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The Progress of Recording Techniques

by victorshield

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For some people, sound recording is a highly technical task, involving modern technologies wherein sounds are used and mixed within a specialised and complex recording studio. It also typically involves a long recording time frame in order to fully document and record the audio on track. If you are a music fan and lover, then here is a general history of the music industry’s progress from simple recording techniques to the complex sound mixes you are so familiar with and enjoy right now.

Audio recording started in the early 1980s, wherein it was mostly done through acoustic means. Recording equipment would consist of a tape wherein the audio would be recorded, and then the sound will go through a horn which would record the sound frequencies being played. The sound will be documented by putting grooves into the recording through the waves translated. This type of recording has certain limitations in terms of the sound rooms and the process the sound was recorded. Upper scale recording studios back then consisted of a soundproof wall to prevent the audio noise from bouncing. The ability to mix, master and edit the audio information was not available at that time. Those who were interested in recording would take the records out of the studios to do field recordings, wherein natural sounds would be placed onto audio. This became another popular way of creating records shared to the public.

In the 1930s, different recording options and equipment became popular for recording companies, including amplifiers and microphones which were added to record more sound frequencies. Mixing boards and loud speakers soon followed which could manipulate and change sounds while recording. New technologies that could do more accurate recordings replaced the acoustic recording techniques done in the past.

These combined recording methods were the popular techniques of recording musicians and artists in the studio until the 1970s. During this time, recording studios’ rooms made use of acoustic dividers and soundproof doors along with microphones and mixing boards to do a live recording straight into a disc or tape. This technique left little room to re-record or edit; hence most of the recording would be done with complete bands, orchestras or groups. At the same time, the ability to monitor sounds more effectively and sound editing were becoming more established. Analogue recording moved into the forefront of the recording industry field during the late 1960s and 1970s. Considered as a complex machine, analogue recording consisted of a magnetic tape which would carry the sound waves and read them back through the recording. Analogue recording could be written over and revised accordingly.

It was also during the late 1960 to 1970s that experimentation with new equipment, sounds and effects became popular for individual recording studios, which are now also considered as signatures of various recording companies. Those working within the industry found not just new technologies for recording, but also developed unique sounds due to their ability to process sound mixing and mastering in a distinctive way.

It was the move into analogue recording which changed the music industry and allowed for electronic and digital advancements, along with most music industry standards that are now accepted as the norm for all recording studios. All the sound experimentation and technology development also harnessed every musician’s abilities to produce a recording worthy enough for public distribution and enjoyment. The recording industry’s progression only goes to show how music recording became mainstream and widely available for everyone to enjoy through innovativeness, creativity and experimentation.

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