Recording - June 2016 - 4

PUBLISHER: Thomas Hawley
ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER: Brent Heintz

EDITORIAL

EDITOR: Mike Metlay
SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR: Lorenz Rychner
TECHNICAL EDITOR: Paul Vnuk Jr.
EDITOR AT LARGE: Beto Hale
COPY EDITOR: Diana Smethurst
MÚSICO PRO EDITOR: Fernando Curiel

When worlds collide
We are analog critters. We are born into an analog world and we sense it in
analog ways. We hear sound as fluctuations in air pressure on our eardrums,
translated into electrical signals in our brains. Those fluctuations in air pressure
sometimes come to us courtesy of vibrating speakers, which are set in motion by
electrical signals, which in turn come down wires from little boxes... that are fed
long streams of ones and zeroes, really really quickly. And those ones and
zeroes have usually been added, multiplied, shuttled around, and had all sorts
of mathematical mayhem done to them, inside the same box that we use to read
email, write books, edit photos, play games, do our taxes, shop online, and
watch videos of cute puppies.
Is it any wonder that sometimes we feel disconnected from our digital music gear?
Matters aren't helped much by the fact that while digital audio can theoretically
be a perfect copy of what we hear in the analog world, the truth is a bit messier.
In the realms of sampling and conversion, where analog signals are turned into
bits and then back again, the corners and edges don't line up perfectly, and
those mismatches are turned into artifacts that our ears instinctively perceive as
alien, as wrong. We have to work hard to get rid of those artifacts, or at least
turn them into artifacts that don't hurt as much. (If you think anti-aliasing filters
sound nasty, try listening to unfiltered aliasing for a while.)
There's an art and a science to gently smoothing out those rough edges and
turning the products of the digital realm into signals that our analog ears love to
hear. Some people talk about them as imperfections and distortions and nonlinearities, and that's fine... to a tone-deaf computer science Ph.D., that's what
they are! But these imperfections are of the sort that make sense to our ears and
brains. They feel right, they feel good, they turn jagged streams of ones and
zeroes into sounds, and if we're lucky, into music.
We're not giving up digital recording systems and DAWs any time soon; they
let us do too much, too quickly and too affordably, for us to walk away from
them. There will always be engineers with the purist approach, the endless
patience, and the money to have analog consoles feed multitrack reel-to-reel
recorders and mix down onto 2-track tape, and there's nothing wrong with that.
But for the rest of us, the tools of digital audio bring the possibility of truly professional recording, in a small space on a small budget, within reach... as long as
we can smooth the rough edges a bit.
In this issue, we're going to spend some time discussing that mismatch and what
can be done to sand down and smooth and polish the seams where the digital and
analog worlds come together. James Lindenschmidt spends time explaining how harmonic distortion can help us lend a truly analog feel to digital music, and Paul Vnuk
Jr. reviews three different ways to smooth digital audio in the analog world, thanks
to beautiful hardware solutions from API, elysia, and Dangerous Music.
With that knowledge and those tools in hand, knowing that the end result will
feel real to us, we can dive into the digital pool and play to our hearts' content... and to ease the process, Mike Rivers teaches us how to use the analog
world as a blueprint for understanding how digital audio systems move music
around and massage it into shape. On top of that, we have nearly two dozen
reviews of new and updated software for Macs, Windows PCs, and even iPads
(look for a review of the Auria Pro DAW by new contributor Tony Gerber, whom
we welcome to our family).
People joke about taking out all the noise from recordings and then putting it all
back in again. As is often the case, things really aren't that simple. What we hope
to do is take out all the stuff we don't want, and only put in what is needed to
make our digital recordings come alive with warmth, immediacy, and real beauty.
Enjoy the issue!

CONTRIBUTORS
Mike Rivers, Alex Hawley, James
Lindenschmidt, Giles Reaves, Paul Vnuk Jr.,
Darwin Grosse, Jon Hillman, Justin Perkins, Paul
Stamler, Tony Gerber, Bill Stunt, Marty Peters
SOCIAL MEDIA
Brent Heintz, Paul Vnuk Jr.
ART & PRODUCTION

ART DIRECTOR: Scott Simmonds
PRODUCTION MANAGER: Colin Courtney
WEB GOALIE: Colin Courtney
COVER APPROVER: Carly M. Heintz

PLAYBACK PLATINUM SERIES
Lorenz Rychner

EDITOR/PRODUCER:

CIRCULATION
Tiffany Sepe

CIRCULATION MANAGER:

ADVERTISING SALES AND MARKETING
DIRECTOR: Brent Heintz
CLASSIFIEDS MANAGER: Colin Courtney
ADMINISTRATION
Thomas Hawley

ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLE:

EXECUTIVE OFFICERS

PRESIDENT: Thomas Hawley
VICE PRESIDENT: Brent Heintz

SUBSCRIPTIONS/ADDRESS CHANGES:
1-800-783-4903
ADVERTISING/CLASSIFIEDS/MAIN OFFICE:
(303) 516-9118
RECORDING MAGAZINE
(ISSN 1078-8352; USPS 002-298) is published
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Publications, Inc., 5408 Idylwild Trail, Boulder,
CO 80301-3523.
Tel: (303) 516-9118 Fax: (303) 516-9119
email: info@recordingmag.com
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© Copyright 2016 Music Maker
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PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.
4

RECORDING JUNE 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - June 2016

Contents
Recording - June 2016 - Cover1
Recording - June 2016 - Cover2
Recording - June 2016 - 1
Recording - June 2016 - 2
Recording - June 2016 - 3
Recording - June 2016 - 4
Recording - June 2016 - 5
Recording - June 2016 - Contents
Recording - June 2016 - 7
Recording - June 2016 - 8
Recording - June 2016 - 9
Recording - June 2016 - 10
Recording - June 2016 - 11
Recording - June 2016 - 12
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Recording - June 2016 - Cover3
Recording - June 2016 - Cover4
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