Recording Fin de Siècle

DGo Back To The Whatever Directory

by Barry Rudolph MC
Originally Written For www.musicconnection.com
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Going into the millennium, there aren't radical, overnight shifts just the realization that, right along with all other business professionals, the personal computer, computer literacy and the Internet are more than ever essential tools for the survival of the music artist. The self-starting, highly motivated artist must own, use, and be comfortable with the personal computer just to be "in the game." The artist, as auto didact, is not afraid to devote all available resources in the creative pursuit of original musical expression.

While the type of computer platform, PC, MAC or other is unimportant, complete facility and alacrity of use can be as essential as musical instrument or vocal accomplishment. The mindset used in learning the technical abilities of the computer are applied everyday in the studio and becomes the minimum entrance requirement for maximizing the use of expensive studio time for recording and mixing music with sophisticated and powerful machines.

In the last five years, modern recording studios have evolved into "uber-machines" where the most seemingly impossible ideas are transformed into realities. Computer familiarity will emboldened us to try for and expect fantastic results from all the computer-driven devices in the studio. And computer-driven is the way more and more artists are making records especially now with the decrease in price and increase in choice of computerized, hard disk drive-based systems. The cornucopian allure of recording on a computer makes it difficult to return to old-fashioned linear recording (tape-based) methods...like returning to a manual typewriter after using a word processor program.

At this point, issues of sound quality seem moot at this point with a 24-bit/96kHz and under $1,000 hard disk recording system sounding better than the final consumer delivery media...the long-in-the-tooth 16-bit/44.1kHz Compact Disc. Sonic relevancy seems in question and polarized by the strange audio quality dichotomy existing between the new super high quality DVD-audio disc with up to 192kHz sampling, 24-bit and multi-channel surround sound capabilities and the lowly MP3 music file format with only FM-radio sound quality. DVD-A is touted as the ultimate digital sound carrier while MP3 greatly compresses the digital data stream to facilitate fast downloads from the Internet. Immediately embraced by the public, MP3 is said to be revolutionizing the entire music business model by the democratization of marketing, advertising and retail. Clearly, to millions of music lovers, personalize choice, availability, portability, ease of use, collection and compilation as well as price have become just as, or more important than technically superior sound quality.

With the Internet, people are now truly connected making artistic individuality and identification more important than ever. This required uniqueness pushes the artist in everyone to express his or herself fully and in a better, more natural way. The World Wide Web (for the time being anyway) is a Darwinian selection processor where only the most salient, compelling or salacious Web pages seem to get noticed. The Web, going into 2000, continues to hold and promise great opportunities for the artist who makes a unique, honest and personal artistic statement that enriches listeners in valuable and enduring ways.

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