It might be interesting to note that while I first met George Massenburg, he had already built his ITI equalizer, his console and his studio in Hunt Valley Maryland a suburb of Baltimore. He had NO acoustic value to his studio whatsoever. It was lined in pure exposed pink fiberglass top to bottom and all around. It was the most horrid lack of acoustic value studio I had been in, in my mid teens. The studio he had been bred from had been a local radio station and it was constructed like a radio studio would be with hard walls and linoleum flooring and a couple of freestanding roll around GOBO's. Of course that was 1972/73 and things have changed since then including his studio designs. You just haven't lived until you've heard a baroque harpsichord recording in all pink fiberglass room. Yeachhhhhh ugh, cough, choke.
You know you're alive first thing in the morning when you take a big breath of fiberglass
Mx. Remy Ann David
cold showers are good when working w/ insulation, keeps your pours closed while washing the itch out. I'm guessing it was a non-smoking inside studio, serious fire hazard there, but hey if the 70's studios are like i imagine it probably didn't matter.
But to kinda respond to topic, equipment matters as much as the room. To me, equally. Great equipment picking up crappy room acoustics, picks up just that, as i'm sure u guys know. Crappy equipment in a great room, does a it's best job at picking up greatness. I think one of the more overlooked aspects of equipment, is the the gear being recorded, not what it's recorded w/. like, tuning, intonation, playing technique.
The real concept here is diminishing returns, and weakest link.
Equipment does matter. If it didn't, all records would be made on the cheapest possible stuff. Whether the difference is worth the cost of entry is the question.
At my studio, we've had to compromise somewhat. we have a couple choice pieces of gear, and the necessary amount of working person stuff. The cash was put mostly into construction/treatment. And like i told the owner from day 1, we can always upgrade our equipment, but the rooms are gonna be there either way. It's much cheaper to rack up a new compressor, then to make a booth's ceiling independent after-the-fact.
Plus people can't afford $100+ an hour to have a high end signal chain on the shaker (overdubs excluded). I'd love to have a 10k signal chain for the toms, but, how to justify the cost is another nightmare. And let face it, and average local/regional band isn't gonna get anymore recognition if they went through that, or a mackie type pre-amp for the toms.
My philosophy is well rounded as i haven't gotten a niche. Some bands just sound better sounding 'bad'. Some bands don't.
Equipment matters, and it's about matching the right gear to the right material.
You're talking 1971. Everybody smoked in the studios. They smoked on television. They smoked in the control rooms at NBC TV. Sometimes the smoke was so thick in the control rooms at NBC, you'd think you were in a busy nightclub. And no one was even ever aware I was smoking some reefer behind the racks! I only did that medicinally of course. Especially since the tobacco smoke got me so uptight.
I've grown older and more relaxed and 56.
Mx. Remy Ann David
I love studio stories from the 70-80's, i work w/ an 80's dude who's 63, and man, funny stuff. Quite a few inappropriate ones for the site, but, one i can repeat on RO, is equipment related.
(pretty successful name here)- ' so this singer gets mad that he can't sing "right" so he punches my silver 414, my best one. it hits the ground. So next take, i crank the crap out of the hafler headphone amp 'by accident' and the dude all but falls, and says wtf. don't abuse my equipment, was more/less the response.' I'd never compromise anybody's hearing like that, but from what i gather it was pretty much anything-goes as long as you don't break stuff, at his place in the 80's.
whether his studios' multiple la2/3's, ssl, 1176's, absurd amount of mics, mattered, i dunno. I think they were going to him for his expertise/cred, not just his equipment/room. Which is why i think he got sent around the world's studios for a few years, rather than his gear list. The major label backing he got, was right time right place, i think. There's plenty of people who are as good at what he does, he just didn't get the short straw. He's managed to become as poor as your average musician again, but there's alot of substance to his story.
We all have the Gary Larson cartoon with the Engineer, turning up the "suck" Knob, LMAO. When I worked at NBC-TV, I would make the Democrats sound full and robust and the Republicans sounding thin and nasal. Which was an engineering way of editorializing. Except for John McLaughlin who while he was a Republican is a brilliant man and really quite the moderate while everybody thinking he was extreme right wing. He isn't. He's smart and he's good even though he is a terrible person to his own staff. I still work for him independently today, 30 years later. I even tried to make Pat Buchanan sound good even though he is right wing he too is a brilliant and insightful man even though he is right wing. I even accused Pat some years ago of being a " Closet Democrat " to his face and got a nice laugh out of him. And I had fun hobnobbing with Arnold Schwarzenegger when he would come in to pick up his wife, Maria Shriver after the network TV shows I did with her. It was fun to talk to. He told me everybody mispronounces last name. He told me it wasn't " Schwarzenegger ", that his name was mispronounced and was actually pronounced "Schwarzen-egger". I think he was a bit of a bigot when he told me that because he told me we all knew what a Schwarzenegger was and pointed to one of my African-American engineer colleagues. Sheesh! And as a Republican, I really don't think much of him now knowing what he did to Maria Shriver. Ain't nothing conservative about cheating on your wife and producing a bastard child.
But wait there's more! I'm just not going to go into it now.
Mx. Remy Ann David