mic Rant

August 19, 2009  New Orleans

microphones.
seems like I spend too much time mulling over mics and their day to day use.
I see so many engineers and producers come and go. work at Piety for a day or a week or a month. They all use different mics and  mic techniques.
Sooner or later one realizes that what we do is all fake.  We make replicas. Model cars and boats, sound version.
What David Chesky does with such a pompous attitude, or how Dylan goes for putting everyone in the same room and singing through a guitar amp; it’s no more real than Dana Kletter ghost singing for a punk princess or Britney Spears auto tuned to submission. We’re all replicants.

We make sonic images- but it’s  the way we choose to mess with it that makes it or breaks it.
All those “Natural Sound Field ” folks who think they are more true to some reality or more natural are missing the point.
It’s not real.
Orchestra recordings are drenched with reverb, etc etc. Whatever so-called depth of field we manage to accomplish will be obliterated as soon as
there’s Mastering involved, so….
what’s the point ?
Musical balances, not recording “quality”, makes the difference…
Now, there are musical balances and there are “keep getting big shot producer gig” balances and there are  “Bass Player Sucks so this record is bass shy” balances and there are “Please The Mastering Engineer” balances… and on and on. Balances seem to have have ulterior motives based upon market and money and pecking order and radios and other sub sets of the dying world that was the record biz.
I can understand how many people get upset over with today’s sounds. To me, there’s more great music now that ever and we are freed from the tyranny of “commercial ” sound… that is perfect -gulp- yawn- vomit- “major label” sound… meaning brighter than the Sun, louder than
a plane taking off and compressed as a Black Hole. I prefer to let whatever works rule the day. Just listened to Jeffrey Lewis and I realized how
unsatisfying the music might have been if presented in an overly upscale way…. Now, maybe Jeff Lewis is so personally lo-fi that this record was made with U-47’s into Great Rivers into mint 1176’s etc, but I doubt it…
I remember all the shit I got over the Flat Duo jets record in 1989… live to 2 track with fx on the fly -direct to sony PCM-501… utter gahbage technically..
but I did have APIs on the way in…. anyhow, people lambasted me for making a record that sounded like 1959… not ersatz Stray Catish, faux 50’s embellishment, but actual Sam Phillips seat of the pants action. We did what we did. To me it was appropriate. The response, based on Money, was clean these bitches up and get a Radio record…. alas, they got the late Mr. Dickinson to do the follow -up and , while a touch cleaner and more
respectable, it still failed to put the band over the top…
Ok, it’s getting late and we’ll pick this up later