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Old 18th August 2011
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Originally Posted by ev33 View Post
I have had the best luck doing the digital first analog second approach when combining the 2 mediums. I believe there are 2 advantages to doing it this way:

Recording directly to the computer while capturing performances takes full advantage of the benefits from the digital work flow. The benefits are obvious.... ease of editing/comping, fixing performances, virtually unlimited DSP fx etc etc. Capturing performances directly to analog tape takes a certain calibre of musician and very different kind of preparation.

the other benefit of doing digital first/analog second is the sound. One of the things that most people credit for the pleasing sound of analog is the harmonic coloration. Tape machines are adding a healthy dose of 3rd order harmonics. I believe it is these harmonics that give tape its somewhat magical airy, dense but very un harsh high end. This is what I believe is going on: lets say you have a cymbal sound that is focussed around 10K. The 3rd order harmonic that is generated by the tape machine above that is about 30K. So now you have this very hi over tone that is interacting with the original sound that will subtly change the character of the sound (there is debate about if/why/how these overtones affect things but we'll assume they do for the purpose of this example). If you then transfer the analog recording to digital lets at 48K, there is a very necessary brick wall low pass filter at 24K to eliminate the digital aliasing noise. Goodbye 30K overtone. The 30K overtone is not just filtered off. It is first devoured by hideous square wave digital noise and then filtered off. (This explanation is based on my somewhat limited knowledge of digital technology and could be better explained by a digital expert.) The one thing I have experienced over and over is the difference I feel when mixing from analog verses digital. It is way easier for me to get the high end to "open up" when mixing from analog. I can boost the high end very aggressively without it being harsh. When digital is last in the chain for some reason I feel like I am pushing against a ceiling with the EQs. Things tend to transition into harsh more easily before they open up.
so, all my assumptions were correct
i am just confused which chain would be better to maintain more 3rd harmonic distortions?
when you go straight to digital, you throw your track over mixer and then using outboard proccesing you master to tape?
that way there are acquired 3rd harmonic distortions in outboard processing+mixing on analog board (not "algoritmic faders" of DAW) and that way you get addition of stereo out or stems+master tape gives at the end final touch.
and summed stereo final record is ready to go back to digital with all summed 3rd harmonic distortions and all other nonlinearity of analog equipment.

is that correct or some other ways are better?

thanks a lot!
never meet lucidly and sensibly guy like you
in recording world!!!