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Q. Should I convert my studio from analogue to digital?

Published January 2007

I've got lots of kit in my studio — over 30 items of both analogue and digital gear — and I've got a dilemma. I know digital is good, and there seems to be a steady stream of great products flowing onto the market. I also know that analogue has its benefits, but I'm trying hard to justify why I should keep my analogue gear, and whether I should take the plunge to pure digital. What's the best direction?

Gary Fry

Technical Editor Hugh Robjohns replies: A tricky question. As you say, modern digital gear is really good — by which I mean very clean and accurate — and analogue is great when you want warmth, coloration and character. Whether you should ditch the analogue gear is a question only you can answer, but personally I like to keep the best of both worlds. Recording, editing and some processing is easier and better to do digitally, whereas some kinds of processing work better in the analogue domain, especially EQ, some dynamics and anything involving modest distortion for effect. Modern A-D and D-A converters are virtually transparent, so moving between the analogue and digital domains isn't going to result in significant sonic degradation — not like it did a decade ago. So my advice would be to use whatever gear you feel gives you the sound you want. 

Published January 2007