When it comes to recording, each sound professional wants to create a certain sound. Each individual artist comes into the studio with an idea of the perfect masterpiece. When you merge the talents of the right artist with those of the right sound professional, the result is musical magic. As with any field, the difference between a good sound engineer and a great sound engineer is the equipment.
In the recording industry, the debate is between analogue and digital equipment. Which is better? Truthfully, there is no correct choice between the two styles of equipment. It is a matter of personal preference. Some engineers prefer the sound produced by analogue equipment while others prefer the quality of digital. Before choosing recording equipment, it is wise to look at the similarities and differences between the two styles.
With analogue recording setups, there is physical hardware to consider. The mixing desk that is a part of an analogue setup can be bulky, but it can also lend a professional appearance to the recording studio. Digital equipment is less bulky and typically is easier to store when not in use. Digital equipment can also be less expensive than analogue because it relies more on the use of software and plugins than on the use of physical equipment.
Analogue recordings are typically more natural sounding than digital recordings. Analogue can also be more accurate recordings than digital as analogue captures the changes in air pressure as the sound is recorded. Digital recordings can sound too perfect to be believed natural.
Editing is the realm where digital recordings shine. It can be easier to edit digital recordings because the editing process involves manipulating the soundwaves by sight. In just a matter of minutes, raw recordings can be polished and made into a finished product. Editing is far more time consuming with an analogue recording system. With analogue, the engineer has to rely on how the sound is heard to edit.
Both recording methods have a balance between positive and less positive attributes. Digital equipment provides clean sound while analogue provides a more natural-sounding recording. When choosing recording equipment, the ultimate deciding factor should be the desired sound.