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Classic/reference albums that were primarily digital?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Classic/reference albums that were primarily digital?

I constantly find myself thinking I need new outboard or a tape machine etc. it doesn’t help that most of my favorite albums are tape era. What are some benchmark albums that spent most of their time in the digital domain, particularly the multitrack and master? I’d like to compile a nice playlist of digital excellence. It’s certainly easy to find gold standards for old school methods.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SPARS_code

Very interesting bit on the codes used to capture how recording was done (along with a long list of examples).
Old 4 weeks ago
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There’s frankly enough DDD on there just from the 80’s to say I should never really worry about it. Would still love to know of more though.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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🎧 15 years
Not one of my personal references, but I would bet more than 50% of the audio engineers I know would cite Donald Fagen's The Nightfly as one of their personal references.
Old 4 weeks ago
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avare's Avatar
 
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I am not clear on what you actually seeking but Rumours and Tusk ring bells as earlier pop music classics. By 81 there were several releases by Stevie Wonder done with the Sony system.

Denon has been making digital recordings since the early seventies.

It is up to you to define classics etc.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare ➡️
I am not clear on what you actually seeking but Rumours and Tusk ring bells as earlier pop music classics. By 81 there were several releases by Stevie Wonder done with the Sony system.

Denon has been making digital recordings since the early seventies.

It is up to you to define classics etc.
Rumours and Tusk would have both been recorded to tape for both tracking and mix down though no?

I’m just curious what renowned albums, like aforementioned Nightfly, were largely captured in the digital realm. I guess I am more focused on the capture medium, as mixing ITB at a high level is a very recent phenomenon.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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Night and Day - Joe Jackson. The follow up Body and Soul, is on Bob Katz’s honor roll of dynamic/reference albums (though I don’t prefer the songs on that one, personally).
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #8
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avare's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmfreeland ➡️
Rumours and Tusk would have both been recorded to tape for both tracking and mix down though no? .
The thread topic is digital. I am replying to that. Beyond that the nebulous classic reference. The Fleetwood Mac albums (wanna push oldies?) are among the popular top 1000 lists.

I remember hearing the digital multitrack recordings at the 3M suite at AES.
Old 4 weeks ago
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Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain is a great-sounding record made all digitally in 1982. I think it was actually the first major record recorded without tape.

So…that’s 40 years of proof that tape isn’t necessary!
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lobsterinn ➡️
Billy Joel’s The Nylon Curtain is a great-sounding record made all digitally in 1982. I think it was actually the first major record recorded without tape.

So…that’s 40 years of proof that tape isn’t necessary!
What a great album! I recall getting a CD of it about '83 or '84. Allentown was a revelation of clarity and punchy tones.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennybro ➡️
What a great album! I recall getting a CD of it about '83 or '84. Allentown was a revelation of clarity and punchy tones.
Add “Pressure” for big synth textures, and “She’s Right On Time” for Billy and Phil Ramone’s fantastic take on the [Digital] Wall of Sound.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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thethrillfactor's Avatar
 
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YES 90125.

Also albums recorded at Polar Studios in Sweden after 1981.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare ➡️
I remember hearing the digital multitrack recordings at the 3M suite at AES.
Heyyyyyyyy.....I was there too at the Astoria NY Aes at the upstairs 3m suite of rooms.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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plainofjars's Avatar
 
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Autechre EP7
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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In George Michael universe, Careless Whisper was recorded, scrapped, re-recorded (on tape) and a few weeks later all further sessions moved to Sarm where there was a 3m 32. individual tracks would eventually land on Faith, but not before a studio switch to Puk....that had the Mitsibishi 33....which was then used for all of the Faith album. You can see studio sheets on the web....224 settings....pcm70 settings etc.

Swept the Grammies.

Next album was ehen George got into doing his own engineering, sitting there next to the Synclavier or maybe it was fairlight to drop in lyrics one word at a time etc.

Regardles, George was in full digital-only mode.

It was a mindblur how many instantly shifted from F1s to full blown 3m, synclavier, Fairlight systems while othe guys got real mobile with stacked synchronized da88s.....stacks of fostexes....stacks of everything
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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🎧 5 years
I forgot another obvious one: Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms. That’s also a special example where they ran the tracks through an excessive amount of chained Neve gear at some point in the mixing process because they thought the original sound was too clean.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Luther Vandross’s Any Love and Power of Love are all digital. They’re my personal benchmarks for the late 80’s/early 90’s digital R&B sound. So much dynamic range. “Power of Love” alone is a marvel.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Every album on that list would be considered "hybrid" or "analog" or "fully analog" by today's standards.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TapedCrusader ➡️
Every album on that list would be considered "hybrid" or "analog" or "fully analog" by today's standards.
I’d disagree on that front with respect to fully analog (agree on calling them hybrid when considering the console/preamps/etc).

Those dire straits albums were digital multitrack, digital mix capture, and digital master capture. I’m sure the equipment used outside of that was almost entirely analog , but I was referring to capture medium (digital vs tape). Fleetwood Mac I agree with you, as those seem to entirely predate digital captures.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #20
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avare's Avatar
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmfreeland ➡️
Fleetwood Mac I agree with you, as those seem to entirely predate digital captures.
Clarification; Tusk was digitally recorded. As already mentioned in the thread, people here heard the digital multitracks and mix downs at the AES convention in the Waldorf Astoria.

Rumours was analogue.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #21
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TapedCrusader's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jmfreeland ➡️
I’d disagree on that front with respect to fully analog (agree on calling them hybrid when considering the console/preamps/etc).

Those dire straits albums were digital multitrack, digital mix capture, and digital master capture. I’m sure the equipment used outside of that was almost entirely analog , but I was referring to capture medium (digital vs tape). Fleetwood Mac I agree with you, as those seem to entirely predate digital captures.
I don’t agree or disagree, just noting most people would call all of these examples “hybrid”, “analog”, or “fully analog” today. AAD is literally a fully analog recording, and DDD records from the ‘80s would be the very definition of “hybrid” today.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare ➡️
Clarification; Tusk was digitally recorded. As already mentioned in the thread, people here heard the digital multitracks and mix downs at the AES convention in the Waldorf Astoria.

Rumours was analogue.
As it would have to be given that the Tapes were played so many times that the cymbals were an extension of the tape hiss by the end.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggysane ➡️
As it would have to be given that the Tapes were played so many times that the cymbals were an extension of the tape hiss by the end.
The tapes were digital recordings.

https://www.mixonline.com/technology...-system-377974
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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^ I meant that Rumours was definitely analog due to the high-frequency loss, etc.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avare ➡️
Clarification; Tusk was digitally recorded. As already mentioned in the thread, people here heard the digital multitracks and mix downs at the AES convention in the Waldorf Astoria.

Rumours was analogue.
Ah, I looked up Romours and didn’t check Tusk. Interesting article about it here. I’ve always liked Sara and Storms. I never would have thought digital was an option then. Very cool.

http://www.fleetwoodmac-uk.com/artic...s/pk_tusk.html
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TapedCrusader ➡️
I don’t agree or disagree, just noting most people would call all of these examples “hybrid”, “analog”, or “fully analog” today. AAD is literally a fully analog recording, and DDD records from the ‘80s would be the very definition of “hybrid” today.
No argument re: AAD. I was only looking at the DDD albums in the list.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
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🎧 15 years
Hourglass
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
Michael Cretus A. R. T. studio was mostly digital, also the console (Enigma MCMXC a.D., ...).

I also think of Annie Lennox "Medusa" and frequently listen in.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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🎧 10 years
Lyle Lovett’s “Joshua Judges Ruth” from 1992 is DDD. It’s my current male vocal reference and a sonic masterpiece. It’s some of George Massenburgs finest work (and that’s saying something).

The stand out tracks are “She’s already made up her mind”, “North Dakota” (a duet with Rickie Lee Jones), and “Baltimore” which is my gold standard for up front intimate lead male vocals.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by romplix ➡️
Michael Cretus A. R. T. studio was mostly digital, also the console (Enigma MCMXC a.D., ...).

I also think of Annie Lennox "Medusa" and frequently listen in.
I love that album, but it is "loud" by the standards of the era. A few years ago I had to check my copy to make sure it wasn't a stealth remaster. It was the original. Wonderful music and clarity but also where you hear dynamic range starting to creep backwards.
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