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Does analog gear really sound "better", or is it just a learned response?
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4651
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
I think what a lot of digital cheerleaders on this thread seem to either completely ignore or at least fail to mention is that recorded digital audio by itself may out spec recording to tape in a lab. In practical application, ie a recording studio, we're often having to add processing and plugins which then adds the time element into the mix (bad pun). IMHO it's latency that creates the biggest challenge to getting the best result with digital recordings not digital recording itself. Converters, plug-ins all add latency which creates a time smear that analog (tape or outboard gear) doesn't have to contend with.

The more intensive the processing power required by a plugin, the more it drags the signal back in time. Add five or six plugins per track over 24 or 30 tracks and it really adds up. Summed, it makes a large audible difference.
but this latency is compensated for in playback. It only becomes an issue in live monitoring. and anyone who is using a plugin with any significant latency in a live monitored feed needs their head examined.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4652
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
I think what a lot of digital cheerleaders on this thread seem to either completely ignore or at least fail to mention is that recorded digital audio by itself may out spec recording to tape in a lab. In practical application, ie a recording studio, we're often having to add processing and plugins which then adds the time element into the mix (bad pun). IMHO it's latency that creates the biggest challenge to getting the best result with digital recordings not digital recording itself. Converters, plug-ins all add latency which creates a time smear that analog (tape or outboard gear) doesn't have to contend with.

The more intensive the processing power required by a plugin, the more it drags the signal back in time. Add five or six plugins per track over 24 or 30 tracks and it really adds up. Summed, it makes a large audible difference.
This post would have been a mic drop...

...in 1999
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4653
Quote:
Originally Posted by art felton View Post
Thank you for the effort, but what I know about dither I have learned at a course at Berklee and it serves me well.
You picked this (below) up at Berklee?

Quote:
What dither does is prevent the signal from ever falling below the level of the LSB, so a D/A converter never turns off and therefore truncation distortion is avoided.
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4654
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
but this latency is compensated for in playback. It only becomes an issue in live monitoring. and anyone who is using a plugin with any significant latency in a live monitored feed needs their head examined.
Nope. Not entirely true. I did this little demonstration and not one person responded.
A case for hardware
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4655
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
This post would have been a mic drop...

...in 1999
The Prince song?
Chris
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4656
Deleted dbbd9a8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Nope. Not entirely true. I did this little demonstration and not one person responded.
A case for hardware
You use your plugins when monitoring,in live situation?You don't record "dry",then apply your reverb after,once the audio has been recorded?
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4657
Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Nope. Not entirely true. I did this little demonstration and not one person responded.
A case for hardware
What were we supposed to be hearing there?

(I did think the veiled, phasey sound of the third example [Lexicon Native through buss 0% effect] was quite peculiar. But I wasn't sure how we were supposed to perceive the latency you mentioned in the post.)
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4658
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Nope. Not entirely true. I did this little demonstration and not one person responded.
A case for hardware
Depends on what your software daw is - if it’s pro tools hd native, just engage low latency monitoring. If it’s pro tools hdx ( or its forebear tdm) don’t even worry about it.

Otherwise, just engage delay compensation on playback and you’re all set.

You still have latency with hardware itb, which you often have to compensate for manually.

There are people trying to make this an issue, but it’s just not any longer
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4659
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
What were we supposed to be hearing there?

(I did think the veiled, phasey sound of the third example [Lexicon Native through buss 0% effect] was quite peculiar. But I wasn't sure how we were supposed to perceive the latency you mentioned in the post.)
Peculiar? That's what latency sounds like with one track unprocessed and the other dry and through a plugin. We're getting that all the time when we use plugins. We're just not always aware of it. And low latency is not "no latency". It helps to some degree but latency is a fact of life in multitrack digital recording and processing period.

With digital recording, we've been able to achieve a lot of benefits over analog (tape in particular), but there's still a ways to go. It isn't perfect.

And Joeq, some of the problems we had in 1999 are still with us. It's far better than it was, it's more refined, but the fundamental flaws are still there. Let's see what happens in 2040. We'll probably be laughing at how bad digital recording was back in 2020. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet on it. And if I'm wrong, I hope I'm around for you to collect on that debt, but I wouldn't count on it. Looking forward to my 30 year badge.

Last edited by voodoo4u; 2nd July 2020 at 09:24 PM.. Reason: typo
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4660
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Peculiar? That's what latency sounds like with one track unprocessed and the other dry and through a plugin. We're getting that all the time when we use plugins.
who's this "we"?
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4661
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Peculiar? That's what latency sounds like with one track unprocessed and the other dry and through a plugin. We're getting that all the time when we use plugins. We're just not always aware of it. And low latency is not "no latency". It helps to some degree but latency is a fact of life in multitrack digital recording and processing period.

With digital recording, we've been able to achieve a lot of benefits over analog (tape in particular), but there's still a ways to go. It isn't perfect.

And Joeq, some of the problems we had in 1999 are still with us. It's far better than it was, it's more refined, but the fundamental flaws are still there. Let's see what happens in 2040. We'll probably be laughing at how bad digital recording was back in 2020. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet on it. And if I'm wrong, I hope I'm around for you to collect on that debt, but I wouldn't count on it. Looking forward to my 30 year badge.
It doesn’t sound that way on my system. What’s you daw and does it have delay compensation?
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4662
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Nope. Not entirely true. I did this little demonstration and not one person responded.
A case for hardware
I'm, confused. If that snare sample that appears to be suffering from phase cancellation

"snare drum sample C Lexicon Native through buss 0% effect"

is 100% through the lexicon unit ( i.e you are not mixing the Dry from the lexicon with the original track) latency would not sound like that. if the sound was 1ms even 10ms late, you would not able to tell without an external timing reference.

And if you are mixing the original "dry" signal with the dry output of the reverb, Why are you doing that? That's not good practice in the analog domain.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4663
Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Peculiar? That's what latency sounds like with one track unprocessed and the other dry and through a plugin. We're getting that all the time when we use plugins. We're just not always aware of it. And low latency is not "no latency". It helps to some degree but latency is a fact of life in multitrack digital recording and processing period.

With digital recording, we've been able to achieve a lot of benefits over analog (tape in particular), but there's still a ways to go. It isn't perfect.

And Joeq, some of the problems we had in 1999 are still with us. It's far better than it was, it's more refined, but the fundamental flaws are still there. Let's see what happens in 2040. We'll probably be laughing at how bad digital recording was back in 2020. As a matter of fact, I'd be willing to bet on it. And if I'm wrong, I hope I'm around for you to collect on that debt, but I wouldn't count on it. Looking forward to my 30 year badge.
Ah, I see. It was just that your original post didn't reference the fact that B and C were heard in combination with A. But, given what you were trying to demonstrate, you probably assumed it would be obvious to folks. I get it.
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Old 2nd July 2020
  #4664
OK. Just to confirm, I more or less replicated the setup (in current Cakewalk/BL) in voodoo4u's earlier thread, but, happily, when I combine the original sample (a handclap in my case, routed via send to the main out) with the sample also sent to the the buss (run through either of a pair of workday reverbs: Nomad BlueVerb and Breverb2/CW, set to dry) I DO get the expected increase in output level, but there's no uncompensated delay, as evidenced by lack of phasing. So that much is good...

BUT... then I remembered noticing some odd, seemingly latency-related behavior in the old RealSpace convolution reverb when inserted in the buss, so I tried that in the same setup -- and what do you know? When combining the clap sample -- routed via a send to the main out -- with the sample routed through the buss with RealSpace inserted (but 0% wet) -- I could hear a distinct flam.

My guess as to what's happening is that the old RealSpace (which I think I got included with an long ago Sonar Producer package) is misreporting its effective latency, reporting a different amount of processing latency than it is actually taking. Presumably the more modern plugs are reporting correctly.

Very interesting 'experiment.' I'll keep this in mind!
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4665
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As long as we remain Masters of our Analog Domain. No digital fooling around allowed!
Chris
Old 2nd July 2020
  #4666
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
.

My guess as to what's happening is that the old RealSpace (which I think I got included with an long ago Sonar Producer package) is misreporting its effective latency, reporting a different amount of processing latency than it is actually taking. Presumably the more modern plugs are reporting correctly.

Very interesting 'experiment.' I'll keep this in mind!
So what your findings show is not an inherent flaw in digital processing, but a simple matter of housekeeping. Meaning that even older plugs can be whipped into shape if you know how to compensate. And in the case of newer software, it's done for you - most contemporary software is "intelligent" re: latency compensation.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4667
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norfolk martin's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Peculiar? That's what latency sounds like with one track unprocessed and the other dry and through a plugin. We're getting that all the time when we use plugins. We're just not always aware of it. And low latency is not "no latency". It helps to some degree but latency is a fact of life in multitrack digital recording and processing period.
I was impressed enough with your demo to try and replicate the result on my rig.

I couldn't

I did a test using Cakewalk. The snare is on a track . It is also being sent to a buss with the Arturia 140 plate reverb on it. The reverb is set to 100% dry.

The FX bus is faded up and down several times. I hear nothing except a change in volume.

Whatever is causing the cancellation you were getting, it does not appear to be a inherent or insoluble feature of digital audio because my my reverb plug in does not exhibit the same behavior.

I have the audio file of this test here:

https://soundcloud.com/martin-halstead/snare-140


PS: FOR THE SAKE OF PRIDE I did not record this snare! It comes for a friend's bedroom recording.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4668
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Here's the issue and likely why some can replicate it and some can't (at least not as much). Some plugins are processor intensive and some are not as much. I just bought Lexicon Native a couple of weeks ago and it is extreme in its need for processing power, hence the latency. But if we're at the mercy of how much code is required to run a plugin, we're also gonna get get various amounts of smearing in our signal path. It's just the nature of working with digital audio on computers. We can compensate, we can get a faster processor, we can get faster converters, but we're all gonna have to face this issue to a small or large degree depending on our workstation.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4669
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Here's the issue and likely why some can replicate it and some can't (at least not as much). Some plugins are processor intensive and some are not as much. I just bought Lexicon Native a couple of weeks ago and it is extreme in its need for processing power, hence the latency. But if we're at the mercy of how much code is required to run a plugin, we're also gonna get get various amounts of smearing in our signal path. It's just the nature of working with digital audio on computers. We can compensate, we can get a faster processor, we can get faster converters, but we're all gonna have to face this issue to a small or large degree depending on our workstation.
Yea, I am running a fairly heavy machine here.

Its a Gigabyte Mobo with a liquid cooled I7 5960X at 3.5 Ghz, eight cores each with two threads. Gforce 900 graphics and 64 Mb of Ram.

I've no idea what would happen with a slower machine because I never tired the test before
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4670
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Here's the issue and likely why some can replicate it and some can't (at least not as much). Some plugins are processor intensive and some are not as much. I just bought Lexicon Native a couple of weeks ago and it is extreme in its need for processing power, hence the latency. But if we're at the mercy of how much code is required to run a plugin, we're also gonna get get various amounts of smearing in our signal path. It's just the nature of working with digital audio on computers. We can compensate, we can get a faster processor, we can get faster converters, but we're all gonna have to face this issue to a small or large degree depending on our workstation.
No, this is wrong - I run a ton of extraordinarily intensive plugins, including Avid's convolution reverb "Space" and the worst of the lot, Ozone 9. Long delays and held reverbs (required in television production). My ears detect zero comb filtering, my stereo correlation meters confirm it (especially important in my line of work since some tv is still mono).

Ozone will give you latency, but since it's used at the end of the process for mastering, it doesn't matter. Individual plugins from Ozone 9 can be run in a session (absent the ozone 9 host in the advanced version) and do just fine. Even with its latency, if you run it wet or dry, there's no comb filtering or "smearing".

There seems to be a problem peculiar to your rig, which you've yet to identify, so no one can help you fix it.

Perhaps you got no response in your hardware thread because others don't share the problem you're having.
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Old 3rd July 2020
  #4671
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
No, this is wrong - I run a ton of extraordinarily intensive plugins, including Avid's convolution reverb "Space" and the worst of the lot, Ozone 9. Long delays and held reverbs (required in television production). My ears detect zero comb filtering, my stereo correlation meters confirm it (especially important in my line of work since some tv is still mono).

Ozone will give you latency, but since it's used at the end of the process for mastering, it doesn't matter. Individual plugins from Ozone 9 can be run in a session (absent the ozone 9 host in the advanced version) and do just fine. Even with its latency, if you run it wet or dry, there's no comb filtering or "smearing".

There seems to be a problem peculiar to your rig, which you've yet to identify, so no one can help you fix it.

Perhaps you got no response in your hardware thread because others don't share the problem you're having.
No, this is right. I've shown proof of it and you just want us to take your word for it. There's nothing wrong with my system. It's a pretty standard Mac/Logic/Antelope rig. I've owned multiple systems and it's been the case with them as well (Protools,Sequoia). It's just a fact of digital audio workstations (in wildly varying degrees).

You admit that it happens for you with Ozone and then you justify it because you can compensate. Most of the time, this problem can be compensated for but it is an inherent problem, a weakness that analog recording doesn't have (it has other, bigger problems). Is it going to catch in your throat to admit digital audio is less than perfect?
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4672
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norfolk martin View Post
I was impressed enough with your demo to try and replicate the result on my rig.

I couldn't

I did a test using Cakewalk. The snare is on a track . It is also being sent to a buss with the Arturia 140 plate reverb on it. The reverb is set to 100% dry.

The FX bus is faded up and down several times. I hear nothing except a change in volume.

Whatever is causing the cancellation you were getting, it does not appear to be a inherent or insoluble feature of digital audio because my my reverb plug in does not exhibit the same behavior.

I have the audio file of this test here:

https://soundcloud.com/martin-halstead/snare-140


PS: FOR THE SAKE OF PRIDE I did not record this snare! It comes for a friend's bedroom recording.
Are you using a delay on your snare? Because I'm hearing a distinct tight delay on it, although I can't say where it's coming from. If I were to guess, I would say that it's the latency we've been talking about, but even later than my sample so that it sounds more like a delay rather than comb filtering. Try muting the reverb channel as you play the file again and see if you can detect it and where it's coming from.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4673
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Are you using a delay on your snare? Because I'm hearing a distinct tight delay on it, although I can't say where it's coming from. If I were to guess, I would say that it's the latency we've been talking about, but even later than my sample so that it sounds more like a delay rather than comb filtering. Try muting the reverb channel as you play the file again and see if you can detect it and where it's coming from.
The reverb channel is completely muted at the point where the volume is lowest. Unfortunately I have no idea exactly how the snare was recorded, but it was done in a untreated bedroom. There may even be another more distant mic in the track, or just a lot of room reflection. I'll try another test, with the snare left and the verb right so I can visually look for delay


Second thought: the snare sounded like pud, so I created an overlay track with a triggered snare sample. The sample is not on the recording I put up, but it might still be in the reverb bus. I haven't time aligned that overlay yet,do it may be causing the impression of delay also.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4674
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessparov2.0 View Post
As long as we remain Masters of our Analog Domain. No digital fooling around allowed!
Chris
Do not dither around. Keep your bits to yourself!

And don't byte your words to spite your mix. Algo now.
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Old 3rd July 2020
  #4675
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
No, this is right. I've shown proof of it and you just want us to take your word for it. There's nothing wrong with my system. It's a pretty standard Mac/Logic/Antelope rig. I've owned multiple systems and it's been the case with them as well (Protools,Sequoia). It's just a fact of digital audio workstations (in wildly varying degrees).

You admit that it happens for you with Ozone and then you justify it because you can compensate. Most of the time, this problem can be compensated for but it is an inherent problem, a weakness that analog recording doesn't have (it has other, bigger problems). Is it going to catch in your throat to admit digital audio is less than perfect?
I think you're projecting I never claimed digital was "perfect", your dragging unnecessary baggage into this issue.

Latency is always going to be an issue, there's some 300ms of delay between your brain, fingers and the piano keyboard when you track piano. If you add hardware, you've got another path for latency to build up - so I'm still not sure what your problem is, I can run a plug in with varying degrees of wet dry mix and get NO comb filtering - and of course we use delay compensation - that's what it's there for. You have to use delay comp on hardware, as well.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4676
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharp11 View Post
I think you're projecting
Can't refute the argument so why not deflect? Ad hominem fallacy.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4677
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
Can't refute the argument so why not deflect? Ad hominem fallacy.
You've got a trifecta of logical fallacy going:

I've given you the best arguments your "false premise" deserves, and now you're backed into a corner and insulting me (ad hominem), because no one's agreeing with your "begging the question"...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question

begging the question is an informal fallacy that occurs when an argument's premises assume the truth of the conclusion, instead of supporting it. It is a type of circular reasoning: an argument that requires that the desired conclusion be true.
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Old 3rd July 2020
  #4678
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
I think what a lot of digital cheerleaders on this thread seem to either completely ignore or at least fail to mention is that recorded digital audio by itself may out spec recording to tape in a lab. In practical application, ie a recording studio, we're often having to add processing and plugins which then adds the time element into the mix (bad pun). IMHO it's latency that creates the biggest challenge to getting the best result with digital recordings not digital recording itself. Converters, plug-ins all add latency which creates a time smear that analog (tape or outboard gear) doesn't have to contend with.

The more intensive the processing power required by a plugin, the more it drags the signal back in time. Add five or six plugins per track over 24 or 30 tracks and it really adds up. Summed, it makes a large audible difference.
As much care needs to be exerted in applying each step of DSP as is put into applying each step of analog processing if you are to achieve optimum performance. Whether it is designers of gear or users of gear it comes down to care. I shift tracks around on a daily basis to make up for latency issues. Each DAW or plugin may behave differently.
Old 3rd July 2020
  #4679
Deleted 10089a2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voodoo4u View Post
I think what a lot of digital cheerleaders on this thread seem to either completely ignore or at least fail to mention is that recorded digital audio by itself may out spec recording to tape in a lab. In practical application, ie a recording studio, we're often having to add processing and plugins which then adds the time element into the mix (bad pun). IMHO it's latency that creates the biggest challenge to getting the best result with digital recordings not digital recording itself. Converters, plug-ins all add latency which creates a time smear that analog (tape or outboard gear) doesn't have to contend with.

The more intensive the processing power required by a plugin, the more it drags the signal back in time. Add five or six plugins per track over 24 or 30 tracks and it really adds up. Summed, it makes a large audible difference.
Most of that is compensated for - so that's not really a disadvantage. I think the true disadvantage of digital is "it's too damn clean" !! Its too perfect. I started off mixing in the early 90s. Back then the enemies of sonic clarity were signal to noise ratio, tape hiss etc etc. As a progressive creative technologist digital seemed like a dream to me, it got rid of all those problems. For years I used to snarl at people like yourself as over romanticising the past and was a big fan of digital sound. But as analog devices have slowly become less common I noticed the sound changing. It was less interesting, everything was too "crystalline" with straight edges. Everything started to sound too "synthetic" and as a I am a fan of techno and drum and bass that might seem like an unusual thing to say - but you have to remember even early techno etc used a lot of analog components sin their midi gear, pure VSTS arent the same - and even the latest stuff often uses found sounds to make it more diverse sonically. It adds a thickness and a texture that is unique to each piece of equipment that makes it more interesting for the ear. Its like the difference between processed cheese and matured cheddar. Now would I recognise any of this in a blind listening test? Good point! I suspect some of it probably not - another thing I have always been scornful of is audiophiles complaining that ABX tests only test short term listening and not long term and that's why they cant identify differences in listening tests. However, now I actually think there is something to that. My impressions of the way sonics have changed over the years IS a long term overview, a gradual, all-permeating change over the years rather than something that can be identified from a short sharp few seconds of listening.So recently I've changed my tune. I like the irregularities, which can be easily seen on a spectogram, introduced by analog equipment. But do I now reject digital altogether? Absolutely not - advances in recording techniques, things like Granular synthesis, and monitoring are still fantastically useful - but so are analog approaches. So I am now in the middle, hybrid analog-digital systems are the way to go - and the dialectic of recording technology is complete.

Last edited by Deleted 10089a2; 3rd July 2020 at 02:49 PM..
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Old 3rd July 2020
  #4680
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zerocrossing's Avatar
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Originally Posted by art felton View Post
If we can agree that every plugin you put to work in a mix adds a low-level noise, then that’s all I’m saying.

This is not a disaster, but worth keeping in mind.
Sure, but this is in no way different than what you'd deal with using analog hardware. Noise is always a possibility. In practice, I find it less of a problem with plugins than with chains of analog processors.
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