TIPPINST – Neil Young has always maintained that something is lost in digital recording studios when compared to the analog process.
“Digital has gotten really good, but it’s never going to be analog,” says Lou Reed. “People who want a vintage sound are going to have a problem.”
Rolling stone magazine carried a story about Quantegy, the last company in the U.S. to manufacture the magnetic tape used for studio analog recording, shut its doors. Artists such as Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch worried about the loss of a “warmer sound”. I would agree with the above sentiments and for my birthday recently Breda bought me a steepletone reproduction 1960’s three speed record player. A few transactions later on E-bay I had my hands on Neil Young’s Harvest, Eric Clapton’s slow hand and a few Beatles albums.
The sound was better than I expected and I also noticed another interesting side effect. With Vinyl it requires a bit of effort to play individual tracks or mix them. In fact it is far more likely to play the full side of the record. Listening to several tracks in the sequence that they were meant to be listened to gave me a total different experience and appreciation for the album. For example Eric Claptons album “Slow hand” and has two different ‘moods’ side 1 starts off with Cocaine, Wonderful tonight. Side two kicks off with The core and ends up with peaches and Deisel.
I was interested to see if my perception of this was unique or a common experience and from speaking to Mike Kiely who teaches the radio and video production subject on our Bsc in multimedia and communications I discovered that I was not alone. Mike pointed out that studies had been carried out in the past where albums were played in the order that they were mean’t to be played and another group would listen to the same album with the tracks mixed. The perception of the album was quiet different.
So these Ipod’s, shuffles etc while nice are maybe not delivering the full experience that the bands wanted you to have.
So its back to vinyl and buying the albums that were recorded and produced to be listened on vinyl not mp3, wav, oggi or whatever other file format that’s out there.
25 May 2005