PBS WIRED SCIENCE sat down with the members of the band Great Northern and two top recording industry engineers to see if they could tell the difference between analog and digital recordings. I had never heard of the two “top recording industry engineers” and simply was surprised they didn’t just use Ken Andrews and Steve Albini who were also interviewed for the debate. Anyone else know these veterans? I am not sure how much I believe the results. Not to mention the set up was flawed in many ways.If I was setting this test up. I’d let the listeners A/B the signals and give the option to use headphones. Sure this was meant to be more casual. But if you are doing something casual why not use regular people. You know the people who actually buy this music. But then again I am not a scientist. And that’s not what it’s about. I still find it very hard to believe that a top tier engineer couldn’t tell the difference between analog and digital in the same recording. To me, it’s so clear in the way the drums often sound. But hey, maybe it’s why I am not a “top recording industry engineer.” I also felt they were equating digital recordings to MP3s. It’s not like when a band goes in to a digital recording studio they are recording on iTunes at 128kbps. That would be like saying an analog studio is recording on a dictaphone.
And when does Steve Albini say anything that isn’t just asinine? When will he get it through his thick analog head that digital is not a replacement for analog recording systems and it has it’s own merit? It’s simply another means to capture audio. Albini is the king of audist behavior. It’s like diesel and unleaded. Is either better? Red and Blue. Film and Digital cameras. Classrooms and Online Classes. Christianity and Buddhism. It’s not better it’s not worse. It’s not “vs.” – it’s “and”. It’s not a contest. It’s not a game. It’s what works for you. And doesn’t make the other one less. Each has it’s benefits and it’s limitations. And newsflash Albini, even analog has it’s weaknesses. It’s true.
And I still can’t stand the way Albini’s drums sound so goddam chalky. It will be the day when Albini includes some high-end frequencies in his drums.
This past week and last has been spent almost entirely on the acoustics and design of the studio. It’s incredible how quickly Emily can learn. She’s a sponge. She’s learned almost everything I’ve learned over the past 15 years in a few days. Sure she’s learned it in a text book manner and has a narrow practical application. But I take that back. She did take sound classes in college. Tell me your wife knows the acoustical properties of a contact mic?! But it still ceases to amaze me. She’s like the Prince of processing and interpreting information. We’re a perfect team. Perfect.
But I do have to say, we are getting there. We’re so close to breaking ground. (Thanks Al for helping us move a lot of the gear to the 2nd floor.) We had an initial design where we had the actual studio (where the musicians/artists play) in the middle room what was more square. And the control room would be west of that. The main problem with that design was that the control room would have been in a room with a depth of about 9 feet. So after talking with John Sayers and a bunch of our studio and engineer friends, we decided (like we had originally thought at day one) using the middle, more square room as the control room where the depth would be more reasonable at about 12 feet, including our built out double walls and acoustical treatments. So yes, it does suck and it’s mildly frustrating to go back to square one, but it’s better to do this now than 6 months from now after we’re bringing in clients.