I have been working on a project with my new band, The Bloody Angle. We are tracking and mixing entirely in the analog realm. All the performances going down to 2″ tape, then mixed through the Trident 80B to 1/2″ master. No computers involved, other than to keep track sheets. We are going to go from the 1/2″ master straight to vinyl. Of course, we will have it mastered for digital delivery as well, but that will be the first A/D conversion.
I had forgotten how sweet analog sounds. A good machine, aligned properly just makes me smile. The sound is clear, but warm, and has a depth of field that digital still just cannot reproduce. The drums, especially cymbals, sound so sweet. I always find myself mitigating the harshness of cymbals somehow when mixing digitally. Not here. Crank ’em up!
The other thing I love about analog is that it forces you to get your performances right. No more “do a hundred takes, then let the engineer/ producer stitch it all together”. In fact, we are trying as much as possible to get full takes, with the whole band playing, for the initial rhythm tracks, and are even trying to get overdubs done in full takes as much as is reasonable. We are working hard to allow ourselves to let small things go… these little errors and fluctuations in timing, pitch, and intonation are what makes music human. It’s not supposed to be perfect.
I sat on a panel at a music conference a couple years ago with a couple hot shot “major” producers. I brought up this idea regarding perfection vs. imperfection, and how I thought all the editing and “assembled” music was ruining the craft of songwriting and recording. They got all ruffled and huffy. “Give the people what they want” they said. Fuck that. Give the people what they *need*. And IMO, what they need is real, human performance. Just sayin’.