Tape Op is one of the best music magazines out there. Even if you’re not a recording engineer, the interviews and articles give you a different perspective on the music you love. Best of all: it’s free. There’s a great interview with Elliot Mazer in the Jul/Aug issue, where he talks about being “Neil Young‘s producer” among lots of other things. It’s interesting that the guy who recorded the ultimate analog album (Harvest, recorded mostly live in Mazer’s leaky home studio and then back in Neil’s barn), has such strong feelings about digital recording:
I’m happy that I will never, ever have to record onto another analog multitrack tape again. They are not neutral and have a flavor and change their character. Magnetic tape deteriorates with time and use and the top end goes away. [This is debatable. -ed.] There are all kinds of problems. The speed by which you can record, mix and process is much slower with analog. It’s the same with film vs. digital photography. You take some pictures. You take the roll out of the camera, mark what the roll is, send it to the lab, have a lab send it back, look at the negatives and make prints. There’s a built-in delay due to the technology of the process itself. It’s much more immediate with something like ProTools or Logic. It’s possible in our world, as it is in the world of photography, to make bigger files, which will look and sound better – and to make bigger files using a better analog/digital converter or a better lens or whatever. I see great similarities between both those worlds. I think convenience trumps quality, which is why the iPod is such a huge success. iTunes software is very helpful to me. It’s helpful if I’m doing files at 24/96 or AAC files. The software doesn’t care. The organization tools are really nice and Apple does a nice job suppoerting that software and those devices. I love big files and high sample rates and all that, but I have a lot of iPods for various projects that I am working on.
If guys like this have given up on analog, is there any hope for its future? And does that even matter anymore?