Welcome to Dr. Analog
Welcome to the Dr. Analog pages of Musician.com, where we will answer questions, dish out informative details and delve into those aspects of recording that do not involve digital sound manipulation. Our articles will cover essential issues in analog recording and mixing, glossaries of terms you hear all the time, gear reviews to keep you plugged into the latest technology, and FAQ's to make fact-finding simple and efficient. Dr. Analog will help you make the best possible choices and recordings in any level of studio, from a modest living-room setup to that big SSL room in the sky.
Why do you even need to think about analog gear if you work exclusively on a DAW (digital audio workstation)? Well, even if you don't buy into the hype surrounding tubes and discrete transistors, you still have to get sound from the air into the computer, and that means employing microphones, preamps, equalizers and compressors before signal gets to the digital converters. You will need to do some old-fashioned knob twiddling, and we're here to help make those aspects more understandable and more fun. (Hey, why do we do this anyway?!)
As head analog doctor I am, admittedly, a carping old luddite -- I prefer a single Gates compressor from the '50s to a full rack of brand new stuff -- but that's not all I'm about. I still love to do work on my 4-track cassette, but I'm handy on a Pro Tools rig as well, so be assured that these pages won't ignore the issues that arise when Analog meets Digital. I admit that I'm happiest when a reel of 2-inch tape is whining through the guides, 24 VU meters are waving wildly and the old Neve buss meters are flatlined, but the nature of recording is changing and we will need to change with it. Prices on professional-sounding gear are coming down daily, and the equipment is better configured for the home and small studio than ever before. Ultimately, an understanding of recording technology both new and old will benefit you, the musician.
What I would like to do here is share some 17 years of experience so that you can avoid the mistakes I've made (or make them, for creative purposes) and get right down to translating your musical ideas into reality. Our pieces will go beyond the hackneyed "Do's and Don'ts" approach to give you a clear understanding of the principles behind gear and studio techniques. If we can help you understand why we do things a certain way, or how a piece of gear works, you gain the freedom to realize the full power of your equipment and your work.
Whether you are an analog purist, a vintage gear buff, or just interested in getting stuff into the computer as quickly as possible, you'll find plenty of juicy stuff in the Dr. Analog pages. Enjoy!