History of Recording – Ep. 9 – Part 1

The History of Recording

It’s amazing how far we’ve come.  From the simple desire to record and document sound with a transducer, we have evolved into an industry that continues to grow and progress.  Older recordings, before multitrack recording, were accomplished with a single microphone.  Listen to records recorded in the 30’s and 40’s you will hear the difference in quality from today (trust me you will hear it).  In the modern era of recording and production we can have a much more immersive experience full of clarity, depth and space.  The evolution of technology and production has made this a reality.

Before there was a recording industry, there was mixing

People enjoyed music well before we had the means to record it.  Orchestral music, for example, has many instruments that need to be balanced. To this day it’s done acoustically by strategic placement of the instruments in the ensemble.  The choice and amount of certain instruments in an orchestra is normally a decision made by the composer NOT the orchestra.  If I want a piece of music to sound powerful, I’m going to have an orchestra of 150 members, not 30.  It also makes sense to have 30 violins and 4 trombones right?  In addition, by having the trombones sit further back is an added way to balance them with the violins.  What would happen if we had 30 trombones and 4 violins, would they stand a chance?

4 track recorders and early DAWs

Tape machines with mixers attached to them, were available to consumers to create music anywhere.  The limitations were track limits, and noise.  Modern DAWs are just like this, with far fewer limitations.  The first DAWs were extremely limited because of the processing power of the computers.  Earlier DAWs were merely modeling the workflow of their analog counterparts, such as editing and recording features.  As we evolved our techniques and production needs grew as well as the DAWs   Of course digital has give us many many more tools and advantages that analog was never able to give us.

The Future of Recording

For those of us that remember 4tracks and basic DAWs, it’s pretty overwhelming where we are now. The accessibility of so many amazing and powerful tools can make us forget how lucky we are.  Computer processing is getting faster, programming is evolving, and the concepts behind production and mixing continue to change.  The History of Recording is a story that will continue to grow  as we continue to push the seemingly endless envelope of technology and creativity.

Visit our friends at DRS to learn more about the art of recording and mixing!

 

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