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The breakneck pace of technology
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The breakneck pace of technology

Every so often, I find myself in a reverie-- stunned to realize how far I have come, how far humanity has come, in the quest to capture audio.

I was getting jiggly with the controls on my Sony D-100 personal handheld stereo recorder, which, as an aside, does a breathtakingly astonishing job ... I needed to flip it from wav files to mp3's, and incredibly rationally it gave me a choice of 128 or 320 kbps, and then it said that with the current memory it could do that for

TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE HOURS.

The boldface was just in my mind-- naturally, with 32 gigs, that's how it plays out, and not only that, it would automatically jump to the other memory if it needed...

And I recalled... when the DAT tape era brought the great and good revelation of two whole hours of uninterrupted recording, what a blessing and a wonder it was.

And... it just all makes me feel like I've lived into an age where, at least in this one niche of human endeavor, dreams really have come true.

When I was a kid, riding around on my Stingray bicycle, I'd imagine... what about this: a kind of cassette recorder that wouldn't be much bigger than the cassette itself, that might fit in a coat pocket, that was portable and personal, that had little headphones... never expecting that was just the beginning what you'll live to see!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
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kludgeaudio's Avatar
 
Yeah, but NOW you have to edit 221 hours of audio.

I don't miss the days of trying to save every little bit of tape and waiting until the very last minute to press the button but... there was a lot less trimming to do back then.
--scott
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
And trimming is the easy part. How about being the video AEs and having to watch every bit of five cameras shooting a 14-hour day of a TV movie? Every day?

There is clearly something to having a valuable and expensive expendable in your work flow that you had to be very deliberate and organized about using up. 35mm movie film comes to mind. Two-inch audio tape as well.

I got out of the movie biz just as digital cameras emerged into the main-stream and as "if it moves, shoot it" became most directors' mantra. I'm glad I didn't suffer for long. My patience these days is way too short to tolerate waste on that scale.

D.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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vincentvangogo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Personally I wish we could have a ten year moratorium on new inventions so I don't have to keep updating stuff.
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge ➡️
Neat recorder. Love the big display. Im turned off by the tiny displays on the current SD offerings.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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🎧 10 years
I wish it were easier to chain these newer multi trackers together, for a higher channel count (as well as being able to monitor them cumulatively without needing to add a hardware mixer) without worrying about speed drift between units. However, in the spirit of Joel's opening post...I'm sure it won't be a long wait until this facility appears !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
heh, heh. The Portacapture X8 by Tascam looks/sounds like a microGear swiss Army knife of a handy little 6-tracker that could be the missing link for my new camera / 8-track mix combo gear. Like a "studio-probe". Something my young protégé can run with while composing on piano for IP archiving. I see the recorders are going for $500 bucks U.S. .... Could see someone taking one of those into SPACE.

Last edited by AfterViewer; 1 week ago at 03:02 AM..
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AfterViewer ➡️
Could see someone taking one of those into SPACE.
In space, no-one can record your screams....
Old 2 weeks ago
  #10
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
A Chinese microphone does not a 192 kHz. recording make.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I can also see attaching one of those to a mic stand boom shock mount sling right on top of my acoustic guitars and basses for a stereo sound image in a pinch, then transferring to recorder/mixer for workstation orchestration. Also , just like the looks of that little bugger.

* But then, I expect they will come out with a new model about the same size with traction limbs and the ability to "A.I." most projects as they scurry around the studio staying out from underfoot of engineering staff.

Last edited by AfterViewer; 1 week ago at 05:36 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Of course....

Along with celebrating my great good fortune in choosing a career path that, in this time and place, has unfolded in an exquisitely perfect way... when one guy with a few cameras and a few tape decks and a few laptops can do it all...

I feel myself harkening back to an old, disturbing fear... that this completely overwhelming obsession with capturing and preserving the artistic achievements of other people, noble though it might be... is a sign of some inborn need for removal, for keeping life at a distance, for feeling more at ease with a virtual version of reality, than with real life itself... and that this is perhaps a tendency that curses mankind as a whole... the need to conjure artificial, on-demand entertainment and enlightenment and inspiration... maybe that's, a, ummm... a not a totally harmless thing?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
It may be more benign and noble than you're suggesting: a desire to freeze, preserve and perhaps enhance a fleeting moment in time into something tangible, recall-able and replayable...while perhaps accentuating the aesthetic qualities by good camera and mic coverage, good lenses and enhancing the quality of the light. Is nostalgia much more than the playback of cherished memories ?

If intelligent selection, deployment and capture using today's over-achieving tech toys permits and encourages this search for transcendence above the ordinary....how bad can that be ?

On a more personal level, if life today is writ too large for you....perhaps framing, documenting and recording it to an obsessive degree is a way of constraining and rendering that reality less powerful, giving you some sense of control and mastery over it...as well as a safe way of observing and engaging with it at a vicarious, more detached distance ?

Of course, as the cartoon "TV Sunrise" by Australian Michael Leunig illustrates, it's possible to go too far with vicarious detachment...or 'substitution'

Maybe it's just painting a respectable veneer of 'endeavour' upon a tendency to be a stalker, a spy, an undercover investigative reporter...or worse ?
Attached Thumbnails
The breakneck pace of technology-leunig-tv-sunrise.jpg  

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 04:54 AM..
Old 1 week ago
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Interesting discussion . . . just this evening, for reasons known only to my sub-conscious, I burned all my journals in the fireplace. I was embarrassed by all the self-absorption revealed on those pages - hundreds of hours of writing over the last 40 years. Most of my family has passed. I save only a few photographs of them. At age 69 I don't see the need to record/capture much of anything anymore. I prefer to think of myself falling onto the future like the prow of a ship, always surprised by the next moment, and not needing to capture it. But then, like a kid, I'm still in complete awe of the power of modern digital recording and photography. The computing power of my iPhone would have required a city block's worth of hardware when I was ten years old.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Smart phones are too smart for their own good.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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tourtelot's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Some of the smart I like, some of the smart I don't like. Just like life in general, yes?

D.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
the longer i'm in this business, the less interested i am in capturing a fleeting moment... - even though gear became better, i'm inclined to say that a recording mostly becomes a skeleton (i not a caricature) of a real-world live experience because a recording can never convey the overwhelming energy of the live experience and the subtle details of the context surrounding the concert.

in any case, i am happy to work and broadcast more live (again) than in studios which is also reflected in the purchase and use of my equipment (which includes gear typically used for live sr, broadcasting and mastering) - that said, i don't like large scale touring much (anymore)...

___

this tascam thingy looks a bit less awful than the zoom monstrosity.

Last edited by deedeeyeah; 1 week ago at 01:46 PM.. Reason: wording
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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tdot's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
And... it just all makes me feel like I've lived into an age where, at least in this one niche of human endeavor, dreams really have come true.
I think about this one all the time, but almost on the other end of it.

I feel like something between ~95-05 may have been the greatest leap in technological advances in the shortest time in human history (save for maybe WW2?). Even though I was still a child, I feel lucky to have lived through that time, seeing everything I got to see.

The "introduction" of the personal computer and Internet (sure it was earlier, but this was the point where they became fast and useful enough to have a place in every home), the introduction of such concepts as 3D graphics and video streaming, watching computer literally double in speed and performance (or more) every single year. The introduction of flat panels and HD resolutions, the real coming of age of digital recording. Things we thought were "impossible" a few years earlier becoming common all the time.

However, if you haven't noticed, things have pretty much stagnated, and it's slightly worrying. In 10 years, the single core performance of an i7 2600 to a brand new 11700 has not even doubled. We are no longer doubling transistor counts every year. We've hit physical limits to many things - and I'm not sure how long it's going to take humanity to get around that.

Even looking at things like the dynamic range of top end converters - we've pretty much hit a limit to what is physically possible. I'm not sure there are many "great advances" left to be had. I guess one could question if we've already hit the limits of human perception ... (4K in a 13 inch screen? can a human really even SEE much more resolution than that?)

I guess there are still "advances" happening, especially on the lower end. Technology is becoming cheaper all the time, and things in the ~$200 range are still constantly pushing up what can be made for $200. But in the high end? Not so much. It's almost the same principal of how smartphones (being extremely small and power efficient compared to a full computer) were still advancing relatively quickly throughout the 2010s, but even they have seem to hit a plateau as well.

I guess I managed to make something positive seem depressing again
Old 1 week ago
  #19
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
As if I wasn't already feeling this subtle, morose undercurrent...

Here is a blurb from a small-time violin player I used to work with, caught in the spam filter, encouraging people to watch a video (did I mention she was encouraging people to watch a video?) which of course celebrates all the talent and costumes and lighting on display and...

this delightful short is filled with amazing talent, down to the videographers.

Ouch!
Old 1 week ago
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
@ Rob 28 WTF were you thinking to burn your journals? They are to be a time capsule!
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #21
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wildplum's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
Of course....

Along with celebrating my great good fortune in choosing a career path that, in this time and place, has unfolded in an exquisitely perfect way... when one guy with a few cameras and a few tape decks and a few laptops can do it all...

I feel myself harkening back to an old, disturbing fear... that this completely overwhelming obsession with capturing and preserving the artistic achievements of other people, noble though it might be... is a sign of some inborn need for removal, for keeping life at a distance, for feeling more at ease with a virtual version of reality, than with real life itself... and that this is perhaps a tendency that curses mankind as a whole... the need to conjure artificial, on-demand entertainment and enlightenment and inspiration... maybe that's, a, ummm... a not a totally harmless thing?
two aspirin and a good nap should cure all that.

in all seriousness, you are doing great work, keep it up.
Old 1 week ago
  #22
40 years ago I had crappy recording gear and amazing musicians to record.

Now I have amazing recording gear and crappy musicians to record.
Old 1 week ago
  #23
Lives for gear
 
AfterViewer's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
LOL, it's a great time to be alive, though, heh-heh.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Speaking with a recording engineer friend of mine who uses a Studer tape machine, Crookwood paintpot, and Sound Devices 702 plus various mics, he told of a concert he'd been listening to when he saw someone around the 2nd row recording on a machine such as the Tascam.

He listened to it later and then asked me, "Why do they need me!"

In all fairness, he was having a bad day!!!
Old 1 week ago
  #25
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
When you are tired of doing the work, let a JANITOR do the recording.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #26
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Plush's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
Speaking with a recording engineer friend of mine who uses a Studer tape machine, Crookwood paintpot, and Sound Devices 702 plus various mics, he told of a concert he'd been listening to when he saw someone around the 2nd row recording on a machine such as the Tascam.

He listened to it later and then asked me, "Why do they need me!"

In all fairness, he was having a bad day!!!
Tony F. used to post that he was hacked off at an amateur with a dat machine.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Gear Guru
 
joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
So then the OTHER thing that nags and gnaws at me— I am making hundreds of decisions, all the time (hundredses!) and, are they all the “right” ones? Highly manipulative EQ slices, bulges, low rolling piedmonts… excursions into side chaining that utterly squelch, compression soft-en-er-izings and booster-izings, vast choices about levels and inputs, not to mention how many mics, which’ll go where, or, in a whole different “create your own reality” scenario now when this shot has become boring and it’s time to pan, or do something….

To look back, these are like millions of footsteps in the sand, my journey of a thousand miles, and it will only be after it’s all over will you tell what kind of quality or worthwhileness there was, which bargains struck well or ill, how much preserved and lost. And at the time, the feeling of “uncertainty” and “really actual balls-naked guesswork” is just about overwhelming.

Which, y’know, is in a way, mildly confusing, but I don’t let it bother me. I try not.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #28
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
the longer i'm in this business, the less interested i am in capturing a fleeting moment... - even though gear became better, i'm inclined to say that a recording mostly becomes a skeleton (i not a caricature) of a real-world live experience because a recording can never convey the overwhelming energy of the live experience and the subtle details of the context surrounding the concert.

in any case, i am happy to work and broadcast more live (again) than in studios which is also reflected in the purchase and use of my equipment (which includes gear typically used for live sr, broadcasting and mastering) - that said, i don't like large scale touring much (anymore)...

___

this tascam thingy looks a bit less awful than the zoom monstrosity.
When I first started recording in the late 70s (very late 70s) I really got a thrill from sitting listening on a pair of headphones and watching many metres away from the action during a live concert recorded on a pair of crossed Calrec mics, and feeling as though I were sitting in the prime seat in the house.
That memory of feeling completely relaxed and being able to hear all the detail that someone in the 2nd row was probably missing, has never left me.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #29
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Poulton ➡️
When I first started recording in the late 70s (very late 70s) I really got a thrill from sitting listening on a pair of headphones and watching many metres away from the action during a live concert recorded on a pair of crossed Calrec mics, and feeling as though I were sitting in the prime seat in the house.
That memory of feeling completely relaxed and being able to hear all the detail that someone in the 2nd row was probably missing, has never left me.
i started around the same time and i still get a thrill out of most things related to music; i also dig recording but to me, nothing comes close to mixing live and getting physically (and emotionally) hit and getting carried away.

no doubt very moving recordings/mixes can be created, even 'larger than life' in some ways, but with capture not only comes an inevitable influence of technology on the results but also a lack of other sensory stimuli.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #30
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
the longer i'm in this business, the less interested i am in capturing a fleeting moment... - even though gear became better, i'm inclined to say that a recording mostly becomes a skeleton (i not a caricature) of a real-world live experience because a recording can never convey the overwhelming energy of the live experience and the subtle details of the context surrounding the concert.

in any case, i am happy to work and broadcast more live (again) than in studios which is also reflected in the purchase and use of my equipment (which includes gear typically used for live sr, broadcasting and mastering) - that said, i don't like large scale touring much (anymore)...

___

this tascam thingy looks a bit less awful than the zoom monstrosity.
I recorded 3500+ live classical concerts and I have to say I don't agree with your opening statement. In many cases the recordings brings back amazing images both visual and aural. I always aimed at doing a recording that captured the performance as if I was an audience member in the venue. Most of the time I succeeded.

FWIW
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