[LAU] Pro Audio? OT rant.

Al Thompson althompson58 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 29 15:05:32 UTC 2012

On 12/29/2012 06:27 AM, Fons Adriaensen wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 09:03:32PM -0500, Al Thompson wrote:
>> And every extra circuit you cram in the signal chain merely ads noise,
>> distortion, and other coloration.  Who can forget the debates about
>> whether the CONVENIENCE of CAM was really worth the unavoidable
>> degradation in quality due to the VCAs most consoles used.  If a
>> defective component (fader, pot) is adding noise or distortion, then it
>> should be replaced, and not used as "justification" that digital is better.
> The only 'justification' is that such maintenance can be extremely
> expensive and in many cases almost impossible or impractical, in
> the case of single PCB mixers for example. If you want regular
> maintainance, the extra cost of modular equipment pays off rather
> fast.
> Also a switch or pot doesn't have to be really defective, in many
> cases this is a sort of degradation that goes unnoticed for a long
> time. The point I wanted to make is that much supposedly superior
> analog equipment is real life less perfect that it is believed to be.
> There's nothing 'musical' to the type of distortion caused by a dirty
> switch.

I agree.  But I also still stand by my opinion that if you are comparing
audio quality of analog vs. digital you can't use "good quality digital"
vs. "defective analog" as your comparison systems.

The major area of advantage of digital over analog is that of cost.  For
well under $1k, you can get a fully digital recording system (a PC) that
is a multi-track recorder, tons of effects, that has respectable specs. 
That same money buying analog will get you a Tascam Portastudio and one
cheap effects unit.  Comparing the audio of a DAW system to that of a
Portastudio shows the obvious price advantage.

However, if you remove the cost element from the argument, and compare a
QUALITY analog recording system to a digital system, the analog system
sounds vastly better.  It's just going to be out of the reach of most of
us here, and is going to be much larger.

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My blog, with commentary on a variety of things, including audio,
mixing, equipment, etc, is at:
Staat heißt das kälteste aller kalten Ungeheuer.  Kalt lügt es auch;
und diese Lüge kriecht aus seinem Munde: 'Ich, der Staat, bin das Volk.'
                                                - [Friedrich Nietzsche]

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