Producers Today Must Navigate the Divide Between Digital and Analog – Do You Know What Works For You?
In today’s modern studio, there is a divide between Analog and Digital. However, that divide is getting blurrier with every new product that reaches the market. Determining your workflow is an important step in setting yourself up for success in the studio – do you know what balance you want?
What is “Real” Anymore?
This question may sound slightly sarcastic – but it’s actually a very valuable conversation to have. As you read through the endless threads on sites like Gearslutz.com, you read comments like “you used a virtual instrument for the drums and want a better sound? Record real drums with a real drummer, it’s the only way to make it sound REAL.”
Now, whether you agree with that statement or not, it’s an interesting discussion to have. If you use plug-ins that are models of analog equipment, is it real? Does it matter?
When you look at new tools like the Slate Digital Virtual Microphone System, you start to see the true power of digital systems that emulate analog, vintage gear.
With the entire ecosystem accounted for, this microphone system makes emulation a very accurate process. With an artful ear behind the emulations, you’re left with an awesome tool for getting a ton of analog sounds through a digital system.
Choosing Your Workflow
It’s not very important that you use “all vintage analog gear” in your recording. Honestly, it doesn’t matter at all.
What does matter is that it sounds good. So if you’re able to achieve that through a digital hybrid system, why wouldn’t you?
Whether you get a good sound through the VMS, or if you’d rather record through a different mic and use other plug-ins – the goal is to get a great sound.
My recommendation is to figure out what works for you: experiment with what you have and focus on the end result, not the tools you’re using. Stay focused on the sound, since that’s what matters in the end.
Dean Palya Jr is the Director of Digital Media at Westlake Pro and a producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in LA. He works with artists of all genres and loves taking a creative vision and turning into reality. When he isn’t producing music or videos about pro audio, he enjoys exploring new places and binge watching Netflix shows. Check out his website here.