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Vinyl

ya know, if Vinyl was still here, we would all be better off (musically). And not for the sound, because I do not believe vinyl sounds sonically better, but because we needed to take care of our records, we could read more about the music and because... no one could copy them. Then cassette came along. CD... the end.

Some say we are better off, and there is more power in the hands of the artist now. Maybe, but somewhere we lost the creative part that came along with vinyl.
You couldn't just make a record without being connected to a bigger entity, the benchmark was the vinyl on the wall that said you made it! That was ours.

With all the con's of being gripped by the corporate balls of those record companies, or the scratching of a needle, something about it all was enough to inspire better writing.

Comments

anonymous Mon, 12/15/2014 - 01:58

audiokid, post: 422299, member: 1 wrote: You couldn't just make a record without being connected to a bigger entity,

I dunno about that, I recall plenty of vanity press vinyl from local bands recorded in "just okay" studios.

Back then, manufacturers like Queen City Records in Cincinnati would be glad to put anything you wanted to vinyl, and for not a whole lot more than what you now pay to have mass-pressed vanity CD's from Discmakers.
Cut-out bins at record stores were filled with hundreds of those vanity press LP's and EP's. ;)

I like vinyl, but I like it in more of a sentimental way than I do sonically. There was something about opening up a new LP; the smell, the fact that the liner notes were in a readable font type - unlike CD's where the writing was as small as flyshit and requires a microscope to read .... LOL ...

...and, for those of us who "indulged", there was nothing that worked better than a double album cover to clean the seeds and stems from our ... uhmmm ... "tobacco". ;)

Reverend Lucas Mon, 12/15/2014 - 09:37

DonnyThompson, post: 422310, member: 46114 wrote: I dunno about that, I recall plenty of vanity press vinyl from local bands recorded in "just okay" studios.

My mom did this with her vocal cover group. I think they paid $300 in 1975 for an afternoon in the studio and pressing.

DonnyThompson, post: 422310, member: 46114 wrote:
I like vinyl, but I like it in more of a sentimental way than I do sonically.

I agree. I'm of the volition that any argument for sonic purity of vinyl was nullified by DSD. Consumers didn't exactly flock to that. Anything perceived as 'better' sonically in vinyl is a resort of distortion. Not that that's bad, it's just not in any way more representative of the audio signal, which seems to be lost on most vinyl purists. The album art is the biggest advantage I see that vinyl has going for it. Holding a physical copy of an LP with its 12"x12" case is something that can't be digitally emulated.

DonnyThompson, post: 422310, member: 46114 wrote:
...and, for those of us who "indulged", there was nothing that worked better than a double album cover to clean the seeds and stems from our ... uhmmm ... "tobacco". ;)

Yes, but CD cases were better for making lines of other types of "tobacco." Or so I've heard.

audiokid Mon, 12/15/2014 - 09:52

DonnyThompson, post: 422310, member: 46114 wrote: I dunno about that, I recall plenty of vanity press vinyl from local bands recorded in "just okay" studios.

I've restored plenty of recording made in booths during the war as well. When my Mom sang on shows in the 50's, Metropolitan Opera, CBC broadcasts etc, they made masters right there. At least that's what I was told.And have in front of me here. They are like glass.

I'm speaking about the norm, and the pride (in a manly way:p) we had. The public wasn't able to record like now. Which is what I'm also referring to. Which had a direct stigma to the value of a recording. You had to buy them. :)

MDMachiavelli Thu, 12/18/2014 - 05:36

From the outside looking in I guess I have a different opinion, and maybe my opinion has no frame of reference or its not that good. But it is mine.
First of all I'm not sure what is responsible for the other but I feel the new digital age has introduced us to a aspect of the music community that was traditionally confined to the small area or region where the independent artist was known. The digital age has allowed people, and some very successfully, to make music and be successful in this industry without going through the monopoly that was required 20 or 30 years ago.
Take Nashville and country music for example. Nashville had such a choke hold on country music for so long that it is impossible to fathom how many good artist where shoved to the side and pushed away because for the most part if you were going to make it in the country music industry, you had to go through Nashville and do it exactly how they said. Now you had a few exceptions but it definitely wasn't the norm. Not only did Nashville frown upon singer songwriters but they also basically did everything possible to inhibit the natural process of a band. By this I mean they used required and pushed "union" musicians and all but disallowed band to record. Think about it, how many "bands" have you seen come out of Nashville? There are very few exceptions to this, one of the only one's I can think of is Alabama, and early in their career they walked out of a studio because they were forced to use studio musicians even they they were all accomplished musicians. Neil Young has told the story before about how when he recorded Harvest at Quad Studios he was forced to use studio musicians against his will, and we know how Young is. Some say he hired the required amount of studio musicians and had them sit in the lobby, and when asked about it he said "hey you said I had to hire them, you didn't say anything about making them play". What about WJ's song about the Nashville industry? His song was a direct knock at how the "industry" in Nashville worked.

Take for instance, I get most of the new music I listened to from commercials and mainly TV. 30 years ago I wouldn't have made that statement because it would have for the most part been the same music. But now because of the ability to record without going through the monoploy, TV scores (especially cable network series) are almost all scored with independent music. The last three songs I downloaded, two came from a liquor commercial and one came from a TV series. See that whole statement is a nod at the digital age.

I guess I just believe the pros of a digital age definitely outweigh the cons.

anonymous Thu, 12/18/2014 - 08:17

I suppose it goes both ways. I hear what you're sayin'... but the other side of that coin is that with the advent in technology - where everyone and their grandmother has at least one computer in the house powerful enough to do multimedia work - you now have people recording and making "music" who have no business doing so.

There's a whole lotta crap out there right now, both in recording quality and musicianship.

I agree that there's no doubt that the old industry's way of doing things was very limiting to artists - even The Beatles were forced to do covers of standards on their first few albums (before they broke wide open) by their record company, because recording artists didn't compose their own music - The label's stubbornness, and their prevailing "it's just not done!" attitude forced many great writers to perform other material instead, and most of the time, it was songs that had already been beaten to death by 20 other artists.

That broke apart when George Martin came along, and the guys said "we wanna do our own stuff..." and Martin was cocky enough with EMI to fight that - and smart enough to say to the band, "okay then, what do you have?" Time proved what they "had", indeed.

Just think... we could have had Sgt. Pepper's Greatest Syrupy Standards - instead of the innovative, groundbreaking album that we thankfully got instead. ;)

audiokid Thu, 12/18/2014 - 10:26

MDMachiavelli, post: 422521, member: 48685 wrote: Neil Young has told the story before about how when he recorded Harvest at Quad Studios he was forced to use studio musicians against his will, and we know how Young is. Some say he hired the required amount of studio musicians and had them sit in the lobby, and when asked about it he said "hey you said I had to hire them, you didn't say anything about making them play". What about WJ's song about the Nashville industry? His song was a direct knock at how the "industry" in Nashville worked.

What a great story. (y)

MDMachiavelli Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:15

And I hear what you are saying Donny and I agree with some of what you say, but who are we to decide who has business to make music and who shouldn't. As long as I don't have to listen to it I don't really care.

Gorge Martin is a great example and his is an exception. He didn't necessarily change the way things were/are done, he was just part of a group that was able to buck the system. Long after the Beatles, the record industry kept doing things their way with very little input from the record companies they were contracted to. There are other exceptions here and there but they are by and far the rare exception.

MDMachiavelli Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:20

audiokid, post: 422544, member: 1 wrote: What a great story. (y)

Yes it was an awesome story. I am a Young fanatic and I have read a lot about him, I believe I read about that story in the Biography Shakey. I'm very interested in the history of the recording process and the album harvest so I absorb everything I hear about that.

DonnyThompson, post: 422546, member: 46114 wrote: WJ? And what song?

I apologize about that I was in hurry. I probably should have realized that not everyone would know my BS shorthand. Waylon Jennings, Are You Sure Hank Done It This Away. I've read and heard that song was Waylon Jenning's poke at Nashville recording industry and Nashville atmosphere in general.

dvdhawk Thu, 12/18/2014 - 12:09

As I've said before, CDs were 'the beginning of the end', and not just for local and regional bands. The CD format led to the explosion of mobile DJs, so you no longer got called to play a wedding, a prom, a party, and plenty of bars/clubs went to DJs. Of course there were dance clubs long before there were CDs, but the average schmuck with a turntable could only be so loud, before the feedback through the turntable tonearm was a problem. Dance clubs had to be carefully planned, and often had the DJ isolated in a booth somewhere behind glass.

CDs came along and eliminated that problem, along with a lot of gigging opportunities for a lot of bands. There was a ripple effect. No grassroots music scene = very few bands sticking together long enough to get anywhere. There are always going to be people born with so much talent there's no holding them back, but a band with no venues to play is doomed. There's only so good you can get in your basement without some outside motivation.

Overall musicianship suffers, and people turn to making music by themselves. Without the crucible of live performance, without interacting with other creative forces, you get generally bland, one dimensional music. (IMHO) You can burn your own CD, stick a tacky adhesive label on it, photocopy your amateurish cover, stick it in a jewel-case and proclaim it your "album." Now what? Can you get it played on the radio?

The low cost of admittance into the game, is a double-edged sword. Some level of access is granted to anybody with a dream and a recording platform. At no point do they pass through that 'weeding-out' process that comes with needing someone with money and power in the industry to believe in the project enough to throw some serious resources behind it [money & promotion]. But that also harkens back to a business model when there was money in either album sales, or live performances, and for a very select few BOTH. Historically, the model has flipped a few times. Long ago, you made the record to get radio airplay, to promote your live show, which is where you made your living. Then it flipped to where the artists made the lions share of their income from record sales and royalties, and played tours to promote the new record and get it (as well as their back catalog) on the airwaves. Merchandise at the show is always a good source of revenue, and some bands live on it - because, after expenses, they're not making anything touring.

Then came CDs… easily ripped, easily duplicated, but I don't think they were the nail in the coffin, because you still had to hand that burned CD to your buddy. Although I knew I'd achieved some level of success, when I'm sitting at a bar with guys at opposite ends discussing a CD I was on. Guy #1 telling me how much he liked it, Guy #2 saying he hadn't heard it yet - to which Guy #1 replies, "It's good, I'll burn you a copy" - (knowing full well, that he's offering up a free copy of our work in front of someone with a vested interested, yet somehow oblivious to the fact that he just took $12 out of my pocket)

I believe mp3s were the death knell, because they took that one step farther. The result, faceless anonymous file-sharing, and an entire generation that puts little-no value on the work. Which is why it costs $150 to go see a big name band in concert these days. Bitch all you want about Apple and iTunes, they were the ONLY such service I know of that put any effort into trying to protect the rights and property of the musicians et al. who have to monetize their art to put food on the table.

I know I couldn't afford to do any serious recording until we hit certain technological thresholds. I used to have a Tascam 244 PortaStudio, which we used to make demos, and rough-out new songs. When we were ready, when booked time in a real studio. And we could knock out 6 songs in a day - because we were well-rehearsed at both playing the songs, AND the recording process. ADATs and a 32-ch Mackie 8*bus got me out of the Tascam PortaStudio phase. The Mackie and a ProTools Digi 001 set-up took me the next step (arguably) forward. The ability to Save a mix, vs. having 10 hands on the console at mix down to 2-track was the biggest improvement to workflow. We no longer had to leave the mixer untouched for hours/days until everyone could sign off on the mix. (*For all you youngsters who've never used anything but a computer)

Fast-forward to now and everybody who wants to can record at home - which I'm very much in favor of. But for the love of God, could all those people please stop telling me they "have a studio", "are a record producer", and "have clients". Because regardless of how good or bad the song is, NOBODY ever listened to the over-limited, distorted, Fisher-Price quality POS recording you're so proudly putting out there for people to hear - and said to themselves…. 'yep, THAT is the distorted, mushy, wall-of-excrement sound I've been looking for.'

So, while I'm thankful we have affordable gear available that brings the joy of making music to the masses - I guess I wish there was some "Central Scrutinizer" that the music had to pass through before it was unleashed on the unsuspecting public. And if I were wasting a wish on going back to the days/standards of vinyl, why not go back to before multi-track? A time when it was a room full of great musicians, who had honed their craft and the song in front of an audience, taking that song into the studio and getting a great performance all in one take (or not), mixed, by someone who knew how, 100% live to …. let's go with stereo.

(and after trying so hard lately to keep my posts short….. oh well, hit a nerve I guess….)

MDMachiavelli Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:25

Hey I really can appreciate a long post, I'm kind of long winded from time to time myself. Anyway if you don't mind I want to respond to your post point by point. I put my replies in red to not cofuse them.

dvdhawk, post: 422552, member: 36047 wrote: As I've said before, CDs were 'the beginning of the end', and not just for local and regional bands. The CD format led to the explosion of mobile DJs, so you no longer got called to play a wedding, a prom, a party, and plenty of bars/clubs went to DJs. Of course there were dance clubs long before there were CDs, but the average schmuck with a turntable could only be so loud, before the feedback through the turntable tonearm was a problem. Dance clubs had to be carefully planned, and often had the DJ isolated in a booth somewhere behind glass.

Man, I went to a many a place before the CD and they had DJs. I think you may be exaggerating just a bit for effect. I'm not sure about the music scene where you are but bands are still the preference for the aboved mention venues, especially a prom. While I was getting my masters I taught and coached high school and never saw a prom use a DJ, except maybe an inner-city school who would use a DJ because of the preferred music (hip-hop), but in that case I'm not sure it has anything to do with the CDs. Again when you talk about Dance Clubs and DJ booths and how they had to be perfectly planned maybe again exaggerating for effect.

CDs came along and eliminated that problem, along with a lot of gigging opportunities for a lot of bands. There was a ripple effect. No grassroots music scene = very few bands sticking together long enough to get anywhere. There are always going to be people born with so much talent there's no holding them back, but a band with no venues to play is doomed. There's only so good you can get in your basement without some outside motivation.

Again I have to disagree, I think most of what was said here is the exact opposite. I think it was the monopoly in the recording industry that hurt bands and the grassroots music scene, not the CD. Because of the ability to record and the introduction of the "independent label", I think the grassroots music scene has boomed and because of that grassroots music has the ability to shared with everyone. I believe today we are able to hear good, "Indy" music that if it weren't for the ease of digital age, CDs, and the ease of recording we would never have the opportunity to hear. As far as bands not sticking together, come on man you can't blame that on the CD. That's been happening since the beginning of Rock n Roll. Very few bands are Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones. Bands break up because the drive and creativity that makes them successful also makes them hard to stay together. I've lived in rural areas where several bands were stationed and a very limited music scene. I've had to travel 60-80 miles one way to play. But even in a place with not much of a bar scene there were times where I could have played every week and made decent money doing it.

Overall musicianship suffers, and people turn to making music by themselves. Without the crucible of live performance, without interacting with other creative forces, you get generally bland, one dimensional music. (IMHO) You can burn your own CD, stick a tacky adhesive label on it, photocopy your amateurish cover, stick it in a jewel-case and proclaim it your "album." Now what? Can you get it played on the radio?

The first part of this point is spot on. A creative mind, or any musician for that matter, will hit a definite plateau without other creative minds to push them. There is no doubt about that. But I just don't see where the correlation is between the CD and people not being able to collaborate. Just because there isn't a "Whisky A Go Go" in every city for people to play in doesn't mean musicians can for bands and combine creative forces. As far as people burning a CD in their basement, who cares what people do. If its as bad as all of the ways you describe you will never hear about it to notice. Last but most important, some of the best music I have ever heard wasn't played on the radio. That measuring stick is gone in my opinion.

The low cost of admittance into the game, is a double-edged sword. Some level of access is granted to anybody with a dream and a recording platform. At no point do they pass through that 'weeding-out' process that comes with needing someone with money and power in the industry to believe in the project enough to throw some serious resources behind it [money & promotion]. But that also harkens back to a business model when there was money in either album sales, or live performances, and for a very select few BOTH. Historically, the model has flipped a few times. Long ago, you made the record to get radio airplay, to promote your live show, which is where you made your living. Then it flipped to where the artists made the lions share of their income from record sales and royalties, and played tours to promote the new record and get it (as well as their back catalog) on the airwaves. Merchandise at the show is always a good source of revenue, and some bands live on it - because, after expenses, they're not making anything touring.

These points are hard to argue.

Then came CDs… easily ripped, easily duplicated, but I don't think they were the nail in the coffin, because you still had to hand that burned CD to your buddy. Although I knew I'd achieved some level of success, when I'm sitting at a bar with guys at opposite ends discussing a CD I was on. Guy #1 telling me how much he liked it, Guy #2 saying he hadn't heard it yet - to which Guy #1 replies, "It's good, I'll burn you a copy" - (knowing full well, that he's offering up a free copy of our work in front of someone with a vested interested, yet somehow oblivious to the fact that he just took $12 out of my pocket)

Not to be offensive but I would think the only person making $12 a CD is the person who you have somewhat of a disdain for, the guy recording his album in an "indie studio", self publishing it, and selling it during breaks at his gigs. A major, featured artist will be LUCKY to get 20% of the retail price of a CD. If that is a band they have to split that fraction. Someone who is "on" one of those CDs would be lucky to get a fraction of a fraction. Now I by no means whatsoever condone the transfer of music without the artist receiving royalties but I think again you are exaggerating for effect. In my opinion more important that the few pennies you may get cheated out is the credit you don't get for a sale.

I believe mp3s were the death knell, because they took that one step farther. The result, faceless anonymous file-sharing, and an entire generation that puts little-no value on the work. Which is why it costs $150 to go see a big name band in concert these days. Bitch all you want about Apple and iTunes, they were the ONLY such service I know of that put any effort into trying to protect the rights and property of the musicians et al. who have to monetize their art to put food on the table.

I will admit it is hard to argue the points you are making here. But I will say the "illegal" file sharing was the result of technological growing pains and was something that was inevitable. Although the growing pains suffered did suck, it was a necessary evil that in the long run made the industry better. I'm vehemently against file sharing, have no use for it. Bands that I like and follow, I will download the songs I like from itunes and then buy the CD so they can get credit for an album sale. I will definitely agree that iTunes has really taken the digital age and the disaray it was in and put it on the right track. I will add though that the industry has some fault in the illegal file sharing and they could have done something better in the beginning of this if they weren't so narrow minded.

I know I couldn't afford to do any serious recording until we hit certain technological thresholds. I used to have a Tascam 244 PortaStudio, which we used to make demos, and rough-out new songs. When we were ready, when booked time in a real studio. And we could knock out 6 songs in a day - because we were well-rehearsed at both playing the songs, AND the recording process. ADATs and a 32-ch Mackie 8*bus got me out of the Tascam PortaStudio phase. The Mackie and a ProTools Digi 001 set-up took me the next step (arguably) forward. The ability to Save a mix, vs. having 10 hands on the console at mix down to 2-track was the biggest improvement to workflow. We no longer had to leave the mixer untouched for hours/days until everyone could sign off on the mix. (*For all you youngsters who've never used anything but a computer)

Again nothing here to debate.

Fast-forward to now and everybody who wants to can record at home - which I'm very much in favor of. But for the love of God, could all those people please stop telling me they "have a studio", "are a record producer", and "have clients". Because regardless of how good or bad the song is, NOBODY ever listened to the over-limited, distorted, Fisher-Price quality POS recording you're so proudly putting out there for people to hear - and said to themselves…. 'yep, THAT is the distorted, mushy, wall-of-excrement sound I've been looking for.'

You seem to be arguing both sides here. For one if the music is as bad as you say it is, why do you care. If what you say (or allude to) is true, that these people do not have a studio, that they are not a record producer, and they do not have clients then why does it matter? If the NOBODY will ever listen to the over-limited, distorted, Fisher-Price Quality POS recordingdoesn't that mean that you won't be listening to it either? I just don't understand the disdain for something, according to your own words, has no effect on you whatsoever.

So, while I'm thankful we have affordable gear available that brings the joy of making music to the masses - I guess I wish there was some "Central Scrutinizer" that the music had to pass through before it was unleashed on the unsuspecting public. And if I were wasting a wish on going back to the days/standards of vinyl, why not go back to before multi-track? A time when it was a room full of great musicians, who had honed their craft and the song in front of an audience, taking that song into the studio and getting a great performance all in one take (or not), mixed, by someone who knew how, 100% live to …. let's go with stereo

This is where I really take issue. There is a "Central Scrutinizer" and its the same one that has been in place since music began. It's called the listener, and I think its extreme "unfair" (I couldn't think of a better word) for one person to say what should and shouldn't be released to the public. Would say the same about other art forms? Should only people with the talent of Michelangelo and Divinci be allowed to use a brush, paint, and a canvas? Of course not.

(and after trying so hard lately to keep my posts short….. oh well, hit a nerve I guess….)

I hope I didn't offend you because it was definitely not my intent. I will say I'm positive you know more than me about recording as I am definitely not a engineer, but I will say I do know a little about the music business.

MDMachiavelli Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:28

Hey I really can appreciate a long post, I'm kind of long winded from time to time myself. Anyway if you don't mind I want to respond to your post point by point. I put my replies in red to not cofuse them.

dvdhawk, post: 422552, member: 36047 wrote: As I've said before, CDs were 'the beginning of the end', and not just for local and regional bands. The CD format led to the explosion of mobile DJs, so you no longer got called to play a wedding, a prom, a party, and plenty of bars/clubs went to DJs. Of course there were dance clubs long before there were CDs, but the average schmuck with a turntable could only be so loud, before the feedback through the turntable tonearm was a problem. Dance clubs had to be carefully planned, and often had the DJ isolated in a booth somewhere behind glass.

Man, I went to a many a place before the CD and they had DJs. I think you may be exaggerating just a bit for effect. I'm not sure about the music scene where you are but bands are still the preference for the aboved mention venues, especially a prom. While I was getting my masters I taught and coached high school and never saw a prom use a DJ, except maybe an inner-city school who would use a DJ because of the preferred music (hip-hop), but in that case I'm not sure it has anything to do with the CDs. Again when you talk about Dance Clubs and DJ booths and how they had to be perfectly planned maybe again exaggerating for effect.

CDs came along and eliminated that problem, along with a lot of gigging opportunities for a lot of bands. There was a ripple effect. No grassroots music scene = very few bands sticking together long enough to get anywhere. There are always going to be people born with so much talent there's no holding them back, but a band with no venues to play is doomed. There's only so good you can get in your basement without some outside motivation.

Again I have to disagree, I think most of what was said here is the exact opposite. I think it was the monopoly in the recording industry that hurt bands and the grassroots music scene, not the CD. Because of the ability to record and the introduction of the "independent label", I think the grassroots music scene has boomed and because of that grassroots music has the ability to shared with everyone. I believe today we are able to hear good, "Indy" music that if it weren't for the ease of digital age, CDs, and the ease of recording we would never have the opportunity to hear. As far as bands not sticking together, come on man you can't blame that on the CD. That's been happening since the beginning of Rock n Roll. Very few bands are Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones. Bands break up because the drive and creativity that makes them successful also makes them hard to stay together. I've lived in rural areas where several bands were stationed and a very limited music scene. I've had to travel 60-80 miles one way to play. But even in a place with not much of a bar scene there were times where I could have played every week and made decent money doing it.

MDMachiavelli Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:31

dvdhawk, post: 422552, member: 36047 wrote:
Overall musicianship suffers, and people turn to making music by themselves. Without the crucible of live performance, without interacting with other creative forces, you get generally bland, one dimensional music. (IMHO) You can burn your own CD, stick a tacky adhesive label on it, photocopy your amateurish cover, stick it in a jewel-case and proclaim it your "album." Now what? Can you get it played on the radio?

The first part of this point is spot on. A creative mind, or any musician for that matter, will hit a definite plateau without other creative minds to push them. There is no doubt about that. But I just don't see where the correlation is between the CD and people not being able to collaborate. Just because there isn't a "Whisky A Go Go" in every city for people to play in doesn't mean musicians can for bands and combine creative forces. As far as people burning a CD in their basement, who cares what people do. If its as bad as all of the ways you describe you will never hear about it to notice. Last but most important, some of the best music I have ever heard wasn't played on the radio. That measuring stick is gone in my opinion.

The low cost of admittance into the game, is a double-edged sword. Some level of access is granted to anybody with a dream and a recording platform. At no point do they pass through that 'weeding-out' process that comes with needing someone with money and power in the industry to believe in the project enough to throw some serious resources behind it [money & promotion]. But that also harkens back to a business model when there was money in either album sales, or live performances, and for a very select few BOTH. Historically, the model has flipped a few times. Long ago, you made the record to get radio airplay, to promote your live show, which is where you made your living. Then it flipped to where the artists made the lions share of their income from record sales and royalties, and played tours to promote the new record and get it (as well as their back catalog) on the airwaves. Merchandise at the show is always a good source of revenue, and some bands live on it - because, after expenses, they're not making anything touring.

These points are hard to argue.

Then came CDs… easily ripped, easily duplicated, but I don't think they were the nail in the coffin, because you still had to hand that burned CD to your buddy. Although I knew I'd achieved some level of success, when I'm sitting at a bar with guys at opposite ends discussing a CD I was on. Guy #1 telling me how much he liked it, Guy #2 saying he hadn't heard it yet - to which Guy #1 replies, "It's good, I'll burn you a copy" - (knowing full well, that he's offering up a free copy of our work in front of someone with a vested interested, yet somehow oblivious to the fact that he just took $12 out of my pocket)

Not to be offensive but I would think the only person making $12 a CD is the person who you have somewhat of a disdain for, the guy recording his album in an "indie studio", self publishing it, and selling it during breaks at his gigs. A major, featured artist will be LUCKY to get 20% of the retail price of a CD. If that is a band they have to split that fraction. Someone who is "on" one of those CDs would be lucky to get a fraction of a fraction. Now I by no means whatsoever condone the transfer of music without the artist receiving royalties but I think again you are exaggerating for effect. In my opinion more important that the few pennies you may get cheated out is the credit you don't get for a sale.

I believe mp3s were the death knell, because they took that one step farther. The result, faceless anonymous file-sharing, and an entire generation that puts little-no value on the work. Which is why it costs $150 to go see a big name band in concert these days. Bitch all you want about Apple and iTunes, they were the ONLY such service I know of that put any effort into trying to protect the rights and property of the musicians et al. who have to monetize their art to put food on the table.

I will admit it is hard to argue the points you are making here. But I will say the "illegal" file sharing was the result of technological growing pains and was something that was inevitable. Although the growing pains suffered did suck, it was a necessary evil that in the long run made the industry better. I'm vehemently against file sharing, have no use for it. Bands that I like and follow, I will download the songs I like from itunes and then buy the CD so they can get credit for an album sale. I will definitely agree that iTunes has really taken the digital age and the disaray it was in and put it on the right track. I will add though that the industry has some fault in the illegal file sharing and they could have done something better in the beginning of this if they weren't so narrow minded.

MDMachiavelli Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:36

dvdhawk, post: 422552, member: 36047 wrote:
I know I couldn't afford to do any serious recording until we hit certain technological thresholds. I used to have a [="http://www.www.tascam.com/"]Tascam[/]="http://www.www.tasc…"]Tascam[/] 244 PortaStudio, which we used to make demos, and rough-out new songs. When we were ready, when booked time in a real studio. And we could knock out 6 songs in a day - because we were well-rehearsed at both playing the songs, AND the recording process. ADATs and a 32-ch [[url=http://="http://www.mackie.c…"]Mackie[/]="http://www.mackie.c…"]Mackie[/] 8*bus got me out of the Tascam PortaStudio phase. The Mackie and a [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.avid.com…"]ProTools[/]="http://www.avid.com…"]ProTools[/] Digi 001 set-up took me the next step (arguably) forward. The ability to Save a mix, vs. having 10 hands on the console at mix down to 2-track was the biggest improvement to workflow. We no longer had to leave the mixer untouched for hours/days until everyone could sign off on the mix. (*For all you youngsters who've never used anything but a computer)

Can't debate any of that.

Fast-forward to now and everybody who wants to can record at home - which I'm very much in favor of. But for the love of God, could all those people please stop telling me they "have a studio", "are a record producer", and "have clients". Because regardless of how good or bad the song is, NOBODY ever listened to the over-limited, distorted, Fisher-Price quality POS recording you're so proudly putting out there for people to hear - and said to themselves…. 'yep, THAT is the distorted, mushy, wall-of-excrement sound I've been looking for.'

It seems here you are arguing both sides and I don't know why. If these recording are everything you say or allude to, thenwhy would you care? If NOBODY is going to listen to it then doesn't that include you? If you would never hear it along with everyone else how could it possibly effect you enough to have such a disdain for them?

MDMachiavelli Fri, 12/19/2014 - 06:43

dvdhawk, post: 422552, member: 36047 wrote:
So, while I'm thankful we have affordable gear available that brings the joy of making music to the masses - I guess I wish there was some "Central Scrutinizer" that the music had to pass through before it was unleashed on the unsuspecting public. And if I were wasting a wish on going back to the days/standards of vinyl, why not go back to before multi-track? A time when it was a room full of great musicians, who had honed their craft and the song in front of an audience, taking that song into the studio and getting a great performance all in one take (or not), mixed, by someone who knew how, 100% live to …. let's go with stereo.

This is where I really have to take issue. There is a "Central Scrutinizer" and its the same one it has been since the creation of modern music. Its called the audience, the listener, the music fan. They decide what music is good and what's not. I think it is extremely unfair (for a lack of better words) to think that one person or a small group of people should be the filter for what is good music. As much as I hate popular music these days, I would never have the mind set that they should have the ability to express themselves artistically. What about other art forms? Should people be required to have the talent of Michelangelo or Divinci before they are able to possess a brush, paint, and canvas? Of course not.

I hope I didn't offend you as it was not my intent. I will admit I am not a recording engineer and I believe you are but I do know a little about the music business.

dvdhawk Fri, 12/19/2014 - 13:26

No offense taken, you're welcome to have a different viewpoint. I have no interest in parsing out every point and responding to an imagined debate. I will address the high-notes though.

Not a Zappa fan, huh?…. OK.
And… you know the Whiskey is a pay to play venue, right? (which is what happens when supply far exceeds the demand)

I wasn't asking, I was telling anyone who cared to read it - MY observation that, CDs marked the turning point where a portable DJ could go compete for work in what were traditionally live entertainment venues. I've watched my share of nitwits who thought they could DJ a dance with their home stereo. Your mileage may vary. I know Austin (in particular) and other parts of Texas I'm sure have a much more vibrant music scene than most places in the world. Consider yourself very lucky. Trust me, we don't have that gift everywhere. In this area, 30+ years ago, a decent band could play 5 nights week and twice on a Saturday. That dried up in the 80's around here, and certainly not unrelated to a shift in the economy, stricter drunk driving laws, MTV, etc. - if we're taking a macro-view.

I love indie music. I am obviously one of those indie artist. On the recording side I cater to indie artists. As far as I'm concerned, they're the only hope for any of us who record professionally, or semi-professionally as the case may be. Self-motivated, self-publishing, self-funded - what's not to like about someone who is willing to put their money where their mouth is? And anybody who has done it knows, that $12 in the kitty doesn't literally go in any one band member's pocket - almost ALL of it goes back into the business. As do the pennies on the dollar you get from a 'record deal', you're just hoping to get a lot more pennies from a lot more dollars by using their distribution and promotional network.

My point is, it's a fragile eco-system. Musicians will always find a way, but prices can't go up when there are 10x more bands than places they can play. (*See above, supply far exceeds demand) At least one member of any great young band with very few live venues to support them, no way to merchandise, no way to guard against theft in the digital domain, is going to feel the pressure to grow up at some point and find another way to make a living. (especially if they have a wife and/or family to support) If it's a hobby, great… enjoy! Make music with your friends, that's what it's all about. If you want to share it with the world for free, that's cool too! If you want to make a living at it, you have to work at it, and have your head in the game.

I have no disdain for anyone. Especially not those giving it their all and doing it well. Even if I don't care for their music myself, if they're finding an audience - that's awesome. I encourage that, I completely embrace that. I love discovering good, and often great, music that is well off the beaten path. I know there are thousands of great bands scattered all over the globe who let the music do the talking, that I haven't discovered yet.

The only people I wish would leave me alone, and get out of my ears, are some very specific bragging 'local bedroom record producers', who, just because apparently iTunes will take all comers, think they're successful gods of rock and 'producers with clients'. They're delusional, and if I were truly disdainful all I would need to do is post some of these appallingly cringe-worthy recordings, but holding someone up for public ridicule is not my style either. Again, this may be a very specific nerve (for me).

You rightly point out, that the market will determine over time, what is and isn't good music. But fair or not, the central scrutinizers have a long history in the music business. Major labels use hoards of multi-level scrutinizers to determine what music gets produced, and what gets cast aside. And at the risk of potentially confusing ironic sarcasm, we know they've NEVER rejected an album that went on to go multi-platiunum. Indies side-step all of the label scrutiny, but when you open the flood-gates, you get the sewage and dreck too - that's a given.

Although the original Central Scrutinizer comment was very much tongue-in-cheek, getting one's indie music online is NOT an achievement. Getting played on somebody's homegrown podcast is not much of an achievement. Putting product on the shelves at your local music store(s), is a logistical hassle, but not much of an achievement. For an indie band / indie label with zero payola fund, or promotional perks to offer; Getting their product into a record store chain of 200 stores (back in the day), WAS an achievement (believe me they had a central scrutinizer). Selling significant numbers from said chain, WAS an achievement. Getting played on college radio, WAS a modest achievement. Getting played on commercial radio stations, WAS a MUCH larger achievement (they too employ a number of central scrutinizers). Selling significant numbers overseas, despite never gigging there, WAS an achievement. Getting played coast-to-coast on syndicated radio, WAS an achievement (indeed they have a central/central scrutinizer). Having all 12 of the tracks on a CD deemed radio-ready by virtue of having all 12 played on some station somewhere without threat, bribe or coercion, WAS an achievement. It's a competitive field. The scrutinizers are out there at the indie level too.

But relax, I'm not recommending the artistic equivalent of 'death panels'. A reality-check, and some quality control would be nice - but I concede that is an unattainable goal. To audiokid's point, when it was wax and glass masters, and a bankroll involved, the scrutiny was baked right into the process and EVERYBODY along the way had to be highly skilled at what they did, or they didn't do it for long.

To draw from your art world metaphor, there are under-appreciated great artists, and there are hacks (probably well-meaning, but completely delusional hacks) who think they're contributing something to society. Some 'Starving-Artists', might be starving for a reason. You are correct, all art is very difficult to quantify and judge, but you don't see a lot of gallery shows dedicated to stick-figures and crayon scribbles from the fridge of the proud parents. (not that they wouldn't 'speak to' some people, and that they wouldn't buy them). And getting a high-profile gallery show in Paris, France is a whole lot different than getting a painting in the window of the art supplies store in Paris, TX. And, Viva la différence!

Speaking of which, this just makes me sad for all involved: [[url=http://[/URL]="http://en.wikipedia…"]Ecce Homo "Restoration"[/]="http://en.wikipedia…"]Ecce Homo "Restoration"[/]

audiokid Sat, 12/27/2014 - 15:58

I think we are headed for a vinyl and tape resurgence.
This is the only thing that will save this industry. And I am all for it! So, Tape and Vinyl, go go go! I will buy into it in a heartbeat.

I personally don't think it sounds better but if we think it does, and the buying populous is directed towards this, its a great thing and we should maybe be pushing the hell out of it too.

anonymous Sun, 12/28/2014 - 04:13

There have been some labels/artists releasing (or re-releasing) on vinyl, but I think it's been a cult kinda thing, as far as the people who buy LP's.

I don't believe we will see a resurgence en-mass, because so many people still love the convenience of their ipods/iphones, and, because we as a generation tend to spend far more time in our cars these days than we did 40 years ago. Auto makers have pretty much made it so that your second office - or in some cases, maybe even your first office - is your car.

Tape? Don't see it. Unless you are talking about tracking to it, in which case, I think it would be a very select few who would. It certainly won't re-surge in small or mid-level studios, other than perhaps a select few, because clients simply can't afford to buy it, and/or don't want to add that expense to their projects. Considering that a reel of 499 2" is going for around $250, and that running at 15 ips only gives you 33-34 minutes of recording time, in order to do a full album, you would need at least two reels ($500), and that's not including multiple takes of songs.... I don't believe that the majority of clients will be able to afford the cost - on top of the studio hourly rate.

You will likely always have a few out on the fringe who will insist on and use tape - obviously Neil Young will, because he's never been a fan of digital recording; also the Foo Fighters - mainly because Grohl has developed a giant chubby for analog in the last few years, putting all that money into the vintage Neve desk from Sound City - and maybe a small handful of others... but most live in DAW land these days.

And, so many pro rooms have invested so much money into their digital rigs via computers, interfaces, platforms, plug ins, VSTi's, clocks, converters, etc., I highly doubt that they are gonna make a switch to tape and throw a dust cover over their digital rigs. Again, maybe a select few will offer tape as an option to clients who can afford it and want it - either out of nostalgia, or, because they believe it sounds better... but I don't see digital going away anytime soon.

IMHO of course. ;)

d.

audiokid Sun, 12/28/2014 - 08:43

Tape, I fully agree about digital. There is no return for me. I think there are a growing number of granola studios using it as a way to draw business. To me its a complete waste of money.

Vinyl however, has special written all over it and the press is growing. Like you, I don't see it as a mass appeal returning to it but its sure getting press here. Not where you are?

The kids are all over records again. The main record store here is dedicating a nice rack space for vinyl now. I have to say, it gave me a real welcoming feeling when I saw them all.

They gave 5 minutes to it on the National News last night.
In an interview, An East Coat DJ said " Digital is a firm hand shack, vinyl is a hug, I'll take a hug anything over a firm handshake!" A warm description . :)
I hope this buzz grows because it will inject positive press towards better sound.

audiokid Sun, 12/28/2014 - 09:40

Very cool .That's what we're talking about. (y)

The guy that restored it, Chris Muth (he designs Dangerous [Music] gear), knew I had a studio. He said, "The first chance you get, cut directly to it. It sounds phenomenal." I think we are the only studio in the country that can cut directly to disc.

audiokid Sun, 12/28/2014 - 09:55

In my world, "Mastering" is really just another term for "finishing my mix" better than on the same DAW. Thus, cutting it down on a 2 track summing system that is set up to prepare/ Limit /upload to the web / or CD...

I wonder how they deal with the subs on Vinyl. I haven't read the whole article. Thanks for posting this Kurt.(y)

Davedog Mon, 12/29/2014 - 18:00

Yeah You should have a TapeOp sub.....seriously. and get as many back issues as you can.

Does 'vinyl' sound better? A deep subject if there ever was one. I was a true audiophile believer in the almighty disk. I bought lots of Japanese records, more information=higher fidelity, virgin vinyl even during the gas crisis and at least a 160 grams of vinyl in each pressing. They also changed out their masters more often. Empire direct drive table...the platter weighed about 15 lbs....a never ending exchange of various preamps, tone arms,power amps, speaker systems.....its even more serious now for real audiophile enthusiasts. ( SPECIAL WIRE OMG!!!) My peak system had Klipsch La Scallas in front and Polk Audio liquid cooled towers in the rear. I actually bought a pair of Marantz mono block Model Nines but ran out of money and had to sell them....So Crown amps...A Macintosh Preamp although I did really really like the Phase Linear preamp...a tube Pioneer tuner...60's ...When you hear Dark Side Of The Moon on Japanese vinyl through something like this NOTHING will ever be the same for you again. Yes. The pick scraping on the strings on the Number 0001 Strat......seriously....stuff you'll never hear on the CD versions. Then I started traveling a lot...no more vinyl

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