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Did the first abums recorded on digital multitracks sound 'bad'?
Old 24th January 2017
  #61
Here for the gear
 

Chris Stone and other members of the Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (SPARS) proposed the code with a set of guidelines for CD manufacturers to mark their product with an indication of exactly which parts of the recording process were analog and which were digital.[2]

The SPARS code was first introduced on commercial CD releases by PolyGram in 1984.[3]

SPARS withdrew endorsement of the code in 1991 due to confusion over analog and digital conversions and interfaces; many felt the SPARS code oversimplified and meaningless.[2] However, many labels continued to use it, and in 1995, the organization re-endorsed the code.[2]The main limitation of the code is that it only covers the type of tape recorder used, not taking into account other equipment used in the production of the recording. For example, during the mixing stage (the middle letter in the code) many DDD recordings may have actually been converted from digital to analog, mixed on an analog mixing console, but converted back to digital and digitally recorded, thus earning it a D in the relevant part of the code. In addition to this, many recordings have effects or parts of different recordings added on to them, creating more confusion for the code.

ABBA – The Visitors (1981; first CD release Oct. 1982; date of CD release with SPARS code unknown) – DDD
Donald Fagen – The Nightfly (1982; date of first CD release and CD release with SPARS code unknown) – DDD AAA – A fully analogue recording, from the original session to mastering. Since at least the mastering recorder must be digital to make a compact disc, this code is not applicable to CDs.[1]
There are five types: AAD – Analog tape recorder used during initial recording, mixing/editing, Digital mastering.
ADD – Analog tape recorder used during initial recording, Digital tape recorder used during mixing/editing and for mastering.
DDD – Digital tape recorder used during initial recording, mixing/editing and for mastering.These albums with common SPARS codes (AAD, ADD, DDD) are arranged by year of release on CD, where known:

Jean-Michel Jarre – Zoolook (1984) – DDD
Rush - Grace Under Pressure (1984) - AAD
Scorpions – Love at First Sting (1984) – DDD
U2 – The Unforgettable Fire (1984) – ADD
Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms (1985) – DDD (Technically DAD, due to the mixing machine itself being Analog)[citation needed]
Genesis – Invisible Touch (1986) – ADD
Iron Maiden – Somewhere in Time (1986) – ADD
Jean-Michel-Jarre – Rendez-Vous (1986) – AAD
Judas Priest – Turbo (1986) – DDD
Queen – A Kind of Magic (1986) – DDD
Queensrÿche - Rage For Order (1986) - AAD
Michael Jackson – Bad (1987) – DDD
Blue System – Body Heat (1988) – AAD
Amy Grant – Lead Me On (1988) – DDD
Huey Lewis and the News - Small World (1988) - AAD
Yello – Flag (1988) – ADD
Aerosmith – Pump (1989) – ADD
Rush – Presto (1989) – DDD
Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo – Wanted: Dead or Alive (1990) – DDD
Jean-Michel Jarre – Waiting for Cousteau (1990) – DDD
Monie Love – Down to Earth (1990) – DDD
Bryan Adams – Waking Up the Neighbours (1991) – DDD
Amy Grant – Heart in Motion (1991) – AAD
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless (1991) – AAD
Nirvana – Nevermind (1991) – AAD
R.E.M. – Out of Time (1991) – AAD
Simple Minds – Real Life (1991) – DDD
Benny Andersen´s - SNØVSEN - (1992) ADD
Aerosmith – Get a Grip (1993) – AAD
Jean-Michel Jarre – Chronologie (1993) – AAD
Soundgarden – Superunknown (1994) – AAD
Weezer – Weezer (1994) – AAD
Rhett Akins – A Thousand Memories (1995) – DDD
DAD – Digital tape recorder used during initial recording, Analog tape recorder used during mixing/editing, Digital mastering.
Old 24th January 2017
  #62
Lives for gear
They still had the same ears - so no - they did not sound bad or they wouldnt have been released.
Old 26th January 2017
  #63
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener View Post
We recorded some of the Accept albums (Restless and Wild, Balls To The Wall, Russian Roulette) on digital (3M, the first in Germany) in the early 80s. They were mixed to 1/4 analog.

Other albums I recorded on hybrid analog/digital (various machines, drums mostly on 2") are: Skid Row (1st and 2nd album), Extreme Pornograffitti, Saigon Kick, White Lion Pride and Big Game, Alice Cooper Constrictor. Alice's Raise Your Fist and Yell was the first album I completely recorded in digital (still mixed to 1/2") and Warrant's Dog Eat Dog

Once I worked on the digital machines, i never wanted to go back to anlog tape (flame suit on ), even though these early 3Ms were not without problems.
I realize the post I'm replying to is over a decade old, but still wanted to say what great work you've done. Those two Skid Row albums are among my favorites of that era (along with Guns' Appetite and Living Colour's Vivid.) Not only did I love them at the time, but I think they hold up very well even today, unlike quite a few of their contemporaries. There was a lot of rock then that I enjoyed at the time, but that just embarrasses me now, whereas those Skid Row albums are classics in my book.

More to the point of the original topic, you mentioned not missing analog at all when you stopped using it; do you still feel that way now? Assuming you've stayed all digital, do you find yourself using any of the myriad plugins that try to add analog effects (tape or transformer saturation, etc.) or do you get the sound you want without any need for such things?
Old 26th January 2017
  #64
High End Moderator
 
mwagener's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
I realize the post I'm replying to is over a decade old, but still wanted to say what great work you've done. Those two Skid Row albums are among my favorites of that era (along with Guns' Appetite and Living Colour's Vivid.) Not only did I love them at the time, but I think they hold up very well even today, unlike quite a few of their contemporaries. There was a lot of rock then that I enjoyed at the time, but that just embarrasses me now, whereas those Skid Row albums are classics in my book.

More to the point of the original topic, you mentioned not missing analog at all when you stopped using it; do you still feel that way now? Assuming you've stayed all digital, do you find yourself using any of the myriad plugins that try to add analog effects (tape or transformer saturation, etc.) or do you get the sound you want without any need for such things?
By now I have of course moved on from digital tape to a DAW (Nuendo), with a couple of digital stops on the way. Mid 90s I bought a couple of Yamaha 02Rs and six Tascam DA-88s. That was followed by a pair of Sony DMX-R100 consoles and a Euphonix R-1, which turned into a very expensive paperweight only 3 years later. From there I switched to Nuendo in connection with the DMX consoles. After that I went the hybrid route with Nuendo and an SSL AWS900, which I am still using today. I am also still using a lot of analog outboard gear, but I am also using lots of Plug-Ins, mainly UAD, Soundtoys, Sonnox, Softube, Fab-Filter and a bunch of others. I am happy in hybrid land and I am still not missing Tape (analog or digital). I do use the CraneSong HEDD for my tape emulation, mainly on RMS signals (guitars, bass), less so on peaks (drums, percussion etc.). On the guitar side I have 100% moved to the Kemper Profiler, best piece of gear that walked into my studio in the last 15 years.
Old 26th January 2017
  #65
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener View Post
By now I have of course moved on from digital tape to a DAW (Nuendo), with a couple of digital stops on the way. Mid 90s I bought a couple of Yamaha 02Rs and six Tascam DA-88s. That was followed by a pair of Sony DMX-R100 consoles and a Euphonix R-1, which turned into a very expensive paperweight only 3 years later. From there I switched to Nuendo in connection with the DMX consoles. After that I went the hybrid route with Nuendo and an SSL AWS900, which I am still using today. I am also still using a lot of analog outboard gear, but I am also using lots of Plug-Ins, mainly UAD, Soundtoys, Sonnox, Softube, Fab-Filter and a bunch of others. I am happy in hybrid land and I am still not missing Tape (analog or digital). I do use the CraneSong HEDD for my tape emulation, mainly on RMS signals (guitars, bass), less so on peaks (drums, percussion etc.). On the guitar side I have 100% moved to the Kemper Profiler, best piece of gear that walked into my studio in the last 15 years.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Much appreciated.
Old 26th January 2017
  #66
FWIW, a few of the albums I recorded and mixed in the 80s should be on that SPARS list, including Tracy Chapman/Tracy Chapman and Tracy Chapman/Crossroads. I was very green (and very lucky) back then but I did the best I could do at the time. On both albums we used a first generation Mitsubishi 32-track, Mitsubishi 2-track, and they were mastered digitally by Bob Ludwig. Console on both records was a custom desk with API eq's and mic preamps, and for the second one I had all the analog signal processing gear I wanted so we had quite a bit!
Old 26th January 2017
  #67
Gear Guru
 
monkeyxx's Avatar
Cool thread. Some good listening suggestion opportunities. I am checking out The Nightfly right now, it put me in a happy place.
Old 26th January 2017
  #68
Gear Maniac
 
58Roadrunner's Avatar
 

Mmmmm, definitely a fun thread! "The Nightfly", I remember buying that as soon as it came out. I'd bought a CD player a few days before and I was amazed that I could listen to this album over, and over, and over, and over again... without any pops, clicks, scratches or warps. I was so amazed by the new technology

I still have the CD, geez it's 35 years old, I'll have to put it on tonight see if it still works. Cheers!
Old 27th January 2017
  #69
Quote:
Originally Posted by FireMoon View Post
Hawkind's Levitation album was the first digital album recorded and released in Britain. Actually sounds pretty good as well.. Recorded on a Sony machine at the Roundhouse studio, i think.... Harvey from the Hawks once told me that.

"They were a bit put out, cos they couldn't play i backwards and spin stuff in like that" heh
IIRC Roundhouse was one of the first studios to have a 3M digital multitrack so I suspect it was recorded on that

The 3324 arrived in the UK a few years later and became popular quite quickly. I remember Sarm West having a couple of 3324s and an X850 and digital transfers being made between them

In the end I think the 3348 sealed the fate of the X850

Nick Froome
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