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Thread: Vinyl and retro technology recording studios..?

  1. #1
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    Vinyl and retro technology recording studios..?

    With the revival of vinyl records I wondered if there would be interest in a retro recoding studio where all the equipment was analogue..

    I thought some purists wouldn't like the idea of any of the music passing through the digital domain.
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  2. #2
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    Ooooh no.

    They absolute best analog system you could cram into your house in 1971 still chewed monkey butt compared to the digital recording nowadays.

    The analog hiss. On playback, at some level, you could always hear it. Unless you filter it out digitally.

    One of my neighbors growing up was a mentally deranged, trust fund supported, audiophile.
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  3. #3
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    Along the lines of what you propose there's all kinds of things:

    -many studios still have, next to their modern setup, an analog desk and multitrack tape recorder available for those projects that desire to use it
    -some studios focus solely on analog recording and vintage equipment, such as this one. Even when recording like this, it's still possible that a digital step was used before mastering for vinyl. So if you're really purist as an artist, you have to follow your recording through every step of the process.
    -there are a few very specialised studios that have an active collection of analog synths available to use in recordings, such as this one. Their Crumar Performer and Formant systems used to be mine; I still own a Maxikorg that was theirs.
    -there are one-off projects, like Dave Grohl who put an ex-studio analog desk and tape recorder in his garage to record one of the Foo Fighter albums
    -there are the more extreme projects, such as "American Epic" which used only very early recording machinery. YouTube has many fragments of that project. Fascinating.

    American Epic clearly is about the pursuit of early recording technology. Others using the best of the best analog equipment (eg the Studer studio stuff) are about getting as much of the advantages of analog with as little of the disadvantages as possible. And there's an emotional aspect to it, which always has a place in making music.
    Last edited by Nicolas; 2018-Jan-10 at 12:43 PM.

  4. #4
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    The other side is also interesting: today, you can buy a lot of music new on vinyl. Most of these recordings were made with modern technology (so quite some AD/DA conversions) and first mastered for digital mediums. Only after that it was remastered for vinyl. In the past it was the other way around; the primary master was for vinyl.

  5. #5
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    I would expect analog, meaning tape machines, would have a place in nostalgia and in their day they were very good. Even the portable recorders like the Nagra used for interviews had very little hiss or wow even before Dolby came along. I used to listen to studio speakers, big things , playing master tapes and the quality was astounding, no discernable hiss and vinyl can store that quality very accurately. Then the problems began with the mechanical stylus, plus poor storage of the discs which could distort when stored on edge, as they often were. If you made a laser stylus turntable and used virgin unplayed vinyl, all the quality would be there. Perhaps there is a market, audiophiles believe all sorts of unscientific stuff about the sounds they like. there is just as much mumbo jumbo around today in the audio world as there ever was.
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  6. #6
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    Yes, there still is a market for AAA recordings. Direct to Disc stuff. The market for laser turntables is tiny though, as the main disadvantage of the thing is that it is even more sensitive to dust and scratches. A stylus pushes small particles away, a laser reads them.

    On the recording side, the market for vintage stuff is even larger than on the listener side. If there's a lot of emotion related to music listening, image what happens when people want to make music.

    I'm not judging, I'm quite guilty on both the recording side (I have my collection of vintage synths and effects) and on the listening side (if you knew how many huge Tannoy speakers I had, you'd call my wife crazy...) but I'm no extremist in it. I record everything into a very modern, very digital "Virtual Studio" all-in-one hardware solution from Roland. My listening setup contains a CD player and I love it.

    I had an analog mixer and tape recorder for my music recordings in the past. The sound quality wasn't worse compared to what I have now (different, yes) but it mainly was cumbersome in term of recalling projects, rewinding, etc.

  7. #7
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    I sold my early 1970's stereo gear at our garage sale when we moved a couple of years ago. I was surprised how much I got for it and how thrilled the buyer was to have it. The receiver even had one channel not working.
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  8. #8
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    And good studio stuff is very expensive. Even a small vintage studer desk demands prices that make you assume you can keep the delivery van as well.

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