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Where are we up to with Digital?
Old 26th October 2002
  #1
Where are we up to with Digital?

There's a raging debate on a couple of photography websites I sometimes look in on about the future of film in light of the new DS1 digital camera by Canon. Some so called experts are proclaiming the death of film.
Musicwise, I seem to remember similar talk about analogue and tape in the early 80's.
In fact one of these camera 'experts' used the dominance of CD over vinyl to back up his argument that digital 'was best'.
But maybe the jury's still out.
There are plenty of audiophile turntables still being bought. I personally prefer vintage outboard to plug ins and analogue synths to digital work stations, although Pro Tools has revolutionised my studio.
In my opinion, the only digital stuff that really cuts it though is the most expensive high end stuff.
The question is (15 years on) is digital finally king in the music biz?
Or would we all rather use tape machines, analogue Neve desks and Moog synthesizers if they weren't so darn expensive and inconvenient.
Is there any digital equipment that we can all agree sounds better than 'the old stuff'?
Old 27th October 2002
  #2
I think as soon as folks on Pro Tools can

Create new tracks while rolling
Configure sends while rolling
Add new plug ins while rolling
Dont have to wory about delays caused by plug ins

Things will start to get pretty damn close to operating a tape / analog set up...

But it's not all there yet.... next spring perhaps?

Fingers crossed!

Old 27th October 2002
  #3
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

damn... i can add new plugins while rolling right now with DP. i can configure sends too but have a brief dropout of audio. enough to make me stop the playback but i CAN do it while playing back.

the auto delay compensation not only for plugins but for EVERYTHING including routing down to sample accuracy is a MUST MUST MUST>
Old 27th October 2002
  #4
Quote:
Originally posted by Jules

Things will start to get pretty damn close to operating a tape / analog set up...

But it's not all there yet.... next spring perhaps?
Pro Tools is finally sounding good with the new mucho expensivo 192 interface. But my question was more about the digital future in general.
Many top line studios use digital tape and consoles these days. Plug ins are pervasive.
Apart from 'auto tune' which somebody mentioned on another thread, is digital an improvement rather than a convenience?
For myself, I'd rather have an older desk, a real plate for reverb, real mic pre's etc..
I don't mind a bit of grain or unpredictableness. It adds character, something which my DAW is sadly lacking in.
Old 28th October 2002
  #5
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

Many top line studios use digital tape and consoles these days.
REally!!!!

I thought only the die hard mixers like TLA,CLA and Bob used mainly digital tape...

Most of the convertors on them sony machines were like bit grinders. Think digtial cheese graters and you're half way there!

I know there main justification from notmixing from a DAW like PT is that thre is no tangible future proofing for archival purposes.?? and CDs are not really a long term solutiona nd most lcients are usualy to cheap to invest in exabyte or DAT type back ups.

Also they beleive that its an unstable paltfoprm for mixing????? which i cantbeleive cos tape machine have moving parts!!!! computers dont an di could almost guarantee u that there would be more down time when an analogue or digital tape deck ****s up than when a PC or MAC does.... i love me tape but i an not so blind to be ignorant of the facts!

We mix from MIX + daily with out many hassles.. other than the bad plug or mac freak out... nothin major just reboot and all is sweet!

I can see why they dont go down the RADAR path if that worries them.. cos it pretty solid perfomance and definately sounding better sounding!

hmm
Old 28th October 2002
  #6
There is only one
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso

is digital an improvement rather than a convenience?
well, convenience IS an improvement... and a massive one at that.
Old 28th October 2002
  #7
Lives for gear
 

If you waste your time trying to make digital sound like analog, you'll probably get frustrated.

If you try to make the best recording you can make with digital tools, it will probably come out very good to great.

If your analog buddies hear your great-sounding digital recording and start reciting all their brainwashed crap they're programmed to spew, and you let that affect you, you will probably be frustrated once again.

Use your own ears and tune out the brainwashing.

Yeah, it takes a time investment to learn how to train a computer for digital audio. Many engineers don't have the time or the inclination to invest the time to master computers for digital audio. They also have stacks and stacks or carefully chosen analog gear. Why should they discard it when it works?

But that doesn't make it right for them to spew their analog elitist BS all over forums like this cause they're computer-phobic and refuse to take the time to learn, say Waves plugins, that they happily spent learning how to use analog gear.

The digital stuff is not somewhere around the corner, it is here, here and now. You can make recordings with it. Heck, you can make great recordings with Cubase SX, a Lynx Two sound card, Waves Platinum, and a UAD-1 card.

But you can't make great recordings with that stuff if you don't take the time to learn it.

PS I don't have any problem with your huge mixing boards and stacks of stacks of outboard hardware. That's your choice. Just quit ragging on my choice, because what you have isn't better, it's just what you have.
Old 28th October 2002
  #8
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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My position on this is well-known, so I won't repeat it here.

However, reading troggg's post reminds me...it IS pretty funny how a number of DAW guys who post on the internet boards have an impression that pro techs using big boards and analog don't understand digital or DAW recording.

I can assure you, troggg, that the best techs & assistants in the big analog studios running both analog and digital are pretty damn good when it comes to digital recording.

Back to the regular topic...
Old 28th October 2002
  #9
There is only one
 
alphajerk's Avatar
 

yeah... but in a Mix mag article a few months back there were some "top" engineers who were so far off base with their bull**** it only served to make them seem ignorant about digital technology... you cant stereotype ALL engineers being that way, but a lot of confusion still exists in the "old school".
Old 28th October 2002
  #10
That really was a henoius piece of bad journalism

madd
Old 28th October 2002
  #11
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Volodia's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Wiggy Neve Slut
[B]

Also they beleive that its an unstable paltfoprm for mixing????? which i cantbeleive cos tape machine have moving parts!!!! computers dont an di could almost guarantee u that there would be more down time when an analogue or digital tape deck ****s up than when a PC or MAC does.... i love me tape but i an not so blind to be ignorant of the facts!
hmm
When you mix on an SSL with the Pro Tools chasing I can assure you that digital tape machines are more reliable than computers (I do that all the time and did A LOT of work with Sony 3348) . As the day goes it takes longer and longer to chase on the PT and you don't know when it's gonna lock (sometimes several seconds too late for what you wanted to hear) ,and in the end you have to reboot it . On a tape machine you know where you are when you hit play . On a DAW you just wait for it to sync . I NEVER (read NEVER) had a Sony 3348 break down on me in the middle of a session . we're not gonna start another "tape vs DAW" thing but saying that tape machine is not reliable because it has moving parts is just not true (hard disks have moving parts too and much faster :10000 rpm) .I still prefer to mix with PT as a "tape machine" but for other reasons (much discussed already) than reliability .
Old 28th October 2002
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Jon wrote:

"I can assure you, troggg, that the best techs & assistants in the big analog studios running both analog and digital are pretty damn good when it comes to digital recording. "

Well, then maybe the techs and assistants should do the posting on forums like this instead of the many bigoted know-it-all engineers who dismiss DAWs and plugins offhand when they've clearly only spent enough time with those tools to dismiss them before they really know them inside and out like they know their tried-and-true analog gear.

Actually, it wasn't so much the posts on this forum that got me around to finally firing back, it was a thread on Fletcher's ProSoundNews forum that infuriated me - I couldn't fire back there because somehow my login got hosed and even though the server told me it was emailing me my password, I never received it. Then I saw the beginnings of the same thread here, and my trigger finger got itchy.

This forum has been refreshingly good-natured on the whole.

It's just that anytime someone asks the original question in this thread, here come the naysayers. But you can tell from their naysaying that half of it is to impress their die-hard analog friends. The other half is rote brainwashing.

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.

Of course I supplement my relatively humble Cubase SX, Lynx Two soundcard, Waves Platinum and UAD-1 card with a couple of secret weapons, the yin and the yang of recording front ends in the form of a Groove Tubes Vipre and an Avalon 2022, so that levels the playing field quite a bit. Those recent acquisitions also qualify me as a card-carrying gearslut.

The only thing I can't do that would be better served in a large analog room is tracking a whole band live, and I don't want to do that anyway. There are plenty of good live rooms and facilities I don't need to compete with, cause my strength is arranging and producing singer songwriters and small ensembles, not tracking metal bands (not a knock on metal - I own it, I listen to it, I thrill to it sometimes).

So if someone is starting from scratch, I see only one way to go.

And I'm not trying to tell anyone to ditch their analog gear for digital, even though the opposite advice is regularly offered in these forums.
Old 28th October 2002
  #13
Quote:
Originally posted by troggg


Well, then maybe the techs and assistants should do the posting on forums like this instead of the many bigoted know-it-all engineers who dismiss DAWs and plugins offhand when they've clearly only spent enough time with those tools to dismiss them before they really know them inside and out like they know their tried-and-true analog gear.

Actually, it wasn't so much the posts on this forum that got me around to finally firing back,
This forum has been refreshingly good-natured on the whole.
Troggg I wasn't advocating the ditching of anything digital in favour of analogue.
I work in a home studio with Pro Tools and a bunch of retro outboard modules.
To me Pro Tools is a tool, an industry standard. I'm only upgrading because a lot of the people I work with have got the latest version and I'm finding it difficult to share projects with the now.
On the other hand I love my old MicPre/eq's and analogue synths.
But anyway, my question was a genuine one.
As my days of hanging out with proper engineers in proper studios seem to have passed, I was wondering if those people who do use a lot of digital gear and if so, what digital gear was the bizzness.
BTW This forum is very refrshingly good natured!
Old 29th October 2002
  #14
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Well now we're going into a whole other discussion, which is that sometimes when older school analog types hear the word "digital" they automatically think "ProTools," as though ProTools is the only possibly valid form of digital recording.

Well I think that's hogwash too. I'm talking about useability and sound output, not market share.

Let's talk more hogwash.

The other major myth pervading the industry is the myth that Macs are superior to PCs for recording digital audio. Well, the truth is that Macs are superior to PCs for recording ProTools, and after that, it's very debatable.

That said, let me rattle off a few PC DAWs that can play giant-killer vs. ProTools and easily compete with the likes of Logic Audio for Mac and Digital Performer, not to mention analog rooms:

1) RADAR (darling of the Fletcher Forum, though I guess it's technically BeOS. Can they all be wrong?)

2) Soundscape (always sounded better than ProTools though it's historically suffered from a lack of plugins and rotten marketing)

3) Samplitude/Sequoia (very capable for both tracking AND mastering; super loyal user base)

4) Paris (all right, it's defunct, but it's pretty hard to say it sounds bad, in fact some top engineers still swear by it)

5) Nuendo (obviously has a big buzz going - but did you know that until 2.0 comes out it doesn't sound as good as. . .)

6) Cubase SX (little brother presently beats up big brother with better audio quality and throws in MIDI to boot)

I'm not including more, like Sonar, cause I don't know it well enough. But there could be more.

Every one of these DAWs can sound great in the hands of an engineer who knows them inside and out and knows how to supplement them with the right kit.

Every one of these DAWs can sound like s**t in the hands of an engineer who is flying by the seat of his pants.

Funny, isn't it the same way in analog land? Put me on an SSL with racks and racks of outboard and what you hear in the first couple of hours is not going to be pretty. Conversely, take a seat at my DAW and let's see what your stuff sounds like the first couple of hours.

I don't really have the time or the inclination to be at war with the world on this digital vs. analog thing. I'd really rather be recording cause I spent forever researching and obsessing about my setup and now I can finally enjoy it.

But I'll close with this thought.

When drum machines came out in the eighties, everyone said, "Hey - that doesn't sound like a real drummer." And they were right. It sounded like something different. It sounded like disco, then it sounded like rap, then it sounded like house, hip-hop etc. And then no one said "it doesn't sound like a real drummer" anymore, because if you knew how to program in these genres, you could sell a bunch of CDs and a lot of those sales were because it sounded like something different and produced a different vibe.

It's the same song and dance with digital recording. The questions about why it doesn't sound like analog are going to fade away. Believe it or not, not everyone is yearning for the sound of tape compression. It was a likeable sound and it remains a likeable sound but it's not the only sound people will respond to with their hearts and wallets.

Clearly, the only people who care whether a song was recorded with a wax paper cup and a string or at a major analog facility are the .000001% of us who frequent these forums. The CD buying public just wants to be able to sing along with the chorus. Analog vs. digital is not a raging debate outside of these forums. Is the lead singer cute? is a much bigger question for the general public than Was it recorded on a Neve console? or Was that grunge guitar recorded on a Neve 1073 or a 1272 and when were the caps last replaced?

Of course we all want to produce a great sounding track that 13-year olds can sing along with the choruses to, but they sure don't care how we get there.

So, what's up with digital?

There are a lot of ways to get down with it. You don't have to apologize for it.

I'm done venting and ranting. Thanks for listening. The Vipre calls. (I think that's what I meant earlier when I said you have to supplement digital with the right kit!) Bye.
Old 29th October 2002
  #15
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Oh, I forgot:

7) Merging/Pyramix. That's a hell of a system that hasn't garnered much of a market share but it sounds great and can pull off a lot of truly high-end DSD and DVD-audio production tasks quite elegantly. And it handles basic recording needs really well too.
Old 29th October 2002
  #16
Land marks for digital this year...

96k for all

The new generation of plug ins: Sony Oxford, GML for PT, Waves Masters. Altiverb, serious de-noisers, Stylus

On screen editing for hardware digital systems like Radar/Tascam/Mackie

true portability

Control surfaces for all bugets

Next year - tweaks for the folks that own digital, higher track count hardware recorders (interesting! A 48 track Radar Nyquist 96k is of interest!) cheaper storage options, faster back ups.

It's slowly getting better IMHO.
Old 29th October 2002
  #17
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

It's slowly getting better IMHO

True... but its still the bleeding edge... lol i beleive that why most people who are not at the bleeding edge wait a generation to upgrade... cos digital gear is generally boar anchor stuff in a the space fo a few yrs .. relative to initial investment

I am an avid tapeslut.. but i have no doubt that within 5 yrs there will be no compromise digital solutions for all and asunder that will put all alaogue pundits.. including me in a coffin for good!.. so all you ppl int he digtial trenches keep ya head up high and wait for the cavalry to arrive!

HD is a quantum leap ahead sonically from MIX+... but it still dont touch my old ampex 2" 16 track. RADAR sounds fantastic too(too abd the back up sux ass hardcore..... so many options that are all viable today.

This is not to say that great albums are not being made on digital at all.... its merely a red hering for ppl who read toomuch into bul**** fromat wars and those that truly dont understand their chosen format. Great records are made on PT all the time by skilled people who have worked out how to make it sound great.... im going down that route as we speak... and yes its a steep learning curve(to make formats sound exactly like we hear them in our head or expect to hear them) but eventually we'll all get there...

PEACE
Wiggy
Old 30th October 2002
  #18
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jules
I think as soon as folks on Pro Tools can

Create new tracks while rolling
Configure sends while rolling
Add new plug ins while rolling
Dont have to wory about delays caused by plug ins

Things will start to get pretty damn close to operating a tape / analog set up...
Sure, except the minor detail that they sound quite different.
Old 30th October 2002
  #19
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
Pro Tools is finally sounding good with the new mucho expensivo 192 interface.
Chrisso, I agree with much of your post.

Still, can't help pointing out that your sentence above has been written by countless PT users (myself included) over the years with each successive new upgrade.
Old 30th October 2002
  #20
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk
in a Mix mag article a few months back there were some "top" engineers who were so far off base with their bull**** it only served to make them seem ignorant about digital technology... you cant stereotype ALL engineers being that way, but a lot of confusion still exists in the "old school".
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.

Guys,

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 control room, I've personally seen more new guys that only know DAWs than old-schoolers who don't know digital.

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.
Old 30th October 2002
  #21
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by chrisso
Pro Tools is finally sounding good with the new mucho expensivo 192 interface.
Uhhh, no. Better, yes; good, not yet. On a recent session I had the opportunity to run 'simuls' between the PT-192 and my RADAR, the desk had 'switching' between two machines so they could go between the PT rig and their analog deck without a thousand patchcords... the RADAR was hooked up to the lines for the analog deck.

The PT-192 wasn't even close... but don't take my word for it. Lynn Fuston's "A/D shootout" CD will be coming out in a short while... listen to it, then make some of your own judgements...

Trogg wrote the most frightening thing in this thread:
Quote:
Clearly, the only people who care whether a song was recorded with a wax paper cup and a string or at a major analog facility are the .000001% of us who frequent these forums. The CD buying public just wants to be able to sing along with the chorus.
It's attitudes like this that have us in the **** we call 'audio' today... see, we're the assholes who are supposed to care, if all you're thinking about are short term sales figures, you're no better than the ****ing moron's who run the major labels these days...

Let's see... they've done away with any kind of 'artisit development' for the most part... they've decided to fight this whole "internet" fad [ahhh, it'll be like the "CB radio" fad of the late 70's...]... oh, but we can blame the internet for the short sightedness of spewing one act after another that all sounds the same... and save great big piles of showbiz cash by having the producer do all the overdubs in our conference room on the 3rd floor... then spend all the money we saved for "famous mixer dude" to make it "sound like a hit".

Spare me.
Old 30th October 2002
  #22
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
... and save great big piles of showbiz cash by having the producer do all the overdubs in our conference room on the 3rd floor... then spend all the money we saved for "famous mixer dude" to make it "sound like a hit".
This is very true.

There is someone I know well who is doing a test mix for a leading national band next week that did all their vocals and git overdubs into PT at the office of their major label...to save studio costs and put the maximum into the mix and promo/marketing.

Instructions from the band and label are, do whatever you want, make it a hit.

A "famous dude" or two in the US are also doing test mixes so the band and label can choose who gets the ****-to-hit, uh, mix budget.
Old 30th October 2002
  #23
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by Fletcher
It's attitudes like this that have us in the **** we call 'audio' today... see, we're the assholes who are supposed to care
Damn right.
Old 30th October 2002
  #24
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Fletcher and Jon,

It's too bad neither of your supposedly superior minds read a few paragraphs deeper into the same post you quoted in which I clearly write:

"Of course we all want to produce a great sounding track that 13-year olds can sing along with the choruses to, but they sure don't care how we get there."

There's three little words there that say "great sounding track."

They don't say "give the public a bunch of crap," do they? They don't say "I take no pride in my work," do they?

But I guess it was more sensational to single out the one line that purportedly shatters my arguments. But what's really happened now is that the two of you are so bigoted and elitist that you'll grasp at anything to remain that way.

Fletcher, your constant propping up of RADAR at the expense of anything else digital has become tiresome. If your engineering and production of Weed on the Royer site is an example of RADAR's sonic superiority and your own mastery of high-end analog tools, the evidence isn't apparent.

I would also think that a moderator would actually read the posts before inserting his head so deep up Fletcher's butt.

And as far as the 13-year olds go, I have a 13-year old daughter. She and her friends are the biggest truth serum there is. If they start singing along with a song, the writer did something right, the artist did something right, and I did something right. It's just pure music love with them. And the fact remains they could care less if it was recorded on a Radio Shack cassette player and, Fletcher, I know it's hard to believe but I actually do stuff people like WITHOUT RADARS AND ADAM MONITORS. Unbelieveable, isn't it?

So if you want to be your usually asshole self - which believe it or not I actually enjoyed until you decided to twist my words into something completely different from what I meant - bring it on, because I can write a lot better than you can and I'm not going to cower when you attack like all the non-verbal geeks you regularly steamroll all over the web.

I don't even know why I step into these biker bars full of analog bigots.
Old 30th October 2002
  #25
jon
Capitol Studios Paris
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by troggg
Fletcher and Jon,

It's too bad neither of your supposedly superior minds read a few paragraphs deeper into the same post...

...the two of you are so bigoted and elitist that you'll grasp at anything to remain that way.
Troggg,

I don't mean to attack you personally -- I just agree with Fletcher that we need to care about audio, even if no one else does.

If caring about audio makes us out as bigots in your eyes, then there's not much I'm going to be able to do to change that.

I'd like to think we are not all required to work for the lowest common denominator, nor limit our work to using the same DAW someone has at home. If that is elitist, well, I don't know. This is, after all, the gearslutz high end forum.

I like to use the best tools available. Those here who don't, please raise your hands.
Old 30th October 2002
  #26
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Well then you agree with me and Fletcher, cause I care about audio as much as either of you do.

What I said was thirteen year olds don't care how their audio is produced. If you can argue with that, go ahead. Good luck.

You don't think thirteen year olds are important? There's a few record companies that might disagree with you. In fact I consider my built-in thirteen year old market research unit one of the most valuable tools I have in production.

Where did I say that I didn't care about audio? Does my choice of an Avalon 2022 and a Groove Tubes Vipre as my front ends indicate a lack of respect for high end audio?

Perhaps you have a problem believing anyone who uses a lot of digital tools cares about audio. Well that's in your head, it's not reality. You've got the blinders on if you consider digital tools an enemy of quality audio.

I don't. I consider it an ally.

So let's leave it at that, and I'll gladly go back to forums where the members aren't expected to parrot the company line when someone asks a question like "what's up with digital."
Old 30th October 2002
  #27
Ahhh, where to begin.
I started this thread.
I'm an analogue kind of guy. I'm not that crazy about a lot of digital stuff, I'm not impressed by most plug-ins, I'm not that crazy about Pro Tools although I feel the need to use it.
I started this thread because I don't hang out with too many musicians who can afford 'high end' gear and I was wondering if I'd missed any developments recently that had really started to deliver what digital technology promised 15 or so years ago.
A few people have answered my question. Thanks.
And then there is Troggg.
Troggg, I've stated that I'm not that impressed with a lot of digital gear. I'm NOT saying that I criticise anybody for using, well.....anything.
I'm not even criticising digital gear, it's just not always to my personal taste. It's a huge generic term anyway, there's an enormous difference between a Neve Capricorn and software like Reason.
I just thought it might lead to an interesting debate. Unfortunately, you seem to have been sounding off a lot of vitriol more than anything else.
I've just read the responses to some quite personal remarks and the likes of Jon have still treated you with a great deal of respect. What a great forum this is.
In my humble opinion, a lot of your vitriol has been sorely misplaced. To pick only one hole in your argument:
Quote:
Originally posted by troggg

You don't think thirteen year olds are important? There's a few record companies that might disagree with you.
I frankly don't give a toss what 13 year olds think. Not everyone in the music business is here to have a top 10 single. I'm 43, my days of slaving all hours in the studio in search of another hit are over. I achieved a reasonable amount of success and now I want to enjoy making the kind of music I always wanted to make.
I certainly wouldn't knock your choice of equipment. Probably few of us here could actually afford to buy everything we want to use.
But that's the point. We talk about expensive **** here. This is the place to dream.
This is 'The High End Forum'.
Old 31st October 2002
  #28
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

i think as we see processing get more intensive, digital will grow a LOT more and much quicker... things such as convolution like altiverb are certainly things that cannot be "bad"... then i noticed a standalone convolution processor that does EQ and compression. id keep my ears on those sort of things.

ive heard good and bad things done in both formats. its fine what you choose but to distinguish one as good an another as bad is just short sighted [or historically impaired]
Old 31st October 2002
  #29
Lives for gear
 
groundcontrol's Avatar
 

Certainly there isn't a monopoly on quality that is attached to one way of working in particular. Neither is there one attached to the technology upon which a tool is based per see. In analog and digital designs, it is the way in which a designer chooses to implement his ideas that will ultimately put a limit to the quality of results attainable with those tools. There is no such thing as bad technology, only badly implemented technology. However, certain types of designs tend to be easier (often from a costs versus results point of view) to implement competently in the analog world and some others in the digital one.

Unfortunately, what drives the development (in audio like most other areas) of most things digital at the present time is mainly an issue of costs OVER quality of results.

A person that has the good fortune of being in a position to listen to and evaluate top notch analog and digital audio equipment alongside, will probably come to the conclusion that there are definite areas where, at the present time, the best of digital doesn't seem to be able to compete with the best that analog has to offer. (I think this is definitely the case in the area of good compression and, to a lesser degree, in equalisation, distortion and multitrack summing systems.) Of course, there are certain types of signal processing that can't even be properly implemented in the analog domain. (The area of audio restoration springs to mind here.)

Our reality as users though will ever be one of choosing the best, most effective and easiest to use tool that is available to us for the budget that we dispose of. Right now, in the lower operating costs cross-section of the market that most of us are living in, this is often a digital piece of equipment.

I am a digital user mainly as I mostly work in my ProControl-PT HD/Performer studio which is, however, well suplemented by as much analog equipment I can afford in those areas I found my digital system to be too lacking. Did I choose PT on the premise of absolute audio quality? Hell no!

This is, it seems, the best compromise setup I could reallistically afford in my market. And it has given me the ability to achieve a surprisingly high standard of quality in my productions. Why? Because of all the time i can invest on a project working on the songs and their instrumental and vocal parts and getting great performances. All the time I can take to optimize miking (and experiment to find cool textures!) and tone separation while recording. And let's not forget all the time I can work on bettering my ability to pull off a balanced, effective and song-serving mix.

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.

So instead of moaning and flaming and preaching, I'll work on improving my skills and, hopefully, my client base will continue to grow and enable me to continually improve the tools I use, be they analog or digital...

Old 31st October 2002
  #30
Agreed.
Although something like Pro Tools has had it's critics, it has provided a high quality recording environment for home users like me.
I'm making records in a spare bedroom for heavens sake.
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