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Author Topic: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?  (Read 31326 times)

Bob Olhsson

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #30 on: December 11, 2005, 10:20:56 am »

My question is how many musicians can tell the difference between the audio quality and different priorities, production techniques, musical arrangements, performances, numbers of microphones, instruments and room setups?

VERY VERY few in my experience and I get fooled myself regularly.

If you take tape out of the equation and record live to a cutting lathe, most people prefer the sound of that to using tape. Most people also prefer the sound of a live mix to tape over using a multitrack.

rnicklaus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #31 on: December 11, 2005, 12:46:48 pm »

When a drummer is sitting on top of their drums with headphones cranked in their ears for an hour and then they come in to listen to playback, no matter what format is used they have no perspective on the control room monitors.

The same with other players using headphones.  The players understanding formats with blown ears is curious.

There was a time that the trick of recording was to get your multi track to play back exactly what you put into it and to capture the sound you spent hours tweaking before rolling tape.  Not to have a new sound emerge on playback.  To some, it is still the case.

It's interesting to read people's take on recording - analog or digital.
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Johnny B

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #32 on: December 11, 2005, 01:41:53 pm »

I think the Analogue vs. Digital debate will rage on until the digital propeller heads at the chip makers get it right...if they ever do...

Of course throwing a lot more horsepower at the CPU and DSP, increasing the bit-depth and bumping up the speeds of the ADDA chips may make the "fake shake" emulations, models, and  so-called "warmers" come closer to analogue...but so far there is no scientific proof that digital will ever sound and behave just as good as analogue.

OTOH, it could be one of those never-ending debates or analogue may find that its continuous support will be strengthened when groups of people simply toss out the old obsolete digital gear. This state of affairs may not be unlike the way many guitar players dumped all their solid state amps and returned to valve amps because they love the way those analogue amps sound and behave.




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Ashermusic

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #33 on: December 11, 2005, 01:54:33 pm »

[quote title=bblackwood wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 02:10][Why is it the most critical recordists in the world - those in classical recording - choose digital virtually 100% of them time?

quote]

I have a theory on this, Brad and please you and the others forgive me if I am stating the obvious.

As you say. classical recordists (and jazz musicians frequently) prefer digital generally and in fact were the first to embrace CDs, even bacck in the early days when they were not oversampled. Classical recordists are looking for only one thing from the recording process: transparency. Digital is accurate to a degree analog simply cannot be becaaue every pot on a board, every circuit, etc. the vagueries of tape machines, the tape itself, all these things add inconsistency. After all a Moog sounds so fat because it is three oscillators not perfectly in tune. The DX7 when it emerged was far more accurate but thinner sounding because it was more in tune. This is why we double track voals.

Those who work in pop/rock music can find those inconcistencies as adding a vibe, a warmth, etc. that is aesthetically desriable. A classical recordist wants the mics to record an orchestra playing Beethoven i.e. to just "get it right", not add anything aesthetically. It's great music so if it well conducted, well played, and cleanly recorded it requires no additional help in their minds. The recording process should be as transparent as possible. In the pop/rock world we frequently want the recording to get in the way and add things that we consider aesthetically desirable. We are not looking for transparency so we may prefer analog.
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CCC

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #34 on: December 11, 2005, 02:35:27 pm »

Johnny B wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 13:41

I think the Analogue vs. Digital debate will rage on until the digital propeller heads at the chip makers get it right...if they ever do...

Of course throwing a lot more horsepower at the CPU and DSP, increasing the bit-depth and bumping up the speeds of the ADDA chips may make the "fake shake" emulations, models, and  so-called "warmers" come closer to analogue...but so far there is no scientific proof that digital will ever sound and behave just as good as analogue.

OTOH, it could be one of those never-ending debates or analogue may find that its continuous support will be strengthened when groups of people simply toss out the old obsolete digital gear. This state of affairs may not be unlike the way many guitar players dumped all their solid state amps and returned to valve amps because they love the way those analogue amps sound and behave.



ah, now I see your point. Thank you for clarifying and substantiating with empirical evidence, and for not just repeating the same tired, half-baked 'analog roolz, digital droolz' opinions.  Rolling Eyes
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electrical

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #35 on: December 11, 2005, 02:49:49 pm »

bushwick wrote on Sat, 10 December 2005 19:30


Mr. Nicklaus, the reason for the transfer to digital is cost. The client cannot afford to do his whole record on tape so we used one reel of GP9, recorded, dumped, one pass to erase tape and then on to the next tune.

This is a common argument, but I believe the "cost savings" from going to digital storage is a figment.

Unless the session is going to be conducted primarily for free in a non-professional environment (home), then the studio and data costs of making these transfers will equal or exceed the cost of the tape that would have been used otherwise.

Add to that the additional time that will be spent on the session because it is now digital -- endless edit decisions and waiting for the computer to get its shit together, mostly -- and you begin to see that nothing is gained by this move.

I understand that some engineers prefer working on computers because it gives them more control over the session. I understand that, and while I have criticisms of that line of thinking, I think that is a rational excuse to "dump" analog recordings to digital. It's still a bad idea, but I think that reasoning is understandable. The cost issue is not. It's a red herring.

I also understand that some records (elaborate collage-and-tweak-festivals) are easier to make on computers. I don't think every record should be turned into an elaborate collage-and-tweak-festival. It is often cheaper to make a record on tape than any other way.

I know, because I make hundreds of records a year for the smallest budgets imaginable. I do them all on tape. I don't think I'm special. I think engineers look for excuses to move onto digital systems for their own comfort or sense of control, and they use "the cost of tape" as cover. I wish they wouldn't.
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minister

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2005, 02:58:32 pm »

bblackwood wrote on Sat, 10 December 2005 20:10


Why is it the most critical recordists in the world - those in classical recording - choose digital virtually 100% of them time?
not true for orchestral fim score recording.  in fact, it is primarily analogue.
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tom hambleton C.A.S.
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Tidewater

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2005, 03:04:10 pm »

Argument accepted, but it is only the tip of Ronnie's iceberg, tape costs.

Digital doesn't require much upkeep. To do good analog, you need what you probably already have, alot more time, and around $20k for the mechanical side, to start.

There are other reasons.. oh my god.. I hate this argument.


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minister

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2005, 03:08:26 pm »

electrical wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 13:49


Add to that the additional time that will be spent on the session because it is now digital -- endless edit decisions and waiting for the computer to get its shit together, mostly -- and you begin to see that nothing is gained by this move.
this is also a red herring.  my system is solid, efficient and powerful.  but, yes it does require maintenance.  endless editing is a production choice.  this argument holds no water.

(i say this with all respect, mr albini.  i totally dig what you do and am impressed with your knoweldge, dedication, passion and talent.)

NOW...i DO like the SOUND of analogue.  in fact last night a friend  of mine had a party in the stduio that was first built by BRuce Swedien in the 50's (or 60's?)  and still has his FULLY FUNCTIONAL chamber in the basement.  now, this guy i a REAL PRO.  and he played me some mixes from 2" tape and his Neotek board and they sounded FABULOUS!!  the imaging was incredible the space the dimensions.  on TANNOYS, no less.  and then he played some PT mixes.  well, they were good , but lacked the depth.  CAVEAT -- these were MIX SYSTEM mixes.  PT, i know can sound better.
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Ryan Leigh Patterson

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2005, 03:09:34 pm »

I can only speak of my experiences, but everytime I track to tape, the sessions are more focused and desicions are made earlier.  Instead of having to fish through 10 takes of every song, decisions are made on the spot... this  saves time and seems to inspire the band to "get it right" earlier.  With the almost endless space of digital recordings bands seem to plough through take after take....


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Johnny B

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2005, 03:45:03 pm »

I agree that the cost argument is of the "lame" variety...

Some folks, like Phil Ramone, complain about the lack of a standardised catalogue and retrieval system in the digital realm...it can take some people hours and hours of wasted time searching for that one vocal take (out of the millions done, and often in-artfully Autotuned to death)  at a later stage of the process...and the more people you get into the process...the harder it becomes to know who did what, where, and when...digital can be a total nightmare and an expensive endeavor in terms valuable time wasted.

Perhaps a wizard using excel or a spreadsheet can compare the true costs of digital vs. analogue. If done in a thorough and appropriate manner it should put this lame "cost argument" to rest.

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Slipperman

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2005, 03:57:00 pm »

I wasn't aware that MOST had any preference at all from a sonics perspective initially.


At our shop... we try to concentrate on making records that exceed our clients expectations in any and every respect we can muster.

Most seem very willing to accomodate whatever mediums or methodologies we suggest based on the understanding that... in the end... if it doesn't stand up and dance... WE ALL LOSE.

They also COME TO US for the WAY we make records sound, and presumably this is at least modestly interconnected with the methodologies that we have traditionally used to produce that legacy of misery.

HOHOHO.

Anyhoo.

I find that engineers and musicians USUALLY seem to make better records when they are not hating life during the process.

There are exceptions.

WHAT we suggest... is a case by case scenario, that can occur during any giving juncture of the pre-production planning, tracking and mixing processes, and is hopefully driven by a sage assessment of the aforementioned.


In the long game... it's "whatever it takes" around here.

Best regards,

SM.
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rnicklaus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2005, 04:03:01 pm »

Ryan Leigh Patterson wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 12:09

I can only speak of my experiences, but everytime I track to tape, the sessions are more focused and desicions are made earlier.  Instead of having to fish through 10 takes of every song, decisions are made on the spot... this  saves time and seems to inspire the band to "get it right" earlier.  With the almost endless space of digital recordings bands seem to plough through take after take....





Many engineers from the 3 track days said the same thing about going to 16 and 24 tracks (and beyond).

Don't forget big budget projects on analog could have 50 takes on each song and many, many edits between those takes.

It's not like DAW's have invented a new way to work.
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minister

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2005, 04:06:12 pm »

yeah...and digital would have saved me when the engineer, cigareette in mouth, leaning over board said, "Ooops!  too much beer last night.  i just erased the drum track on that punch."  so we had to schedule another session to bring the drummer BACK.  at the "AE"'s expense, but still.... Embarassed  Evil or Very Mad  Rolling Eyes
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tom hambleton C.A.S.
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CCC

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2005, 04:10:32 pm »

Johnny B wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 15:45

I agree that the cost argument is of the "lame" variety...



Yes, it is a very lame argument.

Here's a take on why it's a lame argument.

My next project is on a tight budget, and the artist likes to record lots of material and keeps all takes.

For media I 'could' record on 2", but running at 30ips means that I get 15-16 minutes of recording time for about $200, give or take.

Or I can record to a 250GB firewire drive for another 50 bucks or so, give or take.

By my back-of-the-napkin calculation I can record 24 tracks of 24 bit audio for literally days on end without stopping the DAW (not that I recommend it, of course). Please check my math - there's a lot of zeros in a gigabyte so my mileage may vary.

The tracks will be live off the floor, and we rarely do a significant amount of editing.

Hmm, decisions decisions.

So, Jonny B, what are the economics of your latest record?
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