[LAU] Pro Audio? OT rant.

Monty Montgomery xiphmont at gmail.com
Tue Dec 25 02:11:31 UTC 2012

> After a lifetime of listening to tape saturation and harmonics from tube
> coloration, accuracy is so...boring.

> * Now, in the 2000's, we have the so-called "loudness wars," in which every
> commercial production house seems mentally driven to make dynamic range a
> thing of the past.  Since the albums of this era are seldom put out on
> vinyl, this guarantees that the follies of the 2000's will not taint vinyl's
> good reputation for excellent production (even if the reasons have nothing
> to do with vinyl).

These two things are not unrelated.  :-)

Also, the loudness wars are nothing new.  Everyone noticed long ago
that louder recordings sold more records.  Even in the 1950s, pop acts
pushed mastering engineers to make a recording as loud as possible.
Bob Ludwig tells some good stories about this.

The only reason it didn't get really bad until the 1990s/2000s was
limitations in the technology.  Digital techniques took the brakes

> * Recording and mastering from multitrack tape to vinyl is a process that is
> over eighty years old.  There has been time for masters to learn from
> masters, and for their masters to learn from other masters.
> * Digital recording and mastering to CD on the other hand has been a comedy
> of errors since the day it came out

The early days of tape and vinyl were no monument to best practices.
Digital is still suffering from engineers practicing out of
superstition rather than knowledge, but it's still come of age much
faster than vinyl did.

> In the 80's, people were using terrible
> analog/digital converters

The convertors were not as advanced, but they exceeded the preceeding
analog technology in every way.

> * In the 90's, analog/digital converters continued to be horrible

I rather disagree.  They're not as textbook perfect overkill as they
are now, but the technology was already fully modern by the mid 90s.

Setting aside bugs of course. Eg, ESS stumbled badly a few times in
the early days.


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