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music history question

Discussion in 'Recording' started by willjrockstar, Nov 5, 2007.

  1. i was just wondering, if anyone can tell me, why it is that the recordings of the 70's sound about as good as what were hearin today. whats the common denominator in it all. Is it the room? I mean we do have better equipt. now right?
  2. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    whats the common denominator ?


    Creative engineers and the gear were much better back then..
    I would say recordings were better back then than now.
  3. I'd take issue with this statement, but a factor for sure is that "we" have access to more junky equipment, which has given berth to more recordists with little experience, whereas equipment years ago was often bigger, more quality, and more expensive to the point that only serious recordists could possess it.
  4. i heard Boston's smokin and im like wow
  5. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    The thrill of playing music has taken a backseat to being audio technician.

    It is my guess that most people involved in music currently, crippled blind or crazy, from 8 to 80, are technicians these days with an eye towards music or commercials or prime time tv shows.

    Used to be mostly the opposite.

    I think here in 2007, the musical offerings reflect this.

    The "anyone can do it" accessibility of gear and distributation via the Internet is a bleeding flood and the only way to get on top is to be mostly whatever it takes to be on a commercial or primetime tv, etc.

    You heard one you heard them all? Not completely, but getting tighter and closer with every passing digital byte.

    With all that we have we still do what others are doing.

    Don't get me wrong I hear some good tunes from talented people in many stops along the Internet way. Maybe it's the passing of life, time and, hey...you gonna pass that thing this way?

    And experienced dedicated engineers. As required as musicians were, sometimes more so, as in the case of Kiss:)
  6. That album in particular is incredible. Revolutionary, even. One record doesn't encompass the whole of the '70s, though.
  7. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Tom Scholz was a pioneer in the studio electronics biz!
    That album (Boston) was almost entirely recorded in his basement.

    He invented the Rockman headphone amp and the Powersoak, among other things (I thought he had also invented the Phaser pedal?).

    Another notable mention about Boston:
    Sib Hashian's hair - Wow, man!
  8. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    Well, when I was learning the technology end of things (starting in the late 60's blowing up geetar amps), it was because of my love for the music. And it didn't matter what style-classical, Broadway, bluegrass, disco (well...), not just rock'n'roll- it was all good. I don't think that I ever ran across another live sound or recording engineer then that didn't share that passion. In fact, pretty much all of the folks I was fortunate enough to work around or know were damned good players in their own rite.

    We were raised that way. Our schools had some sort of music education system in place, some better than others, that taught us that music was a combination of rhythm AND melody. We were exposed to a lot more arts and culture than the kids are now. In each neighborhood that I grew up, you could throw a rock and hit a house with at least ONE kid playing a musical instrument- be it a Fender Mustang, a piano, or a trumpet. In my home, we were blessed with a Hammond M3 when I was 5 and I started on a Harmony guitar when I was 9. There wasn't any MTV, you walked down the street to jam out with the other kids in the neighborhood. That type of upbringing is bound to yield more talented, discerning ears.

    It took a lot more work to get the sound down, period. I remember watching my first mentor, Frank Virtue (a Philly producer), cut his master discs on a Neumann lathe. I had to stand in another room and watch through a window because NOTHING could disturb him or the process. You didn't just click a mouse to start to record, you had to spend all friggin' morning getting the heads aligned/cleaned/demagged, calibrating the Dolby units, warming up the McIntosh tube amps and the Fairchild, tweaking the drum kit to rid it of the rattles and squeaks, bla, blah, blah. It was simply a LOT more work and required the dedication and love of the art to succeed at it. It was a different era, not necessarily better- I certainly don't miss vynl - but it was more of an art rather than "just" technology.
    My apologies for the rant. I'm still reeling from the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert I saw last night...

    P.S.: Tom Scholtz was a prime example of the music education thing. However, he did NOT invent the "phaser pedal". I think that was Tom Oberheim (for Maestro) several years earlier.
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I think a more direct answer to your question is that tape recording, microphone, amplifier, and speaker technology were are mature by the 70s. Any improvements in these since that time have been incremental (or nonexistent). Digital technology has made everything easier, and made some techniques possible that were not available back then, but other than signal to noise ratio there has been essentially no audible improvement in basic sound. (And the human brain is very good at "filtering" noise.)
  10. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    I'm not sure of what you're listening to, but everything I've been listening to for the past few years, blows away anything i've heard from my 70's collection (audio quality wise) Clarity and detail of current recordings are stunning.
    So I disagree with the OP concept.

    Now, if you want to talk about musicanship, arranging and production, well... Can open, worms everywhere.
  11. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Acoustic Makeovers - Mixonline.com
    “Many studios back in the '70s and '80s were kind of homemade,” says Manzella.
  12. I think I see a kind of curve. As the ease and technology of recording improved the quality and mastery of the performers instrument and that includes ones voice declined.

    There are whole worlds of music that most people do not know exists though and that includes many kinds of church music, gospel, christen and such. There are some great singers and players there.

    But as radio and what you see on TV goes the quality of the players are not as good. I feel it started with Punk rock were it was OK to be unprofessional and amateurish. If that's your thing, it's cool.

    Nobody wants to spend 8-10 hours a day practicing. They want instant greatness. I see it with recording too........you have to put the time in.

    Scientific studies have shown it takes 10,000 hours to master something. That's a lot of time doing it!!!! But even if you put the time in you still have to have some talent.

    These days there are just not enough venues to help the process and nobody wants to put the time in because there is little payoff and reward. So you have a lot of talented people who never reach their potential. Because of that we will never see another Louis Armstrong, Beatles, Stones, Ray, Led Zep, B.B. King, Bennie Goodman, Hendrix, Coltrane and even another SRV or Van Halen. Will we ever hear another voice like Withney Houston or Patti Labelle? Did you ever listen to Mahalia Jackson? There are no more John Hammond seniors or Tom Dowds. Will there ever be another Caruso?

    It's so much easier to make a great recording now but it's not happening on the other end. That's because of the industry and our society, the can of worms are open I guess.
  13. Jbrax

    Jbrax Guest

    Well said Big Daddy
  14. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Each generation thinks the passing of it's own is a huge loss.

    It isn't.

    Only looks that way from being knee deep and slap in the middle of it.

    I remember Mother saying "the world is going to hell in a handbasket" and thinking "what punk ass carries a handbasket?" But I find myself saying something similiar if in a more acute manner about this one that I'm in now:)
  15. thanks much guys for the get back. Bob you pretty much hit on what i was after.

    Id also like to point out that, i dont think it takes a real talented musician
    to make great sounding recordings.

    ...and sure we as musicians etc. we can hear a difference in kansas' point of no return, and the latest stained cd,(or can we) but aside from the name of the bands, my 42 year old sister, whos been going to concerts since shes been 16, wouldnt have a goddamn clue what year those songs were mastered.
  16. Link555

    Link555 Distinguished Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    North Vancouver
    Good topic. I agree with bigdaddybluesman.

    The quality of general Musicians these days has in my opinion gone down.

    If I had a dollar for each time a client has asked me to "pro-tool" them. Or how many times bands come in and expect to write the song in the studio. I am not complaining though, that usually triples their bill.

    But in all honesty when it comes to gear, I think I have a foot in both camps.

    I do hear a difference in today’s recording gear, but it’s not all bad.

    I would say that audio engineer now has the challenge of re-educating themselves in their gear. They need to figure out how to get the sounds they want out of it.

    When I first switched over to the DAW world, it took me a lot of trial and error to get the sound where I thought it should be. At first I thought it was the gear, because it was so 'easy' with reel to reel to get ‘that’ sound. However the deeper I went the more I realized, it wasn't equipment, it was how I used it.

    It takes quite a bit of work to re-learn the basics, but once you start the benefits are great. No hiss, huge dynamics and clarity previously un-obtainable.

    But each to there own, there is space for everyone in audio.

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