Analog Mastering vs: In the Box Mastering
The debate between the 'in the box' and 'out of the box' crowds will not end any time soon! 'In the box' mastering uses plug-ins to shape the sound and provide the necessary compression and limiting for a finished product. 'In the Box' creates a specific sound which is similar to that created by every digital system. The sound never leaves the computer and is processed by the same circuitry that you made the recording with. This is fine and sounds quite good (we use it every day) but your finished product is going to sound like every other record because everyone is using the same plug-ins.
'Out of the Box' Mastering involves sending the mix out of the computer and processing it in the analog world. We have an amazing two buss analog compressor as part of the new Audient console. We can send the two track mix to this processor or we can send all of the session tracks (up to 48) to the analog console, mix it completely in the analog world and then send the result to the two buss comp/limiter.
We do live in a digital world so it is necessary to have the finished recording in a digital format so we have selected the AKAI DR 4D Mastering recorder. It is an amazing recorder and is regarded as one of the only recorders that can capture the recording without creating that 'digital sound' It does this by employing an analog circuit sitting in front of the A2D converter that smoothes the signals so that the digital conversion ends up the way the console sends it! The use of classic analog circuitry and special digital converters creates a recording that will stand out.
Nothing Sounds Like Analog
One of my session Bass players actually commented that the sound was wider, fatter, punchier and even the 'air' sounds better!
Final Track Studios
541 Luck Ave
The Jefferson Center
Roanoke, Va 24016