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Author Topic: Gear snobbery: Digital VS Analog  (Read 7779 times)
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Andrew McIntosh
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« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2016, 01:53:12 AM »

Ever since more recent acquisitions I am all about digital synths. Small, cheap, easy to transport, sound great - that argument, as far as I'm concerned, is long over. As Pax Chetyorka said on the mini synth thread, "(y)ou can really ditch analog purism with no regrets".

I use digital effects units anyway - one time a reviewer thought I was using soft synths on a recording when it was just lead buzz through a Zoom with direct input into the soundcard. We all love filth and violence but I've come to also love cleanliness and violence. Harsh, cold, cutting, non-human sound...

About Sam's point re sound sources - I'm not against it but I'm also a big fan of the gear being the dictator. I know that seems lazy. But I think there's a lot to be said for being merely the operator of the machinery, depending on the concept and situation. I think it leads to the old, old argument re analog/digital over who's actually "playing" their gear and who's just turning it on, which is where a lot of snobbery comes from.
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« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2016, 03:29:49 AM »

My thought is, if you care about actually exploring every dimension of sound, why would you discount an entire field of sound sources? On the subject of laptops, I thought they were garbage as well up until I witnessed two absolutely brutal, room dominating, energetic sets from Andrea Pensado and Dreamcrusher that would've been impossible without laptops. The secret is that they were performers, not just operators.
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Bleak Existence
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« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2016, 07:04:41 PM »

Analog fx for me raw source or digital i do not care very much and yeah less is more that's my opinion and choice
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2016, 07:36:34 PM »

For me, using all digital devices and proper software is all i can have for now. I simply can't afford analog parts of the sets (which not means i don't want to try them in the future) but honestly: Software gives a lot more of freedom, you have actually all I need to do a proper noise, all the synths, granulizers, reverb/delay plugins, it's all here and the secont thing (somebody mentioned that) easy transport and things. But connecting this with recordings of things you can find at home or with analog recordings is also a great idea.

Basically, fuck your gear and give me entertainment!
I agree... no matter what you use, making a good show is important
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Euro Trash Bazooka
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« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2016, 08:37:47 PM »

I made some recordings with laptops only, and now I use them sometimes but I try to use my analog gear as much as possible. Laptops can do plenty of things but I don't like digital cleanliness. Moreover, I actually enjoy PLAYING music. I have fun fiddling with my MS20 during band practice much more than if I only sat behind a computer clicking on stuff.

I can relate to the music (or noise) I create with my analog synths much more "physically" than if I made that music with a laptop. The sound is never identical because I refuse to use presets and tweaking knobs is much funnier than clicking on things. It also feels rougher around the edge because it's all natural and  "brutal" cut-ups when I assemble everything, and I even try to not use effect pedals anymore, unless they're very good analog ones. I like pushing an instrument to its limits and I want to do the same thing to my synths as when I bash a drumkit like a caveman or bleed on the strings of my bass. Have you ever tried bashing or bleeding on a laptop? So there's the whole "physical" performance aspect in it as well as the sound one in the end. I have a meta boner when I hear my 4-track distort because it goes in the red and I then tweak some random knob to alter its distortion and the way it affects the tape the music is being recorded on, and then I push a random knob in my Kawai and the synth goes all freaky, and then I try to recreate that patch my mate and I found awesome last time we practices but it somehow doesn't really sound the same this time, and it gives a new life to this song we're working on and it makes us improvise and experient that cool thing that just happens once in the heat of the moment, etc... And that's a thing I don't know how to do with a laptop. I like wild guitars and sweat, not fucking Santana.

I want to go the furthest possible but with the purest sound possible for MY music. Because otherwise I get bored creating it or playing it. 
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« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2016, 08:44:06 PM »

Also, this is not me being a digital snob (ok, a little bit), but more me wanting to play an instrument and record it in a way that feels "natural" instead of nerding out with 312,4 tracks on Samplitude or Cubase or whatever. I need intuitive shit that gives a result almost right away, I don't want to do maths. I feel like a lot of analog gear, if carefully chosen, can give you nice results and I like using that moment when the sound breaks or goes odd or away from what it's supposed to be like, whereas it can't happen with a machine that works in a binary way. That's why we get into circuit bending  for instance! But that's only my way of seeing it. 
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« Reply #21 on: July 08, 2016, 11:51:15 PM »

About Sam's point re sound sources - I'm not against it but I'm also a big fan of the gear being the dictator. I know that seems lazy. But I think there's a lot to be said for being merely the operator of the machinery, depending on the concept and situation. I think it leads to the old, old argument re analog/digital over who's actually "playing" their gear and who's just turning it on, which is where a lot of snobbery comes from.

I used to own a 24 channel Studiomaster and it was like that. You went where the mixer wanted the sound to go rather than you taking it where you wanted it. Any attempt to take control of a mix would fail by sounding shit so handing the reigns back to the mixer and it eventually took you to something that sounded good. I sold the cunt in the end of being too big and also in need or a proper service I wasn't prepared to give it. Good sounding machine which I managed a few good recordings on.

For those who don't know that particular brand it's very much an acquired taste with a cult following. Studiomaster fanatics swear by it while others avoid it like the plague. I have nothing bad to say about it and it was an interesting experience but one I won't return to again.
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« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2016, 08:06:36 PM »

Having worked with a digital setup of laptop and handheld recorder for a number of years, changes in my job have allowed me to start investing in items of analogue gear one at a time, and what really strikes me is the sense of tactile involvement in the sound and the physical sense of electricity pulsing in the devices. I know that's not particularly rational, but that sense of liveness in the electronics has definitely made a big difference to how I approach the sound for recording. Previously I'd just be doing field recordings/junk recordings at home with the portable recorder and trying to wring as many different qualities of sound as possible out of an object and then doing a distinctly dissociated postmortem of it in the sequencer afterwards, experimenting with digital effects chains. It's definitely nice to be able to achieve good results in a single process and respond more to sound intuitively in something much more closely resembling its finished form. I still work very heavily with field recordings but that's an aspect of analogue gear I'm particularly relishing.

On a different note, one thing I've worried about since starting to acquire analogue gear is that I used to have to work harder to generate the sounds I wanted, and to think more creatively about sources. For a few years I had a habit of recording any interesting sounding extractor fan I passed just because those could usually be relied upon to provide a viable alternative to synth drones. Now I actually have a synth I'm quite conscious of trying to avoid stock sounds and still pursue an individual spin on what the equipment can do, but I'm still concerned that the limited resources I had before pushed me to use more ingenuity and that I'm potentially missing some of that now. 
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calaverasgrande
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« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2016, 12:21:08 AM »

I actually went to audio engineering school. For my master thesis I sincerely tried to write a paper on 'Analog better than Digital'. Or something else as naive and stupid.
I fired up the percolator and spent about 5 days in a row writing before I realized this was a stupid fucking thesis. I freaked out and rode downtown to beg my prof to let me change my thesis!

I have spent most of my life being an avowed analog and tube gear aficionado. But what I realized when writing my paper, and with just about every experience in performing and recording is that there is nothing pure. You glorious tube amp is being miced up and amplified (or recorded) through a solid state mixer, amps and/or recorder.
The modular 'analog' synths that are all the rage these days contain a lot of microprocessors. Some are arduino type multipurpose chips that can serve almost any purpose.

I kind of like to wring the most out of the analogness of my gear. Then when I get it into my computer I deliberately emphasize the strengths of digital recording. Both as a medium and as a platform for manipulation.

I also have to say that when I've been separated from my noisemakers I can do just fine making sounds in my computer.  The analog hardware I own is faster and more immediate to use, since it has knobs and buttons instead of a screen. But there are, for example, endless goddamn synths in Logic Pro. As well as plenty of effects to manipulate those sounds further.
I'd also point out some boxes like the Elektron Machinedrum. A virtual synth in a hardware box that is nominally for making 'beatz'. But it also has all kinds of ways you can uglify the various sounds. And even has pure sine and noise available. Certainly digital as heck, but to ignore that device because of this shortcoming would be snobbery.


 I defy anyone to tell my analog shit from my completely in the box shit.
I can't even tell.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 12:29:08 AM by calaverasgrande » Logged

tiny_tove
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« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2016, 09:40:10 AM »

excellent post.
 no more, no less.
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Marko-V
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« Reply #25 on: July 17, 2016, 11:38:14 AM »

enough said
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