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Author Topic: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?  (Read 34125 times)

J.J. Blair

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #60 on: December 11, 2005, 07:23:18 pm »

Why are so many people working on ProTools?  Easy.  Because now they can track somewhere and then take it home and work on their computer.  People would rather have accessibility than quality it seems, and who can blame them?  It started with ADATs, and it moved to DAWs, which are even more ubiquitous than ADATs were.  The club of who can make a decent sounding record just got less exclusive.  However, I believe that there is a level of quality that still is as exclusive as it ever was, whether or not you record in analog or digital, and that has to do with the people involved, not the gear.
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CCC

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #61 on: December 11, 2005, 07:30:13 pm »

electrical wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 17:04

John Sorensen wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 16:33


Secondly, I keep tape rolling as much as possible in case a 'bit of mucking around' turns into something good. And as you know there's nothing worse than missing the top of a good take. Well, there  are worse things...perhaps I overstated the case. Cuing and re-cuing a machine is time-consuming too.

I solve this problem by recording when the band are playing, so I don't miss the top of a good take. We probably agree that a bit of mucking around is usually just mucking around. I don't want to conduct sessions as a slave to the possibility of a bit of mucking around.


Yeah, well - recording when the band is playing is a great idea. How about when the blind-side you? That's happened to me. I guess I'm the only guy who has ever missed the top of a tune because a player didn't count it in but just came in blasting away on an unaccompanied intro (Murphy's law says that this is always the chosen take). And I must be the only guy who has mixed a take that sprang out of a 'loose' jam session into a 'tight' take. (admittedly that doesn't happen every day)

Don't get me wrong. I don't record tuning, discussions, or lunch.

I guess I should say that the project I am speaking of is modern jazz - heavy improvisation with a definitely 'free' aspect to it. The pieces are long(ish), the playing intense. The takes can be substantially different. It is totally beyond the pale to stop the presses over and over again to have the leader evaluate each take at the session because I want to save tape. Better to take it all, and leave the evaluation til later. That's the process. It makes sense.

electrical wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 17:04

John Sorensen wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 16:33

Combing through takes is something the artist does on his own from DAT at home at his leisure - not on studio time.

Well then, this is in the category of "doing the bulk of the work at home for free." It does suggest that this could be done with tape, given that you can record over the reels of outtakes. I understand if you don't want to do it, but it is certainly possible.



If the artist wants to sit in his house with his porta dat til the cows come home that suits me. If the artist wants to rent an analog deck, have it carted home, have me set it up and teach him how to operate it, that doesn't suit me.
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rnicklaus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #62 on: December 11, 2005, 07:48:11 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 16:23

Why are so many people working on ProTools?  Easy.  Because now they can track somewhere and then take it home and work on their computer.  People would rather have accessibility than quality it seems, and who can blame them?  It started with ADATs, and it moved to DAWs, which are even more ubiquitous than ADATs were.  The club of who can make a decent sounding record just got less exclusive.  However, I believe that there is a level of quality that still is as exclusive as it ever was, whether or not you record in analog or digital, and that has to do with the people involved, not the gear.


If the project is tracked at your studio, as an example, and then keyboards and vocals at a home studio, will the quality be "worse" than some of the crappy cheap overdub studios people used to use?

No.  Many people even had Otari MX80 machines at home for overdubs,

Same scenario, new gear.
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Jack Schitt

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #63 on: December 11, 2005, 08:03:06 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 19:23

Why are so many people working on ProTools?  Easy.  Because now they can track somewhere and then take it home and work on their computer.  People would rather have accessibility than quality it seems, and who can blame them?


I just don't see this as an either/or situation. Just because its not done in your room doesn't neccesarily make it lesser quality. In fact with an artist with a little tech savvy it may mean better performances with the stress of hourly rates and hangers on observing removed. Capturing a performance is the point after all. Maybe A list artists don't feel the clock ticking but that is the exception, not the rule
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rnicklaus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #64 on: December 11, 2005, 08:11:28 pm »

Les Paul had a home studio that cranked out some pretty good music.

The Band made classic records at home.

The list is long.
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cerberus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #65 on: December 11, 2005, 08:21:13 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 19:23

Why are so many people working on ProTools?  Easy.  Because now they can track somewhere and then take it home and work on their computer.  People would rather have accessibility than quality it seems, and who can blame them?


That is not an arguement, because the I think the question is: whether they care to use tape at all or not to record to, and why?  not whether there are analog to digital transfers at all or not and do they degrade the sound quality?

I think Steve Albini believes tape sounds better, it is cheaper, and it is most reliable, so that is 3 reasons.  And so he only uses tape.

I don't agree with any of those reasons, so I use only digital now, I would like an A80 or better an A800 for my living room however. I just love the pneumatics, never in my life has a 1/8 second mechanical process turned me on so !   I've also got a "thing" for Dolby.. the siren warble, the tweaking, the results. Never in my life have I felt so -comfortable- then at those moments of feeling "secure" locked and loaded.. and anticipating the wonder of what will follow. The drama was intense.. Some memories of tape that I will always treasure.

But I think anyone could feel only one of Steve's reasons very strongly and use tape and digital together and not be "wrong" or deserve to be called a hypocrite.


Someone said on another thread here:

"Everytime the hiss comes in on 'Heart Shaped Box' I get chills"

Yeah I know what you are talking about. Noise is a very powerful psychoacoustic tool. After 50 years of analog evolution, the noise finally sounded good and could be employed instead of everyone wishing to get rid of it.

jeff dinces

maxim

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #66 on: December 11, 2005, 08:35:38 pm »

steve a wrote:

"Your artist's method is inappropriate for a small budget."

a bit rich to decide what's appropriate for someone else

surely we can accept that there are as many working methods as there are artists

time does not always equal money, i don't have money but i've got plenty of time

i think forcing an artist to squeeze into a box, even if it may be heartshaped, is inappropriate, but i wouldn't say it, 'coz every producer has a right to decide what's appropriate for the session, hell, you can even pull out a gun if you want to

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vernier

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #67 on: December 11, 2005, 11:56:34 pm »

Quote:

I don't agree with any of those reasons, so I use only digital now, I would like an A80 or better an A800 for my living room however.

"Trust your feelings, Luke"




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cerberus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #68 on: December 12, 2005, 03:30:39 am »

I just found this on another thread here:

compasspnt wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 22:22

button wrote on Sat, 01 October 2005 18:22


Recording digital and using analogue desks and processing to mix is a happy compromise ... a musical moment preserved for the consumer, >thanks< to digital mastering and delivery mediums.


Well said.



hrmmmm......

Linear

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #69 on: December 12, 2005, 04:04:04 am »

cerberus wrote on Mon, 12 December 2005 12:21



I don't agree with any of those reasons, so I use only digital now, I would like an A80 or better an A800 for my living room however. I just love the pneumatics, never in my life has a 1/8 second mechanical process turned me on so !   I've also got a "thing" for Dolby.. the siren warble, the tweaking, the results. Never in my life have I felt so -comfortable- then at those moments of feeling "secure" locked and loaded.. and anticipating the wonder of what will follow. The drama was intense.. Some memories of tape that I will always treasure.

jeff dinces


yawn.

I'm tired of hearing so-called 'engineers' wax lyrical the same line:

"Yeah, I love tape but (insert excuse here) so now I only use digital"

In my opinion it's just plain laziness. You like tape and want to use it? Then just do it, but stop professing to the world that you wished you used tape. I liken this scenario to those stupid strap-on electrical weight loss belts - kind of like people who want to lose weight but don't want to do any exercise.

Sure, some people like the benefits of digital and many engineers prefer it. Good. Each to their own. But I think many engineers have given up on analog recording because they're too damn lazy to put in the extra effort required to record on this format, clutching on to cred by telling everyone how they love the 'distortion' and 'noise' of analog. i spend a lot of time reducing all the garbage artifacts that people these days (for some reason) long for with reflective sighs and collective agreement.

I also think that bands themselves don't really care, so long as the finished product meets (or exceeds) their expectations. Thus everytime I hear a rock album recorded on Protools, I think that some lazy engineer or producer convinced them that it was how they should record, rather than the band specifically requesting it.

Personally, I prefer tape but mainly because of the way it affects workflow through the limits imposed on the process itself - it sounds better too but that's not the main reason. As Steve has said countless times as well, the format isn't 'owned' by anybody and doesn't rely on proprietry or patented technology and is hence universal and perpetual.

I really hope that this forum doesn't descend into some kind of retarded and endless debate on analog and digital formats. It's all been covered before, and I just think that it's time to agree to disagree and move on.

Chris
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cerberus

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #70 on: December 12, 2005, 05:46:37 am »

Quote:

I just think that it's time to agree to disagree
...

ok

...
Quote:

and move on.


we do disagree, and i am sorry..."move forward" is more my goal. i hope you don't mind my having the last word. i need to learn how to talk to analog and protools users better since i chose neither and therefore do not assume either of the  predominant perspectives here. thanks for understanding.

Linear

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #71 on: December 12, 2005, 07:25:06 am »

cerberus wrote on Mon, 12 December 2005 21:46


we do disagree, and i am sorry..."move forward" is more my goal. i hope you don't mind my having the last word. i need to learn how to talk to analog and protools users better since i chose neither and therefore do not assume either of the  predominant perspectives here. thanks for understanding.


Hi,

My apologies, even though it sounded like it was directed specifically at you, it wasn't intended that way.

After trying to wade through the volumes of pointless discussion about that pointless non-event in chicago, I'm just hoping this forum will make slightly more interesting reading.

And I hear the 'i-love-tape-but-find-protools-easier' rhetoric alot, so it kind-of annoys me. But i'll take my own advice, move on and get over it.

Cheers

Chris

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Ron Steele

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #72 on: December 12, 2005, 11:13:50 am »

I'll answer the original question first.

"How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?"

No offense, but this is a leading question and personal assumption.

I have never had any, and I mean any musician say, " I prefer the sound of analog over digital".

Your either getting good sounds they are vibing on, or your not. It has nothing to do with any given format, because if it did, I would have never put my mtr90 in the closet and I would still have a 10 foot monster in the room to accommodate the musicians that felt this way.

And a place like this forum wouldn't even exist to ask this question because for many many years, there was a small fraction of pro analog studios, compared to the many many hybrid daw rooms that have brought us to this discussion, and I take it that a huge majority of these hybrid daw studios only exist because digital technology made it economically feasible for MUSICIANS to get in the studio game.

Now if you asked, "why do bands and musicians prefer Steve Albini"?

Is the answer, because Steve has a Studer 24trk?

No, because Steve is Steve, and they are going to him for what he offers, and if Steve all of sudden went digital, this would not change any musicians mind about their reasons for choosing Steve to record them.

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J.J. Blair

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #73 on: December 12, 2005, 11:32:49 am »

OK, first of all, I wasn't making an argument, as Cerberus put it.  I was simply stating why I believe that digital is so ubiquitous.  And as far as RNicklaus' assertion that people had Otaris at home ... there were never anywhere near the amount of Otaris at home that there are DAWs.  Besides, if you are going to own a 24 trk, you have to own a console, etc.  The 2" format is simply less accessible than digital, particular DAW, is.  You can't argue the fact that one big reason for digital's popularity is that more people than ever before can work on stuff on their laptop now.   It's just a fact.  And even some people who might prefer the sound of tape, would rather be able to take their time and get a performance, or whatever as somebody put it.

And to answer I think it was Denny, when I talk about exclusivity, I'm simply talking about people who know how to make good sounding records, no matter what room or format.  My point was that digital has made it possible for people who were making crappy recordings to have less crappy sounding recordings, but that doesn't mean that people who don't know how to make amazing sounding records can suddenly do that.  There are a lot of intangibles that are matters of talent, instinct, taste and experience that make the difference in truly great recordings.  

Personally, I prefer my Studer to digital.  I'll do either, though, and I frequently do both at the same time.  And has been said over and over, who cares about the medium if the songs and performance are shit?
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

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"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

bobkatz

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Re: How Come Many Musicians Prefer The Sound Of Analogue?
« Reply #74 on: December 12, 2005, 12:35:35 pm »

J.J. Blair wrote on Sun, 11 December 2005 02:46

I had always talked about how analog seems to have a 3 dimensional quality that digital seems to be lacking.





And (good) tubes (sometimes) seem to have a slightly greater depth than the best discrete solid state.

I believe it's a matter of coloration. A tiny bit of 3rd harmonic almost always adds depth. Is that good? Is that "correct"?

Hey, I love depth....  But does this "prove" whether one is more "accurate" than the other? Maybe someday someone will do a treatise that PROVES UNEQUIVOCABLY which is more accurate. But that won't stop us from using what we need to use to get the sound that works! In the end we use our ears, we plug it in, we listen, and we decide what works best for us!

I can make the case that "you can't have too much analog or too much digital" on a project. Or to rephrase that, I believe that a every good recording of any kind of music needs a "balance" of "transparency" and "coloration" approach. Too much "transparency" can sterilize or make a boring recording. But too much "coloration" or "saturation" can make a muddy recording... Use your ears!

It's the judgments, experience and talents of the producer/engineer/musicians that count in the end. Let's get away from the question of this thread (which is basically unanswerable) and move into discussions that we can answer and get some meat out of. I want to hear what has worked for Steve--- and what has created musical-sounding results that we like to hear.
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