Originally Posted by evan237
Personally, I am not sure I understand the point in digitizing music that was originally in an analog format *if* the reissued product is going to be on vinyl record. It seems to take away from the character of the original issue.
No, it does not. You have the multitrack masters in digital form. Those are 8-16-24 tracks raw, pure, not compressed. The CD mix can be made "hot", compressed, fit to play in a iPod or boombox. But the LP mix, from the same digital masters, it cannot physically be made as 'hot', plus it is targeted to a different user/systems. It will sound identical as the analog mix.
Now, some fly-by-night companies will probably take shortcuts and cut on vinyl the CD master because they don't want to pay for re-mastering from multitracks. But that's not the 'digital' fault per se.
Like I said there are some analog tapes that, due to age or storage or manufacturing faults, are not possible to be used. For example, Roxy Music's Avalon analog masters where destroyed at the last digital conversion - and engineers where aware that this will happen:
“In 1995, after EG Records was sold to Virgin, they decided to make digital safeties of all the Roxy stuff. Unfortunately when they tried to play the analog masters it was found that they wouldn’t play, which is a common problem occurring with Ampex tape manufactured during the late 70’s and early 80’s. I believe this is due to an organic lubricant they used at the time that goes bad after a number of years. The tapes were baked, which allows them to be played once or twice after which they become useless. They were then immediately copied to a modified Sony PCM 3324 digital 24-track tape recorder with Apogee filters. Subsequently the analog tapes were lost, although we probably wouldn’t have been able to play them anyway.
“It was unfortunate that all we had to work from was the 16-bit safeties as there is some loss because of the 16-bit conversion, but keep in mind that during multi-track transfers and/or recordings, the signal to noise ratio is usually at its optimum. Each track is recorded to its maximum level, since balance is not an issue yet – that comes in the mix. Therefore the full dynamic range of 16-bits has been utilized. The true subtlety is in the mix. Not every fader is set for full level, so the dynamic range of a mix is much larger then the individual instruments and tracks.
“The existence of this problem is being underlined by the fact that every digital mixer has an internal bit depth varying from 24- to 48-bit fixed rate or 32-bit floating point. So capturing a mix properly is a most difficult and delicate procedure and therefore requires the best conversion and storage method.
“This statement can be illustrated by looking at the history of music recording and mixing. Capturing of the mix has always been more advanced then the multi-tracking part. Analog 24 multi-track and Ѕ” two track for the mix master, followed by 24 track analog and 16-bit PCM for the mix, which was followed by 16-bit multi-track and 24-bit two track and currently it is very often 24-bit multitrack with 2 channel or 5.1 24-bit at sample rates of 96kHz, 192kHz or DSD (SACD).
“A fortunate accident that occurred during the transfer to 16-bit was that, apparently due to the engineer’s apparent unfamiliarity with the Sony Dash machine, the transfers were made with the varispeed control engaged and cranked to its maximum speed of +12%. As the sample rate was set to 48kHz, the increased 12% speed/clock rate gave the transfer an effective sample rate of 53.760kHz, which obviously gave us higher resolution safeties once we duplicated the tape speed “error” upon playback.