DAT......CD-R(w), 15 bit sampling.....etc. etc. etc.
Digital technology.....progress....state of the art...wave of the future...here...today...now....the hot new format.
Or is it?
While there is no debate about the technological advances of digital recording, I can't help but wonder if, like the DotCom rage, if digital recording is simply a trendy fad that will eventually simmer to "niche" status in the future and "tried and true" methodlogy will prevail again. And that is to say nothing of the legal battles plaguing digital recording.
Digital recording is great because of perfect bit for bit cloning of sound. Sequencing and sampling, overdubs, etc. can be done flawlessly and with little effort. But if anyone that is familiar with both formats will tell you, digital recording (dubbing and live) simply cannot produce the "warm, natural" sound of analog (tape) recording. Again, you need to be familiar with both formats to know what I am referring to.
I frequently visit professional audio shops (Sam Ash, Guitar Center, Coast Recording, Pro Sound, etc.) and when talking with both other customers and sales staff, they all tell me the same thing: they wish they could find some good analog equipment (preferably reel to reels) to mix down their digital sources and give that analog feel.
Unfortunately, in their effort to be "new and hip", all of the manufacturers have gone all digital. Good cassette recorders are rare, and I know of no open reel recorders left in production.
When I tell people that I am the proud owner of 6 very nice reel to reel machines, I almost have to wipe the drool off their mouth. I've been offered some very good sums of money to part with one of them.
Could this mean that there may be a renaissance in the pipeline for analog and open reel recording again?
If these few and chance meetings I have suggest the demand, how much more is there that I don't know of? Maybe if Teac/Tascam, Denon, or one of the other high end manufacturers get wind of this, they could consider re-introducing a few updated analog open reel recorders.
But don't listen to what the Marketing or Focus groups have to say. They are usually the last to know what's really going on at the grass roots level, and are almost always out of touch with reality. They need to spend a little less time tinkering with "revenue enhancement macro templates" and a little more time hanging around the actual consumers.
I would like to get your take on this. I especially would like to hear Superfly's thoughts.
I don't think that Digital is going to go away by any means. But perhaps there will be room for both formats to exist.