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5 Myths Of Vintage Recording Many Of Us Should Stop Believing

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  • 5 Myths Of Vintage Recording Many Of Us Should Stop Believing

     

    "you don
    http://musicinit.com/fastfingers.php An Experiment in 80's Technology
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  • #2

    Well, it's a bit of a sketch, and there are a couple of slippery spots -- just buying a copy of PT is a long, long way from duplicating a traditional recording studio... you still gotta have mic(s), pres, converters, cans, monitors, and more just to have a solo setup. But, no question, absolutely, much, much cheaper hardware without a doubt. And loads more selection at the bottom end to go along with those much lower prices. 


    (Of course, those economies of scale have fueled the great 'amateur recording boom' that some see as a direct threat to their economic niche; me, I think it's great. There's a lot more great music out. Sure, that means more competition, but it translates, in my view, to a huge increase in the amount of interesting music available. And, from what I've seen, many of those whining about the 'competition' from those making music for the love of music instead of as a celebrity career move tend to be those making what strikes me as some of the most boring, uninovative, unoriginal, superflous/redundant product.)


     


    But there are some old-fashioned virtues that I think we (broadly, as in the recording industry and its amateur contingent)  would do well to remember and keep alive:


    Overdubbing is a huge convenience. To solo musician/songwriters like myself, it's heavensent.


    But it is a very rare overdub project that captures the life and edge of a group of solid musicians playing together in one place in visual contact. Overdubs projects are easy to control and manicure. But there's no little doubt that there are typically real trade-offs.


    Another old time virtue: solid craft on both sides of the glass. That means: engineers who know how things work, how to get the sounds they want, how to communicate with musicians about the nuts and bolts of their music but ALSO can use their creative/forensic skills to try to figure out the less concrete communications about vibe, direction, etc; and it means musicians who have already worked out their arrangements, have solid gear and know how to use it, don't have to pass off the guitar to an engineer or second to tune (if it hadn't happened so many times I wouldn't mention it), drummers who can play ON TIME, singers who can sing without robotic assistance. 


    But those are not problems with technology. Gridifying and tuning technologies exist and can, presumably, be, in a pinch, a useful addition to the toolkit...


    ... but when they are used as a crutch all the time, that can make musicians lazy or unaspiring to greater skill.


    It's great that we have tools to clean up and shape up less than perfect recordings. I have no problem with the tools or their occasional, limited use.


    But when you use them all the time as a way to not have to have musicians deliver 'acceptable' performances, essentially crafting a semblance of musicality after the fact, I think it manifestly leaves a mark on the music: from the ear-catching artifacts of poorly used pitch correction* to the robo-grind of gridified drums, over-reliance on these tricks tends to rob the music of its humanity and personality.


     



    music and social stuff | The Forgotify Files | A Year of Songs | mutant pop on facebook | roots acoustic on facebook


    The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

    Comment


    • spaceanimals
      spaceanimals commented
      Editing a comment

       I wrote and recordedadubmelodicasongonmylaptopusinganSM57, anARTpreampthatcostlessthan $60.00, ReaperDAW, andafewfreeVSTeffects. Reaper even let me burn the song to a CD.

      No way I could have done this in the 70s.

      If I could magically go back in time and record in a 70s studio the song would sound better not because of the equipment, but because an actual engineer would have recorded the instruments and real musicians would have played the song.

      Unfortunately, I'm not a great musician, so even though the sound quality would be better, the music would still be amateur hour.

       

      Jimmy


  • #3

    techristian wrote:

     

    "you don

    Comment


    • #4

      Yeah, things are done differently now than then.What else is new?

      The reason why things are cheaper now than then is that practically nobody is building a studio any more. And for some kinds of music, it shows. "Artists" who have plenty of time and no real obligations can fool with tracks and fumble with imstruments they don't know how to play and come up with something that sounds like music, but they can't go on tour like that.

      And show me a computer that's built as well as an Ampex MM-1000. And show me a computer that you can troubleshoot as easily as a tape deck - and actually fix the problem rather than replace the whole thing, either literally with a new computer or figuratively by reloading all the software. The guy who kept replacing cards in his recorder was able to keep a session going because he could do that. And if he had any skill he could repair the card that he swapped out. Try that with your computer.

      --
      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

      Comment


      • UstadKhanAli
        UstadKhanAli commented
        Editing a comment

        Discounting the building of recording studios, I do think a lot of gear is cheaper nowadays.  After that, I find myself disagreeing with most of the points either somewhat or quite a bit and feel like he was straining to make a couple of those points.


      • techristian
        techristian commented
        Editing a comment

        MikeRivers wrote:

        And show me a computer that's built as well as an Ampex MM-1000. And show me a computer that you can troubleshoot as easily as a tape deck - and actually fix the problem rather than replace the whole thing, either literally with a new computer or figuratively by reloading all the software. The guy who kept replacing cards in his recorder was able to keep a session going because he could do that. And if he had any skill he could repair the card that he swapped out. Try that with your computer.


        I suppose that depends on whether you are a computer type person, or a mechanic / electrician. Weak capstan springs, REWIND AND FASTFORWARD BRAKES not working properly, and worn capstans were among my favorite headaches. How often has this happened to you? You just finished recording your final take and go to rewind. when you hit STOP it stops too quickly and stretches or breaks the tape....or the brakes don't stop quick enough and you have 6 feet of tape ,or more ,on the floor.

        Then there is the mysterious moving recording head. The recording that you made last year DRIFTS up and down in volume because the tracks are out of alignment or because that $80 reel of AMPEX 456 is wearing out.

        Other fine headaches such as the VU meters stop working or the lamps are burned out.

        I still would rather have the new technology. I can buy a whole new computer today for the cost of a capstan motor on some of those old beasts.

         

        Dan

         

         


      • blue2blue
        blue2blue commented
        Editing a comment

        MikeRivers wrote:

        Yeah, things are done differently now than then.What else is new?


        The reason why things are cheaper now than then is that practically nobody is building a studio any more. And for some kinds of music, it shows. "Artists" who have plenty of time and no real obligations can fool with tracks and fumble with imstruments they don't know how to play and come up with something that sounds like music, but they can't go on tour like that.


        And show me a computer that's built as well as an Ampex MM-1000. And show me a computer that you can troubleshoot as easily as a tape deck - and actually fix the problem rather than replace the whole thing, either literally with a new computer or figuratively by reloading all the software. The guy who kept replacing cards in his recorder was able to keep a session going because he could do that. And if he had any skill he could repair the card that he swapped out. Try that with your computer.




        That you can troubleshoot as easily as a tape deck. For those coming new to tape, it's a whole new paradigm littered with plenty of potential gotchyas. 


        For the things that have gone wrong with my computers vis a vis with my tape decks, I've found it easier to diagnose and fix the computers. (Except when a Quicktime installation from hell corrupted the bios on a machine around the turn of the century. It took me 10 days to finally figure out what had happened. THAT might be the exception that blows the rule -- but if I hadn't been an idiot and allowed Apple software onto my PC that presumably never would have happened.)


        Of course, the whole concept is that the computer is a generic appliance, at the heart of your recording rig, to be sure, but replaceable from a wide potential array of choices.


         


        The guy who was replacing cards in his tape deck was doing it because it was the only way he could keep the session running and if he'd run out of cards -- as I did several times with the flipping-don't-look-at-them-hard cards in my 8 channel dbx rack for my old 1/2" eight track.


        I was hung out to dry so many times by that tape machine I'd have to have been using only Gateways for the last 20 years to have logged up as much downtime and frustration with computers.


    • #5

      I would not have picked those myths as the 5 most common myths... well a couple of them are not myths anyway.  "The past" covers a lot of eras and I think he's grouping too much together. 

      By the way, my Moog synth never went out of tune, and I still have it in perfect working condition 30 years later.

      I think the biggest myth for years now is if you buy the exact same equipment that was used on a song (or equivalent pugins) then you will have the same sound and success as the artist you're trying to mimic.

      "Everybody loves you when you're six foot in the ground."
      ~John Lennon

      Comment


      • blue2blue
        blue2blue commented
        Editing a comment

        Beck wrote:

        I would not have picked those myths as the 5 most common myths... well a couple of them are not myths anyway.  "The past" covers a lot of eras and I think he's grouping too much together. 


        By the way, my Moog synth never went out of tune, and I still have it in perfect working condition 30 years later.


        I think the biggest myth for years now is if you buy the exact same equipment that was used on a song (or equivalent pugins) then you will have the same sound and success as the artist you're trying to mimic.




        OK. Wait a second.


        You had a classic Moog synth like a Model 15 or a Mini -- and you're telling us it never went out of tune?


         


        Really? REALLY?


    • #6

      techristian wrote (or quoted):

       

      "you don

      Comment


      • blue2blue
        blue2blue commented
        Editing a comment

        quadibloc wrote:


        techristian wrote (or quoted):

         


        "you don
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