LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST Archives

ARSCLIST Archives


ARSCLIST@LISTSERV.LOC.GOV


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST Home

ARSCLIST  September 2014

ARSCLIST September 2014

Subject:

Re: recording booths

From:

Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 08:31:40 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (181 lines)

Hi Carl:

I don't think it's a good idea to make general statements about dead vs ambient recording 
environments. They each have their purposes.

For voice-over, especially if you plan to use the voice as a tool in getting the message across, you 
want a dry, clean recording. Many musicians also like this for mics on amps -- let the amp do the 
talking and add plate reverb if wanted. Dry drums were also a fixture in 70s non-classical 
recordings. I don't happen to prefer close-mic'd dry drums, but it was a style and worked very well 
in some genres (funk, soul, disco).

In the real world of NYC studios struggling to make ends meet, the late 60s was doomsday for big 
rooms. The rock bands wanted to baffle and isolate to eliminate bleed so they could record each 
instrument to its own track(s) and then remix and add effects and echo later on. Jazz recording also 
took on this style (for instance Pablo and Prestige records made at A&R in the early and mid 70s). 
So the big rooms were now liabilities due to the high cost of rent. Big rooms didn't come back into 
fashion until the Power Station opened up. That big room, which is literally an old Con Ed power 
station generator room, is still in operation as Avatar Studios. 30th Street was doomed as soon as 
amplified fusion jazz came along, but it held on for a few more years because it was subsidized by 
CBS and then Sony. It also had a lucrative business doing Broadway cast albums up to its last days, 
but how many of those could they book in a given year?

Very "live" environments are hard to translate into listenable recordings. Richard's story about the 
chorus leader is interesting. In his church, one can find a seat where the chorus words are 
semi-intelligable and get further cues from looking at the singers or following words in a printed 
program. A listener at home has none of these benefits, he's at the mercy of where mics were placed 
in the muddy sonic environment. If he wants detail as opposed to "atmosphere," he's SOL. This is a 
good example of how the needs of a recording are different from the needs of a performance.

Net-net, the best studios had the ability to expand and contract the air-space around instruments 
being recording. I think it's generally acknowledged that rock and jazz drum sets sound better when 
they're recorded in a large-volume space with at least some mics not so close-in. And, as the 
engineers at Denon found out, it's not a good idea to put an orchestra in an anacholic chamber and 
then try to remix the super-dry tracks into a synthesized acoustic environment (although this is 
nearly done regularly with film-score recording and mixing). For broadcast studios, it's probably 
appropriate in almost all cases to have a sonically dead and neutral studio.

Going back to the genesis of deadened studios, my bet is that it was a revelation for 1920's sound 
engineers to hear what microphones and speakers could do. Remember they were able to listen without 
the degrading of a disk cutter and shellac product, they could patch the mic right into their 
monitor system. They all of a sudden hear that the boomy rooms they were using for acoustic 
recordings couldn't work with these new systems. The logical first step is deaden everything, so the 
mic is just picking up what's in front of it. They knew that whatever "bloom" was lost in the dead 
air wouldn't be audible on 1920's shellac or AM radio anyway.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Carl Pultz" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2014 8:06 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] recording booths


> "Pillow-factory" - that's a good description of the first 'engineered'
> studio I encountered. I'd started as an announcer in a station housed in a
> hotel suite where the studio had no acoustic treatment at all. Across town
> at the better-funded public station (!), their studio was state of the art
> 1970, or maybe a design that was a throw-back, built as a combo
> recording/broadcasting room. It was such an unnaturally dead space it was
> weird to even be in it. And when you spoke, your words seemed to disappear
> right past your lips. A ca. 2000 broadcast studio I worked in was not nearly
> so damped and didn't feel unnatural, just controlled.
>
> If I can speculate, I'd think that early on the major concern in
> broadcasting was for clarity. Any extraneous sound, internal ambience or
> external noise, would work against that, as well as risk the waste of
> transmitting power in an AM system. Radio quickly became a much bigger
> business than records and also seems to have led the technology for
> electrical recording. The record business also used radio studios for some
> percentage of its production, so it seems reasonable that the influence
> would carry through and persist. Valid? As time went on, bigger radio
> studios seemed to allow for more ambience. For instance, before the tower,
> Capital used a CBS radio studio to good effect. Stoky prevailed on RCA to
> open up 8H.
>
> One other aspect is that a 'dead' studio provides a blank acoustical slate,
> on which you can apply whatever effects you have to create whatever sound
> you're looking for (Electric Lady?). That might be the idea, anyway, though
> it's clear in retrospect that it was the studios that had a sound of their
> own that are best remembered and most successful for acoustic music (30th
> Street). Page's tales of recording Bonham in a big room just one example.
> OTOH, the sound of 70s art-pop is intimate; Joni Mitchell, The Eagles, etc,
> etc. Big-ambience ala Tony Bennett sounded old-fashioned.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:32 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] recording booths
>
> Another wrinkle on this involves the legendary Robert Johnson recordings.
> The booklet notes in the newest remastering includes discussion of exactly
> why Johnson wanted to record facing the corner walls of the hotel room.
> Speculation had been that he was "shy" or wanted to "hide" the tricks of his
> technique, but a new avenue of thought is that he understood the acoustics
> of the corner and used it to his advantage, enabling him to highlight
> certain guitar tones and picking techniques in service to his songs. The
> latest remasters include some very audible room acoustics, and there is a
> tonality very different from recordings made in highly damped studios. It's
> also worth noting, as a point of comparison, that the hotel rooms Johnson
> recorded in were probably bigger than the tiny booth-like studios Paramount
> used in Chicago and Wisconsin. Also bigger and definitely less deadened than
> Gennett's studio.
>
> One person who was very much against the industry norm of highly deadened
> recording spaces was John Hammond. He preferred lively room acoustics and a
> single mic or very few mics. He found a kindered spirit in my father, who
> was chief engineer at Majestic Records' then new studio in the late 40's.
> Hammond was very much responsible for sheparding forward the single-mic
> techniques that were later used on Mercury Living Presence in the mono era.
> When my father moved to Reeves Sound Studios, he took down the heavy
> curtains and installed diffusers in the big orchestra-sized studio, to allow
> for more lively-sounding recordings.
>
> I wonder if the idea of highly-damped and small-room recording spaces came
> from early radio studios.
> I remember reading in Barnouw's first book about early studios being little
> shacks with heavy padding on the walls and ceilings, similar to the
> description of Paramount's studio in Wisconsin. I don't think Edison or
> Berliner went to great lengths to damp studios, because they needed a good
> amount of sound pressure to collect at the horn mouths.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Richard L. Hess" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 3:12 PM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] recording booths
>
>
>> On 2014-09-18 1:48 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>>> One more point about recording booths. I think some of what we like
>>> about the more primatively-recorded blues, hillbilly and other "folk"
>>> musics recorded in the 30s and 40s is a result of the highly damped
>>> small recording spaces often used. I've read accounts of Paramount
>>> artists talking about a small studio so blanketed and damped that they
>>> could barely hear themselves or their instrument.
>>
>> When I was at ABC-TV in the late 1970s, the ABC morning show invited the
> choir of men and boys
>> from St. Thomas Church on Fifth Avenue to perform a short segment. I had
> been recording the choir
>> for a while and became good friends with the late Dr. Gerre Hancock, the
> director.
>>
>> When Gerre returned from the gig (which I had no involvement in) the next
> time he saw me, he asked
>> "Richard, why do you make these studios sound like pillow factories?"
>>
>> He was most displeased with the sound to no one's surprise. I think this
> took place in TV-2 which
>> was half of what used to be a horseback riding arena and went between 66th
> and 67th Streets, but
>> it might have been TV-13 in the then new Seven Lincoln Square building--a
> project I did work on,
>> but not for acoustics--that was 8,000 square feet (let's say 240,000 cubic
> feet and highly padded.
>>
>> Dr. Hancock was used to conducing in a stone church of about 2,200,000
> cubic feet according to my
>> friend David L. Klepper's 1995-07/08 JAES article.
>>
>> Just to point out the other extreme of the continuum of acoustical space
> influence.
>>
>> Cheers,
>>
>> Richard
>> -- 
>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>> http://www.richardhess.com/tape/contact.htm
>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>>
>>
>
> 

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTSERV.LOC.GOV

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager