I spotted a post from Frank Fillipetti on his Facebook page. Frank is very well respected in the audio industry. With his permission we re-post here Frank's thoughts following up on a letter from Joe Chiccarelli printed in Pro Sound News in response to an article from Rich Tozzoli on the new Pro Tools 12 Track Commit feature.
I think it is fair to say that this made Frank cross. You can read it in full on his Facebook page, but Frank goes on....
...it’s so simple to test... If two files sound different to you just line them up, flip the polarity on one. Instant confirmability...
If you hear any sound at all, they are different. If you hear no sound at all they are identical. Let me repeat that…THEY ARE IDENTICAL!!!
I have done this test with Track Bounce. I have also done this test by bouncing the file twenty times and then checking it. NO SOUND…IDENTICAL.
So bounce away on your laptop. Enjoy the freedom digital has given us versus those guys who talk about how digital changes the sound, and then proceed to do a vocal comp on an analog machine…WTF?
I’m not saying one way is better than the other. We all have the ability to choose the tools we feel are best for the job. But be truthful! Don’t tell a kid who just spent his last year of savings on a Pro Tools 12 system and a laptop, that he blew it, because those features are worthless to any “real” engineer.
These are the kinds of things that are perpetuated by people who should know better, but who have an analog bias and think you should suspect anything digital.
A couple days later Frank posted this comment and a video as well. Back to Frank....
Since my post a few days ago, some folks seem to want to make this about digital versus analog. This post was about ONE thing. The Track Bounce and Track Consolidate feature in Pro Tools – backed by science.
It reminds me of the Mac/PC forums where people of the opposing camp can’t wait to shoot down the other side (I’ve been there). Closer to home, I remember at the start of my career, around 1982, I got the most unbelievable opportunity to record James Taylor at AIR Studios in Montserrat. We ended up cutting seven tracks on that amazing Neve console they had there. Because of illness we postponed finishing the album (That’s Why I’m Here) until the following year.
The remaining tracks were cut in my room at Right Track Recording Studios on an SSL 4K. We also re-cut 5 of the 7 Montserrat tracks, leaving two of the original tracks on the album.
I remember the debate then of Neve versus SSL, and how an SSL was thin and edgy and a Neve was fat and warm. I happened to love them both and would never “not work” on one or the other. Whenever I found myself in one of those Neve/SSL debates I would ask the other guy, “What two tracks on “That’s Why I’m Here” are Neve? They should be easy enough to spot based on your comments.”
I’m sure you all know the answer…No one ever got it right! It wasn’t the Neve that determined the sound, it was me. Whether it sounded good to you or not had nothing to do with the desk. The analog/digital debate was over for me when I heard two seminal albums…Kevin Killen’s brilliant work on Peter Gabriel’s “So”; and Elliot Scheiner’s incredible work on Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly.” How bad could digital be if it could sound like that?
I won my first two Grammys working on a semi pro 16 bit digital desk/tape machine (Yamaha O2R and 3 Tascam DA88’s) using only the O2R’s preamps at 44.1 kHz for James Taylor’s “Hourglass”. And if you liked the sound of that album, it didn’t matter how it was recorded.
So, here is a video that I hope will put this discussion to rest…then again, maybe not.
Watch the video and let us know what you think. Does Joe Chiccarelli have a point or does Frank's video confirm that there is no difference? How is it that Frank can win two Grammys using an O2R and DA88s? Does his blind tests between Neve and SSL confirm that our views are based on knowing the answer?
Thanks to Frank for permission to use his words and the video.