If You’re the Kind of Person Who Loves to Know How Music is Recorded, Check This Out

This comes from Audio Media International, a newsletter about pro audio.

Although modern equipment continues to help simplify the role of the recording professional, there will always be challenges to overcome, as David Bowles explains.

Recording in 2016 is much easier than in 1976, not to mention 1936. What used to cost studios and record labels hundreds of thousands of pounds is now within reach of individual audio engineers. While other parts of the signal chain have been made simpler (digital interfaces, laptop recording and post-production), there are some issues to consider.

Let’s start with a recording rig during the ‘golden age’ of recording: the 1930s. A cutting machine for 78RPM wax masters was heavy, fragile and had to be positioned level for it to work correctly. Music compositions had to be adapted to fit the 10in and 12in discs, even if this meant inserting additional cadences when the timing ran past one side. A second cutter was often needed for using studio time more efficiently. If recorded outside a record company’s studio, ‘finished’ wax masters had to be transported in cool conditions, otherwise the grooves would degrade. Once the mothers and stampers were created, grooved portions of the wax block were shaved off so the wax could be used again and again. However, this meant there was no ‘original master’, only a third-generation copy.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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