If I were to ask you which component in your audio system is most responsible for the accuracy of your reproduced music, what would you say? I bet most of you would say your speakers. Or maybe your amplifier? Turntable pick up?
Nope. It’s kind of a trick question. The most important component is the guy behind the glass. The recording engineer has all the control. He decides where to put the microphones, what microphones to use, how many to use, how to process the sound of each, how to adjust the tonal balance, how to treat the dynamics, how to mix them down into a two track product.
And he may well have a different goal than you or I. His job is to capture an artist’s sound and produce a product that will sell and make money. That often is completely different from making a recording which, when played in the home on a well designed audio system, accurately produces the illusion that you are there in the studio or they are here in the room.
He must produce a product that the largest number of consumers will like. And that means it must “sound good” on the widest possible type of playback systems. Anything from smart phones, to boom boxes, to minivans, to portable “record players”. And of course, it must sound good on the radio. Audiophiles are often left in the dust.
To be continued…