Nice point of view on the 80's. The 80's were also a very strange period for synth gear as well, a situation created by the need to store patches and the popularity of the Yamaha DX7. For a while, as other manufacturers went on to market their similar digital synths, we lost our knobs and faders.
The value of classic analog synths plummeted during that craze, and you could find awesome deals on vintage analog synths for a little while.
I love Nebula for what it allows, i.e. the awesome analog character within a modern DAW, without the bad parts of analog and keeping the advantages and convenience of the DAW, and... without having to spend tons of space and money on gear.
So today we reach that sweet spot of taking the best of the traditional analog recording, mixing and mastering process and inject them into our DAW.
What Nebula allows on top of that is creative sonic varnishing above and beyond anything you would be able to do with the classic gear: e.g. you can mix part of one gear with part of another one too.
People who grew up listening to vinyl recordings of the late 70's and 80's are more likely to appreciate Nebula I believe (as are those who were used to record, mix and master with analog gear).
Can`t find any enjoyment in tape hiss or noise of bad cabling, lack of grounding, hum, crosstalk leakage, noisefloor etc. None of it adds any musicality to what I do, and never will. I try to avoid noisy analog gear regardsless of brand. After more than 20 years of album recordings I have not yet been in a recording or album situation where artifacts become a valid sound param for success. Sorry, I do not understand why this is a good to analog sound. I can however understand why analog harmonics, warmth, transparant openess, and color are an important factor in ITB recording. Yeah, I know, genres may have different requirement where tapehiss, noise, and artifacts are an important ingreadient.
I have given this topic a lot of thought over the past couple of years and here is My 2 cents worth.
I remember hearing some people saying something about digital pulling a vail over the sound and I also remember a particular producer saying that digital is simultaniously harsh and dull souding at the same time.
When I listen to some of the older analogue recordings they seem to sound a lot darker yet clearer and I think this is because this is because of all of the accumulated saturation that has taken place. Maybe it is all the harmonic build up that allows analogue recordings to be darker yet more present. It might that analogue tends to roll off the top end that leads to less high end masking.
When I want something to sit up front in a mix I tend to add some saturation to it. It maybe that digital is just to clean. it does seem to have a gloss to it that sounds a bit muffled some how. Maybe digital recordings are like a mural that's made from bits of glass that needs some dirt on it to add some colour and make it clearer?
It certainly does sound glassy though doesn't it.
Just tossing some ideas out there for people to hopefully add some varnish of there own to.
It is in fact a better question to ask what do humans like to hear; what's pleasant? This is a better question than trying to quantify different perspectives in how analog vs. digital sounds. Digital more or less is linear: you, in essence, get what you put in. Ask most veteran pro engineers of yesteryear when they had really no choice but to work with analog and you'll hear stories mostly relegated to frustration. Those were the days when most effort was put forth in trying to get more linear sonic while tracking and mixing to feel and have a sense of more control. These days we now acknowledge the color, character, and dare I use the abused "warmth" term in analog gear. Here's where we then should now acknowledge the effect of the analog world's impression on us to realize it's the imperfections and character that we like. I think all error stems in the interchangeability of values. Here's what I mean: we can conversely posit that analog loses things in the process and digital adds nothing, more or less, in the process. It's those loses and nonlinearities that we find pleasing. Here's the beauty of digital and Nebula. You get linearity with the digital platform of your choice and all the frequency responses/behavior, phase shifts, interactions, distortions, etc from Nebula representing the analog counterpart.
Digital more or less is linear: you, in essence, get what you put in.
i am not sure about that too much. my question is about the linearity of digital converters on all levels down to let's say -80 db.
a modern delta-sigma converter is perfectly linear on higher levels, near to 0 dbfs, but looses more and more linearity, when it goes down levelwise, which leads to very minimal distortion. in the analog world you get low levels pretty accurat, until you reach the noisefloor.
we all know from dither discussions, that our hearing-system is sensible to that.
for me, digital converters are still in their evolutionprocess, to become perfectly linear in all domains, to give us the most accurate representation of sound in digital form. our ears will tell us, when this is achieved.
system 1: windows 8 32 bit - samplitude prox/x3, tracktion6/7, reaper system 2: mac osx yosemite - reaper(32+64bit), tracktion6/7(32+64bit)
both systems on: macbook pro (late 2009), core 2 duo 3,06 ghz, 4 gb ram, graphic: nvidia geforce 9600M GT 512 MB