All-Wave Recording Logo

First off, I should disclose that I used to operate a hybrid digital/analog studio.  I loved the immediacy of my analog console and I think it really helped my creative flow to not have to page through menus.

I adore the Breeders, and I’m thrilled that they’re coming out with a new record.  The thing that kills me, is that it’s a record! There’s a notion here about “All Wave” recording, wherein none of the process uses digital anything.  I’ll have to wait until I hear the album to decide if this is a good thing or not, but right now I’m a little ambivalent.  I think for the Breeders it’s appropriate, but hell, for them, it would be appropriate to sell an album they recorded live into a boombox using its built-in condenser mic.  Their music doesn’t need much to become what they wanted it to be, and I can totally understand why they’re resistant to the idea of assembling a song by digital microsurgery.

But I guess the question for me is this: Why eliminate digital entirely from the chain?  What does it add that, say, a live recording into a DAT wouldn’t?  I know there are audiophiles who have their answer, which probably involves phrases like “it really opens up the soundstage.”

But if it’s going to be consumed digitally, which will be the case for all but about thirty or forty people, then what’s the upside?

Recording in analog, sure.  Mixing in analog, I’m a big fan.  Some of my favorite mastering gear is analog too, so I can even get behind that.  But dogmatically eliminating all digital anything throughout seems to me to be a gimmicky affectation.

I admit this post is premature, as I haven’t heard the recording yet, but it doesn’t matter.  I have a lot of equipment for enjoying analog media — a USB turntable, cassette decks and so on.  But my receiver immediately digitizes everything anyway, so at this point it would be a major pain in the ass for me to listen to this record the way it was meant to be listened to, in a pure analog mode, end to end.  And that is not the way I listen to music — it’s on my iPod or in my car or wherever.  And it’s got to work wherever I am, so I’m just going to digitize it anyway.