top of page

Analog's Enduring Echo: The Evolution of Music Production

The evolution of music production tools, especially those accessible on a modern iPad, is nothing short of astonishing. Reflecting on my days running a 24-track analog recording studio in the mid-90s, the contrast is stark. Our studio was a melting pot of genres, from Christian a cappella to acid rock, providing a vibrant space for experimentation and innovation in music production.

We embraced a philosophy of capturing creative energy in the moment, a stark contrast to the rehearsed precision or cookie-cutter approach commonly employed. This ethos not only fostered creativity but also resulted in a prolific output, especially during the 90s – a golden era where quality analog equipment was becoming increasingly affordable due to the rise of digital technology.

Analog recordings are often lauded for their warmth and tonal richness. However, this comes with a downside: the physical degradation of tapes over time, leading to a loss in quality with each playback, not to mention the risk of damage in high-humidity environments.

The shift to digital recording represented a seismic change, akin to moving from modeling clay to LEGO in terms of sound capturing. While analog, like clay, offers a smooth and continuous representation, it's susceptible to wear and tear – think of the worn-down toes of St. Peter's statue in the Basilica. Conversely, digital, with its precise and durable nature, is like rebuilding those toes with tiny LEGO blocks, maintaining the original's essence while ensuring longevity.

Centuries of repeated toe-rubbing wore down St. Peter's statue, much like how analog tapes degrade over time. No perfect repair exists for such wear.

In my studio, we harnessed both analog and digital realms. We recorded live and synthesized sounds on a one-inch 24-track reel of tape, swiftly transferring them to a digital audio tape (DAT) to preserve the original 'analog warmth' while leveraging digital's resilience against environmental factors.

Now, the exciting part: I've recently unearthed dozens of these DATs. Using a once-expensive DAT machine, I've been able to relive these analog mixes in their pristine digital form – a truly nostalgic and enriching experience.

The advancements in AI present thrilling possibilities for these recordings. With the original master reels gone, these stereo mixes are invaluable time capsules. AI can potentially extract individual tracks for remixing, enhancing performances, and refining technical aspects. The remastering capabilities available even on an iPad today surpass what we had in our multi-million-dollar studio in the '90s.

As I revisit these recordings, I plan to share tips and insights gleaned from this era, hoping to re-release some of these gems. My journey from Churchianity to atheism and back to discipleship, captured in these songs, is a story I feel compelled to tell. Thanks to the advancements in music technology, this story will now resonate with improved clarity and depth.

Blessings, Jeff

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page