What sounded wrong in the past sounds perfectly normal today. Many years ago I disliked tape-noise, hum, overdrive but somehow I started to appreciatie it when I became more aware of the pros and cons of digital sound. To make a long story short: in the analogue domain things get lost, the sound is affected. High frequencies for example, so therefore we preferred to use open and bright sounding condenser microphones for the compensation of that loss. And the louder output of those condenser mics results in less noise.
In digital we don’t have much loss. Okay, we might introduce a bit of quantization noise when we’re recording at a very low level. But in general that should really never be an issue. And when we’re recording on a too loud level we might introduce clipped bits which sounds harsh and digital. But when we stay within safe limits our audio recordings will end up sounding very dynamic and will be a perfect source for further processing.
Dynamic and ribbon mics are nowadays sometimes a better choice for recording than ever before since they offer that natural high frequency roll-off.
These days we’re processing the files like how photographers are processing photos using tools like Photoshop or Instagram. Modern cameras are using the RAW-format which is like the AIF/WAV format for photos. An uncompressed format. Not like JPG which is a compressed format and can be compared to MP3.
Our source recordings are perfect for further processing. For example by adding lovely artifacts of the old days. This is where the new Propellerhead Rack Extension Audiomatic comes in handy. It’s a “Retro Transformer”, making your recordings sound like the were recorded through equipment which adds much colorization to the sound. You can download this Rack Extension for free when upgrading or buying Reason 7.
Like how Instagram adds and old layer to our pictures by applying filters to it, we sound people are doing the same thing. We apply artifacts as layers to our music and sounds. Because it sounds good. And what sounds good is good.
I’m using Audiomatic for some time now and love it. Thanks to it’s mix parameters it can be used as a subtle blend with the original signal. But you can also apply it 100% wet.
Listen to this track I’m working on which uses the VHS tape effect of Automatic. It adds some obvious compression and radical changes in the frequency range of the track. I applied it over the whole mix as a Master Insert.
For more information about Audiomatic: download the manual (English, PDF format). For the PDF in other languages and for additional information about Audiomatic check this page on the Propellerhead website.