Entering analog studio vs. digital

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Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby ArchEnnui on Fri Mar 19, 2010 8:22 pm

Greetings,

My band wants to record some tracks, and we were thinking about doing it at our local studio which is full of old-ish, vintage equipment. But our other slightly cheaper option is to go with an all pro-tools digital studio at a friend's.

Is it worth going into the studio for the older gear?

http://www.plug-inhomerecording.com/show.php?e=26 This is a small goings-over of what they have.

We play in a Sunny Day Real Estate, Far, Jimmy Eat World style.

Thank you.
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby demonufo on Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:22 pm

ArchEnnui wrote:Greetings,

My band wants to record some tracks, and we were thinking about doing it at our local studio which is full of old-ish, vintage equipment. But our other slightly cheaper option is to go with an all pro-tools digital studio at a friend's.

Is it worth going into the studio for the older gear?

http://www.plug-inhomerecording.com/show.php?e=26 This is a small goings-over of what they have.

We play in a Sunny Day Real Estate, Far, Jimmy Eat World style.

Thank you.


More importantly, who is the better engineer? Or the engineer that you see more 'eye to eye' with?
I like decent vintage gear, but you've still got to know how to use it.
Git orffff moi lannnddddd!!

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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby Mr. Arkadin on Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:43 pm

No listing of what's available (at least I did not see one) is a big turn off for me. I use analog 2" tape and digital. Both can be made to sound good and both can sound really poor depending on who is turning the knobs. Instead of spending money in someone else's studio, why not buy a decent digital setup and do it yourselves?
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby MichaelE on Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:57 pm

It would be well worth visiting each studio and asking to hear a few mixes from the engineer who will be tracking you.

I'm working with 1/2" analog, never tried digital before. You can do a lot of fancy editing with digital that you can't do with analog unless you dump the mix into a box (which gives me shudders just thinking about). If you are recording with strictly analog, have you act together before you even set foot in the tracking room.
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby selloutrr on Sat Sep 11, 2010 11:19 pm

Here I'll make the decision very easy for you.
How good are you?
Can you play the songs perfect everytime?
Can you drummer and bass player play in time? Be honest.
Every pass you record on analog tape takes away from the fidelity.
30ips on a 2" gives you ~15 min of tape $250 15ips ~25min plus test/ calibration tones.

If you need to be pitch corrected or time aligned.
Protools is the better choice.
I'm assuming the Protools rig is HD?
Digital... $100 for the hard drive.
Make sure you ask which drive to buy before the session and buy two one as a backup.

I prefer to mix on an analog SSL 4000G+ console, but I could care less if I track to tape or Protools as long as I have Quality Preamps and Microphones.

With that said.. If the digital studio lacks the ability to record 16 tracks or more at a time or does not have high quality mics and preamps I would pass.
A common problem is just becuase a someone has a protools rig they thinks they have a studio but they never invest in the front end that makes or breaks a great sounding album.

It does matter who engineered but if you have amazing mics and preamps the session will sound great with very little effort.

PLUG IN's DO NOT SOUND LIKE THE ACTUAL GEAR THEY MODEL! but if you know the limitations you can make them sound great!
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby rodb on Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:09 am

I own a for profit digital studio and as much as I would like to have tape capabilities, it's just not feasible because of tape costs and recorder maintenance and skill level of my customers.

I can do 18 tracks at once but have never used more than 14 at once in 7 years of recording, the engineer and mics make all the difference, not what software/hardware they use, I don't use Pro-Tools as it's to locked into it's own hardware and native plug-ins plus it's way to expensive.

If you go analog you will lose on the fly editing and precise punch-ins until after the transfer to digital, if you go digital you will lose the natural tape compression you get with tape (not a big deal to me, but it is to some).

Unless you are massively tight as a band and have a bigger budget, I would go digital
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby selloutrr on Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:15 am

It's not hard to do punch in's on Professional analog tape machines.

I agree will most everything you said, except the part about not running protools.

The reason Protools is a MUST HAVE! it's the industry standard. This means you can track in the studio with the best mics and preamps and then take the session to the guy with the most plug in's or large format mixing console to mix.

The problem with using software other then protools you are limited to using that studio from start to finish or you may have a heck of a time finding another studio running the same software. Since the iLock has been hacked plug in costs are no longer an issue. Avid stopped putting money into R&D for the HD as of may 2010. They are working on a new faster platform for running the larger plugins. Protools is not cheap but it's the cost of doing business, recording studio's have never been cheap, you can hear the harshness in the cheaper equipment, it's sad but this is one business you get what you pay for. I think it's great music production has become affordable for artist, but the over saturation of make shift studios has killed the market. I can't think of a piece of gear under $1000 now that would be considered professional. Maybe the Yamaha REV7?, but it was built as a consumer live sound FX processor.
The old MIX TDM system fully loaded is dirt cheap you can track at 24 bits with the 6.4 version and then take it to an HD rig to mix. You just can't go down from HD to TDM. You can import Reason, Cubase and Logic audio .wave files into Protools but it requires software that is not always 100% correct something things get fragmented.

As a band I would only pay to use Protools HD version 8 or better or not bother wasting my time or money.

I would look for a studio with at least stereo chs of either of these (Neve; 1272,1290,1073,1081 API 312/512 Trident B range Universal Audio 610 Avalon 737) basically if they sport Behringer, mackie, things you can buy from Guitar Center or Sweet water. Don't bother. All that is consumer grade gear. I've got around $1million in studio equipment I wouldn't have invested that if I could get the same quality product for $30K.
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby selloutrr on Sun Sep 12, 2010 3:33 am

No matter which way you go if/ when you go in the studio make sure you bring:

Extra drum heads!!! at least one of each. It always happens on a sunday late at night the drummer breaks an odd sized head. I've had drummer put the beat through the kick drum, they get excited and want to do great. they hit harder then usual do at practice or live. The reason a hard hit is great in the studio. this gives a consistant tone and maximun SPL so the engineer can push levels and not get surprise peaks.

Extra Guitar/Bass Strings!!! same reasons most studios have basic supplies on hand but you will be charged MRSP or more for them.

Leave the wife, GF, Stripper, Hookers, and friends at home. Times money and it's your money don't get distracted. You will have plenty of time to party when you show off the music you recorded.

Show up 15 min early, the clock doesn't start when you arrive if you booked a session at 8am and you show up at 9 you are paying for the hour you didn't use. It's time they could have booked.

Get rest the night before. If you are the singer don't go out and drink heavy.

don't get discouraged or frustrated if your playing is not perfect, it's a different experience playing in parts and listening through headphones. keep your attitude possitive and try again. The "i did it in one take" is not your goal.

Have your songs finalized and bring in a lyric sheet and structure sheet with chord changes the studio is a very $$$ place to start writing songs.
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby plexi on Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:00 am

I can do anything that analog studio can and then some with what I have. The truth is, both Digital and Analog are needed. Some Sorted outboard hardware and the right software, your set. Here is my rig and it is combined with a 64 bit native DAW (Logic), Superior Drummer also 64 bit and some amazing plugins that are very much on par with the best of hardware.

Remember, I am a TUBE AMP BUILDER, so I don't sway easy on digital. I also know what is what. The PCM96 plus my Lexicon Native verbs and a convulsion verb is pretty much on par with the best of the old school hardware products. The distressors can be dialed in to behave like a lot of classic compressors,, the Fatso is an excellent Tape simulator and compressor with the Tranny giving unparalleled harmonics. My DBX 160 SL blue series is freaking insane, I use it on the master sometimes and Good Mic preamps with a good converter, your pretty much on par with a TDM PT system now with 64 bit. I run an Dual Quad Core with 16 Gigs or ram and 4TBs of HD. Adding the LYNX Studio Aurora 16 was major. I work at 96k and it is really amazing how much more open and clear it sounds in my opinion.

I believe in Hardware, it has a major role in good recording. I also believe to over look the sheer POWER of digital would be remiss.

I also can run all the audio through a set of Pentode preamps with a transformer output and add boat loads of harmonics if I wanted. At the end of the day, companies like ANAMOD, Empirical Labs and hosts of others are really making Digital more Analog sounding if one wants that. The fact is, no one system is perfect but if you have a decent studio and you can walk out of there with a good end product, then your where you need to be. Leave room for the mastering house.

The only thing I cannot stand is Keyboard plugins that emulate guitars. They always sound like crap. My opinion.
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Re: Entering analog studio vs. digital

Postby lexicondevil on Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:53 pm

I know that this is late, but none of that cool old Analog gear is worth beans unless it's properly maintained. With Digital, you simply set the sample rate and bit depth and record. with Analog, you have to set up the tape machines, with includes setting the bias circuit on the machine to the tape that you're using, and the speed that you're going to be tracking at as well as making sure that the heads are properly aligned. Recording on a computer is easier, and the results can get quite close to that of a properly maintained analog studio. --Generally speaking because of the tape costs and maintenance involved, Analog is a more expensive proposition.
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