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  #1  
Old 03-22-2001, 07:56 AM
Jason from MaggieJack Jason from MaggieJack is offline
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Default Analog or Digital

Soon our band will be going into a full blown Protools mixplus sudio. They have all they great preamps and mics. They also have a 24 track studer(spelling?) analog tape machine and the engineer says on tracking drums and guitars it is so much better than going right do digital. We will track everything there and then mix in our Protools LE system. We will do some AB comparisons between digital and analog but I was curious to hear about everyones experience with this. My main concern is that we can work so much faster $$ in digital but if analog makes a huge difference it would be worth it.

Thanks,
Jason
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  #2  
Old 03-22-2001, 08:25 AM
bassmac bassmac is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

My .02 - As long as there is good gear available for the digital front end, I think you can achieve great results. Of course any engineer/studio who is still making payments on their analog gear will certainly tell you otherwise.

It seems that rather than embracing the new digital technology, everyone is more obsessed with trying to make their records sound like they were recorded back in 1960. It reminds me of how painters were long criticized for using water-based paints. For a long time it wasn't even considered "real art" unless it was done with traditional oil-based paints.

I think doing something solely because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” is about the most uninspiring statement I’ve ever heard.

Good art is not judged by the tools used to create it. - (just made that one up - pretty good huh)

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[This message has been edited by bassmac (edited March 22, 2001).]
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  #3  
Old 03-22-2001, 10:04 AM
Red Wing Red Wing is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

I couldn't agree more with Bassmac's take on this. With all due respect to anyone that's trying to make money in this rather tough niche, the fact is you have to flog the gear that you have in order to get a return on your investment. You can't really expect a studio that has thousands of dollars worth of analog gear not to push it as the great messiah of tone quality.

We all know how expensive this stuff is so the bottom line is whether the nature of your project, the expectations and the budget that you're on warrants going analog. If you're Aerosmith or Metallica then really you would experiment, makes some decisions as to what approach to take and what gear to use and not have a single worry about the associated cost. If you on the other hand are doing a demo or an album on somewhat of a budget then you better do your homework.

Once again, you can't blame a guy for wanting to promote his gear and all of it's potential benefits. It's just that his overview and opinion is most likely going to be biased to some extent and thats fine. How much is the tape? Will using tape change the projected time it will take you to track, edit and mix the entire project? Here's the big question; is the perceived sonic quality improvement, assuming that its better then going straight to disk, worth the extra amount of money that you would most likley have to spend? Does the studio have examples of similar quality projects that would allow you to hear how much of a sonic difference you would be getting for your hard earned cash?

Finally, get the opinions of a number of people that you respect on the question at hand. Good Luck and remember that if you've got good songs and capture good performances then you have already delivered on 95% of what matters most, so what's the rest worth to you?
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  #4  
Old 03-22-2001, 10:21 AM
WestPhillySoulzition WestPhillySoulzition is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

Bouncing from anologue to digital gives you a really good sound
I often record and mix things in the digital domain then send them out to a 8 track real to real to get a really thick fat sound that was not there.
I have every plugin that is made for protools too
and it still gives it a sound that is not achievable through PT.

do it
it shouldnt take you that much longer if you can actually play the parts
otherwize youl need autotune


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  #5  
Old 03-22-2001, 10:45 AM
Conscious Structure Conscious Structure is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

It's not necessarily necessary to track to tape. Granted, tape DOES sound awesome on guitars, bass, drum, but it's not your only option. If you want to go straight digital, you might want to go through their console rather than standalone preamps anyways, depends on the console. If it's a Mackie 32x8 or something, don't bother, if they have a Neve or SSL or something high quality like that, it's going to sound fabulous. Tape also offers the wonderful effect of tape saturation, which will make your tracks rich and warm. It also has a lot of headroom depending on what you track through. Though, be advised that once you track to digital, this headroom will be only what the digital recording can reproduce of what you have on tape. You'll still have the tape saturation though. It also really depends on your band's sound. If you want something really raw and rough, hell yeah, track to a 24 track 2" tape and then dump it into Pro Tools for your mix. If you want a smooth, uncoloured mix, (like for instance most of todays pop records) go straight digital. I'd definately use an analog front end to add lots of nice warmth and colouration so your sound doesn't sound bland and sterile. Vacuum tubes are your friend here. (good ones though, no ART tubes). Remember one other thing too. Punching in edits is more of a pain in the ass on a tape system, you'll end up spending a lot more time tracking. Time is money, and 2" is pretty expensive too.
The last factor is: do you need a Pro Tools mix? If you've got a very raw or naked sound, you probably won't need all the wizardry of Pro Tools to get a great sounding mix. If you want lots of studio wizardry, fancy edits, automated effects, go with Pro Tools. I do prefer to mix on a Pro Tools system, but a good automated console can get your mix just right too.

Tell me more about your band and your sound and I'd be able to give you better advice.

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Dave Belazis
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  #6  
Old 03-22-2001, 10:49 AM
Conscious Structure Conscious Structure is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

I thought I'd add something. If you're going to mix it on a Pro Tools LE system, get some good plugins. If you want a nice package that is not too expensive, try the Waves Gold Bundle. Nothing is worse than a good mix with bad effects. Also, check your mixes out in a good control room before you mix down everything. What sounds fine at home, can sound like crap in a totally flat room that reveals those subtle flaws in your mix that you might otherwise not hear.

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Dave Belazis
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  #7  
Old 03-22-2001, 11:01 AM
palmer palmer is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

use the studer. you will be surprised at the differnce you can hear. you can always dump it
into pt for editing if you need to.

palmer
p.s. 2in. tape is about $160 per reel.
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  #8  
Old 03-22-2001, 12:09 PM
Dinkus Dinkus is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

We had done the same thing, we tracked on a 2" and a TDM through an SSL and all the toys. Yes it sounded great but what you have to ask yourself is would you rather spend your cash on their studio or yours. To be honest our session didn't always go smooth, due to difference in opions and the odd (Actually a days worth of ) computer crashes. The $8,000.00 we spent sure would have bought some great converters, preamps or even helped put a TDM system in my home. As great as your project is when it is finished whether at home or not is still pretty much a demo unless you're already signed. I took what ever we had left for money, left the studio and bought some gear.
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  #9  
Old 03-22-2001, 02:40 PM
geojack62 geojack62 is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

If you are on a budget, don´t bother to spend time and money to go analog and then digital. If you have the option in your own studio then use analogue. There is nothing better than to record drums and bass on an analogue machine and then throw it into PT. A fat tape machine is unbeatable when you want a warm, thick sound and use the tape compression. But let´s face it: The listeners who buy your CD won´t hear the difference and really don´t care how you did it, a good song is all that matters really.
George
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  #10  
Old 03-22-2001, 09:33 PM
Jason from MaggieJack Jason from MaggieJack is offline
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Default Re: Analog or Digital

Thank you very much everyone. You all have great opinions and they have helped. It looks like we will need to do some AB comparisons in the studio. As far as tracking and time goes I know it will be much, much faster to track digital so it might be a tuff decision if analog really sounds better to our ears. I like you quote Bassmac.

Thanks again everyone,

Jason
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