Daniel Lanois on Neil Young, Pono and Analog vs. Digital
Photo by Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times
Here's an interview with Producer Daniel Lanois on Neil Young and the Pono, analog vs. digital debate from Vancouver Sun by Francois Marchand:
“In regards to Neil, bless his heart for going after quality. We’ve spoken about it a lot when I was working with him. When we were kids — and Neil is a little older than me, he’s a generation ahead of me — it was very common to pay a visit to the hi-fi shops. You’d go in and there would be a well-informed sales guy — it was all guys at that time — and you’d have a chance to try the German headphones and the Danish ones and the electro-static speakers. So there was a very, very high regard for an understanding of quality in reproduction in sound.Full interview with Producer Daniel Lanois on Vancouver Sun.
“It’s no news to anyone what happened: Convenience, MP3 and buzz, and there was a dip in quality. But thankfully in part to Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, it became cool to buy an expensive set of Beats headphones because people want to hear quality all over again.
“Pono is simply a very, very high digital resolution machine. What’s nice about what Neil is up to is that he’s gone back to analog sources and recordings. It’s like a film vs. digital camera: There’s no pixelization in that technology, it’s just saturation. That’s why Neil loves analog and those old tape masters. Then the idea is to transfer to this high-grade digital format so you get the density of the analog and the proper reproduction we should have been operating by all along digitally.
“Neil is saying, ‘Not good enough.’ So here we are. At least people are talking about fidelity all over again. How great is that? It’s not so much about analog over digital, it’s about, ‘You want to go to digital? Bring it on.’ But people don’t really care how you make records. In the end, people just want to be transported by music. Everything is driven by cost.
“Quality has always been with us. Just about every record I’ve worked on sounds really great. Did I ever want them to be played on an MP3 system? I want to shoot the guy who invented that thing.”