21 May

Vinyl, Cassette Tape, Recording and Engineering

I saw an article in Tulsa Today News about records and basically the ‘revolution’ that is happening. There are some good pars that I will show here.

“…but nothing sounds as good as a vinyl record. That’s not an opinion; it’s a fact. That’s why some records were cut direct-to-disk, bypassing analog tape with 1/8” track widths. By comparison, a cassette is just a little wider with four tracks on it, and those awful 8-track tapes had one-fourth of that track width.”

If you don’t understand what he’s talking about above, here is some help.
Cassette Tape Track Diagram
The above picture shows the tape as you would look at it stretching from left to right. They put four tracks on that little thin piece of tape. Each track is just over 1/2 a millimeter! Not much room for information there.

Of course, 8-tracks had even thinner tracks with even less room for information.

“Studios used tube amps until the manufacturers sold them a bill of goods that transistors were the way to go. The studios then bought tube pre-amps to regain some of the lost quality. With CDs, they lopped off the highs and lows and were able to get more than twice the time on one disk. MP3s subtract even more signal.”

We have talked about CD’s and MP3’s before enough.

“…you have the car stereos with grossly disproportionate low frequencies that amount to scrotal massage – nothing at all like music is supposed to sound.”

LOL. I love how he put that. I believe he is right though. I think we have been conditioned to think that we need a whole lot of bass in our music. Everything should be balanced, it’s why they mix and master the music before we get it.

The article goes into the benefits that we have in digital recording, although it doesn’t sound as good, “You can alter the sounds into digital samples of other instruments, turn a wobbly drummer into a human clock and even make a tone-deaf banshee sing on pitch. In short, bad musicians can be made to sound almost talented. Is this a good idea?”

No, I don’t think it is a good idea. If you like a band, then go to hear them live, aren’t you disappointed when the singer can’t really sing (Axl Rose)?

More and more engineers are trying to stay away from crappy bands, and only working with those that have some talent and don’t need all the tricks to make them sound good. Also, more band are taking the hint and are writing and rehearsing all their songs prior to recording, instead of doing it in the recording studio.

Let’s hope this leads to better music.

Search 25 Million Music CDs & LPs at MusicStack

Leave A Comment:

Leave a Reply