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Famous Fun Thread: Analog v. Digital--Which is "The King" of great sound quality
Old 17th July 2005
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy!!

DeeDrive the CD was invented as a replacement for vinyl. Not because vinyl was sounding bad, but because of civil war in kuwait and the fear that rising oil prices would push vinyl records beyond the grasp of your average consumer (vinyl = byproduct of oil refining for those who did not know).
Really?

How about:

Sony has a proprietary format but it needs a toehold in the recording industry so people will have to adopt it. Sony makes a large investment and becomes a player in said recording industry. CD's trickle into the market, press representation is arranged, CDs are played by radio stations, awareness increases. The new format is 'perfect' and everyone wants it. The lowly LP limps along for a minute and is finally killed one day. As an insider put it (and I paraphrase) 'They called a meeting and announced, as far as the LP was concerned, that it was over.'

Sony rejoices because anytime someone spells disk with a 'c' they get some money.

Maybe the timeline isn't completely accurate, but that's how I remember it.

Besides, IIRC, the greater part of the material that LP's are made from is derived from Chlorine and I think Ethyline which can be made from natural gas.
Old 17th July 2005
  #62
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Quote:
He seems to point out that the chip makers have suceeded in deluding people that digital sounds exactly like analogue...just as good...or better, when in fact, that when digital is compared to great analogue, digital still sounds like ass because it's full of "anomalies." When all those "digital anomalies" conspire and combine to produce a Negative Cumulative Impact, the result is crappy digital sound quality.
Digital sounds digital...IMO.

This record I am working on has alot of areas that sound flat and thin..or''' less rounded' (or whatever decriptive term youv'e got)..and for that I get bummed. I am looking for more depth and such (as are many who spend a fortune on converters and summing solutions)...But...because of the medium (digital) I can offer the production 'intent' of HUGE records of the past. I can sit in my small project studio and offer up massive drums..creative editing...Soft Synths..etc.

OK..the end result isn't what I would have desired ideally, it is by all means a compromise of sorts...but so is my medium and gear...

What should I do? Nothing? Not produce? Not record? I absolutley can not afford the type of analog equipment needed for this big of production. Not the rooms, gear or the engineers who can get it there for me...It doesn't stop me from getting it done.

Digital technology today..is just that ... Technology of today. I use it support it and as it improves I get to benefit from that.
I use to LOVE my Alesis MMT-8...I had to back up my work to cassette! But it was the best technology of the time...Cassette...And I was happy to have it and be on the cutting edge...so to speak.

We need to expend more effort getting the best out of the tools we have and simply recording music....It will NEVER be good enough, ever. It has never and will never....there will always be ROOM for improvement...which means there will always be room for excuses.

Digital hasn't fooled anybody. The general public just doesn't care.

Peace brother...
Old 17th July 2005
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny B
"Math *is* the last refuge of scoundels."
Third time you used that sentence. Were you good at mathematics in whatever school it is that you went to?

Without mathematics there would be no science in any form as whatsoever and there would be no debate about digital versus analog because we would still be living in caves. It's so easy to hide behind one quote (of a physicist, not a mathematician, and Nyquist too was not a mathematician by the way). For that one quote I could give you a hundred other quotes referring to "the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" (also, part of, a quote).

You said "the underlying math is flawed" and "these scoundrels better quit using flawed math to back up their stupid arguments". For your information, formulas and theorems in mathematics are never flawed (unless they are stupidly wrong, in which case they would quickly be proven to be wrong, and hence by the very definition would not belong to what we call mathematics). What can be flawed is the relation between mathematics and "reality", in other words it may not be correct or justifiable to use a particular piece of mathematics to model a particular "real phenomenon" whereas it may be perfectly legitimate to use that same piece of mathematics for another real phenomenon (e.g. from Newton to Einstein), or the right mathematical theory might not yet have been found to model something (e.g. Einstein was lucky that Riemann and others had developed the type of geometry he needed).

If you want to make a point I suggest you get your facts right.
Old 17th July 2005
  #64
I've said it before -- for audio transmission, nothing beats a straight wire. Transmission.


After that... all bets are off.

Storage format is, as always the issue. Even the best analog storage formats all have problems -- as does digital. People will probably be arguing for sometime whether the "friendly distortion" of analog tape outweighs micro-speed accuracy, limited dynamic range, and frequency limitations that erode either the high end or the low depending on tape speed.

A lot of newcomers to analog seem to have little or no awareness that as tape speed goes up, low frequency response falls off. I came up in the analog world and there's a lot to know about how the equipment operates and how to maintain it.

But, from what I see around here and other BBs, many new found converts to analog recording are jaw-droppingly ignorant of these issues.


But ultimately -- most of us simply don't have access to the very finest.

And, when we get down to "affordable" gear, the tradeoffs involved tip inexorably toward digital storage, at least as measured conventionally. (There may be those who tell you they like the sound of a 1" 24 track deck with dbx or Dolby. Those folks are out there. I'll leave it to the reader to interpret that last sentence. heh )
Old 17th July 2005
  #65
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by songman
If you want to make a point I suggest you get your facts right.
That would be too close to using math, apparently.
Old 17th July 2005
  #66
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as pointed out earlier, these things are subjective
that being said at least once a week i take 16 tracks
of analog audio and put it in the box usually at 96k
sometimes 192k - granted i'm using a beautiful new
studer with 2" 16 track heads and running
them into the much more pedestrian digidesign
192 boxes , but, in my opinion, something happens
to the audio - when someone is sitting with me
as this crucial process takes place - they invariably
concur, without a single exception........ever......
it gets small physically - the depth just dissappears -
and there are less audible frequencies

i think what walter sear has pointed out well in various
places is the industry followed the lead of things
other than their ears...........

- jack
Old 17th July 2005
  #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny B
CD's sound as bad as telephones IMHO. MP3's are worse! In general, digital sound quality is deplorable when compared to great analogue.
This has got to be the exageration of the year. If you can discriminate betweeen CD quality and the highest-end digital quality, you should be able to discriminate between CD and telephone quality. This sounds like a "my ears are more golden than yours" type of statement.
Old 17th July 2005
  #68
Would that be a digital telephone connection or one of our lost, lamented, hi-fi analog telephone connections, Johnny?


The mid-range was so much more solid, back then, when it was an all-analog POTS, huh?

You know... I could use the telehpone all day long back then without listener fatigue...

Those were the days.



Old 18th July 2005
  #69
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I think we should get back to flogging the chip makers, which one should be the first to be flogged, and which should get the most severe beating?

And which of the CD format f**kers should be tortured to within an inch of their lives? Which of these math-spewing scoundrels came up the weak 16-bits and 44.1Khz and then used total lies and tried to pass that off as being just as good as analogue. Some people caught in big lies go to prison, but in this case, torture is the most appropriate punishment for these bastards.

Digital is full of "anomalies," in plain english, that means it sounds like ****.
Old 18th July 2005
  #70
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Ziggy!!'s Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
Really?

How about:

Sony has a proprietary format but it needs a toehold in the recording industry so people will have to adopt it. Sony makes a large investment and becomes a player in said recording industry. CD's trickle into the market, press representation is arranged, CDs are played by radio stations, awareness increases. The new format is 'perfect' and everyone wants it. The lowly LP limps along for a minute and is finally killed one day. As an insider put it (and I paraphrase) 'They called a meeting and announced, as far as the LP was concerned, that it was over.'

Sony rejoices because anytime someone spells disk with a 'c' they get some money.

Maybe the timeline isn't completely accurate, but that's how I remember it.

Besides, IIRC, the greater part of the material that LP's are made from is derived from Chlorine and I think Ethyline which can be made from natural gas.


You say it like its such a crime to invent a new technology?

Vinyl is made from Hydrocarbons, which come from any fossel fuel - Petroleum, natual gas or coal.
Old 18th July 2005
  #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny B
Digital is full of "anomalies," in plain english, that means it sounds like ****.

I guess tape sounds like **** too then. Soft clipping and frequency attenuation of tape is an anomaly.
Old 18th July 2005
  #72
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johnny b....
i have an idea. dont like current state of the art in ic design ?
go to the venture capitalists in LA , get some funding, hire some profs and top ic engineers and create your own ic chips.

but having a degree in science myself and having studied under some pretty decent physics profs many moons ago myself i have a sneaky suspicion that the basic laws of physics and what is capable with engineering even with the best engineering teams....i doubt you will improve much on current ic offerings in the market.....ic design is a challenging environment of endevour.
Old 18th July 2005
  #73
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both

I think both technologies have good things about them. I love innovation and looking forward although I am a tube lover. I guess for the future, using the things we love from the past and adapting it to the total recall and quickness methods of working with DAW's is great. iZoptop Trash as well as other is a good example that digital can be cool to make something more interesting.

A sound which is too clean is not so interesting. Even for classical. Probably because our ears are not totally clean too and think about a life without any bad things happening... you can't imagine this. So even with digital there should be a little highend falloff and some evil distortion
Old 18th July 2005
  #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy!!
You say it like its such a crime to invent a new technology?

Vinyl is made from Hydrocarbons, which come from any fossel fuel - Petroleum, natual gas or coal.

Usually not; only if it absolutely sucks the life out of my favorite form of expression and entertainment. Every time I've compared a CD to it's LP counterpart I remember that this was about royalties. And my CD player is way sluttier than my turntable. I quit playing my LP's for a time, but when I dragged them back out and bought a new turntable, something happened. The CD player stopped being used; not intentionally, more in the way that those who live in two cities automatically gravitate towards the one that 'feels' right.

I'm not just being a Luddite, either.

Buying an LP is, to me, a visceral experience. Records have a particular smell about them when you tear off the shrink wrap. The jackets are large enough to have inspired some great graphic art (Hipgnosis, for example.) I think, too, that CD's have contributed to the disposable nature of music. I go to these 'conventions' where collectors drag out trucks full of vinyl to sell and I think; even when this is done with CD's it's not the same. I know people who have collections of CD's but I don't know any CD collectors.

It's just a different mindset.

My point about natural gas is re: the motivation for phasing out LP's.
Old 18th July 2005
  #75
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Manning1,

Re: your suggestion (which is not a bad one, btw) that I go to LA, get some vulture capitalists and some profs to form a new IC company, I'm probably too old for that kind of wild west sideshow, I'll leave that to the younger people who have more drive and energy and can think outside-the-box to come up with entirely new methods to attack and conquer the A-to-D and D-to-A process.

The only problem I can see with your idea is that many profs spread and believe all sorts of digital mythology propaganda that has been propagated by the chip making industry. One of the first myths that digital sound improvement advocates need to destroy is that "only" 20Hz to 20Khz is important. We already know that real world musical instruments produce sound waves that are both above 20Khz and *below* 20Hz, some of that has already been measured by a CalTech professor.

We also know that so many math errors, truncation problems, and "anomalies" are directly introduced by the digital conversion process, that to follow that old path may not be the most productive way to solve the digital sound quality problem, we already know digital sound quality sucks when compared to great analogue.

Nyquist and all his mathhead followers may have to go the way of the dinosaur (a species that worked to a degree but was unable to adapt to increasing modern demands), certainly everything stemming from Nyquist is open to challenge (as is everything that passes for science) because digital sound quality has proven to be a failure after more than a quarter century of effort. IOW, it's time to call into question all past practices, all old belief systems, and see if an entirely new technology using completely new methods can surpass and superceed the old digital sound systems which all sound like **** when compared to great analogue.

Bill Gates used to be worried (after already having 8 billions dollars in his pockect) that a couple of kids working in a garage would come along and knock him off because they *could* come out with a superior technology and superior product. A few bright kids here and there really *can* change the world, and if a few of them would rise up to sucessfully challenge the existing digital sound technology, they could be billionaires.

In the meantime, we should torture all the idiot propeller-heads responsible for the deplorable sound quality of digital by burying them up to their necks in sand, spreading honey on their miserable faces, and releasing a colony of army ants near them. These bastards have tortured the world long enough, now it's payback time.
Old 18th July 2005
  #76
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me too,
2 1/2 years ago - new turntable, phono pre and catridge, whole different thing.....
no more new cd's
and i drooled over a ****ty used $600 sony cd player in 1983 - i didn't buy it -
$600 was flat out rich to me then as i was a teen - at that time i had an o.k.
turntable, not enough of a lense to see what was going on.............
all the english vinyl i held onto from my youth still sounds amazing........

in all fairness, i can remember being taken with the little books and thinking
the sound was great.....borrowing cd players from friends to make cassette
copies from such a source.............
being excited when a new title was available - being exactly who sony wanted
me to be

for other vinyl heads who are crazy enough to spend $30 on one record - it's a drag -
there's a company from germany called speakers corner - they make amazing
reissues, some of the best vinyl i've ever heard...............

be well

- jack
Old 18th July 2005
  #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by themaidsroom
me too,
2 1/2 years ago - new turntable, phono pre and catridge, whole different thing.....
no more new cd's

Old 18th July 2005
  #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny B
In the meantime, we should torture all the idiot propeller-heads responsible for the deplorable sound quality of digital by burying them up to their necks in sand, spreading honey on their miserable faces, and releasing a colony of army ants near them. These bastards have tortured the world long enough, now it's payback time.
Johnny B, you're a nut job. Tortured the world? Do you know how many people think CD quality is the best sound there is? Not that they're correct, but if they think that, are these "Nyquist freaks" really torturing them with 44.1khz, 16 bit? I agree with you in the sense that it's unfortunate that CD quality is still a standard format, but if most people love it, and it makes a ton of money, then that's the way it's going to be for a while. So go buy yourself a staff of vinyl and a $20k audio system and enjoy that until this "digital torture" improves itself.
Old 19th July 2005
  #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeDrive
Do you know how many people think CD quality is the best sound there is? .
They only believe this lie because math scoundrel, propeller-headed engineers at the chip makers lied to them and conned them into believing this fraud.

All those responsible for the fraud should be summarily castrated because that's exactly what they have attempted to do to the music, castrate and emasculate it with weak digital technology resulting in ass-sounding digital sound quality. Digital sounds like pure **** when compared to great analogue.

Torture may be too good for these math scoundrel bastards.
Old 19th July 2005
  #80
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Digital:

Great storage medium.

Perfect editing medium.

Horrid recording and playback medium.

There's no "thing" there.

Just malleable ones and zeros that are nothing more than a screen door simulacrum of the actual waveforms.

It's all a raster mosaic.

Open it in Wordpad and you may get a recipe for fondue.

DAC ADC's shall some day improve to where you can adequately fool yourself. but it's the difference between listening to a band ands watching a band on TeeVee.

That's not gonna change.

Analogue is only better because analogue is the actual phsycial transcription of the event.

Infininte, lossless playback is only woirth a **** if you can get it to sound like something you don't want to lose.
Old 19th July 2005
  #81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny B
They only believe this lie because math scoundrel, propeller-headed engineers at the chip makers lied to them and conned them into believing this fraud.

All those responsible for the fraud should be summarily castrated because that's exactly what they have attempted to do to the music, castrate and emasculate it with weak digital technology resulting in ass-sounding digital sound quality. Digital sounds like pure **** when compared to great analogue.

Torture may be too good for these math scoundrel bastards.
You keep saying digital sounds like **** compared to "great analog". In the times before CD's, how many consumers had "great analog". Very few. Most consumers don't know how great analog sounds. I know I would rather listen to a $200 CD-based stereo system, than a $200 cassette-based system any day, and this is the choice the majority of consumers are faced with. There are not compared a $20k Analog setup to a $20k digital setup, the choice is obvious there. Analog that high quality will sound phenominal, but the average consumer does not care this much. I think you are thinking about audio system in the very high range, and you are of a small minority who think that way. The people who invented the CD were trying to bring digital audio to the consumer, as an improvment over LOW-QUALITY analog, not high-quality analog. Can you honestly say to me a $10 walk-man sounds better than a $10 Discman?
Old 19th July 2005
  #82
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunnerabb
Infininte, lossless playback is only woirth a **** if you can get it to sound like something you don't want to lose.
Very nicely said. That would make a good signature....
Old 19th July 2005
  #83
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Looks like the votes are in, analogue beats digtial all to hell in the Sound Quality Race.

Now the only question remaining is the torture we decide to impose on all the scoundrels who take refuge in math and are directly responsible for the deplorable sound quality of digital.

Which of the CD format f**kers or the chip makers and their little wafer thin, pieces of **** silicon sound devices should be eliminated or made to pay the ultimate price --- forced bankruptcy?

People who have suffered from these scoundrels' terrible digital sound devices, which have so many errors that they have to publish long lists of "anomalies," could find some mean-as-junkyard-dog lawyers to file a Class Action Lawsuit against these bastards for fraud and misrepresentation.

After a few billion-dollar payouts, maybe these assbites would be motivated to get it right.
Old 19th July 2005
  #84
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alphajerk's Avatar
 

we arent the ones being tortured right now.... analog tape is dying a horibble death. looks like you all are gonna be the ones in hell.
Old 19th July 2005
  #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
[Digital] absolutely sucks the life out of my favorite form of expression and entertainment. Every time I've compared a CD to it's LP counterpart I remember that this was about royalties. And my CD player is way sluttier than my turntable. I quit playing my LP's for a time, but when I dragged them back out and bought a new turntable, something happened. The CD player stopped being used...
Old 20th July 2005
  #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy!!
DeeDrive the CD was invented as a replacement for vinyl. Not because vinyl was sounding bad, but because of civil war in kuwait and the fear that rising oil prices would push vinyl records beyond the grasp of your average consumer (vinyl = byproduct of oil refining for those who did not know).
I just don't buy that line. If this were true then vinyl would have steadly gone up in price, which it did not. Domestic 12" LPs were still $6.99 when CD first started dominating the markets. Import LPs went for around $10.99 to $18.99 depending on the release. CDs, at first, cost as much as imported vinyl, yet even though the manufacturing techniques have brought CDs down to next to nothing to produce the costs for the end user are still the same. I would also like to see statistics on the difference in the amount of plastic that goes into a CD and vinyl. Why would we be paying more for a product that, one would guess, uses less plastic. Why hasn't this effected other industries to phase out wasteful petrolium products, like large automobiles?

In my opinions, CDs were just planned obsolescence. Just another way of getting people to rebuy their entire collection of music. The invasion of Kuwait and oil prices never effected other industries that make things from plastics. Why would vinyl be the exception. Just doesn't make sense to me.

Lastly, there was no civil war in Kuwait. Iraq invaded Kuwait, supposedly, because Kuwait was slant drilling into Iraqi oil fields and the world turned a blind eye.
Old 20th July 2005
  #87
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i would say that vinyl is more flourishing now than in 15 years ..........at least here in
new york, that coupled with some acceptance of a micro market mentality would make
it seem quite vibrant ......the great oxmoron of course is the great selection of
vinyl available online - if you're in one town you might be a bonafide weirdo buying or selling vinyl, but with weirdos all over the world you have a market.............


as for tape, - its the sluttiest thing of all - nothing sounds like tape..................


- jack
Old 20th July 2005
  #88
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Why would one expect a few hundred dollars worth of digital gear to sound as good as a $10,000 analog two track machine or a $50,000 analog multitrack?

This has nothing at all to do with Nyquist. Great artists don't make excuses about their tools because they find a way to get their hands on what they need. To this day I can't understand people's obsession with owning all of the gear they want to use.
Old 20th July 2005
  #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson
Why would one expect a few hundred dollars worth of digital gear to sound as good as a $10,000 analog two track machine or a $50,000 analog multitrack?

To this day I can't understand people's obsession with owning all of the gear they want to use.
Right from the start, people have been conned and defrauded by the scoundrels of digital math to have extremely unreasonable expectations. They waste thousands of dollars and waste many man-years, most of it filled with heartache and grueling frustration, only to realize they have been suckered by this group of liars.

Instead, they might be far better off hiring or "renting" great analogue gear or going to a professional studio to begin with, certainly the "Sound Quality" results will be far superior and more emotionally satisfying when the project is done on great analogue gear.

And look at the "timeless" nature of the projects Bob has done, Motown records still hold up and sound great, but the same is not true for all the crap done in digital because digital is full of errors and nasty "anomalies."

All the bastard digital math scoundrels that gave people all this grief and ****-for-sound should be made to face the meanest lawyers on the planet in a Multi-Billion Dollar Class Action Lawsuit.
Old 20th July 2005
  #90
Gear Addict
 

Perspective

In 1985 I ran a small commercial studio. We had a Fostex B16 and a Tascam M520 mixer. We caught a lot of crap for the Fostex, but ironically, the Fostex sounded a lot better than the the Tascam board. If Fostex hadn't put out the B16, our studio wouldn't have been able to afford 16 tracks. The studio supported itself for three years before we got tired of not being able to charge more than $25.00 per hour and so we closed shop.
While the studio was open, we did try to upgrade our gear. At roughly the same time, we got an Otari two track mastering deck (forget the model number but it was considered a good piece of gear and was not cheap) and we purchased a Toshiba VCR with a PCM converter built in. The Toshiba was a 14 bit recorder. There was no question that the Toshiba absolutely blew away the Otari. No tape hiss for starters. It just sounded better. The Toshiba kept us in business.

In 1995 my band recorded in a studio that was equipped with a Sony 2" 24 track and an MCI board. At the time I had just got a Magma expansion chassis for my G3 Powerbook and was running a PCI based audio system off the Powerbook. Can anybody else here claim that they recorded 24 tracks to a Laptop computer before 1995?
The studio engineer called my rig a toy.
We tracked simultaneously to the computer and to the 24 track. Because of the cost of the tape (we were running at 30ips), we got three or four songs onto the tape, but we kept every single track recorded to the computer. This saved us later when we decided to use edits from different takes that hadn't been kept on the analog tape. When we played back the basics, we did blind listening tests to compare. The only way we could tell a difference was if we rolled from before the song start. The tape had hiss (very slight, the Sony had been recently calibrated). The computer did not. Even if the engineer or studio sucked (they didn't), the fact that we split the same signal to two different mediums and then did blind listening tests should have revealed if there was a significant improvement with the tape. There wasn't. I suspect that this was actually because the engineer did know what he was doing with his mics and board. We did end up mixing on both the analog board and the computer. The analog mix had the advantage of signal processors that weren't currently available on the computer. However, the computer had the advantage of 100% automation and non-linear editing. We ended up using a combination of computer editing and some sub-mixing through the analog board.

A few years ago I did a mix in the computer that ended up getting pressed to vinyl. When I listened to the vinyl I could clearly hear the results of my digital mastering. With so much emphasis on "make the CD as loud as possible", I had fallen into the same old school of losing dynamic range to get volume. The vinyl made it clear to me that I'd killed the dynamic of the song with limiting. The client didn't notice but I did. That was a very valuable lesson because it re-focussed me on the aesthetic side of mixing and mastering and since then I've paid much more attention to the dynamics and Big Picture of the sound, rather than mastering by meters alone. We learn everyday. I will always be a student of sound.

From a theoretical point of view, I'm all for improving technology. From a practical point of view I won't be joining the class action lawsuit against digital recording. Segovia said the electric guitar wasn't a real musical instrument. Jimmy Hendrix had to defend himself constantly against that statement. When was the last time somebody told you that the electric guitar isn't a real musical instrument?

Last story. A week ago a major record was released by an old and respected artist. I did a lot of work on the basic tracks and the final mix and master was done by some serious pros in NYC. When I heard the final master I was floored. The difference between ther raw tracks and final master was dramatic. I've been doing commercial recording for a long time, but I haven't often had the privilege of working with people of this calibre. It was clear that the skill of the mix and mastering engineers is what took the raw tracks to the level of the final product (the project was tracked digitally and mixed through an SSL). This was another very important lesson to me. There is no discounting skill and craftmanship. It's been said that only John Bonham could sound like John Bonham, and he would get that sound from any kit.

If someone says they hear this or that, I believe them. However, I make my choices based not on theory, but on practicality. Therefore I record and mix on digital systems.

Tape based recording has been around for what, 75 years or so? Commercially available digital recording has been round for less than 20 years. And you want to castrate the people who are developing this technology? Sorry, I respectfully disagree with that.

Magique
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