Which would you choose?

Raul Montilla from Puerto Rico sent me a kind note about an interesting experiment from years past. In it, Jack Renner and the engineers from Telarc are said to have recorded the Cleveland Orchestra on both an analog tape recorder and a Soundstream Digital recorder. They then compared the output of the two and all selected the analog tape version as being more musical.

To most of us that doesn’t sound so far fetched. What they did next might stand a few hairs on end.

Curious why their new digital recorder didn’t sound as good as the older analog tape they ran a second set of experiments. In this round, they had the orchestra play again and as they did the engineers switched between the live sound and the output of both recorders. To their surprise, the digital recorder’s output was indistinguishable from the live feed while the analog’s output softened the highs, compressed the strong bass, and added a type of pleasant coloration.

This convinced them to abandon the analog recorder and stick with the Soundstream (and later others) and thus the label Telarc was born. Not everyone would have made that choice.

Which would you have chosen?

Paul McGowan

EDITORIAL NOTE: The opinions expressed in the above post do not necessarily reflect those of our editorial team – just in case you wondered. Neil McCauley