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Did the engineers of yester-year argue about gear the way we do now?
Old 29th August 2007
  #1
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ryst's Avatar
 

Did the engineers of yester-year argue about gear the way we do now?

Seriously. Before DAW's and plug-ins, did engineers do blind test after blind test to determine if a particular brand of 2 inch tape sounded better than another one? Or what ips speed resulted in a better sounding recording? Or did they do tests to find out if a solid state mixer was better than a tube mixer for mixing? Did engineers of the past test which version of the 1176 was better? D? or E?

I'm not talking about normal testing before a recording session like, "which mic will work best for this particular amp".

I am talking about the nauseating tests and discussions that are similar to today's "which DAW sounds better" type of tests. You know, the pointless ones. heh

Just curious if this is something new or have these types of tests and debates been going on forever?
Old 29th August 2007
  #2
Mostly no -- but that doesn't mean people didn't talk about gear.

Several things are very different, now...
  • an extraordinary drop in recording gear prices (in the old days, if you wanted to play with recording gear or record your band you had to be either working in a studio, rich, or signed/backed)
  • a huge influx of newcomers to recording who have neither apprenticed or been through a formal educational program
  • the internet (a venue for endless discussion)
The results are manifest.

It's not all bad -- to be sure. But the potential for the widespread dispersal of bad information, bad concepts, and buzz theories has certainly had a negative impact on the audio-related discussions I've had online since I first joined CompuServe in 1988. As I've said before, today, there are a lot of people talkin' -- but not that many people knowin'...
Old 29th August 2007
  #3
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Mostly no -- but that doesn't mean people didn't talk about gear.

Several things are very different, now...
  • an extraordinary drop in recording gear prices (in the old days, if you wanted to play with recording gear or record your band you had to be either working in a studio, rich, or signed/backed)
  • a huge influx of newcomers to recording who have neither apprenticed or been through a formal educational program
  • the internet (a venue for endless discussion)
The results are manifest.

It's not all bad -- to be sure. But the potential for the widespread dispersal of bad information, bad concepts, and buzz theories has certainly had a negative impact on the audio-related discussions I've had online since I first joined CompuServe in 1988. As I've said before, today, there are a lot of people talkin' -- but not that many people knowin'...
I agree with your points about things being different now. Especially the internet. It has completely changed the way we can communicate and share.

I feel for the new guy just starting out. With all the affordable gear we have available now, with all these tests, opinions, and debates, if I started now I would have a hard time deciding what I should buy or how to start.
Old 29th August 2007
  #4
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narcoman's Avatar
 

......that and the fact that many of those who ARGUE about gear dont in fact USE it! At least not professionally!.... heh
Old 29th August 2007
  #5
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and for those that do use it....it doesnt mean that their way is the only way.

The internet has given us the option of communicating much easier and with more people in many different places. There is so much info (good & bad) available.

I also believe that we have/are making "Music Creation" much more technical then it should be.

Old 29th August 2007
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
......that and the fact that many of those who ARGUE about gear dont in fact USE it! At least not professionally!.... heh




It's been my observation that the most vehemently opinionated participants in these arguments are those who sell and modify gear, or own (but don't use in a professional capacity) lots of pricey, under-utilized gear.

But, it's all just entertainmnet that, once in a while, yields a grain of truth.
Old 29th August 2007
  #7
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Sigma's Avatar
NO....
and i am yesteryear reincarnated
Old 29th August 2007
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
......that and the fact that many of those who ARGUE about gear dont in fact USE it! At least not professionally!.... heh
That is SO true!
Old 29th August 2007
  #9
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T_R_S's Avatar
Back in the 70's some people would slam the use of any synth keyboard.
Queen used to put "No Synthesizers were used on this record"
Old 29th August 2007
  #10
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Unclenny's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by nukmusic View Post
I also believe that we have/are making "Music Creation" much more technical then it should be.

It is, after all the talk........just music.
Old 29th August 2007
  #11
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unclenny View Post
It is, after all the talk........just music.
classic!thumbsup
Old 29th August 2007
  #12
Registered User
 

yes, worse.
Old 29th August 2007
  #13
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I've wondered this...I think I've even asked a similar question somewhere sometime....

The internet, to me, is generally a waste of time, or a time killer....

on the other hand, there is every once in a while, some useful stuff....

and you can run into people like Bruce Swedien or Ken Scott....

It's very odd though, this game of people just throwing out comments and opinions one after the other in a random jumble...

It's like you're in a bar drinking beer with a bunch of people you don't know and can't see, and someone shouts out a topic, and then everyone start shouting out crap, often senseless, but at least one at a time...so polite. And sometimes there's some good stuff, or it gets all heated, though half the people keep shouting cliches, and everyone thinks they are motherfricking Socrates, and then it dies down and the bar closes and you've got a headache and you wonder what the f*ck that was about and you vow to never drink or get involved again...until the next night...and someone shouts "Avril!!"...and boom, you start spewing out crap again...

Here's a topic: Conversation....ITB or OTB...

thanks for reading my spew...
Old 29th August 2007
  #14
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Yesteryear was called R-E-P magazine ... (the magazine...not Fletcher's hangout). That was my bible through the entire 70's and that's where the pros were.

In general ..since it was a magazine..you couldn't really come out of nowhere and start lipping off. Which kept things pretty civil compared to here because the conversations were always one sided. You would never see a letter in R-E-P from a guy asking if his Tapco spring reverb would give the same quality as an EMT plate.

In fact, I don't remember anybody in R-E-P ...all those guys making all those hit records...ever mentioning the concept of using an outboard pre. The concept didn't exist in those days as I remember. Neither did the idea of micro-inspection of which tape to use. You just used tape. You bought it. You biased your machine for whatever brand x you regularly used...you hit "record" ..you recorded a hit...and then you talked about it in R-E-P. There would be the occasional talk about elevated tape levels, but mostly just in passing.

When there were conversations about cool Valley People stuff or discussions about these newfangled tranzamps on consoles, it was more of a presentation of specs rather than a bloodfest.

Interviews with engineers would reveal techniques, tape type, mic positioning, console settings....and then the reader would pull from that whatever there was that was useful.

As I remember from 1974, we only had 62 products to choose from in the entire professional world of recording (most of it seemingly made by MCI there for a minute or so in 1977)...now, we have 18,666,562 products to choose from (half of them microphones). The world of gear was..to me..easier to digest back then.

When some of the home recording mags (like Home Recording in 1974) popped up in response to R-E-P's snootiness, things still stayed pretty civil. All the guys reading R-E-P owned the same 62 pro products for recording hit records and none of the pros acknowledged the lowly home recording, Tascam, Dokorder crowd as anything other than wanna-bes who would never get anywhere. A nice distinct line separated Pro from home and the two rarely mixed in same-conversations.

Compared to the R-E-P days...and the great hits made with the equipment of those days...today is filled with too many instances of people micro-inspecting specs to the point that nothing gets done by a lot of these people.

Really...if you take a look at all of the time blown on discussing and inspecting circuits and components...compared with discussions and analysis of final recorded work.... you wonder how anyone has time to make any music at all.

In fact, I spend far less time here than ever. Over the past couple of years, I've increasingly been searching out the older engineers and producers that I always respected and loved...and I've been hanging out with them while they're still around. Asking questions...listening to what they say. THAT'S where I'm learning the most. Looking at SSL spec sheets at AES 1978 was cool. But that only goes so far for so long. At some point, somebody has to stop the addiction to the specs..and start making some music. Of course if all 18,000 members on Gearlslutz are in the biz of selling gear, that's a different story.

Take a look at a couple of old R-E-Ps. It's one way to clear out your head regarding how crazy insane the gear situation is now.
Old 29th August 2007
  #15
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ryst's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenoodle View Post
Yesteryear was called R-E-P magazine ... (the magazine...not Fletcher's hangout). That was my bible through the entire 70's and that's where the pros were.

In general ..since it was a magazine..you couldn't really come out of nowhere and start lipping off. Which kept things pretty civil compared to here because the conversations were always one sided. You would never see a letter in R-E-P from a guy asking if his Tapco spring reverb would give the same quality as an EMT plate.

In fact, I don't remember anybody in R-E-P ...all those guys making all those hit records...ever mentioning the concept of using an outboard pre. The concept didn't exist in those days as I remember. Neither did the idea of micro-inspection of which tape to use. You just used tape. You bought it. You biased your machine for whatever brand x you regularly used...you hit "record" ..you recorded a hit...and then you talked about it in R-E-P. There would be the occasional talk about elevated tape levels, but mostly just in passing.

When there were conversations about cool Valley People stuff or discussions about these newfangled tranzamps on consoles, it was more of a presentation of specs rather than a bloodfest.

Interviews with engineers would reveal techniques, tape type, mic positioning, console settings....and then the reader would pull from that whatever there was that was useful.

As I remember from 1974, we only had 62 products to choose from in the entire professional world of recording (most of it seemingly made by MCI there for a minute or so in 1977)...now, we have 18,666,562 products to choose from (half of them microphones). The world of gear was..to me..easier to digest back then.

When some of the home recording mags (like Home Recording in 1974) popped up in response to R-E-P's snootiness, things still stayed pretty civil. All the guys reading R-E-P owned the same 62 pro products for recording hit records and none of the pros acknowledged the lowly home recording, Tascam, Dokorder crowd as anything other than wanna-bes who would never get anywhere. A nice distinct line separated Pro from home and the two rarely mixed in same-conversations.

Compared to the R-E-P days...and the great hits made with the equipment of those days...today is filled with too many instances of people micro-inspecting specs to the point that nothing gets done by a lot of these people.

Really...if you take a look at all of the time blown on discussing and inspecting circuits and components...compared with discussions and analysis of final recorded work.... you wonder how anyone has time to make any music at all.

In fact, I spend far less time here than ever. Over the past couple of years, I've increasingly been searching out the older engineers and producers that I always respected and loved...and I've been hanging out with them while they're still around. Asking questions...listening to what they say. THAT'S where I'm learning the most. Looking at SSL spec sheets at AES 1978 was cool. Spec sheets and daw shootouts aren't where it's at.

Take a look at a couple of old R-E-Ps. It's one way to clear out your head regarding how crazy insane the gear situation is now.
Wow. I really need to find some of those old issues! Sounds like a good read. thumbsupthumbsup
Old 30th August 2007
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP11 View Post
It's like you're in a bar drinking beer with a bunch of people you don't know and can't see, and someone shouts out a topic, and then everyone start shouting out crap, often senseless, but at least one at a time...so polite. And sometimes there's some good stuff, or it gets all heated, though half the people keep shouting cliches, and everyone thinks they are motherfricking Socrates, and then it dies down and the bar closes and you've got a headache and you wonder what the f*ck that was about and you vow to never drink or get involved again...until the next night...and someone shouts "Avril!!"...and boom, you start spewing out crap again...
Yes, but you must admit it's better these days. I haven't had a broken jaw or bloody nose yet from the Internet.
Old 30th August 2007
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by T_R_S View Post
Back in the 70's some people would slam the use of any synth keyboard.
Queen used to put "No Synthesizers were used on this record"
that mentality trailed on into the 90's. theres a huge "eletronics use is cheating" mentality out there. the funniest example i've seen is Cannibal Corpse credits that read "No vocal harmonizer was used to make this record". how impressive, he makes that coked up pit bull sound all on his own, not like those wusses in type -O. heh

as long as theres been stuff & people, theres been people arguing about stuff.
...& of course that the stuff they have is the best of all possible stuff.
Old 30th August 2007
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Confusionator View Post
Yes, but you must admit it's better these days. I haven't had a broken jaw or bloody nose yet from the Internet.
True. On the downside, I haven't gotten laid either...not that there are any female slutz around here. The upside...no diseases or regrets. Another upside, next door to this dive there's a million strip joints and adult movie houses.
Old 30th August 2007
  #19
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigma View Post
NO....
and i am yesteryear reincarnated
And yet, I vaguely remember us arguing about Neve vs. SSL...

BTW, I am older than you.
Old 30th August 2007
  #20
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Sigma's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennR01 View Post
And yet, I vaguely remember us arguing about Neve vs. SSL...

BTW, I am older than you.
errr yeah i remember thatheh

i just don't think we dealt with the minutiae like here..

btw when we got the J i hated the eq on the bottom end

and you are older but i am fatter and uglier
Old 30th August 2007
  #21
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Harvey Gerst's Avatar
Most of the discussions at L.A. studios in the old days centered around which board channels weren't working that day.
Old 30th August 2007
  #22
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
I have only been recording for 20 years, so I do not know how yesteryear that counts as, but yes engineers at least had serious debate about differences, but those arguments have been blunted.

In the old days people would discuss differences in 1176 version A, vs 1176 version D, then several years ago it switched to any real 1176 vs the Bomb factory 1176 plug in. (By the way when the old 16 bit Bomb Factory plug in hit the market, tons of engineers dumped their real 1176 for the plug in because it was just as good and they could get multiple instance of it, now people consider that early BF stuff to be kind of a joke, even when compared to newer plug ins. )

Also people used to debate tape format, speed and calibration. Now its just tape vs. not tape. In the old days the fact that I was a "15 ips, +9, no dolby" guy actually told you a bit about my tastes and working methods.

In general these days I tend to find the discussion to be less about the details and small degrees in improvement, but I chalk that up to the fact that the balance of people in the discussion has shifted to be predominantly people with less experience. Not saying that is totally a good or a bad thing, but in the old days a guy spouting off about gear with no real records under his belt would not get taken seriously. Now with anonymous posting on gear slutz etc, a kid with an Mbox and 2 months experience has just as much say in the discussion as a guy with a wall full of platinum albums.
Old 30th August 2007
  #23
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TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Did the engineers of yester-year argue about gear the way we do now?
The good engineers were too busy working to argue about gear.... the same can be said today.
Old 30th August 2007
  #24
I'm a 15ips, +6, +Dolby guy on the outside, but a 15ips, +3, + Dolby guy on the inside.
Old 30th August 2007
  #25
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ssaudio's Avatar
 

I can't remember
Old 30th August 2007
  #26
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No, they didn't. Mainly due to the fact that back then you could just plug in, push the record button on your analog tape, and boom.. it sounded good. That's the main difference between then and now. There's so much junk out there it begs to be discussed.

Whenever I find myself discouraged by all this digitally hyped gear, I just plug in my Fostex E22, hit the record, and track at 30 ips, boom... beautiful.

Basically, it's just not that simple anymore.
Old 30th August 2007
  #27
Dan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
I'm a 15ips, +6, +Dolby guy on the outside, but a 15ips, +3, + Dolby guy on the inside.
15ips +3 + Dolby is CRAP!

30ips +9 no Dolby.

But I've heard Heimlich Studer say that 23ips is really the ideal tape speed.
Old 30th August 2007
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan View Post
15ips +3 + Dolby is CRAP!

30ips +9 no Dolby.

f
Dude, if you don't like the low end bump of 15ips you are totally deaf!!!!!!

Just kidding of course, thought it would be fun to do some old time arguing of the younger guys.
Old 30th August 2007
  #29
Pre-internets, I spent a lot of time calling friends/peers to ask their opinions about gear. You took your chances asking salespeople about stuff, so demo-ing gear was the best result (still is). Most of the serious stuff was so expensive (consoles, pro tape machines) that most discussion was based on whether you ever worked on one & if you liked it. With our Neoteks, SSL, Amek/Neve, Studers bought over the years, the purchases were based on a frighteningly small amount of opinion. I think places like Gearslutz are are wonderful resources & certainly an improvement on the past. I'm no fan of the boys club atmosphere that permeated those days- it caused me a lot of grief at times (read as- bad purchases).


Best- Brad
Old 30th August 2007
  #30
Gear Maniac
 

Screw 370 nWb/m! I say overbias! Wait, I meant underbias! Screw it all, just take the Dolby A's out on the drum tracks!
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