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My band is getting ready to hit the studio to make another CD. We are a traditional blues band and we are debating whether to go digital or analog. We have access to tape should we decide to go that route. Our first CD was recorded live at a club and was done digitally. Unfortunately, the fellow who engineered it passed away suddenly so we're looking for a new studio. My personal opinion is that the engineer is more important than the medium but a couple of the guys are worried that a digital recording will be too "sterile." It seems to me that a good engineer with a good ear will have more flexibility if we go digital but I'm having a hard time convincing these guys. If any of you can help me out, I'd appreciate it.

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In my humble experience you can obtain the best of both worlds if you use some good analog gear patched in the send/returns of the mixer.

I own / operate a Panasonic DA7 digital mixer and have interfaced it with some good analog outboard - not necessarily expensive, just "good sounding".

It brings back the "warmth" (which is just pleasing distortion - but who cares?) which otherwise would be missing.

Ask your engineer to run some nice analog comps on the busses and maybe a touch of an outboard piece called "FATSO" (manufactured by Empirical Labs) on the final mix. You'll end up getting back "that vibe".

Digital is a great medium for all the editing - I wouldn't diss it alltogether.

IMVHO and YMMV, etc.

JJ Paul

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I'll say go for analog, but find also a good engineer!

I have done both, but the sounds you'll get from an analog recording will fit you much better then digital...if you are playing blues.

Analog has more low and also much nicer high frequences....The bigger the tape the better the sound....so that means a 2 inch tape.

In our studio we did compare our recordings through several systems....and I am for sure with your kinda music you wanna go analog.....I was even considering to bring my music out on vinyl:)))

My 2 cents


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I'm definately not an expert but the first CD project I was involved in we recorded it digital then mixed it to analog. It gave the whole thing a warm analog sound while we were able to retain the advantages of digital. Today the advantages are even more as a lot of editing and "fixing" can be done on the computer.

I think you are right in saying that a lot of it is in the person you go with more than whether it is analog or digital. The mic used means a lot, the mic placement means a lot, the mixing means a lot... all things gained from experience.

Good luck!!

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This whole Analog vs Digital thing is sounding like a broken record. Each medium has it's own qualities & characteristics and both can sound good or bad. In this day & age, the analog argument is losing validity as most big name engineers have moved away from it. The argument that Blues will sound better on analog is a load of crap. I have a very nice studio which has evolved over the years from 100% analog to a DAW with very nice analog preamps & compressors. In addition to that, I am a blues player. My music sounded good on my old analog rig and it sounds good today tracked & mixed on my DAW. The bottom line is that the engineer will be the key to a quality recording, not the medium.

Find an engineer with the sound you are looking for and don't pay attention to what he is using to record you.

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