The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
“Has Technology Improved the Quality of Recorded Music?”... Keyboard Synthesizers
Old 28th August 2007
  #31
Lives for Jesus
 
stevep's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
“Has Technology Improved the Quality of Recorded Music?”...
NO

I think the added flexibility and ability to do any kind of editing, sound replacement, vocal tuning, drum quantizing, and the increase of bedroom "studios" has hurt the quality of the music being recorded

As for the quality of the recording device; Ptools, ect.. i think it is good enough to make great recordings


With all the editing ect... nowdays you dont have to be a good musician to record music, if you cant sing they can autotune your voice, or fix all your drum tracks, so thats one reason the music has suffered.

Before DAWs when you went in to the studio to make a recording if you couldn't sing in tune or play in time it was obvious in the first 5 minutes of tracking

Now,... people start recordings with the intention to "fix it" in the editing



That said, i track to tape on 90% of the projects and it stays on tape till the end

Nothing better than a perfect first take on tape


Old 28th August 2007
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Alex Niedt's Avatar
 

Depends on who is using said technology. In many cases, absolutely. In many cases, absolutely not.

Perhaps technology has not improved the quality of recorded music, but improved the recorded quality of music? Or improved the music of recorded quality? Or the music recorded quality of?
Old 28th August 2007
  #33
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

i have a recording that was made in 1922, the jazz was smokin', the sound is crude. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1934, the strings and vocals are lush, everything is very dark and soft. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1947, as the orchestra crests i can see the starlet rushing down the stairs to meet her homecoming hero. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1955, i can hear the room the guys are jamming in, everything is palpable, it sounds fantastic. something big has happened in the last 10 years. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1966, these 4 guys are up to something, the distortions are crazy and beautiful, edgy and soothing. this is the sound of risks, of drugs. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1974. it is bone dry, the sistah is all up on the mic and i think she means to have my pants before we're through. the beat is scorching. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1988, the guy's voice is drenched in verbed delays and it sounds like there's 30 of him singing and every single one is blotto on premium smack. love it.

i have a recording that was made in 1998, i don't think any song is over 70 bpm and the mood is pitch black and i can't tell where the machines end and the human players begin. love it.

i have a recording made last year and it sounds as lush as anything in my catalog, the songs are breezy and effortless, nobody's trying to be a rockstar, it just flows. love it.

has technology improved the quality of recorded music?

i don't know... does it really matter?


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 28th August 2007
  #34
Lives for gear
 
jindrich's Avatar
 

“Has Technology Improved the QUALITY of Recorded Music?”...

NO. See,


1) Economic terms:

One of the things Technology brings (to any industry) is More (features) for Less ($), thus lowering the entry barriers and allowing more people/business to enter into that particular market, which ultimately means more competition.

Competition lowers prices.

When prices become the main focus of the Product (as has happened in the Recording Industry), quality suffers tremendosuly, as the old players can't keep its high standards to the new low budgets, so they must either lower their standards and quality considerably, or get out of business.


2) New Horizons:

The second thing Technology brings are new approaches/creative possibilities. Look at what the Beatles did with multitrack recorders or what Prince can do alone in the studio.

Unfortunately, what the Music Industry has adopted from the late Technology is this: Snap to grid, Autotuning, Hard Compression and Limiting and distribution of lower resolution Audio (going backwards qualitywise).

Those new processes allowed the Industry to produce and market *Music* industrially, just as as shoes (and not as *art*), replacing talented musicians/artists by easily controllable and easily marketable *Stars* (Paris Hilton, Boy/Girl Groups, etc).


QUALITY? Which quality?




Maybe the question should be:

Do Bruce Swedien's Records of today SOUND BETTER than those he did 30 years ago?
Old 28th August 2007
  #35
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post



Maybe the question should be:

Do Bruce Swedien's Records of today SOUND BETTER than those he did 30 years ago?
This was my point in asking if Thriller would be done differently today than it was in the early 80s. I say yes. Not that it would be better or worse, but different for sure. Of course that's just my guess, but I'd think that not only Bruce, but MJ would use todays computer technology in ways that weren't possible then.

later,

m
Old 28th August 2007
  #36
Here for the gear
 

I agree with U B K. Without getting into semantics, it's how you define quality. Technology is a means to an end. To me, ultimate quality has to do with the writing/composition, and the performance. Quality isn't all about sonics.

That said, technology certainly has a huge effect on creativity, the approach, and the end product. So it does play a part. The most obvious example is "sound on sound", and multi-track recording. Certainly that emerging technology allowed people like Zappa, Beatles etc. to begin creating records they never would have been able to prior. Today you have all kinds of FX, loops, MPCs and unlimited takes ...
But you also can approach things more traditionally if you want - a live take ala XYZ Jazz trio or orchestra, or basic multitracking etc.

So I think of the technology as a facilitator. It helps some genres of music evolve and morph into new things, which is great. So I guess it has moved quality - if only in the sense that it provides a larger palette to work with.

- Larry
Old 28th August 2007
  #37
Gear Head
 
Rutger's Avatar
 

“Has Technology Improved the Quality of Recorded Music?”...

No, technology only changes our judgement of recorded music.
Old 28th August 2007
  #38
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightrope View Post
I agree with U B K. Without getting into semantics, it's how you define quality. Technology is a means to an end. To me, ultimate quality has to do with the writing/composition, and the performance. Quality isn't all about sonics.

That said, technology certainly has a huge effect on creativity, the approach, and the end product. So it does play a part. The most obvious example is "sound on sound", and multi-track recording. Certainly that emerging technology allowed people like Zappa, Beatles etc. to begin creating records they never would have been able to prior. Today you have all kinds of FX, loops, MPCs and unlimited takes ...
But you also can approach things more traditionally if you want - a live take ala XYZ Jazz trio or orchestra, or basic multitracking etc.

So I think of the technology as a facilitator. It helps some genres of music evolve and morph into new things, which is great. So I guess it has moved quality - if only in the sense that it provides a larger palette to work with.

- Larry

Welcome to GS
Old 28th August 2007
  #39
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Great original post Bruce!

I am a musician through and through. I so much more prefer playing or creating music than I do polishing it. I even love playing music way more than I do pushing guitar knobs and amp settings. I have little patience for that. I love the process of MAKING music.

Technology has always seemed to me to be a double edged sword and the least important. It's always seemed to be smoke and mirrors. You can easily think you're making music when you're actually just playing with technology. Knobs. Men like to play with knobs.

I only worry that with this technology we aren't forgetting the source, the music. "You can't polish a turd." It seems to me that, even though we all know this over used bromide, we still do this way too much. We have the technology to make turds sound great.
Old 28th August 2007
  #40
Lives for gear
 
beyarecords's Avatar
 

Hi,
It all begins with "the man in the mirror". The end product will always reflect the true skill of the craftsman using the tools. If you don't understand what your craft requires of you, the tools are useless.

The quality goes in, before the name goes on!
Old 28th August 2007
  #41
Gear Addict
 
lane thaw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jindrich View Post
. . .

Maybe the question should be:

Do Bruce Swedien's Records of today SOUND BETTER than those he did 30 years ago?
"Chrraaaacccckkkkssswwwhhh" - The sound of Lane biting his tongue.
Old 28th August 2007
  #42
Lives for gear
 
ISedlacek's Avatar
Yes, the technology of today (mics, preamps, converters etc.) definitely enables us to make MUCH BETTER sounding recordings (more detailed, realistic, 3D) than in the past.

But what is the use of all it if in the end most of it is smashed/crushed/flattened/ killed by all those nonsensical limiters/maximisers for the sake of the highly idiotic "loudness" mania ??? This is a simple madness Just because people are lazy to adjust the volume on their players to their liking ? Unless this tumor is cured, all this highly advanced sound technology makes not much use and the older recordings will always sound better. Because people were still sane in those times. Dynamics is one of the key factor of music and its appeal. If everything is just loud, it is rather noise than music. The worst thing is that there is no escape from this. You cannot make/master a beautifully sounding recording full of dynamics and details because it would sound too soft besides those overpumped pieces around. So you become also a victim whether you want or not and have to do the same ...

The downside of the modern recording technology is its too easy accessibility: everyone having a computer with a soundcard has already a "recording studio". Thus the real art and high end sound aesthetics is being forgotten and too much rubbish is being produced. Real high end studios are not that much in demand as before because almost anyone can make a kind of CD today ...

And of course, endless editing and improving possibilities make everybody lazy and anyone can glue a song piece by piece ...

But of course, the music is still the main thing. When I listen to something like Genesis - "Foxtrot", "Selling England by the Pound" etc. I am not sure whether the same high level of music imagination and creativity is kept today ... I am afraid it is not ...

In my dreams I wish Bach, Mozart, Chopin etc. had an access to MIDI pianos/organs and some of their improvisations (which I am sure were even more magnificent than their compositions) were recorded. Today we have all this, just Mozarts, Bachs and Chopins are somehow missing .,..
Old 28th August 2007
  #43
Dan
Lives for gear
 
Dan's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Swedien View Post
“Has Technology Improved the Quality of Recorded Music?”...

Bruce Swedien
That almost seems akin to asking if technology has opened up peoples creativity. Recordings are always made within a set of boundaries, and it's a question of how people use them. I don't think one can say that people are in general being more creative with fewer boundaries today. They're being as creative with different boundaries.

The word quality is a bit ambiguous without a qualification, but if it is overall quality you're asking about, technical quality easily takes a back seat to artistic quality. (Not that they truly compete) My answer is a simple, "No."
Old 28th August 2007
  #44
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Music is music. Technology is technology. One is not the other. Technology can be used to help with the realization of music and therefore make it sound better, or preserve it, or produce it.

But you know, I've been thinking about this and I should probably think about it and put out under another thread heading. But some people are moved by sonics and some people are moved by notes. And I think it's almost a cultural thing. To some people music is mainly the TONE, people who are hypersensitive to TONE. And these would definitely make better audio engineers. But I've seen this notion bandied about here on GS that it's a given that tone is almost the same as music or is a primary component of music.

But to some people tone is not as important as the note, the placement of the note, the articulation of the note, the collections of notes and blending of their timbers with other timbres (instruments).

So I think today many, or even most engineers see their roles as toneshapers and therefore as almost the same as composers.

It used to annoy me when I used to have students who couldn't play, but were so obsessed with tubes and Marshalls and what Hendrix played through, or SVR, or Clapton. I was always concerend with the notes. To me it was always in the hands. I couldn't care less what amp it was. But I had to have the notes. And I had to understand the notes and make the notes mine.

Now the truth, I think, is inbetween the two extremes. Because I ended up not having the greatest tone. But what tone I DO have is in my hands and can transfer to whatever amp I'm playing through. But that sense of majesty of tone just kind of escaped me.

And I won't go into too much detail with this kind of hijack, but I think it's cultural, or at least that's my theory du jour.
Old 28th August 2007
  #45
Lives for gear
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
does it really matter?
if pretentiousness is one's metric, yes
Old 28th August 2007
  #46
Deleted User
Guest
I think it's obvious any answer to this excellent question (which i've pondered often) has to be broken into the technical and artistic categories.

Technically, sure we can do stuff now that couldn't be done before. Giant drum sounds, endless reverbs, almost no noise, and novel 'special effects' that would have freaked out most muso's thirty or more years ago. I still think of how thrilled I was when I first heard Prince's early stuff, blending rock guitar and drum machines, pitch bending sampled pianos, etc etc. Lots of those technical toys produced some pretty fun and inspiring, creative music.

But sticking with the technical side for a sec, I don't think all the advances did much to change the high end. Most of the digital revolution has been aimed at selling gear to the folks who - back in the tape days - would never have the cash to get into a real studio to use Pultecs, Neumans and Steinways. Home-made stuff sounded nothing at all like 'pro' music and the difference was simply about the money you or your record company had. Now, computers (and off-shore manufacturing) have made it possible for stuff recorded in a basement to sound 'almost as good' as the professional material of yore. Almost as good. I don't think many GS'ers think anyone's improved on high end tube gear, valve mics, Neve mixers, etc etc. And I for one really bemoan being able to go into a top notch acoustic ROOM to record. They haven't figured out a plugin for that yet... (much as Altiverb would like you to believe differently).

Okay, so technically I think it's almost a draw. The high end has barely budged, and the low end has gotten a nice boost. What about the artistic/creative side of modern music? Ugh -- can anyone begin to answer that? Great music, great performances, and great musicians are not the sole province of any one chronological period. Similar to Ubik's point above, I love my early 30's Meade Lux Lewis piano recordings and Duke Ellington Cotton Club material the same way I love the Beatles, Motown, Prince, The Super Furry Animals, Shaun Colvin, Bjork and many others. BUT... if I look at the music industry, and sample the 'Top 10' of any particular year, i do detect a general dumbing down corporatization of pop music that started in about 1980 and continues all the way up to 'My Sexy Lady Lumps' and beyond. When will it stop? Will it ever bottom out? Will the public ever wake up and realize that Hillary Duff on mp3 makes the Monkees on 33 1/3 seem like Beethoven? I dunno. No clue. But I don't think the answer is gonna come from technology. That much I'm pretty sure of. It's up to the artists to make great music, the knob-twiddlers to record it faithfully, and finally it's up to the public to give a damn.

Hm.
Old 28th August 2007
  #47
Lives for gear
 
beyarecords's Avatar
 

Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
That almost seems akin to asking if technology has opened up peoples creativity.
I can see another another thread starting, entitled "Has technology improved the qualities in mankind?".
Old 28th August 2007
  #48
Lives for gear
 
ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
if pretentiousness is one's metric, yes
And your meter is that of hypocrisy..

Instead of contributing to this thread you take the opportunity to criticize someone who has voiced his opinion with eloquence (as is his wont). THAT is pretentious.





I equate modern music technology to giving the keys to NASA to the guy on the street. To be sure, he/she can push the "launch" button. However, without the proper knowledge of ballistics, his/her target won't be (a) hit. And we'll be surrounded by detritus...
Old 28th August 2007
  #49
Lives for gear
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcCirDude View Post
And your meter is that of hypocrisy
and you have a serious comprehension problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcCirDude View Post
I equate modern music technology to giving the keys to NASA to the guy on the street. To be sure, he/she can push the "launch" button. However, without the proper knowledge of ballistics, his/her target won't be (a) hit. And we'll be surrounded by detritus
and are a snob
Old 28th August 2007
  #50
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
and you have a serious comprehension problem


and are a snob
Wow. Did somebody get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?
Old 28th August 2007
  #51
Lives for gear
 
ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
and you have a serious comprehension problem


and are a snob

Well, sorry, but it seemed to me from your short quip that you were calling UBK pretentious. If I misunderstood I apologize.

As for being a snob...... I can live with that. After losing a few potential customers to some cat with a 001 and a pair of C1000's because he would, "do it for free, dude", my nose has indeed been pointing a little more towards the ceiling.
Old 29th August 2007
  #52
Lives for gear
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcCirDude View Post
Well, sorry, but it seemed to me from your short quip that you were calling UBK pretentious. If I misunderstood I apologize
I guessed that, but I was actually agreeing with him and referring to someone else altogether

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArcCirDude View Post
As for being a snob...... I can live with that. After losing a few potential customers to some cat with a 001 and a pair of C1000's because he would, "do it for free, dude", my nose has indeed been pointing a little more towards the ceiling
I'm willing to wager you could express that frustration in a far better way
Old 29th August 2007
  #53
Lives for gear
 
ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
I guessed that, but I was actually agreeing with him and referring to someone else altogether


I'm willing to wager you could express that frustration in a far better way

I have.... I've raised my prices.
Old 29th August 2007
  #54
Lives for gear
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

nice one

you'll get the gig at the end of the day anyway...
Old 29th August 2007
  #55
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
I almost completely disagree. The cost of gear has come way down however forty years ago anybody who could demonstrate some real musical talent had access to speculative recording projects in the finest studios with the top engineers and producers in the industry. That access to creative production talent who you can learn from has all but disappeared.

With the utmost respect....with regards to technology improving the accessablity of recorded music......forty years ago I was a bass player in a garage band that was doomed to fade with many others. I suspect that my musical talent was somewhat less than demonstratable.

With today's technology, that same band today can record their tunes in the lead player's basement and mix them on PT in the drummer's bedroom....for better or for worse.
Old 29th August 2007
  #56
Lives for gear
 
ArcCirDude's Avatar
 

And one more thing....

What is wrong with feeling a sense of frustration when someone like me with years of dedication and study earning a Masters in Music, years of experience on both sides of the glass, years of experience composing and arranging, years of playing for some of the biggest names in sho' biz using a horn section gets beat out of a job by a 19 year old kid with a laptop? When my advice of tracking together in a nice live room as a unit gets scoffed at in favor of overdubbing one track at a time in a dead bedroom? When my decent selection of high end outboard lies idle while the kid's "awesome" collection of cracked plug-ins with f*cked up gain staging and over-compression renders the audio so mangled that my ears start bleeding 5 seconds into the first cut?

Sour grapes? Why not? Bitter? Sure, like the Valium I ought to take right about yesterday...

So, "Has technology improved the quality of recorded music?". As far as the quality of recordings, IMHO, yes. I don't miss the hiss of tape and the degradation over time of tape, tape editing, vocal comps... I miss tracking drums on tape and mixing on a real console, but I'll live.

Now, the quality of music? Yes. There has been some fantastic things done with many of the new toys at our disposal. Creativity is still out there. However, and this is my main beef, the PERCENTAGE of quality recordings is way lower now than the 20's-80's due to many factors, one of which being the democratization of recording due to the availability of low cost, high quality recording equipment. The others, such as L2/3 abuse, MTVization of music, record companies being led by bean counters instead of passionate music lovers like Ahmet, ignorance of music due to music/art education programs being cut in order to buy new football uniforms (USA), cutting NEA funding to buy rockets, Mpegs, et al have been beaten to death on this site already, I'm sure.. (Perhaps why Kiwiburger said goodbye and farewell yesterday?)

Look, I'm all for you young cats getting out there and learning by doing. Hopefully we are all still learning... But just know when you're in over your head and don't do a diservice to the artist by thinking that you can do a better job tracking, mixing and, god forbid, mastering in your bedroom than a real recording facility can offer. And I personally find it unethical to talk someone out of a date by offering to do it for free. I've had this happen twice this past year.

Now where's that valium???

Old 29th August 2007
  #57
Lives for gear
 
ssaudio's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
With today's technology, that same band today can record their tunes in the lead player's basement and mix them on PT in the drummer's bedroom....for better or for worse.
you just don't get it

You need real musical talent. Only then can you hope to work with the great and the good. You can then get to make records of varying levels of greatness and and the brilliant thing is, if no-one actually likes them it doesn't matter - because you've got real talent and you can mix (no pun intended) with the great and good, because only they can

you see?

now get back to your garage and stop wasting electricity...
Old 29th August 2007
  #58
Gear Guru
 
u b k's Avatar
 

i'll tell you what technology is *really* good at: making us not want the things we have.

destroying the planet is just a fringe benefit thumbsup.


gregoire
del
ubk
.
Old 29th August 2007
  #59
Lives for gear
 
beyarecords's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by u b k View Post
i'll tell you what technology is *really* good at: making us not want the things we have
Ah yes, the ever 'New and Improved Model!!'

Just when you thought you were set, ready to go, had all the equipment you would ever need upon which to grace the world with those classic 'Rock Gems', you find out, and to your abject horror, that your all singing, all dancing, new bit of kit, which was released 3 weeks ago and you purchased two and a half weeks ago, has since been replaced by the new 'must have, boni fida, gearslutz approved' model!

Oh the injustice of it all heh
Old 29th August 2007
  #60
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssaudio View Post
You need real musical talent. Only then can you hope to work with the great and the good.

So true.

But....even if I lack 'real' musical talent and I never hope to mix with the great and the good I can still record music, thanks to today's technology.

That does seem to support the argument that technology has made music worse by diluting the talent pool.

Back to the garage, mates, and we'll play loud until the police show up again!

Peace
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
timothy / So much gear, so little time
2
max cooper / Gear free zone - shoot the breeze
2
Pointbreakd / Work In Progress / Advice Requested / Show and Tell / Artist Showcase / Mix-Offs
6

Forum Jump
Forum Jump