I see it all the time.
Literally every week, sometimes every day, someone somewhere is asking or debating:
“What’s better – analogue, or digital ?”
Do plugins sound as good as hardware, is analogue summing better than ‘in the box’, does tape add a magical “something” that you can’t get anywhere else ?
Well, I thought you might be interested to see the opinion of one of the greatest record producers of all time – Trevor Horn. The video above contains a few short extracts on this topic from the excellent two-art interview on www.recordproduction.com – and what Trevor has to say may surprise you, especially about Neve desks ! Take a look and see what you think.
(The full 50-minute interview is only one of a huge treasure-trove of fascinating videos on the site – if you’ve never been there before, go now ! Go on, click here now. You won’t regret it. Recent uploads include tutorials on micing up guitars & drums, a “round table” discussion on metal recording and production and loads more.)
And don’t imagine that Trevor’s opinion is a one-off, either – I’ve heard similar opinions expressed over and over, by many of the biggest names in the business. Some still like to work in tape and analogue when they can, but many pros say the workflow advantages of digital completely outweigh the disadvantages of working in analogue – and modern gear and software can sound amazing.
Having said all that, the interview above is from 2008. But recently my friend and old colleague Nick Watson from Fluid mastered Seal’s latest album for Trevor – and it came in on analogue tape ! Needless to say, it sounds amazing.
My personal opinion ? The whole question is a red herring. Analogue and digital are different, they both have advantages and disadvantages. You can get stunning results on either. If you have a preference, go for it.
Stop worrying, and start making more great-sounding music.