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Majiffy

Stirring the pot: The analog vs digital debate

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I'm surprised this thread hasn't been made! So, lets look at the two arguments:

Pro-Analog -> Claim higher fidelity, "better" sound, organic, dynamic integrity

Pro-Digital -> Easier to work with, no imperfections because of medium, allows for more experimentation and new creative directions

Personally, I completely disagree that analog sounds better than digital. Firstly, the noise of a vinyl itself, plus the pops you get from the record player are enough to reject that. On top of that, the information lost in an Analog to Digital conversion - regardless of what anyone says - is (neigh) impossible to hear. In fact, the only real drawback I see from digital audio is the loudness war, which is entirely avoidable.

WE REPORT, YOU DECIDE.

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They're the same thing but the difference is evity.

Digital equipment and vst software nearly always puts out a perfect processed result, time after time.

Analogue equipment can be influenced by more variables of physics..

Analogue gear in the classic sense is imperfect in production and different units will share different qualities.

Vacuum tubes are not all equal and wear out and have more sag. The power quality from the mains greatly affects tube drive.

Mechanical components are not identical, hand wiring plays a part too.

The audio environment is more evitable as a whole with analogue gear especially when you consider there's a lot of gear that must be mic'd due to hardware limitations.

Analogous gear though can be replicated with care and attention to a level of utter perfection but that's what makes it imperfect. A bit of a contradiction but perfectly replicating one piece of analogue equipment means all copies of the digital emulation are of the same piece of gear. All in all, digital is best in function and in signal quality if you can have random evity calculated into the software. There's glue vst's that can be layered to simulate it. I have a neve strip glue emulator that caters for my warm sounds.

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ProTools just added a new plugin that's independent of inserts and audiosuite (making it pretty unique in terms of plugins just in location alone) that tries to apply an analog warmness to it called HEAT. Personally, sounded like nothing more than light EQ and distortion.

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My guess on why the thread hasn't been made before is because the argument doesn't seem too valid in the community here. About 90% of us are used to doing music with whatever we have - soundfonts, free VSTs, commercial and conventional stuff like Zebra 2, Sylenth and z3ta, and potentially uneven sets like Komplete and EW Composers Collection.

Not trying to be an asshole here, but trying to decide which virtual synth type sounds better is pretty pointless for most of us when we're more used to using whatever we've got to use.

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As far as rock goes, digital can sound damn good, which makes stuff like Line 6 and M-Audio great bang-for-buck, but if you have the cash, nothing beats a great tube amp recorded through a good mic, or a live drum kit recorded on a good setup.

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Well they record most film scores with CLASP these days apparently, which is the best of both words. It's recorded to tape to get that nice saturation and 'warmth', simultaneously read of the sync head and recorded into pro tools.

You get all the best qualities of both mediums and avoid most of the drawbacks.

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I've always found this debate silly and a lot of the vague terms people attach to sounds are frequently used to describe completely opposite things, too much mysticism, analog and digital can both be good.

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Smells like what goes on the film vs digital. I think in the end, it is the content that matters, not the medium. See: old stuff made pre-digital still good 'cause the content is awesome. My 2p anyways...

Plus... I can't really afford a bricasti m7..... :)!!

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I'm surprised this thread hasn't been made!

Everything has pretty much already been said about it in various other forums, ad infinitum, for the past decade. There is no horse anymore. There is not even a blank patch, just a hole in the ground.

The solution is to realize that:

- nobody gives a shit if you make crappy music with either

- any time wasted on the debate is time better spent on actually making music

Personally, I completely disagree that analog sounds better than digital.

Vinyl is not the only analog in town; there's also tape. Not cassettes, actual tape.

What's a shame is that most of the debaters completely ignore the haptic part. You could probably put a FLAC on vinyl and read it with a laser needle. Pure digital sound, no problem there. What matters is the act of moving the record out of its giant colorful cardboard container, and the fact that you're doing nothing else for those 2 minutes except for preparing to listen to music (compare the 2 seconds it takes to cue an mp3).

That's a great deal of charm folks don't want to give up, and there's no credible (e.g. I-can't-believe-it's-not-butter) alternative for it yet.

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Vinyl is not the only analog in town; there's also tape. Not cassettes, actual tape.

I just bring up vinyl because it's the most commonly referred to analog medium. Tape itself has hiss, and frankly, any unintended noise in audio is bad noise.

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The solution is to realize that:

- nobody gives a shit if you make crappy music with either

- any time wasted on the debate is time better spent on actually making music

Just sayin.

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Just pointing out, those aren't THE two arguments, those are YOUR two arguments.

Digital doesn't allow for any more 'new' creative directions than analogue does, that's a stupid point, as is the opinionated, 'easier to work with'.

EDIT- Missed off the word 'does' which proved crucial to the point.

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Just pointing out, those aren't THE two arguments, those are YOUR two arguments.

Digital doesn't allow for any more 'new' creative directions than analogue, that's a stupid point, as is the opinionated, 'easier to work with'.

Well for one, if we're talking about storage format then digital doesn't have nearly as many physical limitations in terms of how long your records can be and their dynamic range.

As for being easier to work with, just compare how time consuming it was to set up and maintain a classic analog studio, compared to loading up a digital software project. Much less time spent on that, more time spent on the actual creative process.

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Well for one, if we're talking about storage format then digital doesn't have nearly as many physical limitations in terms of how long your records can be and their dynamic range.

As for being easier to work with, just compare how time consuming it was to set up and maintain a classic analog studio, compared to loading up a digital software project. Much less time spent on that, more time spent on the actual creative process.

But the creative process itself isn't better or worse in either, just different. Yes, it might be more accessible to grab a PC and install a DAW, but it doesn't mean it's any more creative or easier to explore than the other. My lecturers for instance would argue that tape based sonic design is a catalyst for creativity and provides a better understanding of sound manipulation in general.

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10 or 15 years ago things were very different, and most digital plugins sounded like ass. These days there's really no difference in the sound you can get, sure some bitter oldfucks and knowitall music students will disagree but that doesn't change the facts that the line is pretty much blurred to the point of nonexistence. So all that's left now is to either use whatever you can find to make music, or to make excuses as to why your music sounds crappy "if only I had _____ and _____."

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I've done the odd tape session with a band. What I like about it is you have to NAIL shit. None of this 'let's do 50 takes and let them edit it later' stuff. Make a decision, was that good enough?

You want another take of the guitar solo? Are you sure? The last one isn't coming back!

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10 or 15 years ago things were very different, and most digital plugins sounded like ass. These days there's really no difference in the sound you can get, sure some bitter oldfucks and knowitall music students will disagree but that doesn't change the facts that the line is pretty much blurred to the point of nonexistence. So all that's left now is to either use whatever you can find to make music, or to make excuses as to why your music sounds crappy "if only I had _____ and _____."

I agree. Digital is becoming immensely advanced very quickly, and the line between the 2 is becoming blurred to the point of subjective opinion rather than objective knowledge. I think the only big difference between the analog age and the digital age is imagination and creativity. It seems there are 2 big problems that the digital age has: They keep trying to look back at the analog age to replicate everything that already happened(I'm not arguing against creative ideas or sound design), or they get caught up with the commercialism in the musical writing and engineering style of our present pop culture. With all the technology at our disposal now, there really couldn't be a more exciting time to write music, and there aren't really any excuses for ignorance with all the information that one can find. Today, anyone can pretty much learn anything.

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Well for one, if we're talking about storage format then digital doesn't have nearly as many physical limitations in terms of how long your records can be and their dynamic range.

As for being easier to work with, just compare how time consuming it was to set up and maintain a classic analog studio, compared to loading up a digital software project. Much less time spent on that, more time spent on the actual creative process.

Thank you.

Digital doesn't allow for any more 'new' creative directions than analogue does

First off, it's a lot cheaper and more accessible. That means, comparing a digital world to an analog world, more people have the means to explore creatively. That alone is a strong argument against this statement. Furthermore, we have the ability to code in whatever can be imagined as a plugin, which gives us a hell of a lot easier path to brand new sounds and experimentation. A lot of innovative changes in music in the analog era were by mistake, which makes new findings rare by definition. With intention comes a possibility for greatly increased expansion.

So yes, digital offers a lot more creative directions over analog.

I've done the odd tape session with a band. What I like about it is you have to NAIL shit. None of this 'let's do 50 takes and let them edit it later' stuff. Make a decision, was that good enough?

So true. God, that would save so much time when you have to deal with the perfectionists...

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I've done the odd tape session with a band. What I like about it is you have to NAIL shit. None of this 'let's do 50 takes and let them edit it later' stuff. Make a decision, was that good enough?

You want another take of the guitar solo? Are you sure? The last one isn't coming back!

Oh man, those were the days!

I used to be hunched over my 4 track recorder every month when guitar techniques and total guitar would release new backing track cds.

So many old jams, those days were magic when you had to wing it at times and special stuff would happen.

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First off, it's a lot cheaper and more accessible. That means, comparing a digital world to an analog world, more people have the means to explore creatively. That alone is a strong argument against this statement. Furthermore, we have the ability to code in whatever can be imagined as a plugin, which gives us a hell of a lot easier path to brand new sounds and experimentation. A lot of innovative changes in music in the analog era were by mistake, which makes new findings rare by definition. With intention comes a possibility for greatly increased expansion.

So yes, digital offers a lot more creative directions over analog.

Do you actually read what you write?

I agree that it's easier to explore ideas, but that does not mean there are physically more avenues of creativity.

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Do you actually read what you write?

I agree that it's easier to explore ideas, but that does not mean there are physically more avenues of creativity.

Do you read what I wrote? There are physically more avenues as we have the ability to create new digital plugins that alter audio in entirely new ways - ways that were likely impossible to physically achieve with analog equipment.

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