SH Spotlight Distortion free trumpets in the 20s-40s. But the 50-60s? WHAT HAPPENED? RVG Evil Neumann mics?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. Panama Hotel

    Panama Hotel Forum Resident

    oh yeah, my points:

    while rock and roll is renowned as the original high-volume amplified music, most of the listening for enjoyment has always been done at moderate volumes.

    there was always an element of electronic processing and artifice in the recording process, from the earliest days of modern magnetic recording and microphone-assisted amplification. it jumped by an order of magnitude or two over the course of the analog rock era between the 1950s and late 1970s. The complexity of the music also increased, especially in terms of what became possible for recorded music as a result of technological advances like multitracking. However, most of the innovations in recording were driven by the purpose of conveying the energy and propulsion of rock and pop music forms into recorded media in order to reproduce much of the excitement and artistic and musical value even when played at low volume, in the 75-90dB range. These adaptations were sometimes also a function of the necessity to work within the limitations of vinyl records and consumer audio gear- such as the inability to present music on vinyl for any uninterrupted length of time longer than about 24 minutes; the lowering of fidelity and dynamic range for the last few minutes of a long-playing 33 1/3 side; the inability of turntables to reproduce the lowest octave of bass at anything approaching live volume; inherent limits on the dynamic range, detail capture, and stereo separation of most consumer-grade analog reproduction equipment. So the emphasis remained on extracting maximum quality within those constraints.

    With the advent of the digital age in the 1980s, those constraints were lifted: uninterrupted playing time was extended, wide dynamic range became simple to reproduce, recordings could be made louder, and components that were able to take advantage of the potential for high volume, full-range reproduction down to the lowest octave of bass became much more widely available inexpensively. By the mid-1980s and the advent of auto CD players, loud, loud, loud auto stereo systems with outlandish bass became a status system for young males. Concert volume sound in autos became commonplace. Meanwhile, digital enabled the ability to perform all sorts of recording wizardry, easily and inexpensively. At the same time, synthesizers reached a hitherto unknown level of sophistication, increasingly able to mimic various traditional instruments, to at least some extent.

    But this enabled a decoupling from traditional reference standards for sound recording that emphasized transparent reproduction of original source material, with fidelity to the sound of the traditional array of musical instruments, and the human voice itself. Once anyone could make up their own sounds and store it on a sound card, looping passages to produce infinitely repeated phrases to maintain rhythmic cohesion, it scarcely mattered that their artificially synthesized waveforms lacked the resonances of a weathered voice or a seasoned guitar, with all the attendant challenges of reproducing those characteristics on a recording. Lower resolution and reduced information content wasn't just permitted, it was increasingly embraced. The advent of a brave new world.

    It seems that a cost has been exacted as a result of the uncritical acceptance of these newfound powers providing the new benchmarks for musical achievement. Although I'd have to admit that the first era of high-volume amplified rock is responsible for some of that baggage. Because although I don't think anyone ever intentionally conceived of traumatic hearing loss as an occupational hazard for musicians- and a recreational hazard for the audience- that is the way things have played out. We should admit that there's something unbalanced about the practical requirement for anyone attending a musical concert performance to wear earplugs in order to preserve their hearing. There's also something unfortunate about a need for musicians performing amplified music to wear ear plugs, or to have their musical output processed and fed back to them through ear monitors, in order to preserve their ears from physical damage. I enjoy amplified rock music, but I think that in order for the artform to improve, it's probably a good idea for all concerned to admit that the requirement for Loud and Louder was a mistake, and figure out ways to dial it back a bit. That irrational embrace of the prospect of permanent ear damage in the name of musical enjoyment didn't start with Kids These Days. That was Us.
    jfeldt and Perisphere like this.
  2. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, ID
    Was trumpet distortion in the 50s just an east coast, RVG or CBS 30th Street problem, or was it a west coast problem as well in those days? What about on albums like these?



    Were mikes and electronics basically the same on both coasts, or were some of the west coast studios using different techniques and equipment from those of RVG and CBS 30th Street, etc. back east?
  3. William Bryant

    William Bryant Forum Resident

    Meridian, ID
    Or how about this?

  4. auralden

    auralden Forum Resident

    What about Kind of Blue? Miles' muted trumpet on So What sounds distorted.
  5. yasujiro

    yasujiro Forum Resident

    Contemporary Records used a passive mixer, so they had no such trouble with overload problems,.
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host Thread Starter

    Roy and Howard were old school engineers who learned in the 1930's and 40's. They would have quit before they would have engineered anything to have distortion on it. That's why we love the sound of Contemporary/Good Time Jazz so much, even if some of the music is too Dixieland or too West Coast..

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