Keep the performance in play

John Hampton (not to be confused with Scott Hampton) in Tape Op, on the extra-sonic benefits of analog recording:

Going back to analog is making me a happy guy…. For performers with analog it’s, “Guess what dude, you have to sing it.” I’m not going to cut and paste your vocal. You have to sing it.

Scott Solter in Trust Me I’m a Scientist:

Solter, who has worked extensively with analog tape, praises the inherent restrictions of that medium. “You have to start making confident, and in some cases, final decisions in the moment as you’re working; Things like submixing, to free up new tracks, really cause people to live very clearly in the moment with the work that they’re doing.”

“Sometimes the computer, because you can keep documenting without any consequence, pushes a lot of crucial decision-making back in the process. Then, all of a sudden, you get to mixing, and you’ve got, like, 80 tracks…There’s something cool about really committing to stuff…It makes people pay attention—it really does. It’s kind of sad that it’s taken on a negative quality – [when I] think it’s actually a positive quality.”

He remembers an anecdote about composer Morton Feldman, who, late in his career, did all his composing in pen. “It made him think longer and harder about the decisions he was making.”

Like I said: The biggest advantage of recording to tape comes from the commitment to performance (and decision making) that it demands. But how can those of us without a Studer sitting in the corner get some of those benefits? One idea: Throw playlists/take management out the window, turn off your big screen, and control everything with something like this. Or even simpler: Remove your inserts and sends from your mix window view, throw your edit window on a second screen, then turn that screen off.