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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Developing your own style and sound

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

I recently began production on two albums worth of material for two different artists. Rather than record these projects at an established studio in the Phoenix area, we chose instead to build a facility, allowing for greater creative freedom.

Last night we tightened the proximity on the drum mics, resulting in greater punch and articulation. We also discussed stylized recording techniques, such as the Philly or Memphis sound, and the variety in approach... and how these variations have developed over time.

Surprisingly, each city has a tendency to develop a sound that is unique to the region. NYC, Memphis, Philly, Seattle, L.A. Nashville, Toronto, Detroit... each has its own recognizable sound.

My point is that the success of a record is seldom if ever the result of the snare treatment or technical wow! A good record is the result of focusing on any number of creative factors, and nurturing an environment conducive to the creative process. Countless million dollar studios have failed, not due to lack of the latest recording innovations, but because of a lack of understanding.

When I worked at the Power Station, I noticed early on that many engineers attempted to divine magic by imitating sonic trends, rather than allow the sounds to grow and shape naturally. I also became aware of the fact that nearly everyone was afraid the next big sound would come from a kid with a broken four track in his basement. My advise... don't go there!

Instead, we are best served to develop a game plan that can be successfully implemented using the creative tools at our disposal. Expensive mics are nice to have around, but a good performance is much more important. As a vocalist, I have developed a reputation for sounding good through even the crappiest microphones. This happens because I have confidence in my voice to carry the performance, rather than rely on the mic to make me sound good. If I down a handful of suck pills before a vocal performance, there is nothing an expensive mic can do to save me.

There is a fundamental difference between a great recording and a great record. Countless great recordings never see the light of day, but a great record is instantly recognizable... Making a good recording is the easy part. Making a good record, however, requires something a little special.


B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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Anonymous said...

hi to all soundandrecording.blogspot.comers this is my frst post and thought i would say a big hello to yous -
speak soon
g moore

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great posts. I have been following you for a whilst on my rss reader, thought i would make the effort to say THANK YOU these days.




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