Putting the crutches away
If you've ever had the misfortune of requiring crutches you'll know they can be addictive. Once you rely upon a crutch it's a bit of an ordeal to put them away and trust again your freestanding abilities. I remember the first time I read about musician Mark Knopfler's first foray into digital audio. So "digital" sounding was Brothers in Arms that he ran and reran the output of the recording studio DAC through analog processors until the digititis was expunged. That was a pretty big crutch. Today, recording engineers have settled into the use of crutches never contemplated back in the days of analog recording. Practices like ultra-warm microphones, digital sweeteners, warming compressors, and spot EQ (to remove harshness), are used as a standard operating procedure to make up for digital's "sound". Which means, of course, that an entire generation or two of recording engineers and musicians have gotten used to the idea that this is just the way you do it. They don't know why or the history of how this developed. It's just the way you do it. One of the challenges we at Octave Records face is the unwinding of all these built-in biases. With the rare technology of 4X DSD as our recording medium, we don't have limitations imposed upon us. The recording process is finally free of a "sound". It's not analog. It's certainly not digital. Now we can focus on choosing microphones, preamps, cables, and monitors based solely on their sonic merits. We can now put the crutches away and learn how to walk again.
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