Which one sounds better to me?

One thing I got very clear: Mix is what I do and always will.

Like many colleagues, i’ve been bombarded with the conundrum of mixing sounds in an analogue or digital domain and whatever variables one can find in between, say ITB, OTB or the so called hybrid approach.

I come from the all analogue world and gone thru the whole set of changes into the digital era of audio, from the classic big consoles and tape machines, to the midi, adat’s and modern DAW, I have been lucky to use them all but the more I tried different mediums the more confused I felt to create a definitive opinion on which one I prefer sonically speaking.

Around five years ago I settled with a mixing system that pleased all my ideas. Based around a modern analogue SSL AWS console I design a hybrid system and took advantage of both worlds. It was all fine until I needed to do more complex jobs and the recalls started to be a problem without a cheap or practical fast solution.

I was confronted with the necessity of mixing completely digitally inside the DAW (ITB) to please the jobs and workflows and to my surprise, the results were far better than I expected. Nowadays I work almost exclusively inside the DAW and the more I do it, the better and quicker I’m getting to what I want.

After many tryouts, comparisons and experiments, I got to the conclusion that none was better than the other and that each one’s got attributes that easily overcome the other, but the main question remained: Which one sounds better to me?

Simply put, it doesn’t matter. I prefer the one that takes me quicker and more efficiently to the sounds in my head.

The sound is not in the equipment or instruments we use, its in our hearts and our minds and what matters the most, is not the shoes we choose to walk in, but to know were we want to go and therefore choose the shoes that will help us walk and conveniently reach the place we want to go. Some people walk thru a desert barefoot and get to the place they always dreamt, likewise some people make wonderful music with their bare hands and make us always dream. It’s about the guy who uses the tools.


Erik Aldrey

4 times Grammy and latin Grammy nominee for recording, mix and mastering