Lately I have been having a lot of conversations with various audio professionals about how something is getting lost in the way in which we work. What is getting lost may be the actual pleasure that once came from working in a more tactile recording environment.
Sure, DAW workflow has helped simplify certain aspects of the recording process. Non-linear editing is infinitely easier today compared to tape. However, recently I have found it increasingly less productive to work inside of the computer. Maybe it has to do with the constant software updates that arrive almost daily. It seems that more time than ever is being spent either updating, or trying to learn the specifics of each plug-in. Today's plug-ins are often complete sets of software in themselves. Each of these requires special key commands and they all have their own unique set of nuances. Lately, I am finding that this is taking up more time and ultimately eats into the time allotted for recording and mixing.
Fortunately I am allowed to opportunity to work in several different studio settings weekly. I am finding much more pleasure these days in patching outboard gear and interacting with the hardware as opposed to working strictly inside software. There is something more personal about interacting with audio when we integrate the tactile control and sometimes lesser feature sets of outboard hardware instead of relying solely on software. Sure, outboard hardware and mixers have their disadvantages, but there still is something magical about interacting with hardware that passes analog signals.