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How complicated was recording and mixing back in the 40's and 50's?
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #31
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune ➡️
The players must have rehearsed like hell the day before or just had crazy levels of born talent.
Or no distractions other than learning to master their instrument and getting paid a living wage for playing and exercising their craft. No different from someone studying 20 years to play classical pieces on piano, just a different genre. And of course sink or swim; your first mistake in a session better be your only one.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #32
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🎧 5 years
personally i think the music back then is so highly regarded now as their was less technical complexity , this feeds into a state of Obsessive compulsiveness in this day and age , leading to more sterile analytical work , back then there was none of this , it was much more loose , the performers were less ego driven maybe also ( were in the age of the ego now and have been for years ) and i just think their was an innocence thats now lost in many .

Mosts producers and musicians spend the entire life now fixated over eq curves and ad/da convertors , what synth will make them sound like their favourite artist and on making ' perfect ' music that pleases others , fits a genre , gets then adoration and all this is the polar opposite from what was happening back then.

I think there was less Ocd and obessive compulsive disorder in engineers , producers and musicians and the technology was also not as pure and # over engineered ' as it is now.
Old 15th April 2014
  #33
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🎧 10 years
A lot less "complicated" than these days I'd say. Everyone wore only a single hat and wore that hat to work every day. Recording was so expensive that there was no room for dikin around. Mixing was done with the mics, rooms and the performers even before hitting the recorder. And several takes you say? If it wasnt "done" on the first few takes you were probably fired.

I bet the engineers of yesteryears would ROFL at our recording skills. Most of us wouldn't even have a proper room to record in, not to mention our inability to "mix" with mics.
Old 15th April 2014
  #34
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🎧 5 years
It was probably not complicated at all. They had musicians that were well versed in their craft. They only had a few options, so I think it was easier to make a record back then.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #35
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronmaster ➡️
Woah, nostalgia & mythology.


No really.


Take the average release from that era and then take the average release today and the OP's point is is proven right before our ears.

It's not nostalgia or mythology if it's true.

Why is it true?

Because the actual price of entrey, the "bar", as it were was higher. You released a recrod an you had better be something special. The labels acted as a gatekeeper to a general basic level of talent.

(Are there exceptions? O f course. But, look at the whole.... just pull a random Soundcloud track and stack it up against a random record pulled from that era from Amoeba and voila!

Point is, while the gear was top notch (because face it, recording at all was serious business), the material and playing was mostly exceptional.

I know we don't like to hear that, but it's true.

It's hard to hear that most of us are just hacks who bought our way into an industry that woulnd't have wanted anything to do with us

-a
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #36
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➡️

I know we don't like to hear that, but it's true.

It's hard to hear that most of us are just hacks who bought our way into an industry that woulnd't have wanted anything to do with us
So, according to you, at that time, you were either Frank Sinatra or you for ever kept your peace, whereas today any "hack" can "buy his way" into the "industry".

It must have been wonderful back then...


D.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #37
Deleted 61b93a1
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stallone ➡️
It would have sucked to be a Gearslut back then.
If you were a studio owner, you were a gearslut by default. No choice but to buy Neumanns, etc., because the whole pro-sumer range of recording gear didn't exist.

They probably never thought to enjoy the nice gear they had, just worried about paying for it.
Old 15th April 2014
  #38
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Re '40s and '50s: A lot of recordings from the '40s sound pretty bad. The tape recorder itself didn't really hit the industry until after World War II, same thing for condenser mics, then the technology took a while to spread.

Analog recording really started its golden age in the '50s. Earlier stuff is mostly amazing if the musicians are amazing.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #39
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🎧 10 years
This is a nice summary article/snapshot of what was going on. Tons of books, documentaries, interviews, etc... are devoted just to the evolution of the studio.
The Engineers Who Changed Recording
Who Cares About Quality? Rudy Van Gelder!
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #40
Deleted 61b93a1
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➡️
Take the average release from that era and then take the average release today and the OP's point is is the "bar", as it were was higher. You released a recrod an you had better be something special. The labels acted as a gatekeeper to a general basic level of talent.

(Are there exceptions? O f course. But, look at the whole.... just pull a random Soundcloud track and stack it up against a random record pulled from that era from Amoeba and voila!

Point is, while the gear was top notch (because face it, recording at all was serious business), the material and playing was mostly exceptional.

I know we don't like to hear that, but it's true.

It's hard to hear that most of us are just hacks who bought our way into an industry that woulnd't have wanted anything to do with us

-a
I agree with the high quality of the players and engineers -- not just in the '50s, but through the '70s at least.

However, the BAD side of the old system was that the songs were often safe and commercial and awful . . . because the gatekeepers' money was on the line. There was a lot more "how much is that doggy in the window" (look it up) than great jazz, or whatever.

It's no coincidence that Detroit techno coincided with the beginning of =affordable= home multitrack recording of synths. Take away the gatekeepers, and a lot more personal visions get realized, for better and for worse.

Now all we need is an industry . . .
Old 15th April 2014
  #41
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7Wave's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
There's actually something different and good about recording a live session with all open air mics and no line recording or multi-tracking. Often a multi-track studio recording will sound very close, boxed in, compressed, clean, and discrete. But music actually does something different when the sound waves of instruments and voices interfere with each other in open air. If you mic it well and don't try too hard to make everything discrete, an open air recording can capture something more like the experience of being in the room.
Old 15th April 2014
  #42
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
Yea, I'm convinced a lot of that era was all about the rooms and acoustics combined with the mic'ing techniques.

I disagree with some who think those 40's records sounded bad. some of those big band/swing era records from the 40's are amazing.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #43
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🎧 15 years
We love to rail on the labels as gatekeepers playing it safe and putting out total trash.

BUT, let's be truly TRULY honest with ourselves and ask if the "no industry" filter is producing better work.

I mean, yes, there's great work that never would have made it through the system and now has an outlet, but on the whole, Soundcloud and the like are just filled with total crap.

So, in reverse, let's not glorify today.

We may have killed the music industry, but now what?
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #44
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➡️
We love to rail on the labels as gatekeepers playing it safe and putting out total trash.

BUT, let's be truly TRULY honest with ourselves and ask if the "no industry" filter is producing better work.

I mean, yes, there's great work that never would have made it through the system and now has an outlet, but on the whole, Soundcloud and the like are just filled with total crap.

So, in reverse, let's not glorify today.

We may have killed the music industry, but now what?
I think it's better with no gatekeeping. Undoubtedly.

Sure, amazing records were being produced in the closed garden of yesteryear, but it doesn't fly in the face of today's phenomenon.
Old 15th April 2014 | Show parent
  #45
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanilla_Dutches ➡️
I think it's better with no gatekeeping. Undoubtedly.

Sure, amazing records were being produced in the closed garden of yesteryear, but it doesn't fly in the face of today's phenomenon.
Not saying one was/is better than the other, just pointing out that some people commented on how the major labels just put out crap, yet, today we have even MORE crap.

So, we can't go make the labels the bad guys (although they were and did their fair evil part).

Just saying we have as much crap or more without the labels.
Old 1st May 2014 | Show parent
  #46
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo ➡️

We may have killed the music industry, but now what?
We need musical scarcity to transform its value. An endless supply of cheaply produced music is akin to 'raising the noise floor.' --desensitizing, less contrast, less meaning. As individuals working on produced music, we need to find forward ways that music can engage people. Part of this is about creating beautiful and carefully produced music, but it's more about straight-up connecting with people. Take the sum of all the thoughts you've never had about how music can be used and the future is in there somewhere. We can look to music in the past, but it has a limit to what it can teach us about how to make and use music in the future.
Old 26th December 2014 | Show parent
  #47
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➡️
Actually it would be more like one or two takes.
It was common to make an album in a day.
I read somewhere that Little Richard et al would just go into the studio, hit record, and do an entire album in one take, and there's your record. This was a really inspiring idea to me. Definitely a pre-Pink Floyd kind of take on things.
Old 26th December 2014
  #48
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lune ➡️
How did they get that stuff sounding so good?
So, you call a mid heavy "mix" without low end or highs "good sounding"?

...i'll take todays recording techniques over the 40's approach any day.
Old 26th December 2014 | Show parent
  #49
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Top class jazz musicians playing pop tunes, who probably knew more about shaping sound
than the engineers did, doesn't go amiss.
Old 26th December 2014
  #50
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🎧 10 years
Don't forget the pressures back then to keep costs down - so an extra take could be very expensive, so in the control room, people had to use their ears during the rehearsals. Of course, the other feature was that every singer was good, and studio singers were rare, singers had all served their time, learned how to use the microphones and had LOUD voices. Think on stage - 40 people banging and blowing, and no modern Pas, you had to be a proper singer. I had some of the BBCs old ribbon mics and sound wise, they really were NOT special, the quality came from the placement and the talent. If you listen to some of the early Buddy Holly recordings, the quality is really very very good. Nowadays we use too many tricks, spend too long making rubbish singers sound good, and trying to fix musician issues. When everyone just played the dots in front of them, there was no need to spend ages learning songs - the singers or their management provided the music, the musicians played them.

Nowadays we spend time fixing musical mistakes - they just didn't have that problem. Backing singers knew how to move in and out from the central mics, or to turn off axis. Many of the Drifters early recordings used one mic, with the leads swapping around by them moving, not people shoving faders. This is why people have so many problems when they try to record live to stereo - it's a new world!


For what it's worth - I'm comfy with mics or mikes - but cannot even consider using mic'ing, it will ALWAYS be miking from me, despite the many logical reasons for the contraction version - it just is wrong!
Old 26th December 2014
  #51
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SOS article/interview about the guy who first recorded Elvis & Johnny Cash back in the 50s:

Sam Phillips: Sun Records

Funny thing is, when you compare the earliest recordings of Elvis done by him using slap back delay, they generally sound better than the earliest recordings by RCA when they couldn't figure out his trick and so used a hallway for reverb instead (despite all their money and fancy engineering teams).

Seems like the 40s & 50s were more about performance & innovation than the gear itself..

EDIT: Not denying that the evolution of gear hasn't had a positive impact.
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