Recently I was asked to visit a studio as an observer-friend.
I was the guest of a musician whose group was being recorded. Since I'd recorded him and his group previously, in "live" circumstances, he wanted my opinion about the studio set up and its approach to recording his gang. I was glad to join the fun since I seldom get a "down" day to do nothing but be a sonic tourist. The occasion was like a vacation for me.
After several takes of the first song, the engineer on the console asked me what I was hearing on playback. The sound was good. Very good. I told him so. I was surprised, thus, when he asked me if I thought there was anything he could do to improve the sound he was getting. At first I was a bit stumped because, in truth, I did not know his large console at all. I'd never "flown" his particular board. And, just as important, I not at all interested in messing up another guy's kitchen. So I demurred.
But he pressed on a bit.
When I assured him that I really had no clue what specific, concrete step he might take to improve the sound, he asserted (nicely) that he'd been told by our mutual colleague that I had a certain slant on recording and so he, in turn, wanted to pick my brain a little if only to rethink some of his own habits.
Fair enough, I thought.
There was a break in the recording work soon after. We continued our banter, back and forth, when I realized I had an Analysis Plus power cord in the trunk of my car. It remained there after a recent "location" recording I'd done. So I suggested we swap power cords -- plug his console, which had a removable power cord of no particular distinction (in fact, a generic cord), to the wall outlet with the Analysis Plus "Power Oval Ten" cable. We did that.
When the session got started again, both of us heard immediately, graphically, how much more stunning the sound was from his studio monitors. The only change was the power cord swap. A generic cord, the kind you find everywhere, was replaced by a lovely, purplish-hued Analysis Plus power cable. Voila! Instant gratification. Immediate higher resolution. The console sang with greater clarity and dynamic fullness.
I was impressed that day by my young colleague, not because he heard what I heard but because of his overall savvy – and the look in his eye that suggested he'll find a way to get his own studio or his own unfettered gig someday. That's what it's all about once you recognize that, like music, recording is in fact an art to be explored wherever it leads.
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On Sound and Music