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Article from The Mix, November 1994

During the rise and rise of MIDI over the last decade, traditional recording practises have been put on the backburner by a lot of musicians. It's easy to see why. Why spend hours miking up drums, horns or piano, when you can dial-up a perfectly good sample or synth preset in about five seconds flat. Why mess around with a cumbersome multi-track when you can edit your music to your heart's content on your sequencer, and then play it back without so much as a whisper of noise. The control that MIDI has given us is phenomenal, and many people constricted by traditional recording methods have been liberated by computer technology. And yet... real instruments have too much to offer to be left out of the modern recording equation. If only we could have the same control over audio tracks as we have over MIDI data...

Well, that's exactly what we do have with the latest generation of direct-to-disk recording systems (see Emagic Logic Audio review inside), and innovative new programs like Steinberg's Recycle! (also in this issue).

They offer the same kind of control over audio data that we've come to take for granted in MIDI systems. Not only cut-and-paste facilities, but also powerful manipulative tools such as being able to change grooves, or cut out parts within a single track. These represent a real step forward in recording, and having access to these types of facilities, in an environment that most people are comfortable with, will undoubtedly tempt a good few musicians back into recording instruments again, instead of only using MIDI imitations.

Music production is not just about high technology anymore, but a mix of new and old technology. Go into your average studio, and you'll find valve compressors alongside digital multi-effects, analogue synths alongside the latest digital workstations, and all kinds of ancient gadgets and instruments that don't have a modern equivalent. Just because something's new, doesn't automatically mean it's better. How hi-tech is a microphone, or a speaker? Not very, but they're nonetheless essential tools in the recording process. Most music producers have now realised that the best of old and new gear can be used together to brilliant effect, and that real progress is made when an existing function is made easier or more controllable. D-t-d is a perfect example of this, and its arrival should mean that we can get back to recording natural audio again, as well as machine-generated sounds. And that's a great thing, because we now have the best of both worlds. F*** the future, I'm looking forward to now!

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Publisher: The Mix - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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The Mix - Nov 1994

Donated by: Colin Potter

Coverdisc: Mike Gorman

Editorial by Chris Kempster

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