Hi & welcome back to another AAA post

This debate isn’t going anywhere soon and is a topic that often comes up in conversation between Sound Engineers / Designers both professional and hobbiests. It is something that effects us every day in our work, the choices we make and the work we produce, what is better anologue or digital?

I tend to use both to a degree. Certainly in my live engineering work I use anologue as its what I know and I see no reason to switch at the moment. Don’t get me wrong I have worked on digital consoles and the options especially in terms of effects are far superior to the anologue desks but I just feel more comfortable with physically dialling in the EQ, compression etc and more to the point I enjoy doing it that way

In terms of studio work the one I work in is ,as many or most others these days, a hybrid of the two. We use an oldschool Neve desk on the way in, high end outboards etc. This is then transferred to the digital domain via Pro Tools. It is the engineer / producers decision whether to then mix using the digital plug ins or outboards but generaly we use the digital plugs and outboards when summing

So do anologue recordings sound better than digital recordings? This is of course subjective, there is a certain character to the oldschool tape recordings but I think this is maybe more of a result of the time artisits had in the studio back in the day. The budgets were bigger, the producers were given time to produce and engineer and the whole vibe was different. recording was also only done by professionals at the top of the game so there was a certain quality control

The Digital age has given everyone who wants to produce and engineer a kind of level playing field but certain skills still need to be learnt, fundementals of recording, mixing etc. I still believe these can only really be learnt in a studio environment prefereably using anologue gear but thats just me. Unfortunately there are some that want to do the producing without putting in the time to learn which is fine but I think thats part of the reason why digital music gets a bad rap as theres a lot of mediocre tracks out there you have to sift through before getting to the good stuff : )

So is it OK to mix ‘in the box’? I say yes as long as you know what you are doing, the same principles apply with this type of mixing as any other, you still need to know what the plug ins are doing, how its effecting the mix etc. Will the mix sound any good ‘in the box’? Again. this is subjective, yes it can but if you want to give your tracks the edge they need ,particularly band recordings, the mix will always benefit from some decent outboard gear

So Anologue Vs Digital, which is it to be? Personally I embrace the digital age and am excited about the future of Sound Design whilst at the same time being slightly nostalgic about the good ol’ days of tape: )

Neil

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