By Andrew H - 06/24/2007 - 10:59 PM EDT
In the current day, a large number of musical artists want that
'perfect' sound. That spatially filtered, equalized to sonic
'perfection', with every beat snapped to an appropriate subdivision of
the beat, and in this case, perfect sound refers to the
use of computers, rack effects and general manipulation of a recording
to improve or augment the final musical effect from the original. The
big question is: Do musical artists appreciate why they are going for
this 'perfect sound'?
The first reason for wanting sonic perfection could be the culture
associated with the meeting of music and technology. New and better
technology, in the realm of music recording and production, is often
heralded as providing the user with an easier, faster and more fluid
creative flow. To an extent this is true, with systems such as MIDI
coupled with samplers allowing one person to realize their own
orchestral works, without the need for a conductor, fully trained
orchestra, and substantial funding. But with new musical technologies,
as with other technologies, comes a growing disconnect of appreciation
for what these technologies mean.
And therein the problem lies: There is a distinct lack of appreciation
for why musicians go for that perfect sound. Considering this website
is geared towards musicians starting out or looking for help in
harnessing their musical talents, this is the perfect venue to be
discussing such a topic. But it is probably best to lay out some
In the vein of pro-perfection, that 'perfect sound' allows for the
musician's expressions to be best captured and reproduced in any
musical environment. The manipulation of the sound allows for the
musical ideas to be expressed in a manner closest to the musician's
original conceptions. Adding to this, the clarity of the final mix
allows for the sound to be reproduced with minimal discrepancies from
the musician's original vision. The 'perfect sound' means a musical
artist can create the best presentation they can produce.
The problem is, that with these new technologies comes a new
illiteracy: Musicians tinkering with their original sound in attempts
to improve their recording - often trying to fix what is sometimes
lacking, or in an alternative possibility, demeaning something of
value. Sure, should a musician alter something and not like the outcome
they can hit Undo, but just playing in audio editing software to make
something 'sound better' begs the question - what and why does
something have to be made better?
Perhaps at this point, the question of why the musician is recording
themselves comes into question. Is the recording meant as another
outlet of expression for the artist, allowing the musician to explore
things they cannot do in a live performance? In which case, the goal
may be partially to gain that 'perfect sound', but at the same time
they are exploring the recording medium. Another reason for recording
musical expression would be to put out that expression to an audience.
In which case that 'perfect sound' should not be an attempt to fix
something lacking, but instead to balance the musical expression to
best complement the music.
Returning to the question - what and why does something have to be made
better? If this question arises while recording, perhaps the purpose of
the recording, and the quality of what is being recorded should be
assessed. Take some time, practice some technological literacy, and
think about what and why you are recording.
Listening to current music, the 'perfect sound' has become a staple. A
huge portion of major recording artists pump out CDs with beautiful,
acoustically sound, 'perfect' recordings. As beginning musicians, or
those on a small budget looking to get their sound out, try and
appreciate how much work, understanding and money goes out into working
those CDs to make them with that 'perfect sound'. Instead of going for
that sound, work first on making what you have better, as
realistically, you cannot sound better then you are.
Embrace imperfection, work on making yourself better, and when it comes
time to record, make sure you know for what purpose you are doing so.
At this point you are invited to provide your opinion on the article,
as by no means does this article provide a concrete and final worldwide
opinion, only the opinion of one quasi-educated individual. So with
that in mind, please head to the forums and put up your informed
opinion, poke holes and help create a greater overview on the topic at
[ Current Articles | Archives ]