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Why on earth does it have to be vintage?

Sound people always tried to achieve the best sound. Period. Every time had its tools of the trade, had its knowledge. Be it the early days of the phonograph, recordings on steel wire and magnetic tape, the inventions of the vacuum tube and the tranistor, the mono days, the stereo revolution, … – every technology had its pros and cons, engineers of every era tried to get the most accurate sound, the best quality.

With the enormous progress of digital recording during the last decades, the industry left most of the former problems behind. We have more accuracy then ever before, we can capture a larger dynamic range then any LP or CD is capable of. The fidelity of digital audio leaves the reproduction capabilities of any existing microphone far behind. On top of that: ease of use, tremendous storing capacities, nearly endless options to manipulate the recording during post production.

Having said this, why do many engineers (and musicians) want to have the old times back? Why do we have tape emulators, analog summing, vintage gear?

Vintage is booming! – but vintage is nostalgic and sentimental, like the most part of the pop music business.

Using a tool, hardware or software, which is or tries to emulate old technology, must be carefully chosen. Engineers of the 50ies did work with analog tape and tube equipment, because it was state of the art and they did not have anything else. The current vintage boom is greatly a marketing gag. You buy a digital plugin for your digital audio software, that has mainly a vintage look. But please: listen, listen, listen!

On the other hand: When there were three tracks only, uneven colorizing mics, lousy signal to noise, and almost no post production, you had to work on the sound straight from the recording itself. That is something, we could incorporate more in modern production design, instead of following the same procedures over and over. This is especially true, when you have to a studio environment designed and geared to commercial productions. Did they ever listen to your kind of music? Do they normally record acoustic piano, jazz drums, classical strings, …?

A good sound comes from your ears. Listen, listen, listen!

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