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  • Experiment idea:

    I was thinking that somebody with the tools should purposely record a song into two different formats at the same time. You probably know where I'm going with this...

    Why not do a recording that goes into an analog console and tape machine, and a Pro Tools system. Set it up to be as simple as possible to rule out performance variables, etc. Probably take an old 60's pop song that's real simple and let a band take a stab at it while you feed into an analog and a digital system.

    You could even take it a step further and continue the process through the mastering and delivery medium.

    I think that even on a multitrack situation where there are two many variables, the results would still produce subjective differences we could argue over.

    But a live to two track situation would probably be best.

    It's gonna take a hell of a studio to get it done. You'll need a complete modern digital system, which is easy enough. But a complete analog signal path isn't as common. I'm talking analog console, tape machine, plate reverbs, analog/tube effects, etc.

    Master the digital version and send it to CD/wav.

    Master the analog version on send it to LP.

    Playback and see which sounds better.

    I think a good analogy for all this is you can get a fancy digital watch that has a gazillion features like gps, phone, HD video, or you can get a swiss watch that was designed by craftsmen to do one thing and do it right.

    I still contend that the analog/lp version will sound better. Not a bit, but a very noticable difference. If you don't think so, go look up a song on YouTube and play it. Then do the same search with the world vinyl. The vinyl always sounds better. Wider, depper, more rich. It's not just the eq, there's a lot more depth.

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  • #2

    I'd sure like to hear this. But an important part would be to subject digital to the same "best practices" as vinyl, e.g., not compressing the living crap out of it.

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    • the stranger
      the stranger commented
      Editing a comment

      Anderton wrote:

      I'd sure like to hear this. But an important part would be to subject digital to the same "best practices" as vinyl, e.g., not compressing the living crap out of it.


       

      Good point. That's probably more relevant than anything I'm thinking about.

      Kudos to Mike for mentioning all that good info. :smileystatic:


  • #3

    the stranger wrote:

    Why not do a recording that goes into an analog console and tape machine, and a Pro Tools system. Set it up to be as simple as possible to rule out performance variables, etc. Probably take an old 60's pop song that's real simple and let a band take a stab at it while you feed into an analog and a digital system.

    You could even take it a step further and continue the process through the mastering and delivery medium.


    That basic experiment has been done many times, many years ago with straight stereo recording. I remember one demo at an AES show set up by TDK that compared 1/4" tape, a TDK premium grade cassette, and I think a DAT. They claimed most people preferred the cassette.

    I've also read of more recent demonstratoins that mostly started with a multitrack session recorded both to an analog recorder and DAW (probably Pro Tools), mixing each one, and comparing the results. There were variations where the tape was copied to the DAW, and where the DAW tracks and tape tracks were mixed through the same console with the same settings, and independently, which of course took into account the personal taste of the person doing the mixing.

    Plenty to argue about, little to draw any general, global conclusions. I think I read that most of Michael Jackson's Thriller album was recorded both to tape and to Pro Tools. They mixed all possible permutations and just picked the one they liked best for each song. Easy to do when you have plenty of money and the necessary facilities.

    The delivery medium is another can of worms. It probably would be best to stop at the pre-mastered stereo mix, wthether it was a live mix (or stereo mics) or a mix from multitrack analog or multitrack DAW, but mixing both on the same system (or once on each system).

    Nobody can really duplicate a mix from the same source using an analog console and a DAW, You can use the same console settings for both, or you can copy the tape tracks to the DAW and use the same DAW mix settings for both, but if you mix the analog one analog and the digital one digital, they're going to have "human" differences that will confuse any technical differences.

    But feel free to try it when you win the lottery.

     

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    • #4

      Considering Beck is well versed in all formats, I would like to nominate him.

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      • #5

        the stranger wrote:

        I was thinking that somebody with the tools should purposely record a song into two different formats at the same time. You probably know where I'm going with this...


        Why not do a recording that goes into an analog console and tape machine, and a Pro Tools system. Set it up to be as simple as possible to rule out performance variables, etc. Probably take an old 60's pop song that's real simple and let a band take a stab at it while you feed into an analog and a digital system.


        You could even take it a step further and continue the process through the mastering and delivery medium.


        I think that even on a multitrack situation where there are two many variables, the results would still produce subjective differences we could argue over.


        But a live to two track situation would probably be best.


        It's gonna take a hell of a studio to get it done. You'll need a complete modern digital system, which is easy enough. But a complete analog signal path isn't as common. I'm talking analog console, tape machine, plate reverbs, analog/tube effects, etc.


        Master the digital version and send it to CD/wav.


        Master the analog version on send it to LP.


        Playback and see which sounds better.


        I think a good analogy for all this is you can get a fancy digital watch that has a gazillion features like gps, phone, HD video, or you can get a swiss watch that was designed by craftsmen to do one thing and do it right.


        I still contend that the analog/lp version will sound better. Not a bit, but a very noticable difference. If you don't think so, go look up a song on YouTube and play it. Then do the same search with the world vinyl. The vinyl always sounds better. Wider, depper, more rich. It's not just the eq, there's a lot more depth.




        I think first you have to figure out what you're trying to test.


        Do you want to test simple accuracy? If that's the case, test gear in capable hands is the best way to do that. That gear can suss out tiny ammounts of all sorts of distortion at super low levels far below the ear's level to recognize them. 


        But if the test is euphonia, well, it seems to me that that's a decision that is subjective and best left to the engineer/producer and musicians (should they be the lucky kind of musicos who actually have a say in their career), perhaps in light of the type of project they are working on.


        I think most folks will agree that the higher you go up the quality heap on either side, the more the end results sound alike, assuming the engineer/staff is not calibrating the decks to accentuate the 'desirable/euphonic' saturation and other characteristics of tape. But those intended-as-euphonic tweaks are often what draws projects to tape in the first place. 


         



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        The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

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