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Rec Tech

Philosophy Equipment Methods Choose Reality Dynamic Range

Geek Warning!

I'm a music lover, but I'm also an audio technology enthusiast (a.k.a. Audio Geek).  This is the section where I get to talk about the geeky/technical side of music recording, including acoustics, equipment, methods, and how I use these things to get the recording quality I get.  If this kind of stuff is interesting to you, by all means, please continue reading.  If you want to try to understand why Lucid's recordings sound as good as they do, please continue reading.  But if this kind of 'geeky' stuff is not your cup of tea, and you just want to have faith that I know what I'm doing to make it sound good, I won't be offended if you don't read it.  Really.  :-)

Click HERE to exit quickly!  :-)

 

Recording Technology

There are many aspects of Recording Technology, from equipment technology to recording methodology, to acoustics, to post-processing, and to many other technology areas.  A lot of the technology choices that must be made are based on the engineer's, producer's, and artist's philosophies and/or goals.  The technology choices make a profound difference in the final recorded result.  This section will cover all of these areas very briefly below, or in more detail if you click on the appropriate links.  

Philosophy

Following your philosophy or artistic goals leads to the technology choices you make.  When it comes to making recordings of music or other 'sound' events, different people's philosophy can drive the end result in different directions.  For scientists, they often will want to capture the exact truth.  Therefore, they go for the ultimate in accuracy.  There is simply no concern for musicality.  For musicians, however, they often will want to capture an artistic expression, or modify one sound into another to achieve their artistic goal, and therefore accuracy isn't nearly as important as musicality.  An extreme example of this is an electric guitar with a fuzz pedal.  It doesn't sound like a real acoustic guitar, but the distortion that is intentionally added by the fuzz pedal helps to achieve the artistic goal desired by the artist.

At Lucid, our philosophy is to produce recordings that sound like real, live, acoustic music performed in real acoustic spaces.  We lean towards the musician's preference for 'musical' sounding recordings, but we also have a strong penchant for accuracy, believability, and 'reality'.  We want our recordings to sound beautiful and musical, but we also want them to sound 'real' rather than artificial or processed.  They need to sound both musical and almost 'palpably' real when played back on a good stereo system - almost as if the listener were sitting at the concert of recording session himself.  

This philosophy drives the choices in equipment, recording venue, recording methodologies, etc.

Equipment

In keeping with Lucid's philosophy of making musical recordings that sound real, we choose our equipment to help us achieve those goals.  

Different pieces of recording equipment, like so many other things in life, have their own particular characteristics.  They impart their own 'flavor' and 'texture' to the music that passes through them.  Sometimes this flavor is helpful in reaching the artistic goals; sometimes it's not.   

For an example of these extremes, consider the 'accurate' side.  Some equipment is supremely accurate, but rather 'sterile' in nature.  Recordings done with too much 'accuracy' often seem lifeless, boring, or uninvolving to the listener - especially if they are recorded in a 'dead space' (non-reverberant).  Other equipment is often very musical, but is often 'colored' sounding.  Very often, this 'musical' equipment is like looking at the world through rose colored glasses.  It sure looks (sounds) pretty, but it doesn't look (sound) real.  

Lucid has chosen equipment that walks the rather tight line between accuracy and musicality.  In order to achieve high levels of both of these, only top quality equipment that is selected with just the right balance of accuracy and musicality will work.  That's the equipment we have chosen to use for our recordings.   

Recording and Post-Production Methodologies

Also in keeping with Lucid's philosophy of making musical recordings that sound real, the choices of how to record an artist make a huge difference:  placement of the artist(s) in the venue, choice of microphones, placement of microphones relative to the artist, choice of microphone arrangement, etc.  Once again, the balance between accuracy and musicality hinges on many of these decisions.  

Then, in post-production, there is a huge palette of options that the editing and mastering engineer has available: compression, EQ, artificial reverb, spatial effects, delay effects, noise reduction, etc.  The 'tee-totaling' purist approach is basically to do nothing in post production.  What was recorded is what makes it to the final CD master.  This may be the ultimate in unadulterated accuracy.  It is the truth, or in latin, "Veritas".  But it might not be nearly as musical as it could be if the engineer was to make a few tweaks.  If the engineer is good, he can tweak it to enhance the musicality without losing much, if any, of the perceived accuracy.  However, at the other end of the spectrum, the  engineer might 'go wild' with all of the tools at his disposal and create a true 'Frankenstein' master recording.  This final result may or may not sound musical, but it will certainly have lost any semblance of accuracy or 'reality'. 

Lucid, once again, walks the fine line between accuracy and musicality.  We select our equipment, recording methods, and post-production techniques to achieve the best of both worlds: musicality that sounds 'real'.  

 

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Copyright 2015 Lucid Recording Sciences
Last modified: January 07, 2012