Analog vs. Digital


The Today Programme had a bit of a departure this morning, with an interview with The White Stripes on Radio 4. It was introduced in a slightly self-congratulatory tone, with the information that Mark Coles first interviewed them for 'Today' in 2001 before they were famous. John Humphris didn't quite say, "Yo kidz, we're down with the wikkid sounds", but he was dying to.

Anyway, what interested me about the interview was the discussion about the relative merits of digital versus analogue recording. They are fans of old recording equipment from the 1960s -- Jack White made the point that if it isn't a good song, no amount of digital tweaking will make it good. He also said that analogue systems force you to be inventive and creative -- digital systems make things too easy and you get lazy, producing sterile, formulaic music. I don't like The White Stripes' music much (I must be getting old -- they seem too raucous to me), but I do like their philosophy.

I'm a poster-girl for technology -- I love it -- but I do appreciate and value the older ways of doing things. I think you have to evaluate every method, and see which is best -- it won't always be the digital way, and faster/easier doesn't necessarily equal better. I remember the first time I heard a decent valve amplifier at a Hi-Fi show. The warmth and living, breathing quality of the sound just floored me. And my Lomo is getting me excited about photography all over again. I won't be giving up the digital camera or my TiBook any time soon, though.