Originally Posted by con struct
Also, your music is safer in the digital format and will not degrade over time, which is what happens to reels of analogue tape, not to mention generation loss.
I agree. I still need to get around to transferring some of our old tapes to digital so they can be saved (not sure why, most of it's pretty rough).
Thanks for the informative post, Duncan. I found this especially interesting:
Tapes are often driven hard and produce a slight compression, which is usually pleasing and helps 'glue' the low-end together on a track - the drums and bass can often fit better together than with purely digital recording.
My impression has long been that digital slices are small enough to fool the human ear, like fine pixellation fools our eyes into seeing flat colours. So I've tended to wonder if the extra "warmth" that many people attribute to analogue was actually an aural hallucination, or maybe an expectation effect. Nice to know there's something real there too.
I think of the digital / analogue process in stages. The instrument (acoustic or electo), the recording gear (tape or direct to digital) and the mixing gear where, as mentioned earlier, the improvements are so great that you might as well say there's only one way to go.
I can do so much more with free software like Audacity today than I could with an expensive Portastudio plus effects units back in the 80s. The only small thing I lose is the ability to adjust the faders while doing the final mix down - which was a bit of an art in itself in the old days.
(Having said that, the other improvements are so great and my ears are not so fine that missing out on doing final touch ups with the faders is a non issue for me, and I mention it only for the purpose of completeness :)