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John Dent talks Analogue Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 18th June 2017
  #1
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John Dent talks Analogue

Hi there!

For me, analog is way more than a static calculation from an algorithm, known as plug-in. What is your experience?

Whilst visiting London, The Analogue Foundation team met with legendary mastering engineer John Dent at Phonica Records to discuss his theories on the continued importance of analogue sound. John’s back catalogue reads as a who’s who of contemporary music over the past 40 years and his continued dedication to analogue processes captures the spirit, energy and creativity of some of the world’s most influential artists. Watch the full interview to hear Dent’s story as well as his thoughts on the future of analogue production and it’s impact on the world around us.


Old 18th June 2017
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundclass View Post
For me, analog is way more than a static calculation from an algorithm, known as plug-in. What is your experience?
My experience would be that it doesn't matter whether or what, since these tools tend to cover completely different demands. You'll find as much shiddy analogue crap and you'll find shiddy digital products.

My experience would also be that the whole idea of describing a modern audio algorithm as being "static" is ill informed.

These debates are boring and pointless, simply because music production has way more critical priorities, and people simply don't have a choice anyway. The whole A vs D debate is a classic example of Parkinson's law of trivially: People don't discuss the complicated aspects that really matter, say, composition, acoustics, mic techniques, creative value, planning and preparation, real instrumentation and so on. Instead, they rush into the intellectually most primitive details and glorify the whole debate beyond reason, including a not less primitive "chose your camp" patriotism.

Last edited by FabienTDR; 18th June 2017 at 10:34 PM..
Old 18th June 2017
  #3
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Good digital was hard to find in the past. It might be that i'm a little bit traumatised from the grainy and technical sounding Logic Studio 9 plugins...unusable for me...never against something that improves the musicality, whether it's digital or analog.
Old 18th June 2017
  #4
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agree with John Dent! thanks for sharing
Old 19th June 2017
  #5
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so where are these 'shiddy' pieces of analogue equipment? i don't know a single piece that i think is awful.. from any reputable manufacturer.

there is always much room for user error. which are these awful pieces of analogue equipment?
Old 19th June 2017
  #6
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respectfully....are you young? were you making records in the 90s? the options available to the low budget diy'r then compared to now? it's no contest. digital wins in a landslide.
Old 19th June 2017
  #7
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John's not talking about diy/budget stuff, neither am I. i'm talking about reputable pieces of analogue hardware. which are these 'shiddy' pieces? simple question. no?
Old 19th June 2017
  #8
Well, you obviously had a reason to reduce it to "reputable piece of analogue gear". So if you prefer, "there's plenty non reputable gear out there, digital or not".
Old 19th June 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
so where are these 'shiddy' pieces of analogue equipment? i don't know a single piece that i think is awful.. from any reputable manufacturer.

there is always much room for user error. which are these awful pieces of analogue equipment?
mate, you've never used one of those cheapo DBX compressors then?

Analogue adds sound more often than digital

good or bad?

not sure

I have analogue gear being built right now, I just mastered my last three records ITB because they already sounded plenty dense and I just wanted to manipulate without anyone noticing...

I don't think I've mastered a Techno track without using the API2500 since I got it mind.
Old 19th June 2017
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
agree with John Dent! thanks for sharing
Many people are in this business for quite some decades and the more we start glorifying the good old times, the more we have to ask ourselves:
are the present times really that ****e, or are we just getting old...?

Old 19th June 2017
  #11
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Poinzy's Avatar
 

Why do everything on a laptop? I really miss the bulk, power consumption, extra noise, and the expense associated with racks full of analog gear.
Old 19th June 2017
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gorka View Post
Many people are in this business for quite some decades and the more we start glorifying the good old times, the more we have to ask ourselves:
are the present times really that ****e, or are we just getting old...?

so user scrags asks me if i'm young, and you ask me if i'm getting old? i really DO love this place age ain't nothing but a number!

i'm in it for the music first, tech a distant second.

doesn't John have a point though? doesn't analogue serve the music better? (of couse it does)

i LOVE the mans discography, what 2017 stuff comes close?
Old 20th June 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timesaver800W View Post
so user scrags asks me if i'm young, and you ask me if i'm getting old? i really DO love this place age ain't nothing but a number!

i'm in it for the music first, tech a distant second.

doesn't John have a point though? doesn't analogue serve the music better? (of couse it does)

i LOVE the mans discography, what 2017 stuff comes close?
I wasn´t talking about you personally.
More a reflection about Dent´s statements and ... people like myself .

I also love analogue and enjoy listening to music until the late 70s/ early 80s, before digital entered the scene.
The older I get, the more I enjoy it in comparison to contemporary relases.
There´s some reason in appreciating this but it´s also a typical sign of getting old...

There never have been greater and affordable digital tools than in the last years, which don´t make analogue obsolete but open completely new perpectives and possibilities.
Old 21st June 2017
  #14
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Jerry Tubb's Avatar
 

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Nicely Said.

Explains why many of us MEs use a hybrid approach.

best, jt
Old 21st June 2017
  #15
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I use hybrid approach but definitely couldn't get a sound I'd be happy with without my final hardware chain. Hardware definitely has more life and character to my ears though good plug-ins certainly have there place.
Old 4th January 2018
  #16
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Very sad to to have heard of Mr Dent's passing, he was easily the best mastering
engineer i had used / heard.
Old 4th January 2018
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack P View Post
Very sad to to have heard of Mr Dent's passing, he was easily the best mastering
engineer i had used / heard.
RIP John - I interviewed him some years ago for Audio Media, and he was inciteful about our art, interesting and funny; his cv speaks for itself.
Old 4th January 2018
  #18
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Hermetech Mastering's Avatar
 

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Terrible, had no idea about this, very sad. :(
Old 4th January 2018
  #19
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Old 4th January 2018
  #20
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Saddened to hear this. Thoughts with all who knew him.
Old 5th January 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
respectfully....are you young? were you making records in the 90s? the options available to the low budget diy'r then compared to now? it's no contest. digital wins in a landslide.
Actually the options available today are far more expensive than the options available in the '60s-'80s. If you could draw a crowd on stage, you could easily get the financial backing for the finest studios and producers in the world. Today there is mostly just DIY.
Old 5th January 2018
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FabienTDR View Post
...People don't discuss the complicated aspects that really matter, say, composition, acoustics, mic techniques, creative value, planning and preparation, real instrumentation and so on. Instead, they rush into the intellectually most primitive details and glorify the whole debate beyond reason, including a not less primitive "chose your camp" patriotism.
You left out the most critical factor which is arranging. Great arrangers have been MIA for decades at this point.
Old 5th January 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Actually the options available today are far more expensive than the options available in the '60s-'80s. If you could draw a crowd on stage, you could easily get the financial backing for the finest studios and producers in the world. Today there is mostly just DIY.
all due respect bob, but no.

maybe that was the case in your world, but for lots of other people, no.

in the 80s there were tons of underground bands who were indeed drawing crowds, and big studios/producers wanted nothing to do with them.

lots of those bands made records that were super influential but for the most part they sound like **** IMO.

in my world in the 90s everyone i knew was DIY, same as now. back then i was making records on an otari mx5050 and a mackie 24x8. my outboard was things like an alesis 3630, behringer composer, lexicon jam man, midiverbs and the like.

all of that stuff is easily outperformed by reaper on a laptop.

dmg equilibrium costs what, 200 bucks? what analog eq at that price point is remotely close to that sort of quality? there aren't any.
Old 5th January 2018
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by scraggs View Post
all due respect bob, but no.

maybe that was the case in your world, but for lots of other people, no.

in the 80s there were tons of underground bands who were indeed drawing crowds, and big studios/producers wanted nothing to do with them.

lots of those bands made records that were super influential but for the most part they sound like **** IMO.

in my world in the 90s everyone i knew was DIY, same as now. back then i was making records on an otari mx5050 and a mackie 24x8. my outboard was things like an alesis 3630, behringer composer, lexicon jam man, midiverbs and the like.

all of that stuff is easily outperformed by reaper on a laptop.

dmg equilibrium costs what, 200 bucks? what analog eq at that price point is remotely close to that sort of quality? there aren't any.
Everyone has or had a different world when it comes to perspective, neither is more relevant than the other. In my world everyone booked studio time at a facility that had a large format console, 24-48 tracks of analog tape, and outboard. As well as the latest in midi keys and sampling. Generally speaking a large majority of this work was funded by record labels of all sizes. The DIY trend "from my perspective" didn't happen until mid 2000. Yes there were people dabbling in it prior, but in comparison to now, not even close.

My opinion is that one cannot compare analog to digital and in reverse in terms of them bringing the same exact thing to the table. They're two different types of tools, and for that matter one cannot compare them monetarily either, it's pointless.

I personally don't care for equilibrium or reaper, so even if they were FREE it would have no relevance for my needs what so ever, nor would I consider it "out performing" any of my gear, analog or digital. If my mastering analog eq's were FREE, perhaps legitimately you wouldn't use them? As engineers we all have a different feel or flow in terms of how we work. One is no better than the other..
Old 5th January 2018
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
You left out the most critical factor which is arranging. Great arrangers have been MIA for decades at this point.
You apparently haven't heard of Sufjan Stevens. He's an amazing arranger making amazing music still.




Last edited by bcgood; 5th January 2018 at 10:04 PM..
Old 6th January 2018
  #26
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i’ll say it again.

using the best of the past analogue technology,

and the best of current digital trends,

in a custom designed Hybrid approach is the ~shyte~

especially for myself, and most of the other real full time MEs i know.

sometimes bouncing to analog tape is the perfect “antidote” for a harsh clanky sounding digital mix.

tip o the hat to Mr. Dent.

cheers, jt
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