Why is digital recording so complicated?

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Tobacco Worm, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    So the studio i'm going into to track next is ran by Van Morrison's guitar player he has a customized board, I can't remember the name, but he likes to mix manually.

    He has a Stephens machine that The Wall was tracked on, Aja and Rumours where mixed on it, everything seems top notch.

    [​IMG]

    Digitally (though the computer wasn't connected when i was there) a Jimmy Eat World album was done there, Bleed American-- it was a big hit and this song was done there:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKsxPW6i3pM]Jimmy Eat World - The Middle - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  2. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    Gee, I hope he had the headstacks relapped afterwards.:laugh2:

    Here's a little story from the rumors session that I always get a kick out of (just to highlight how creative audio engineering was back in those days.)
    The quotes are from SOS magazine.
    During the recording of "Rumors" Fleetwood Mac went overdub crazy, 4 months of guitar overdubs alone.
    Ken Calliat (producer)
    they were literally destroying the tape by having it move across the heads too many times. the basic tracks went first. Fortunately they were running redundant 24 track recorders during initial tracking so they came up with an idea...

     
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  3. Username1

    Username1 Senior Member

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    WOW :shock:
     
  4. babatube

    babatube Senior Member

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    look at what they did just to make a loop:
    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLqkwGfwajs]The Making of Dark Side of the Moon - Documentary - YouTube[/ame]
     
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  5. parts

    parts Senior Member

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    I know this thread is 3 months dead.. But as an old analog studio hack.. I almost started to tear up ! LOL

    Brought back all those nights at a MCI..tape..white pens..razors..
    Was it that hard ? It all seemed so natural..
    I am now starting some rudimentary digital recording.. As the music biz burnout was intense in me..

    I have been doing computers since pre DOS..
    Sinclair with C+ (IIR) and thought DOS back then was incredible !
    Just built a I7 for this adventure..
    But no recording and I put down the guitar for years. The playing and chops come back..the learning curve of the digital process seemed a little more intense.

    So..into the future..but this thread has been a trip down memory lane..fantastic..!
    I still have old spec stuff on 2" and mix downs laying around. No way to play them..just keep them I guess for old times. Yes the punch in/out erases were an art form..
    I used to think that smpte code was "far out"..VOS was trick..and so advanced..
    I first worked in 1966 at a 4 track house...I was a kid still..where it was real primitive

    Digital killed our last studio. The conversion cost was immense.. But the quick mix times and data manipulation ability you could see coming was a no brainer for the "industry"

    I came here looking for more knowledge to speed the curve..and found a great deal..and a great remembrance I all but lost..
    Thanks gents
     
  6. donepearce

    donepearce Banned

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    Wow, you know how to make life difficult when you've decided not to like something. Digital recording is the simplest thing possible. It is far easier than analogue - much less need to get levels spot on to hit a tiny window between noise and clipping. And the result, it hardly needs saying, is exactly the same as what went in. No added bonus distortion.
     
  7. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    The problem with digital recordings is that while easier, they also hide a lot of the minute nuances that give the music a more "organic" sound. That's why a lot of recording software has a plug-in called "true analogue", which simulates (rather convincingly, I might add) analogue recording.

    I've done a few tracks in both standard digital, and true analogue. They were like night and day.
     
  8. donepearce

    donepearce Banned

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    Utter garbage. Digital recording hides nothing. You get out precisely what you put in. Analogue recording not only hides nuances in noise, it adds intermodulation distortion that shouldn't be there. I've no doubt this is what you consider to be the nuances that digital hides. When a digital system has a plug-in that simulates analogue, it is just adding the high noise, poor frequency response and distortion.
     
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  9. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    Who says "it shouldn't be there"?

    As I said, "it gives the music a more "organic" sound". Digitally recorded music (especially "Rock" music) sounds way too "polished" for my liking. That's why I never got into the whole "remastered" thing.
     
  10. donepearce

    donepearce Banned

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    All just meaningless words.

    And remastered these days doesn't mean polished. It means hypercompressed dross. Older recording sound better because they haven't suffered the dreaded hand of the ultramaximizer. But that has nothing to do with being digital, just poor artistic choices.
     
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  11. rockstar232007

    rockstar232007 Senior Member

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    I agree, but I still think that analogue sounds better.:cool:
     
  12. donepearce

    donepearce Banned

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    I've no problem with that.
     
  13. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Senior Member

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    :laugh2:
    Dynamic range
    Bandwidth
    S/N
    Quantization
    Jitter

    I could go on, but you already knew that.
     
  14. HOT-BRIT

    HOT-BRIT V.I.P. Member

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    if tape works for you then stick with it
     
  15. Consarnit

    Consarnit Senior Member

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    I think digital recording is as simple or complicated as one wishes it to be. My rule is that the program's abilities are not a substitute for poor planning and engineering, and that things should be kept as simple as possible. No autotune. No endless manipulation of tracks. No fruity loops. To me it's just a record button, a series of inputs, and some faders with the addition of built-in effects to be used sparingly.

    Your mileage may vary.
     
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  16. mmd

    mmd Senior Member

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    consarint, my approach is different. I use the program and plug-ins as sound manipulators to allow me to create beyond what a "normal" instrument would. I am not big on cutting and pasting parts (I find it lame when someone can't play their parts). I view the software as a creation tool - much in the way that a surrealist or abstract artist would use nearly any medium to create art....
     
  17. John Scrip

    John Scrip Senior Member

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    I'm a fan myself -- But the bigger issue (IME) is that people approach the different mediums differently.

    If you were to set up a rig that was going to tape and simply replace the tape machine with a digital recorder of some sort, you'll tend to wind up with similar recordings -- Sure, one might have (MIGHT have) more of "something" or less of "something else" --

    With digital, even the most basic "first chance at screwing up" is taken advantage of far too often by using recording levels that would cook through tape. Everyone is in a hurry to use up all their headroom at every possible stage, while the "old guy" analog approach was to cherish and protect that headroom at every possible stage.

    The analog approach is better. It's the lack of understanding of basic levels and operating voltages that's the culprit. If the "D's" approached the project more like the "A's" then the difference would be much less obvious *and* the *OPTION* for different "flavors" opens right up at the track level.
     
  18. Blues Rocker

    Blues Rocker Senior Member

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    I'm a '60's "has been" guitarist who did most of my studio work in large studios with 2" tape. I, too, am brand new to Macs, Logic Pro, audio interfaces and current studio monitors (the studios I played/sang in had JBL's almost exclusively).
    I decided to jump in and learn this stuff, because I've heard just how good it sounds with just a limited amount of learning.
    What I'm doing is starting with Lynda.com, going to Groove3.com and have also bought a couple of Logic books. I have learned a tremendous amount about Logic just in the 2-3 days I've been studying it. And that is the secret I think. One must study it with passion and know that in due time it will come together and he will be making good recordings.
    One can't dabble with it, but rather must be committed to learning it a few concepts a day.
    Heck, if I can understand my Ford Touch systems, or my DVR manual I can learn Logic and home recording!
     
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  19. yeti

    yeti Senior Member

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    I hope you all realize that your ears aren't analog at all.
    Air pessure changes travel through a mechanical impedance matching network (middle ear) into liquid where the vibration is then "sampled" by a limited number of groups of sensors/ hairs (each group only sampling one fixed frequency, nothing in between! How's that for poor resolution?) which fire electronic impulses to the brain. Your ear is a frequency analyser/ converter with about 1200 fixed bands. Nothing ANALOG about it.:cool:
     
  20. blues_n_cues

    blues_n_cues Senior Member

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    lol. you just took the class didn't you? :lol:

    digital downside-when the computer goes down
    tape downside-when the machine goes down.
    it still sucks same-same.
     

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