So, where we at with Analog vs. Digital these Days?
I know this is a pretty beaten up dead horse, but I really don't know the current state of approval/disapproval these days since I've been out of the groove a few years. Is online digital auto-mastering taking over too? I suspect many people are giving their own run at this with their own material and plugs?
Chuck, my take on it all is that, always best to have another set of ears at the very least.
Modern software analysis, based on previous or chosen song EQ curves does amazing work as a solid starting point. From there well.. watch this space.
analog has its own niche, especially for tracking. digital seems to be the go to for mixing, and mastering at the top level is analog an OB, with everyone else using ozone, ect. i think even at the top levels, songs are pretty much pre-mastered and limited when they get to the ME. Stems are common as well, although i dont see alot about stems lately.
with ozone starting to employ AI/machine assistance, in their plugs, i suspect the auto mastering wont be exclusively online. if it works cool, saves time for other things, if not, time to get the hands dirty.
i dont think many are doing all analog start to finish, like the dap kings are, most stuff gets turned digital at some point, usually for broadcast. strangely vinyl was the first listening medium out there after the wax cylinder, and has persevered longer than the other formats.
im mostly digital with a couple tascams hanging around, all ITB mixing, with mastering plugs to mess with. i found a good ME who charges $17 per minute, with a rral deal ME setup, so i am looking forward to having my stuff mastered by a proper ME for the first time in my career.
my focus is remote recording and mixing, online, and networked audio, so analog becomes a little more difficult, but not impossible to incorporate.
tape is still my favorite sound recording medium for most things. once it hits tape at tracking, transfer to digital seems to maintain alot of the integrity imho.
Yes, I hear a lot about oZone these days it seems ..more T-Racks than I used to too. Seems to me that stems kinda went away to me too - I mean I never hear anything about them either. I also hear sooo much more plug talk than I used to - before it was about ..are they good ..bad? and now it's like they've gone mainstream, are no longer questioned, and are just the norm.
"after the wax cylinder, and has persevered longer than the other formats." I'm gonna start calling this "K-Talk"! :LOL: - Someone does their reading at night for sure! :)
Yep, I know you're more of a record/mix guy and that's very cool because it's something I'm really not that good with myself. My issue is with "takes" and audio track/file/version/etc. management - I get discombobulated very quickly and easily and find myself in a serious ADD cloud in no time with that portion. :p
I too love tape and I think it can't be replaced - if even to initially track with it!
Good news on your ME because there are soooo many that it's becoming very hard to find someone with some "mastering" plugs that isn't an ME these days.
There is a place where analog can't be replace if your looking for quality; it's at the tracking phase. Having a good room, instruments, mic and preamps can't be replace by any plugins.
To me, sending a project to a Mastering engineer is a must for any wide distribution project. But not everyone records Celine Dion at home. . . So it all depends on your expectations and if the music is aimed to be sold or just to be given to friends and family.
But there is one more reason to send mixes to a ME ; to learn. Most Me are gentlemen and will tell you what is off about your mix so you can get better at it.
In any case if I'm doing a demo and have good monitors and fair room to work in. I'll use ozone but not the standalone version.
I prefer loading it in Samplitude and the master buss followed by Fabfilter L2 (LUFS meter included)
I like to use a pre-EQ and Level on the object level and then do the same treatment on all songs with ozone and L2. If something is off with one song, I will try to compensate in the object editor . Ozone has a tape emulator, but the mistake people make with emulators is that they want to hear it. Those tools are very subtle and if I start to hear the effect, I prefer back it up a bit.
I used T-Rack stand alone prior to Ozone/L2 and I would never get it right. I had a hard time getting the right levels without having a ton of distortion.
New versions may be all fine tho..
I totally agree, PC. I don't know how the "big" guys are doing it these days but I highly suspect many, or at least some of them slam to tape for the initially recording.
I also learned a long time ago, essentially as you say, that you want to "hear something" when some effects are shut off ..a opposed to when they are actually running.
Mastering with mostly analog processors. My look-ahead, brick wall limiter requires binary signals, however. Yet, I prefer to master for vinyl and bypass the digital limiter.
My personal philosophy on the thing is 90% analog and 10% digital, when I master. But that’s just personal preference. No hard or fast rule of how to work, as long as the client and his fans are happy.