While the current batch of stuff is in production and post production, we've been looking at pre-production for a few of the other projects.

I had some logistical fails this week (argh) and some Technical Process wins (yay!).

Thanks to Montman, Pete D, Michael Lynch and Jim C for running through some technical and esoteric questions on recording.

There's a seismic shift in recording technology over the last decade, subsequent to the equally seismic shifts between 2000-2008.

5 years ago when we recorded 'Hired Guns & Borrowed Glory' we were running a 16 bit 48kHz TASCAM interface.


It blew up on day 2 of a Location recording (OMG) and it was only thanks to Pete D's massive round trip to bring his own unit down that we were able to get the recording finished.

Lag made Monitoring hard. Yuck. 

Since then, Lag has been moderated with higher bandwidth/different architecture access ports (USB3/Thunderbolt).

The biggest change, IMHO, is the new emulation systems.

The Bright Sparks in Engineering ran an oscilloscope over the output signal from an expensive production chain - a Neve Desk, expensive pre-amps, vintage amps - figured out what these devices do to the signal, then programmed those parameters into Software Filters that can be added in post production or during the pre-amp/capture stage.

Want to sound 99% like Hendrix's amp? Like Alan Parsons did your recording setup?

You don't need to know how to Mic your amp - plug your guitar in, click a mouse, or toggle a switch, and $$$ worth of God-Tier audio equipment is suddenly in your sound.

Sort of.

It's an emulator; More 'Butter with 5% canola oil' than Organic Virgin Cow Butter Of The Amish.

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Pete D switched me on to current emulation concepts and I have been reading away.

It's a little like CD vs Vinyl, or WAV vs FLAC. 

If you follow the Science, the digital emulations are as good/Close to analogue versions.....'Close'.

If you ask anyone who owns a Pre Amp worth as much as a new Car , you may get a different opinion.

I've had the chance to compare recordings thanks to Michael L and Ben and my own field recording with the current Zoom H6 (I rate it highly).

Mr L.'s Audiophile chain (on hidden hand for example) produces results that are by far the best sound reproduction I've heard outside of a NAGRA 2 in mint condition operated by a BBC soundo. (Yeah that's how I roll.)

That said, if you are recording Fuzzy Guitar and Noisy Noise, as opposed to Atmosphere and Acoustic, then will you really notice the % different between $$$$$$ worth of gear or $$$ worth?

Here's some of the things that have been in conversation:

20th century sonic reference points

Are they the best sound or simply what you've descended from?

Psycho Acoustics VS Pleasing to the ear

Is a NEVE desk the way to get great sound because it's an evolved outcome after 100 years of sound work to know what sounds pleasing to the ear, in light of how we hear and how we store and reproduce sound?



Subjective Sound

When we travel and return to Oz, we hear the Australian accent again. Usually when we get to the airport on the way back.

It sounds....weird.

If we pick a chain/emulator that Colours the sound by changing it, shaping it, in a specific, chosen way, are we doing it because it's Objectively Better or because that's the accent we like are used to?

If you're Free, are you free?

Who are you/we sonically emulating?

What sound do you want?

In this Interregnum, the time of silence for the music business, to borrow well from Wiliam Goldman:

“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.”

Why bother chasing the sound of the Top40? Why try to get 'THAT SOUND'.

WTF is 'that' sound?

Sound of our Heroes

As Jim C. said to me, every Harmonica Player wants to sound like Little Walter.

$$$$ worth of vintage amp OR...$$ worth of software to get dang close?

I can see the pro's and cons on both sides - great gear, great knowledge, taste or - BUTTON!!!!

To quote Larson...


Let thy limitations be thy art

says Brother Bill, and he's one hoopy frood.

There's never been a better, cheaper, time to make stuff.

So so many buttons.

Fascinating. Exploring this stuff is an ongoing mission. Keep reading the blog you may even hear some of the results :-) (EDIT: Reading to hear? Well. Hmm. How about, re-visit and I'll most likely be posting test sounds)