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Is analog audio equipment DEAD?

As the march towards computerized digital audio equipment continues, surely analog equipment will eventually lie dead, buried, forgotten...

It's all computers these days, isn't it? DAWs, plug-ins, virtual instruments.

Yes, all you need to make a great recording is a microphone and interface, a DAW and loads and loads of plug-ins and virtual instruments.

What else could you possibly need?

Need a great preamp? There's one right there, modeled in software. A great compressor? Have a rack full of Fairchilds. Instruments? Virtual synth, virtual guitar, virtual bass, virtual band, virtual orchestra. Who needs anything real anymore?

Well, one could easily be forgiven for thinking this way. But there's a lot of activity going on in the analog domain - perhaps more than you realize. Here's an example...

Have you heard of the The VPR Alliance? No? Well it's "a program of standardization and consistency guidelines for manufacturers wishing to make products designed to fit into API's 500 series rack format".

They could have just called it The Lunchbox Alliance, then everyone would know what it was all about.

(API's Lunchbox, by the way, is a rack into which various types of audio modules can be inserted, including preamps, EQs, compressors and more. As an invention, it's nothing startling. As a movement, it could be quite something.)

Originally I guess that API's intention was that you should buy a Lunchbox and fill it up with API modular equipment. But other manufacturers soon caught on. Initially however API didn't like this, and you can easily see why - a rogue module could damage the Lunchbox's power supply, thus causing serious warranty issues.

But now, with the VPR Alliance, manufacturers who stick to the specification can create Lunchbox modules, with API's blessing. It's win-win-win for everyone, and API will sell vastly more equipment in an expanded market.

But that's not the point of this article. The point is to demonstrate that analog equipment is FAR from dead. Far, far, far. Look at this list of approved Lunchbox modules...

VPR Approved Modules

Analog equipment dead? Never!

By David Mellor Thursday March 31, 2011