Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Analog and Digital Recordings: Views, Misuses and The Present Context

Well, guys, I got a really great friend of mine, who's also a vocalist and is pursuing a course in Sound Recording, to write down a short post for my blog, and he very kindly agreed. This is a Must read for anyone who listens to music, or even still, is A Vocalist himself ! The present generation seems to be really scarce of pure talented musicians, most of whom are just there for money and fame, unlike what used to be the Driving force decades ago !

My friend has given some useful information about recordings and has also penned down his really worthy views about this, that I'm presenting to you all. He also agreed to write more about Sound Recordings and related technical stuff too, that may appear in my future posts on this blog ! So, stay tuned !

Here's what he said:

During the 70's era there were some of the finest rock bands in action. Bands Like Led Zeppelin, Queen, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath came out with new kind of sounds. The most amazing thing about these bands was they were so skilled in their instruments that during that time we had no advanced technologies for recordings but still their music sounded pleasant to our ears. Well this shows how talented these musicians were. During the 70's era, Analog recording was most prominent. Gradually, digital music came into existence. Albums like 'Appetite for Destruction' of the Guns N' Roses is an example of digital recording.

Digital recordings can give you a much better quality. Through Digital Recording, you can put various sound effects and can increase the loudness of a song, or some parts of it too. The loudness war has become a major reason for the decrease of skilled musicians in the current generation. Nowadays in most of the albums, the Dynamics (i.e., the range from the low sound to the high sound) of a song is controlled and the loudness is increased which means that there is a little difference between the quiet and the louder sections, overall snatching the emotional power of the song. That is the reason why most of today's songs have a rather dominating effect even if a vocalist is hitting an E4 note. This didn't happen in the 70's or 60's as during that time vocalists like Plant, Gillan and Daltrey used to hit really high notes but just because the amplitude was not raised much, youngsters now feel that they are hitting quite normal notes in their songs. During that time, the dynamics were not touched so much and putting in an effect in a song was quite difficult. In the song Bohemian Rhapsody of Queen, there had been about 170 times overdubbing for the intro vocal part! This could have been easily done, with just the click of a button if we had digital recording at that time!

Well, we are misusing digital recording to a large extent today. If the story continues like this, then we may not even be able to make out a talented band as all of the recordings will be done digitally and the musicians would be doing nothing at all ! Anyone with even a croaking voice would be An Idol for musicians yet to come, and this might be the end of a Genuine talented, hard working era of vocalists after all ! And even today, much of it is clearly visible in most of the bands that we hear out, who are just puppets of a Recording Master, who transforms their worthless 'talent' , though unfortunately, into a great voice !


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Perplexio said...

There was an interesting clash about this within the band Chicago that may very well have contributed to the departure/firing of Bill Champlin. It was a classic old school vs. new school spat.

Vocalist Jason Scheff was having trouble with certain parts on a song he was singing. He eventually relented saying "the engineeers can fix it later with ProTools."

The grizzled veteran that he is, Champlin countered, "Why don't you just keep singing it until you get it right, instead?"

Champlin received an email informing him that after 28 years he was out of the band in early August of this year.

I think this is an example of what your friend meant by misusing digital audio and the technology we have at our disposal today that we did not have in the 70s.

Fire Fly said...

You make some decent point but the matter of fact is, times change, therefore instruments, lyrics and vocals change... Therefore everything is going to be different, ok I really do not want to just promote my blog but I have to refer you to this artist, have a listen and tell me what you think, I personally think that this artist has grabbed the sounds of the future and totally made use of it, my personal opinion is that this is the best album of 2009, just give it a try...
love and all my peace!!!

Fire Fly said...

Sorry I am over commenting, but I think that the 70's rocked super hard, never mind the absolutely awesome musicians, think of the brilliant artist like Andy Warhol and Roy von Lichtenstein. It was a period of creating and creativity that broke boundaries and changed things forever!!!!

bearockr said...

@Perplexio: That was an excellent example Perplexio... That's exactly what my friend had tried to tell me,and thanks for mentioning this incident over here... I never knew of it, and may i also recommend future readers of this post to see what Perplexio said above... Its worth reading too ...

@ Firefly: Don't worry buddy, you can comment on this blog even a 100 times too ! Its really a pleasure to hear other's views on what I write, and well, I have read that post on your blog, and am downloading The Antler's tracks from there too... I'll definitely comment over there about the band... And well, yes , things do change with time, and that's a nice opinion you gave out ... But I personally feel that the 70s were the Era of pure music, which though have now been overshadowed by the digital revolution, but what I want to say is that we just can't ignore what our idols taught us and that if those rockers were not there, we wouldn't have reached the present stage of Rock music at all !