was supposed to be about what new digital gizmos are starting to sound really good, as in better than anything else we've had before.
Why is everyone focussing on Hendrix albums?
There are plenty of stunningly recorded albums pre the digital era. Arif Mardin, Ken scott, Geoff Emerick even Trevor Horn.
Old 1st November 2002
  #55
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
yeah... it is. but im not all nostalgic about old recordings. so show me a recording that sounds as good as say, sparklehorse 'its a wonderful life' or becks 'mutations'... or even material 'hallucination engine'.
Alpha, I'm with you all the way on this false nostalgia for old drum sounds. You'd think all those guys were banging on oatmeal boxes. I just made a best-of CD for the 15 year old artist I've been working with, and bought her the first Hendrix album as well, just so she knows. As we listened around to stuff I was appalled also at how lame the Hendrix recording was next to modern stuff (Eels, Beck), although emotionally it still kicks butt.

I should point out, however, that, AFAIK, "Mutations" was an analog recording done at Ocean Way.

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 1st November 2002
  #56
Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman


Looking back over the thread, I'd say Trogg was shaking the tree the hardest about all this.
Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Actually, in my humble opinion, I think you were the two that misunderstood it.
Digital maybe the future. Home recording is here now. But it don't mean in pure terms that it sounds better than previous technology.
If this was a musicians forum I'd be banging on about how great all the new technologies are. Power to the people and all that. But it's a 'high end' equipment forum and therefore I don't think you should complain if a few people say they don't think digital is there yet.
Old 1st November 2002
  #57
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
I quite cheerfully work in PTHD, Digital Performer, 2" analog, or whatever format and venue that suits my needs at the time. It's great to have all these fantastic options.
Yes indeed!

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
Is your friend "Mixerman" or is it *********, who plays "Mixerman" on the internet? I like Mixerman a lot, but if ever there was a poster child for somebody hiding behind a pseudonym, it would be him.
I was referring to the engineer who mods the PSW forum. For many in the music business he is not anonymous, but I respect his wish to remain anonymous on the internet.

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
One last comment. When I, and presumably others, refer to engineers not understanding Protools, it doesn't mean that they don't know how to clik the mouse and physically implement the program. It refers rather to an aesthetic skill set that requires experience and open-minded exploration. If your only goal in working with a DAW is to make it sound like an analog recording, then you're wasting your time and all this is moot.
I agree with you whole-heartedly. In the end, I'm just looking for magic...aren't we all.

Quote:
Originally posted by RKrizman
In any case, enjoy your analog adventures. I'm overdue to have at it myself again soon, just to keep things in balance.
Thanks...I hear you about balance.
Old 1st November 2002
  #58
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
Digital maybe the future. Home recording is here now. But it don't mean in pure terms that it sounds better than previous technology.

If this was a musicians forum I'd be banging on about how great all the new technologies are. Power to the people and all that. But it's a 'high end' equipment forum and therefore I don't think you should complain if a few people say they don't think digital is there yet.
Well said...

Analog is pretty much mature as a technology and is hard to beat for those who like it. Digital is convenient, evolving quickly, shows a lot of promise, is quickly obsolete, and definitely hasn't spoken its last word yet. That's where it's at for me at the moment.
Old 1st November 2002
  #59
Lives for gear
 
RKrizman's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by jon


I was referring to the engineer who mods the PSW forum. For many in the music business he is not anonymous, but I respect his wish to remain anonymous on the internet.
He's not anonymous to me either, but "Mixerman" is in fact a pseudonym, and a pseudonym behind which a lot of anti-Protools pillage and rape has occurred.

(you know, if you say "pseudonym" fast ten times it starts to turn into "mellifluous"--cheers, Jules)

Rick Krizman
KrizManic Music
Old 1st November 2002
  #60
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Much as it simplifies life for music studios who only need to buy PT to satisfy client demand in terms of digital multitracking nowadays, I am not favorable to the idea of one system becoming the dominant one in the market to such an extent that options are reduced.

With respect to MM, I wouldn't call it rape and pillage, more Rage Against the Machine or one guy against the system. In any case, because of what he heard and felt and said about it, he probably caught enough misery from all the digi-dudes everywhere; no need to add to it. BTW I felt his PT propos were considerably more reasonable and mainstream in his Bitch Slap studio diary. I own and use PT since years and years and still agree with him -- not necessarily the -6dB details, but in general.
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