Some people wonder why we still offer custom cassette tape duplication in 2020 and our answer is simple: many people still love the analog format.
There has always been a never ending debate about which sounded better between the analog audio and the digital audio.
The emergence of CDs, which are the first popular audio medium that uses the digital audio format, was the spark of the debate.
When CDs replaced vinyl records and cassette tapes as the standard medium for music or album releases around the late 80s, there was a debate on which was better —the CDs with their digital audio or the vinyl records with their analog audio.
Many argue that analog audio is the better format for no music information is left behind when reproducing them. Some argue that even with analog audio’s perfect reproduction, it is very prone to wear and tear that not even the creative vinyl record and audio cassette packaging can compensate for. However, the truth is there is almost no difference between the two.
Only those people with trained ears—the true blue audiophiles—can really notice the almost unnoticeable differences. But to understand where some of these analog defenders are coming from, let us talk about what these differences are.
According to some audiophiles, digital audios fail to reproduce and replicate the sound made by instruments and people. This is due to the way digital audios are made. In a digital audio, screenshots of the original sound wave are taken, converted into numbers and rounded off to its nearest whole number. So instead of having the curvy wave of a soundwave it takes up a stair-like form, one with edges.
Because of the process of digital recording, it affects the sound it produces. For example you take a screenshot of the descending note you sang, when you play it all you’ll hear would be a single long sound to represent that screenshot. So in a way, digital audios lack and miss little nuances in a recording. But advancements in our technology has made digital audios sound better than they were in the earlier years.
Analog audio, on the other hand, do not miss anything since it is a continuous sound wave with no edges. It is a complete representation of the original sound since sound is originally an analog signal. Every change of pitch and little nuances you have on your analog recording will not be lost. In a way, analog is nearer to the true sound the musicians want to deliver to their listeners.
So technically, analog audio is better than digital audio. But as I have said earlier, this difference in signals is not noticeable at all.
So if you are deciding on having your albums released in CDs, you don’t have to worry much about the sound it will produce. Well, unless the digital audio is corrupted. That would be a problem.
You can also have your analog audio converted into digital audio. I’m sure you’ve heard of how audio cassettes are converted to digital CDs. It has been done for many cassette tapes already. It may be a cassette tape of an album or single or a cassette tape of a recorded audio other than music, such as speeches or interviews. Such conversion is also done because of the fact that these analog audio mediums can degrade as time passes by.
The converting of these audio cassettes to digital audio format can be done by yourself or through acquiring a company’s cassette tape to CD service. The easier route of course would be to have a company convert your audio cassettes to digital, but if you want to try converting them by yourself, then here are the things you will have to do.
There are two ways you can convert them on your own.
The easier one is the use of a USB cassette converter. All you need to do is purchase a converter, download the accompanying software, insert a tape into the converter, plug the converter into your computer, and then read the printed instructions that come with the converter. You can also add the album artwork to the digitized audio file if you want to.
The more complex one, but still easy nonetheless, is the use of a tape deck. This option is a bit more complex because of the need to have a tape deck that works well. You will also need to set up the tape deck so that while the tape deck is connected to your computer and is playing the tape you want digitized, you will have the audio quality you prefer. You will also need to think of the cable you’ll be needing for you to be able to connect your tape deck to your computer.
Whether you choose to have cassette tape duplications, vinyl record pressings, or CD duplications or replications, it doesn’t really matter much when it comes to the sound each medium produces.
Analog audio may be technically better to some. To others, digital is clean and thus preferred. And to an untrained ear, their difference may not even be distinguished.
To state it simply, to each their own. There is no better or lesser format.
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA