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recording cookbook
Old 7th July 2002
recording cookbook

What is the MOST important ingredient for making a great recording? This could be anything: gear, environment, color of the light in the room, type of coffee...anything.
Old 7th July 2002
There is only one
alphajerk's Avatar
🎧 15 years
the emotion of the music.
Old 7th July 2002
Moderator emeritus
🎧 15 years
Or at least music which causes an emotional reaction.
Old 7th July 2002
Jules's Avatar
1) I think favorite is if it 'means something'.

All to often I ask the singer what the song is about, and the singer waffles a little, then the bass player pipes, up "you liar! - You just made that up at the last rehersal and admitted YOU didnt even know what it meant"!

Good or bad, US pop rock music these days has a 'follow the bouncing ball' type of CLEAR meaning in the lyrics, not much double meaning or poetry going on.. Perhaps it's over simple / made for morons.

Presently UK music has a fey - "it means whatever YOU want it to mean" - bul**** artistry (lack of) about it. Clever irony gets flushed down the pop pan, fast.

Also I am seeing a lot of music fans - as bands. I dont want to be recording a f**king fan! I want a f**king real BAND! That really DOES appeal to 'the kids' .

Right now as I type this, the UK's failed export Oasis are playing in the park nearby (I can hear it very clearly as I type), hailed as the new Beatles when they started - it pans out that their main audience is male working class beer boys - Their total contribution to culture is some toe tapping music and the example that a working class guy can one day shop at Gucci.

It's tough for me, I caught the back end of the Anti Vietnam War peace movement, so as a teenager, the music that struck a chord with me had it's roots firmly embedded in social rebelion or a call for change..It often seemed to means something or at least form part of the social tapestry of the times.

Nowadays ... well....

Anyhow - I am in a position to help make a change, I have to start picking the acts I work on carefully, I can only do so many a year and I want them to COUNT!

2) a good drummer & kit
Old 7th July 2002
Moderator emeritus
🎧 15 years
Originally posted by Jules
1) I think favorite is if it 'means something'.

What does The Meters "Cissy Strut" mean? What does Average White Band's "Cut the Cake" mean? What does Basie's "Take The A Train" mean? Or J.S. Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier' mean?

Who cares? It's great music to me, because it elicits an emotional response.

But my the only response my dad would have to the first two songs I mentioned would be distate, and the Bach piece puts a lot people I know to sleep.

Just trying to help...
Old 7th July 2002
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Honesty. Honesty on the part of the musician, when the 703rd take was technically perfect, but the emotion wasn't there. Try it again. Honesty from the producer, being willing to admit something's not working, when it was supposed to, and working for the project, as opposed to it working for him. Honesty from the engineer, when that high-dollar mic and pre he loves sounds wrong on the vocalist when it "should" sound right, but a 57 makes it magical. Or tricking himself into believing he will fix something in the mix later, when he instinctivly knows that it will turn out to be less than what it could have been, if the time were spent to record it right. If it's a band, honesty (and trust) among them, and honesty about their music. No amount of money, gear, or recording prowess will make a recording great if the material sucks. And everybody involved should be after one thing only- capturing that "moment", and preserving it. The hardest thing for me has always been to be honest about the inspiration just not being there sometimes, and not assuming it can be pulled out of a hat at will. When we learn how to recognize true inspiration, and capture it while it's really there, we're on our way to making a great recording. Most important though, the honesty in realizing that there is no such thing as a "no compromise" recording. But if we approach this stuff honestly and with eyes open, art and nature will help us the rest of the way in making great recordings.

Who was it that said "if you never lie, you never have to remember what you said" ?

Old 7th July 2002
Capitol Studios Paris
jon's Avatar
🎧 15 years
(Hi Randy, I use that expression a lot...)

I s'pose it comes down to an inspired performance in an appropriate acoustic space with a capable engineer using High End gear .
Old 7th July 2002
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
in order of importance:

- the ingredients (in order of importance):

1. the song

2. the ever-elusive 'vibe', which seems to be inversely proportional to the budget of the production

3. the skill of the players, which, paradoxically, may also be inversely proportional...

- the cook:

1. the skill of the engineer, usually, directly proportional to the budget

2. emotional involvement with the song (ie would you actually like to listen to what you're recording)

- the kitchen:

1. the room (bears some, but little relationship to the budget)

2. the tools (could always do better)

ps there's always instant noodles (a la acid, etc), just add water and stir
Old 7th July 2002
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
also, jules, i hear ya re: oasis' noise pollution and the bovver boy bands... urgh, squandered talent (?music equivalent of a counter lunch, pretending to be haute cuisine)
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