The Idea of Quality

We currently live in a World completely driven by consumerism , and as a result quality of almost EVERYTHING has gone down.

As an Audio professional , I understand the market aspect of this as well . But cringe at the fact as that it also created niches for those who do not compromise on quality . That of course result in a price tag as that there really isn’t any competition .

What do I mean by that ?

Example :   Sound Devices 633 10 track recorder ( With SD’s Reputation and Name value for production of Ridiculously high level of quality ) VS.>  Zoom F8 with Zoom’s Reputation for Consumer grade level of recorders ( some of which Sound pretty good but lack the Pro level features that make the difference and are Plastic bodied)

Pro Feature :  Limiters >>>   You might say ” Well Zoom  Has Limiters don’t they ?”  Yes they do but where are they in the Signal chain ?  AFTER the A/D converter …….  They are digital limiters not Analogue limiters

Analogue Input limiters BEFORE the A/D conversion Keep the A/D converter from getting overloaded ,and THAT results in super clean sound in highly dynamic environments . It Also results in super consistent sound levels as you can drive your preamp just a little harder as that the A/D converter is protected .

Analogue Limiters mean circuit space , and components to make that system That means extra work and cost . The Consumer based Company doesn’t want to do that , and so there is one of the dividing lines between Consumer and Pro level gear .

Now let me be clear , I am not knocking the ZOOM F8 , in fact I want one . but I know the Caveat is the Analogue Limiters do not exist in the ZOOM F8 so I would have to be very considerate of my Recording environments and it will give a good sound .

The History of people making stuff just to make the best thing they could make and not for the market ability of that said item is represented by the names in the past such as NAGRA , SUPERSCOPE ( Love SuperScope stuff) Mark Levinson , Sound Devices , Zaxcom , Sanken , Kamesan , Sigma Engineering , Protech ,and several others whom when you speak their names in the company of people who know , it is the same response every single time . It is just expected and understood that they are of a certain QUALITY , and with that Quality comes a cost . Because …..there isn’t any competition .

Consumerism is based on Competition ,  They are competing for your dollar , Yen , Yuan , whatever currency you use . And as such Quality is NOT the main concern . Hence the term “You get what you pay for ”  and no where is it more true than in Audio .

Craftsmanship was never based on Competition but on Pride , The Craftsman builds the best thing he can build and is rarely satisfied with the final product always feeling that he or she can go one better . That is where Quality comes from , Period , no other source or spirit will produce Quality .

This is one of the main reasons for my penchant for handmade things , I love handmade , Leather Crafts , Clay , Glass , Metal work etc .

I have a Sound Devices Preamp , It is different from my other recording gear , The Sonic signature is of quality

I have a Korg MR-2 Hi Definition recorder , only 2 channels , but Has ANALOGUE Limiters and does dual Mono as well ( Korg sadly discontinued this machine) It was “Made IN Japan ” it was expensive , and if you really know how to use it , It Sounds expensive . ( Now way down from it’s original price as that it is no longer made ) But it speaks of Quality .

I have certain Mics , that when I plug them in , it is just that special connection of knowing that it will without fail produce a Quality sound for me , regardless of what I am recording , they speak of Quality .

Some stuff I have , doesn’t , I worry about how it will perform in certain situations , I worry about file corruption , software failures etc . That doesn’t breed confidence ……>>>>>> Ahhhhh there is a key point

Quality , begets confidence …… When You posses Quality , it Gives you Confidence as that you KNOW , how it will perform and that you will be able to deliver a certain level of Quality to your client , or just for yourself .

and That is what you pay for when you buy Quality ….. Not when your just chasing a gear trend because it is the New thing out .

I wish I could afford the Sound Devices 633 …. I would indeed buy it .  But I cannot as that too many other things pull on what money I have …… But because I know what I am doing I could make the Zoom F8 work , But I would worry ….. About Software failures , or File corruption , because it is an unknown variable with that piece of gear …… It has to be tested out . I would be more than willing to test it out and Use it in a real shoot , but I would be running Stereo mix out of it to a Backup recorder for protection ( which is how I am setup now anyway )

But Quality ….. Why don’t companies get this , that even though they are competing with each other , they still NEED to take a few items in their catalogue and make them of extreme quality JUST to do it . and Maintain them not Delete or discontinue them , as a principle …. Because the Customer who want Quality , won’t be as concerned about the cost as much as they would for basic consumer related items ….. They want the Quality ….. period . And they will speak about it .


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