KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Digital/Analog Recording

*The recording sessions [For The Dreaming] were digitally mixed -- a pop practice that's increasingly common these days. Interestingly, though, shortly after the dreaming was in the can, Kate was approached by the tech team from the pro-analogue, anti-digital Linn products.

They'd heard of Kate's production interests, and decided the time was ripe to demonstrate to an influential industry superstar just how superior properly handled analogue recording could be.

And the word that filtered through to us from Linn -- who operate their own super-analogue recording label -- was that the lovely little lady was mighty impressed by the analogue-vs-digital dem they had laid on for her. So we thought we'd go straight to the horse's mouth and find out whether that had indeed been the case. It was -- sort of!

I wouldn't say that I was necessarily impressed by their demonstration. But yes, I feel that there's an awful lot in analogue recording.

We had a lot of problems working with digital for `The Dreaming' which was digitally mixed. Editing was the main one -- it was so time-consuming.

Some things obviously were easier working digitally -- otherwise we wouldn't have used it. But the vast majority I reckon would have been easier on tape. Particularly as I was working with people who'd worked with tape all their life.

In the end we brought in a guy who was familiar with digital equipment from classical recordings he'd worked on. And it didn't take very long after that.

But the problems rather put me off digital. We all felt a kind of alienation from the process of creation using it. There's something reassuring about a tape that you can see and touch. You've more trust in it somehow.

There was a feeling of uneasiness about using digital that stemmed from the fact that we felt it wasn't as easy to use in many respects as tape is.

Kate is firmly convinced that there's plenty of life left in analogue recording yet, despite the pro-digital brigade who reckon its days are already numbered. For one thing, there's an awful lot of really good analogue recording equipment around. And many studios I know of have sounded out digital gear, and opted to stay with analogue. Certainly it's the way I personally reckon I'll be recording in the future.

We talked more about her production of The Dreaming. the fact that I was handling that side of things automatically caused me a great deal of concern because I was responsible then for the complete finished product.

Before we decided to work with digital, we did a comparison test between analogue and digital, and all of us involved in the making of the album just felt that we couldn't really detect any difference except for a slight crystallised sound off of the digital.

We did a lot of comparisons and we felt that, for the kind of music that was happening, that was a nice sound quality to have. Quite honestly, if it hadn't been for that subtle difference we'd have stuck with analogue.

We'd certainly have stuck with it if we'd known the practical problems we'd encounter using digital. However, by the time we did encounter them, we were too far advanced with it.

I'm not sorry we tried digital. But in the future I'd certainly prefer to work with analogue. (1983, Hi Fi For Pleasure)


Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Subjects / Digital & Analog Recording