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Questionnaire: Can Analogue and digital recording co-exist?

1) What is your preferred medium for recording, analog tape or digital and why?

2) Do you feel there is still a cold vs warm debate in terms of actual recording medium and front end and processing equipment given digital recordings progress?

3) Is cost an issue to be debated when considering the recording medium and front end and processing equipment?

4) Is storage a factor to be considered?

5) Which release media do you feel are preferred and why?

6) What is the immediate future of the recording industry?

Please email replies to torque-2@blueyonder.co.uk and...
Many thanks.

Boswell Thu, 02/18/2016 - 04:25

Maybe in that case you should explain the context rather better. For example, are you trying to carry out some sort of survey amongst professional recording engineers on which you will perform statistical processing to form a table in your dissertation? What's the title of the dissertation and at what level is it (Masters, PhD etc)?

Your original post reads as though you have been given the questions for homework and you are hoping to get someone else to answer them for you.

DonnyThompson Thu, 02/18/2016 - 05:39

Except that you have left out perhaps the most important question of all - which is odd, because its the title of your dissertation, or at least the title subject question... which is in itself nowhere to be found in any of the questions you listed; there isn't anything that mentions both formats working together, which is a very common workflow these days among professional engineers...

It seems as though your questions are geared towards an "either/or skew", except that's not what your subject is... in fact, its the exact opposite of your subject. :confused:

Ungeeignet Thu, 02/18/2016 - 05:46

DonnyThompson, post: 436473, member: 46114 wrote: Except that you have left out perhaps the most important question of all - which is odd, because its the title of your dissertation, or at least the title subject question... which is in itself nowhere to be found in any of the questions you listed; there isn't anything that mentions both formats working together, which is a very common workflow these days among professional engineers...

It seems as though your questions are geared towards an "either/or skew", except that's not what your subject is... in fact, its the exact opposite of your subject. :confused:

An explanation of both formats working together could help with questions 2 and 3. I'd be genuinely interested in your opinion.

Sean G Thu, 02/18/2016 - 05:48

A little introduction would have been good explaining who you are, what you do, and why you are doing it.

I find this akin to a cold call in many ways, like the real estate agent or the religious hawker who comes knocking on my door unnanounced.

You'd basically get the same answer I'd give them, under the circumstances.

Ungeeignet Thu, 02/18/2016 - 06:26

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: Questionnaire: Can Analogue and digital recording co-exist?

1) What is your preferred medium for recording, analog tape or digital and why?

2) Do you feel there is still a cold vs warm debate in terms of actual recording medium and front end and processing equipment given digital recordings progress?

3) Is cost an issue to be debated when considering the recording medium and front end and processing equipment?

4) Is storage a factor to be considered?

5) Which release media do you feel are preferred and why?

6) What is the immediate future of the recording industry?

Please email replies to torque-2@blueyonder.co.uk and...
Many thanks.

My name is Steve and I am conducting research into the future of recording, specifically whether that future involves both analog and digital equipment and techniques continually working side by side. Most professional studios I have been to or researched use both types of equipment. Many of the engineers and owners I have spoken to on the subject believe that analog will continue but mainly as a front end for recording into a DAW, some believe tape will completely die out in the future due to costs and storage issues, some think analog is now all but dead. The research is for a dissertation, part of a BA in Popular Music. I have a non commercial home studio using both analog and digital equipment.

Sean G Thu, 02/18/2016 - 06:51

Ungeeignet, post: 436477, member: 49748 wrote: My name is Steve and I am conducting research into the future of recording, specifically whether that future involves both analog and digital equipment and techniques continually working side by side. Most professional studios I have been to or researched use both types of equipment. Many of the engineers and owners I have spoken to on the subject believe that analog will continue but mainly as a front end for recording into a DAW, some believe tape will completely die out in the future due to costs and storage issues, some think analog is now all but dead. The research is for a dissertation, part of a BA in Popular Music. I have a non commercial home studio using both analog and digital equipment.

Well Steve, it sounds as though you have the answers to most of your questions already.

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: 1) What is your preferred medium for recording, analog tape or digital and why?

Digital....because I don't own shares in 3M

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: 3) Is cost an issue to be debated when considering the recording medium and front end and processing equipment?

Yes, mainly because as much as I'd like to own one, I cannot afford a Neve 8078 and I like to be able to sit in my living room, as opposed to standing.

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: 2) Do you feel there is still a cold vs warm debate in terms of actual recording medium and front end and processing equipment given digital recordings progress?

That depends on whether my equipment is actually turned on or not and I have a window open...it gets pretty hot in here.

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: 4) Is storage a factor to be considered?

Yes, ever since I turned my closet into a vocal booth, storage is a factor to be considered

Sean G Thu, 02/18/2016 - 07:04

All jokes aside...

1) Digital, for the convenience of cost and space, also for the ease and speed of workflow.

2) Yes, there is some debate on analog having a warmth that digital does not IMHO. Maybe not so much for those that run a hybrid setup.

3) That depends on whether you are doing this as a living or as a hobby, although gear aquisition syndrome can effect the hobbyist as well, and how serious you take the craft can make cost a factor. Quality analog consoles and tape machines far outweigh the cost of most digital recording setups, not discounting the cost of maintaining analog equipment.

4) Not if its in the digital domain, its much easier...as long as you have a backup

5) Digital download...unless I get the bug to spend dollars on a vinyl release, I'll stick with digital.

6) Who knows that answer...its like asking how long is a piece of string...?

- And welcome to RO :D

Ungeeignet Thu, 02/18/2016 - 07:18

Sean G, post: 436480, member: 49362 wrote: All jokes aside...

1) Digital, for the convenience of cost and space, also for the ease and speed of workflow.

2) Yes, there is some debate on analog having a warmth that digital does not IMHO. Maybe not so much for those that run a hybrid setup.

3) That depends on whether you are doing this as a living or as a hobby, although gear aquisition syndrome can effect the hobbyist as well, and how serious you take the craft can make cost a factor. Quality analog consoles and tape machines far outweigh the cost of most digital recording setups, not discounting the cost of maintaining analog equipment.

4) If its in the digital domain, its much easier...as long as you have a backup

5) Digital download...unless I get the bug to spend dollars on a vinyl release, I'll stick with digital.

6) Who knows that answer...its like asking how long is a piece of string...?

- And welcome to RO :D

Thanks Sean. Q6 is probably a pointless question to be honest.

Q5: Any particular format?

Sean G Thu, 02/18/2016 - 07:42

Ungeeignet, post: 436486, member: 49748 wrote: One more question Sean.
You don't mind not owning a physical product when buying files?

I'd prefer to, as most of my music is currently on vinyl and compact disc, but with the writing on the wall for CD I think that eventually there really won't be a choice either way, except for the odd release similar to how we see the minor resurgence in vinyl at present, but I think that will be for the purists.

Ungeeignet Thu, 02/18/2016 - 07:43

Sean G, post: 436487, member: 49362 wrote: I'd prefer to, as most of my music is currently on vinyl and compact disc, but with the writing on the wall for CD I think that eventually there really won't be a choice either way, except for the odd release similar to how we see the minor resurgence in vinyl at present, but I think that will be for the purists.

Thank you very much for your responses Sean.

vibrations1951 Sat, 02/18/2017 - 06:25

DonnyThompson, post: 436473, member: 46114 wrote: Except that you have left out perhaps the most important question of all - which is odd, because its the title of your dissertation, or at least the title subject question... which is in itself nowhere to be found in any of the questions you listed; there isn't anything that mentions both formats working together, which is a very common workflow these days among professional engineers...
It seems as though your questions are geared towards an "either/or skew", except that's not what your subject is... in fact, its the exact opposite of your subject.
:confused:

@DonnyThompson Hey Donny, just doing a search for a quality conversion program for many reasons and came across your comment here. I'm using a hybrid system of Box 1 - Mac based - ALAC > analog pass >Box 2 - PC based-FLAC. I'm presently putting together my reference track library which is full of both formats a well as WAV and others..

I want them to live in both box's libraries (This may be a dumb idea, It's speculation because I haven't used this workflow enough yet.).

Anyway, WAV takes up about 2x's the space as FLAC and ALAC. I want to store my reference files as FLAC or ALAC respectively and smoothly transfer around through both.
Sooo, this is my long-winded question about which conversion program you might recommend as you seem to do this a lot?

I found Bigasoft and others but just don't know enough to make an informed purchase. Some programs convert many more file types a well, so i'm not sure if more is better in this case. I just really want something that is quality and intuitive if possible.
namaste

DonnyThompson Sat, 02/18/2017 - 09:17

vibrations1951, post: 447584, member: 34341 wrote: I found Bigasoft and others but just don't know enough to make an informed purchase.

Are you looking for a program that can batch command conversion? Or something where one file at a time can be converted?
Honestly, Namaste... I'm not sure I'm the guy you need to talk to about this... because I don't use standalone "conversion programs" per se'; instead I render a multi-mix (or 2 mix) to whatever file format I want/need at the time, from the list of available export file types in Samplitude.

I'm almost certain that 2 track editors - like Sequoia, Sound Forge and Wave-Lab all offer multiple choices for export, too... but it's been a while since I used a 2 track editor to finalize a song. Once I found out that I could do everything I needed to do without ever leaving Samplitude, those other dedicated 2 track editors I had kinda started collecting binary dust. LOL ;)

Please know that I'm not trying to be evasive; if I could answer your question I think you know I'd be happy to - it's just that there are others here on RO who would probably know a lot more than I do about particular stand-alone Windows or Mac programs for proper audio conversion to the various files ( MP3, Flac, Wave, AAC, AIFF, MPEG, Ogg Vorbis, Windows Media...) than I do.

Mostly, I output to .wav ( 24 bit outside of Samplitude, 32 bit float inside for further uses), but I have exported as Flac and AIFF, and of course, MP3 (of various rates).

The thing I know about FLAC is that it compresses the file for storage, but when the file is opened for play, it "re-inflates" ( or unzips?) to a higher resolution... I think it's actually a 44.1/16 bit WAV/PCM that it opens up to ( Redbook)... someone would have to check me on that, though.

We made FLAC available on an album I did last year, that ended up on CD Baby as one of the aggregates, along with MP3's for download. I don't recall exactly why I did, perhaps Thom Bethel ( @Thomas W. Bethel, an RO Member and the mastering engineer for that record) suggested it. Other reasons may have been because Neil Young's PONO player was making some positive noise at the time, so maybe I used FLAC as an added option for download, because that's what the PONO player uses ( or used? I'm not sure it ever ended up hitting the market or not), and I thought perhaps other players might eventually surface that would also use the FLAC format as well... although I don't know if anyone downloaded any FLAC files from the artist's CD Baby page or not.

I know that MP3's did fairly well.
CD sales were dismal.

Why don't you create a separate thread about this and see what the other guys here say.... I'd be interested to know myself. :)

-d.

vibrations1951 Sat, 02/18/2017 - 11:10

DonnyThompson, post: 447587, member: 46114 wrote: Are you looking for a program that can batch command conversion? Or something where one file at a time can be converted?
Honestly, Namaste... I'm not sure I'm the guy you need to talk to about this... because I don't use standalone "conversion programs" per se'; instead I render a multi-mix (or 2 mix) to whatever file format I want/need at the time, from the list of available export file types in Samplitude.

I'm almost certain that 2 track editors - like Sequoia, Sound Forge and Wave-Lab all offer multiple choices for export, too... but it's been a while since I used a 2 track editor to finalize a song. Once I found out that I could do everything I needed to do without ever leaving Samplitude, those other dedicated 2 track editors I had kinda started collecting binary dust. LOL ;)

Please know that I'm not trying to be evasive; if I could answer your question I think you know I'd be happy to - it's just that there are others here on RO who would probably know a lot more than I do about particular stand-alone Windows or Mac programs for proper audio conversion to the various files ( MP3, Flac, Wave, AAC, AIFF, MPEG, Ogg Vorbis, Windows Media...) than I do.

Mostly, I output to .wav ( 24 bit outside of Samplitude, 32 bit float inside for further uses), but I have exported as Flac and AIFF, and of course, MP3 (of various rates).

The thing I know about FLAC is that it compresses the file for storage, but when the file is opened for play, it "re-inflates" ( or unzips?) to a higher resolution... I think it's actually a 44.1/16 bit WAV/PCM that it opens up to ( Redbook)... someone would have to check me on that, though.

We made FLAC available on an album I did last year, that ended up on CD Baby as one of the aggregates, along with MP3's for download. I don't recall exactly why I did, perhaps Thom Bethel ( @Thomas W. Bethel, an RO Member and the mastering engineer for that record) suggested it. Other reasons may have been because Neil Young's PONO player was making some positive noise at the time, so maybe I used FLAC as an added option for download, because that's what the PONO player uses ( or used? I'm not sure it ever ended up hitting the market or not), and I thought perhaps other players might eventually surface that would also use the FLAC format as well... although I don't know if anyone downloaded any FLAC files from the artist's CD Baby page or not.

I know that MP3's did fairly well.
CD sales were dismal.

Why don't you create a separate thread about this and see what the other guys here say.... I'd be interested to know myself. :)

-d.

"Why don't you create a separate thread about this and see what the other guys here say.... "

Will do! I'd like to find the simplest method possible.

I have Nuendo 4 in the Mac setup and Samp in the PC Box. Nuendo does some conversions and I've done it, but I had to get files into my Mac first. At least that was the way I did it?? I'm really new to this.
When I get back home in a week or two I'll check out the Samplitude. I read others suggesting using Audacity. I think I may still have Audacity in my PC from a while back and perhaps that is the way to go.

Thanks much Donny

paulears Tue, 02/21/2017 - 05:38

If that dissertation is part of BA, I'm truly amazed any supervisor would let it through pre-screening. Putting my educational hat on, it's totally unsuitable for generating robust and reliable data - because the questions are biased. I have no idea of the actual subject you are studying, but there is clear and evident spin in the questions that leads me to conclude that you are hoping the results will generate evidence that analogue is better. You give biased examples and phrase questions in an inappropriate manner for serious research. You also have paid no attention to audience. Without knowing the status of your respondents you cannot know if the data is valid.

I got asked to do a questionnaire last week, that when I said yes, came to me with the name of the supervisor and clear details of the purpose. It was an excellent questionnaire and I had no doubt the results would be genuinely useful. Sadly, this one is, to be frank - a bit rubbish, and I do NOT blame you. Your lecturers and staff have failed miserably in directing you in how to carry out research at your study Level. Using one of the old tables I have, your questionnaire is running at around Level 3 - NOT Level 5/6 in any shape or description.

Closed questions, and in others, adding "why" does not guarantee an answer you can process.

I'm not being smart - but here are my genuine answers.
1) What is your preferred medium for recording, analog tape or digital and why? Digital - I no longer have any analogue recorders
2) Do you feel there is still a cold vs warm debate in terms of actual recording medium and front end and processing equipment given digital recordings progress?No
3) Is cost an issue to be debated when considering the recording medium and front end and processing equipment? No
4) Is storage a factor to be considered? No
5) Which release media do you feel are preferred and why?mp3 - because my products are downloads in the main, just a few CD requests
6) What is the immediate future of the recording industry? Healthy for the manufacturers of equipment, less healthy for the musicians and studios

I don't actually know what "the front end" means? Never heard it before, and I'm old!
The question about storage is location specific. Everyone considers it, generating a 'yes'. For me, it's not a problem - so I put No. Was this correct.

I too read your questions as things your lecturers are asking you, and you want a quick fix. It really cannot be of any use for research - it's totally random, and the poor wording generates the wrong data, like I did above.

If it's homework for BTEC or A Level (embarrassing for BA) that's why Boswell asked for your opinions - we're happy agreeing or disagreeing with your opinions, but it was phrased like you actually don't know the answers, and to be honest - they're really weird questions with extremely obvious answers, unless you ask die hard analogue folk who have a different viewpoint. I cannot imagine going back to analogue - totally mad.

You have some data now - but It's not what you expected.

DonnyThompson Tue, 02/21/2017 - 07:11

@paulears , @vibrations1951 ...

Forgetting for a moment that this thread is now a year old - and that the OP wasn't Namaste ( @vibrations1951 ), he was just adding on a few questions...
For the moment, I'll go ahead and play along for the sake of any potential future "surveys" that may appear here on RO.

I have nothing against surveys; they can be a very useful tool for learning and advancement of many different fields of study - and as long as they are well-written, unbiased, open-ended, and with all questions pertinent to the subject - I'm happy to partake.

Unfortunately, what I find most of the time is the "closed survey" that Paul mentioned ( @paulears ). I've found many recording "surveys" to be skewed, with these closed questions that do nothing to further the field of audio, but to instead further someone's agenda. So often they are biased; on a few I've read, it seemed as though they were nothing more than someone seeking confirmation as to if what they've purchased is good (or not), but mostly skewed towards "tell me this is good"...

I don't see that too much here, but it is still a very limited - and close-ended - type of questionnaire.
For example, the title of the questionnaire is "Can Digital and Analog Recording coexist?"
"Coexist"... as in functioning together.
Yet, the very first question is:

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: What is your preferred medium for recording, analog tape or digital and why?

Right there, in the very first question, we're being asked to choose between one and the other. This isn't 'coexisting".

Here's another question that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at : "Is storage a factor to be considered?" Well, first of all, it's a silly question, because of course it is. You need to find out how much storage you'll need, depending on things like SR's/BR's, how many projects you plan on archiving, how many on-going projects you'll have on one HDD, etc. This question also further skews the survey, leading the reader towards digital, because Analog recording doesn't require "storage"... unless we're talking about how many minutes are available on a reel of tape, and thus, how many songs you can record on that reel. But I don't think this is what is being asked here. It's clearly a bias towards digital.
( FWIW, a 2500' reel of tape, moving @15ips, would hold between 32 -34 minutes of recording time. It wasn't always exact, because sometimes you'd get a reel that was a bit shy, like 2490', or maybe a bit over 2500'.)

"Front End" - this is a term that is relatively new, Paul...which has become part of the vernacular since "hybrid" recording became a thing. No one talked about, or referred to a "front end" - or used the term "front load" - until it became popular to mix analog with digital gear.

I'll explain it for those who don't know why: Because back when analog ruled the studio roost, the "front end" of most any recording studio was all based around the mixing console, and while the various consoles that were popular and used all had certain "character" to them ( some very noticeable and others more subtle) it was still mostly a process of mic>console>tape machine for tracking, and tape machine>console>tape machine for mixing. While I'm sure there were some engineers who would "print" the signal through certain analog processing before the mic (or DI) signal hit the console inputs, most of the time, processing was inserted into the console, on either the track level, or, on buses.
So there was no "front end" per se' to even really talk about. The console itself was the front end. Actually, it was the centerpiece.

Ungeeignet, post: 436458, member: 49748 wrote: What is the immediate future of the recording industry?

Here's another one that made me shake my head. Define "immediate"... like this week? Next week? Next month? Next year?
Things have been moving "fast", with modeling technology ( amps, drums, keyboards, mics, preamps, processors, VSTi's, etc.) but ...then we need to define "fast".
So, this is another vague question. And are we talking about on the pro level? Or on the home studio level?

Perhaps a better way to have presented this would have been, "What do you foresee happening in pro studios in the next 2 years?'
Followed with, "What do you foresee happening in home studios over the next 2 years?"

I'm not blaming the OP for the survey, unless he wrote it, and considering that he hasn't been back to RO in a year, it wouldn't matter anyway...
More likely it was the instructor(s) who wrote this, and at that point, I think I'd have some serious doubts about them as instructors.

;)
-d.