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Author Topic: analog trade-offs  (Read 26250 times)

Bill Mueller

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #135 on: January 29, 2011, 06:33:12 pm »

Fenris Wulf wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 18:08

Bill Mueller wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 22:30

Multitrack recording, analog or digital had no affect at all on classical recording during the time I cited. It was all done to two track. Classical recordists went digital because of the quality of sound. I was there.

And if your willing to accept flutter in your classical recordings, that is your compromise, not mine.



No, they were blown away by the complete lack of hiss. It made their jobs much easier. It took them a while to realize that digital has its own drawbacks.



Ferris,

There have been only two or three major label classical albums recorded analog in the last twenty years! When was it that labels began to "realize that digital has it's own drawbacks"?

Bill
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Bill Mueller

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #136 on: January 29, 2011, 06:51:14 pm »

Fenris,

Are you just choosing to ignore what I said about Ross's recordings? Is his opinion just not good enough for you? How about Terry's? He is using Pro Tools at Compass Point. Come on man. People are making spectacular recordings on digital systems everywhere around you.

That does not mean you have to at all. But to ignore the facts, I don't know what to say to that. Tell me you think Ross's recordings suck and at least then I will have some point of reference for your opinion. Personally, I've been shocked by the depth and quality of his work.

Bill
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Fenris Wulf

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #137 on: January 29, 2011, 07:01:11 pm »

I didn't say that Ross's or Terry's recordings aren't great, I said that you need to spend a LOT of money to get that kind of sound with a digital setup. On my budget, analog is a better choice.

You claim that classical music was all done to two track. This is simply not true. Classical recordists have been using spot mics for a long time. Some build an on-site control room so they can mix all the mics live to stereo, while others use multi-track recording. Orchestral recording for film is nearly always multi-track. I've observed 2" tape machines in use in quite a few "making of" documentaries. And I find the sound of pre-digital films to be considerably more pleasant and less fatiguing that modern films mixed in Pro Tools.

While most classical recordists abandoned analog, they also realized that digital wasn't as "perfect" as they initially thought, and a lot of money and research was invested to develop better digital converters. Eventually they came full circle and re-introduced discrete transformer-coupled circuitry, and converters finally sounded as good as they did 30 years ago.  Laughing

I think classical recordists have a prejudice against using analog tape, and have never experienced what something like a high-end ATR multitrack with custom EQ curves and modern tape formulations can do.
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Tomas Danko

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #138 on: January 29, 2011, 07:27:55 pm »

Fenris Wulf wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 00:01

I didn't say that Ross's or Terry's recordings aren't great, I said that you need to spend a LOT of money to get that kind of sound with a digital setup. On my budget, analog is a better choice.

You claim that classical music was all done to two track. This is simply not true. Classical recordists have been using spot mics for a long time. Some build an on-site control room so they can mix all the mics live to stereo, while others use multi-track recording. Orchestral recording for film is nearly always multi-track. I've observed 2" tape machines in use in quite a few "making of" documentaries. And I find the sound of pre-digital films to be considerably more pleasant and less fatiguing that modern films mixed in Pro Tools.

While most classical recordists abandoned analog, they also realized that digital wasn't as "perfect" as they initially thought, and a lot of money and research was invested to develop better digital converters. Eventually they came full circle and re-introduced discrete transformer-coupled circuitry, and converters finally sounded as good as they did 30 years ago.  Laughing

I think classical recordists have a prejudice against using analog tape, and have never experienced what something like a high-end ATR multitrack with custom EQ curves and modern tape formulations can do.

Perhaps a Decca tree using M50s into a calibrated Nagra tape recorder was great enough to bother searching for something else (besides "hiss-free" digital, that is)?

To this day, that formula is quite hard to beat.

Personally, I feel there are digital setups that are very close to that level of fidelity and musicality nowadays. And as with a Nagra, great digital is not exactly cheap.
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Fenris Wulf

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #139 on: January 29, 2011, 07:42:39 pm »

I have a question for Bill Mueller. I see that you have an extensive background in live sound. I want to know, have live sound engineers REALLY embraced digital technology, like MIX magazine would have us believe? Or do they still prefer a good modular analog FOH console if they can get it? What's better in terms of sound, reliability, and ergonomics?

A digital console can provide complete automation of all parameters and enable you to duplicate the sound of the album. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of a live show?

What was so bad about the old way of working? What has digital technology actually done for the quality of music?
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Bill Mueller

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #140 on: January 30, 2011, 12:22:07 am »

Fenris Wulf wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 19:42

I have a question for Bill Mueller. I see that you have an extensive background in live sound. I want to know, have live sound engineers REALLY embraced digital technology, like MIX magazine would have us believe? Or do they still prefer a good modular analog FOH console if they can get it? What's better in terms of sound, reliability, and ergonomics?

A digital console can provide complete automation of all parameters and enable you to duplicate the sound of the album. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of a live show?

What was so bad about the old way of working? What has digital technology actually done for the quality of music?

Fenris,

Yamaha, Digico, Harrison, Soundcraft, Avid and many other digital consoles have penetrated the sound reinforcement/broadcast community for many years now. The only question has ever been reliability, not fidelity. Even church venues are switching to digi consoles. So the answer is yes digital consoles have come close to taking over the mid to upper end of live sound production.

However, sir, we are not even talking about digital or analog consoles, we are talking about the difference between digital audio recording and analog tape and in that arena, the ship sailed years ago. No one records live show on analog tape any more. At the very most it is extremely rare. No one uses multiple 2" analog machines synced with time code on track 24. It just does not happen. It is just too difficult and fraught with peril.

Also, no one is saying analog tape does not sound good. I have said many times, I have a Studer B67 that I love. It is sitting right next to me while I type this out. I did a pretty good job restoring it and lapping the heads.

This is not about how awful analog tape is. This is about people saying how awful digital audio is, lumping both cheap ITB toys and excellent sounding large format consoles together and slandering them all with the same brush. This is my only point. All digital systems are not the same and all analog tape is not automatically better.

Best regards,

Bill
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Eric H.

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #141 on: January 30, 2011, 10:34:43 am »

Bill Mueller wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 05:22

Fenris Wulf wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 19:42

I have a question for Bill Mueller. I see that you have an extensive background in live sound. I want to know, have live sound engineers REALLY embraced digital technology, like MIX magazine would have us believe? Or do they still prefer a good modular analog FOH console if they can get it? What's better in terms of sound, reliability, and ergonomics?

A digital console can provide complete automation of all parameters and enable you to duplicate the sound of the album. But doesn't that defeat the purpose of a live show?

What was so bad about the old way of working? What has digital technology actually done for the quality of music?

Fenris,

Yamaha, Digico, Harrison, Soundcraft, Avid and many other digital consoles have penetrated the sound reinforcement/broadcast community for many years now. The only question has ever been reliability, not fidelity. Even church venues are switching to digi consoles. So the answer is yes digital consoles have come close to taking over the mid to upper end of live sound production.

However, sir, we are not even talking about digital or analog consoles, we are talking about the difference between digital audio recording and analog tape and in that arena, the ship sailed years ago. No one records live show on analog tape any more. At the very most it is extremely rare. No one uses multiple 2" analog machines synced with time code on track 24. It just does not happen. It is just too difficult and fraught with peril.

Also, no one is saying analog tape does not sound good. I have said many times, I have a Studer B67 that I love. It is sitting right next to me while I type this out. I did a pretty good job restoring it and lapping the heads.

This is not about how awful analog tape is. This is about people saying how awful digital audio is, lumping both cheap ITB toys and excellent sounding large format consoles together and slandering them all with the same brush. This is my only point. All digital systems are not the same and all analog tape is not automatically better.

Best regards,

Bill


+1

On my part, I feel that a lot of people felt that digital was great, because it could do everything analog did and much more for a 1/10th of the price.
Sadly, not all digital recorders or soundboards were born equal.

Digital sales point are still at this very day the convenience and the lower price. Quality was always behind, and soon some realized that good digital is as expensive or more expensive than analog, because every 5 years or so, it is outdated.
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eric harizanos

Silvertone

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #142 on: January 30, 2011, 10:45:50 am »

Bill Mueller wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 23:22



This is not about how awful analog tape is. This is about people saying how awful digital audio is, lumping both cheap ITB toys and excellent sounding large format consoles together and slandering them all with the same brush. This is my only point. All digital systems are not the same and all analog tape is not automatically better.

Best regards,

Bill


Ultimately this is what all these threads boil down to.

Each format has it's merits and faults.

I have no trouble getting big, fat and warm into digital.  It's just that when all things are equal it seems to come back better sounding from the analog format to me personally.  Certainly more 3D.

We aren't going back... nor should we.  But we also shouldn't discount analog or through "nostalgia" turn it into something it never was (the perfect medium).

I like tape... I miss tape... to a degree.

That said, I'm restoring that vintage Langevin 12x3 tube console and pairing it with a very old mint conditioned Presto 3 track machine to make some very "old" analog recordings.  In the end I'll let all of you be the judge as I intend to cut high bit and sample rate digital at the same time.

Hopefully she'll be up and running by springtime...
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Bill Mueller

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #143 on: January 30, 2011, 10:55:13 am »

Silvertone wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 10:45

Bill Mueller wrote on Sat, 29 January 2011 23:22



This is not about how awful analog tape is. This is about people saying how awful digital audio is, lumping both cheap ITB toys and excellent sounding large format consoles together and slandering them all with the same brush. This is my only point. All digital systems are not the same and all analog tape is not automatically better.

Best regards,

Bill


That said, I'm restoring that vintage Langevin 12x3 tube console and pairing it with a very old mint conditioned Presto 3 track machine to make some very "old" analog recordings.  In the end I'll let all of you be the judge as I intend to cut high bit and sample rate digital at the same time.

Hopefully she'll be up and running by springtime...


Larry,

Is that the Woodstock console? In 1975, some guys brought the Woodstock console to Flite 3 recordings in Baltimore to try and sell it. It was just a pile of parts in the back of a 12' straight bed truck. We could have had it for a couple hundred dollars. I didn't have two dimes to rub together and couldn't afford it. One of many, "Oh well's".

Bill
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Fenris Wulf

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #144 on: January 30, 2011, 02:38:03 pm »

Bill Mueller wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 05:22



This is not about how awful analog tape is. This is about people saying how awful digital audio is, lumping both cheap ITB toys and excellent sounding large format consoles together and slandering them all with the same brush. This is my only point. All digital systems are not the same and all analog tape is not automatically better.


I've used expensive digital and I'm still not impressed. The people who get great sound out of digital are using it as a middleman. They're doing as much processing as possible in the analog realm, using tube/transformer equipment that adds saturation, and mixing OTB.

A person can have a bad experience with a tape machine and conclude that tape is unreliable ... but engineers who use tape on a daily basis, who know how to maintain their machines and what models to avoid, will tell you that tape is FAR more reliable than any DAW system. Even when synchronizing two machines. And the tapes will be playable in 50 years. Digital files won't be.

You can do almost anything on 2" tape, if you have a later machine with quick-punch circuitry. I think Mutt Lange proved that in the 80's. Now compare Lange's analog productions to his later digital productions, same engineer, same caliber of musicians. Tell me with a straight face that digital comes even CLOSE to sounding as good as analog.

The only thing tape CAN'T do is quantizing, micro-editing, and autotuning. These tools are designed for bands who can't play their own music with any degree of proficiency and don't belong in the studio in the first place.

The backlash against over-processed music has already happened. The music industry is in ruins and DAW technology helped to destroy it. DAW technology took away our ability to say "no."

I'm just waiting for audio engineers to figure out that they don't need DAW technology to get work, and manufacturers to get back to making real equipment instead of disposable toys.

Thirty years ago, vacuum tube equipment was considered to be "obsolete." Microphones and compressors worth many thousands of dollars were literally being thrown away. Now we know better. So yes, attitudes toward recording technology CAN do a 180.

There's a consensus that digital is the future and analog is never coming back and we should be happy about it. I don't agree with the consensus. This is NOT an attack on anyone's engineering skills, I'm saying that the technology that was supposed to make our lives easier is actually making our lives harder.
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Bill Mueller

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #145 on: January 30, 2011, 06:29:30 pm »

Fenris,

I can see that we are just talking around in circles and that facts do not come into play within your thought processes. So this will be it for me. Enjoy the quiet.

Best regards,

Bill
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“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

Fenris Wulf

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #146 on: January 30, 2011, 07:43:29 pm »

Somebody needs to play devil's advocate. I'm just taking the standard argument that "analog is obsolete" and turning it on its head.

If by "facts" you mean allegedly scientific measurements of "fidelity," sorry, I'm not buying. "Fidelity" is almost totally irrelevant to real-world use. I won't be spending another penny on digital equipment, ever. And I'll continue to rant against digital technology, because I think it's a necessary balance to the "consensus."

To make an analogy, there's an entire generation of bicyclists who think it's OK for a $1200 road bike to pop spokes regularly and eventually get cracks in the frame, at which point you throw it away. I ride a 40-year-old Schwinn Continental. A Schwinn Continental uses a type of welding that makes the frame almost indestructible, and a type of tapered spoke that is almost totally immune to breakage. It's heavier than a modern bike, but this is made up for by the fact that the wheels stay in true much better. You can buy one for around $200.

My experience with 20 and 30-year old analog equipment vs. brand new digital equipment has been similar. Something is VERY wrong with our expectations.
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Jason Poff

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #147 on: February 20, 2011, 04:06:40 pm »

Fenris Wulf wrote on Sun, 30 January 2011 19:38



I've used expensive digital and I'm still not impressed.



Perspective...

Fenris Wulf wrote on Wed, 16 February 2011 06:58



I have an admission to make. When it comes to the delivery medium, I can't tell the difference between 16/44.1 and 24/96. I can't even tell the difference between a 192 kbps MP3 and linear 24/96 most of the time.



Based on the quote above, it's not surprising that you were not impressed with "expensive" digital.

These posts, combined with the "what do we need all this stuff for?"  thread about the "almost perfect" sound quality, severely erode your credibility in my view.


Glass houses.
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Fenris Wulf

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #148 on: February 20, 2011, 11:39:19 pm »

My point is that ALL digital formats above a certain resolution sound very similar, and none of them sound anything like analog tape OR like "input." People who spend a lot of money on high-end converters run into the law of diminishing returns.

I always track to tape and mix on a real console. I sometimes transfer the tape to digital if I need more tracks, using fairly high-end converters. The tape and the digital transfer sound pretty similar -- until I apply EQ or compression, at which point the digital is clearly worse.

Get some experience with old-school recording techniques. Then you might be entitled to have an opinion.
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Bubba#$%Kron

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Re: analog trade-offs
« Reply #149 on: February 21, 2011, 12:34:47 am »

A good clock makes all the difference in the world with digital!!!!    You are not gonna get good results with a PTHD clock even on the best consoles around.  And there is very rarely a eq that sounds decent these days unless its vintage or truly passive.  People do clinical eqing all the time now and it just takes out the emotion/feel of sounds.  People dont think about ear fatigue and feel, they toss a 57 on every song and just take the vibe away.  Its all about "could" we instead of "should" we these days.

The over compression with digital really brings out the bad sounds of it.  Most people are just really leaning towards the transfomers in the unit and feel they need to slam the entire sound becaus they are already there.  Why on earth anyone would compress a MIDI controlled track is way beyond me when they have complete control of the volume and even the velocity.  And why compressing a good singer on the quietest sound they have from the start is just stupid too.    

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