From phillip holmes: "...One thing that the couple could be talking about is
improvement in background noise levels since the '60s. From the
microphones, to the cables, to boards and electronics, everything is
much quieter than in the '60s. They might be comparing
multi-microphoned Columbia recordings from the '60s to something similar
from the '90s..."
It's highly debatable that microphones, cables, boards or electronics have
actually improved, especially since the 1960s when I began my career.
They've only gotten cheaper and in too many cases both worse sounding and
worse measuring once we learned what it was we needed to measure.
The point is that they believed using multiple mikes made what they felt was
an improvement in the final product and I can't imagine that this matter
wasn't a subject of discussion among most recording musicians at the time.
Musicians typically listen for being able to hear all the parts and for
perfect time and intonation. The challenge is that 90% of what each of us
hears are details that have been filled in by our imagination unless we are
very careful. Fixing all three at the expense of emotional communication
and/or the ability for an ordinary listener to suspend their disbelief is
the very essence of overproduction. Producers who are fans tend to make that
mistake a lot less in my experience than producers who have been
Among musicians, brass players have frequently been the most successful
arrangers and producers. Some of us speculate this may be because they were
brought up counting rests in orchestra. Just for the record, I got through a
year of violin in college before dropping out to accept my job at Motown.
Bob Olhsson Audio Mastery, Nashville TN
Mastering, Audio for Picture, Mix Evaluation and Quality Control
Over 40 years making people sound better than they ever imagined!