Recording - October 2017 - 80
FROM 10 AND 20 TO 30 AND BEYOND
Guest editorial by Nick Batzdorf and Lorenz Rychner
Nick Batzdorf was the editor of Recording from 1991 to 2001
(including our 10th Anniversary in October 1997), then he launched
and ran Virtual Instruments Magazine for a few years. Today his business
card reads "Journalism, writing, music, audio."
Lorenz Rychner was Editor of Recording from 2002 to
2013 (including our 20th Anniversary issue in October
2007). He's retired now, but as Special Projects Editor, he
writes occasionally for the magazine on topics of interest.
Recording is 30 years old?! Well, that's a testament to how
on-target it is. Music is always important to all of us, no matter how
much the world changes or how crazy things get.
When I started as Editor in June 1991, the digital revolution had
really only been in full swing for about eight years. Recording (then called
Home & Studio Recording) was thriving and expanding upon its loyal following-because you, the readers, demanded it. Musical skills were no longer
enough; we had to produce and engineer our own recordings, and that
was a whole new thing to sink our teeth into.
It was an exciting time. We were all still figuring out the possibilities
with these powerful new tools in our hands, and each iteration jumped
over the limitations of the previous one. An effects unit that could do four
things at once rather than two was a huge deal, for example, even if they
couldn't all be processor-intensive.
Musicians recorded to analog or digital tape then, so tracks were a
scarce resource. Pundits predicted that one day track count would simply
be a function of processing horsepower. Whoa!
Many of us used computers in our studios, but mainly for MIDI sequencing,
synth patch editing, maybe notation-certainly not audio recording. Some
told us in no uncertain terms that they wanted nothing to do with computers
in their studios (much less in their favorite magazine!). That's sure changed.
The other big wave then was cheap overseas manufacturing and globalization. That was clearly a mixed blessing, but it did make a lot of studio
tools affordable. Before then, large-diaphragm condenser microphones
were nearly unheard of anywhere other than commercial studios, for example.
Along the way we got wave soldering, then surface-mounted technology, which automated the circuit board manufacturing process
and brought prices down still more. Then came standalone hard disk
recorders, and digital mixers with motorized faders and piles of onboard processing. Music technology kept getting less expensive and
more powerful. A piece of gear that held its value until you unpacked
it was the exception!
Studio computers had long gained acceptance by the time DAWs
without add-on hardware were viable. Software plug-ins moved piles
of instruments and processors from 19" racks into Macs and PCs.
A computer-year was 20 man-years, so asking a 3-year-old computer
to perform in the studio was like pitting a 60-year-old man against Usain
Bolt. Now it's down to maybe seven man-years, so that 60-year-old is now
an 8- or 9-year-old computer. Yes, things have stabilized a little... and
hardware has become all the rage again!
Fun stuff, and I'm happy and proud to be a part of it. Congratulations
to Mike, Tom, and the Recording staff for 30 successful years, and
here's wishing you at least 30 more.
The October 2007 issue of Recording was a milestone in
our history. We celebrated our anniversary with a look back
at the evolution of the recording industry, also touching on
parallels in popular culture-going back to the first issue, that
of October 1987. Now that we have reached the big Thirty,
let's reminisce about the era of that twentieth, shall we?
Where were you at the end of 2007? How did you do your
recording? What was your studio like? Did you use a DAW? Were
you aware of YouTube, then barely two years old? What was the
capacity of your hard drives, and how much did they set you back?
What did you use to keep your studio devices synchronized? And-
most importantly-how did you transmit and share your audio files?
If you produced your own music, or that of your band, what
release format or formats did you use? You probably still expected to
make money off the sale of your music, and if and when you were
to give it away for whatever reason, that would be your decision
and yours alone. Such was probably your mindset in 2007.
As I looked though an archival copy of the October 2007
issue of Recording, it struck me that the word "streaming"
wasn't there. By contrast, the term "CD" popped up everywhere. Music was still being sold, on shiny discs no less!
This idea that listener X likes a record and puts it up on the Internet,
for all the world to hear and download-for free, of course-without the consent of the musicians and other people who have the
rights to that recording and the music on it... that idea had been
nixed when Napster ran afoul of the law and was shut down-
back in 2001! Metallica's legal triumph didn't last long, of course.
By now the worm has turned-some artists publish snippets to
promote an upcoming album, others do the same to entice listeners
to attend their live shows, and more listeners discover new music
on YouTube than from any other source, including radio.
In October of 2007 we didn't know the Great Recession was
about to break out. Many musicians had sudden difficulties
with their mortgages, trying to keep the house and the studio.
How did you fare?
On a brighter note, we remember that 2007 brought us the
Windows Vista 64 operating system that ran successfully on our
reviewer's laptop, making mobile 64-bit recording a reality!
Mac users rejoiced over the MacBook Pro version with the Core
2 Duo processor, of which our reviewer said, "Get up and get
flying -your new wings are here."
Progress is unstoppable-I hope to see you in another ten
years from now!
RECORDING October 2017
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2017
Recording - October 2017 - Intro
Recording - October 2017 - Cover1
Recording - October 2017 - Cover2
Recording - October 2017 - 1
Recording - October 2017 - 2
Recording - October 2017 - 3
Recording - October 2017 - 4
Recording - October 2017 - 5
Recording - October 2017 - Contents
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Recording - October 2017 - Cover3
Recording - October 2017 - Cover4