Recording Technology

My parents bought me a four-track tape recorder for Christmas one year, and it blew my freakin' mind. Up until that point in life, I had only toyed around with a regular old tape recorder to record myself warbling. But to my wondering eyes appeared on that fateful Christmas, a wonderful new world filled with recording possibilities. Gone were the times of my huddling over a boring single track tape recorder, to be forever replaced by a perpetually updating list of new and exciting recording toys.
This magical little box changed my life forever. I had FOUR tracks! It was a whole veritable recording studio that I could carry around with me. I could use the little built-in microphone and the microphone input to record my shoddy drumming and my feeble vocals, and I could use the dedicated instrument input to record my sloppy bass playing and my fairly incompetent guitar noodling. I could play all these things individually, and this little technological marvel could put them together for me.

While my musical skills haven't changed much in the time since, the world of recording technology has completely exploded. Especially in regard to the resources readily available for a DIY musician or unsigned band.
I'm now sure it was thanks in no small part to that one single Christmas gift, that I decided to leave the comfort of my hometown to attend school for recording. Once there, I was exposed to a plethora of equipment that I likely will never have the opportunity to get my hands on again in such a personal sense. I used a giant studio tape machine that was once used to record Nirvana. I toyed with a top-of-the line Pro Tools studio. I created sounds completely from scratch using sound design programs. I used microphones that were worth more than any car I've ever owned, and I used a mixing board that was worth more than any house I've ever lived in (and possibly worth more than any entire apartment building I've ever lived in). I also gained a much better understanding of the concepts and philosophy behind recording music. The only thing I didn't learn about the recording industry, was how to find gainful employment in it when I graduated. ;)

Fast-forward a few short years, and the the technology available for recording (as well as just about everything else) has advanced so much for the average consumer that it's overwhelming when you think about what a rapid evolution we're going through. Even in the relatively short life and times of this particular questionably talented ass-clown, I've gone from a simple one-track tape recorder to the four-track tape recorder (which I actually still have, along with a stack of tapes that I wouldn't subject my worst enemies eardrums to). From there I moved on to an eight-track digital recorder, I've used professional studio gear, and now I have my own computer-based studio that is only limited in tracks by the fortitude of the computer I have. Back in the olden days, you couldn't even record remotely high quality audio without either having a ridiculous amount of money, or without having the financial backing of someone who did. Now? I have a more technologically sophisticated recording studio on my mobile device than any studio the Beatles ever recorded in. And instead of recording on the several hundred thousand dollar mixing board, that same company also sells an affordable "plug-in" to get the same sound in your preferred program.

I suppose this is about where audiophiles and artistic crusaders can divide into subgroups. Some people still prefer the audible nuances of magnetic tape machines or records, while others are more inclined to hear every frequency that can possibly be captured by the human ear. From an artistic standpoint, some people would rather hear Bob Dylan break wind into a $40,000 microphone played back on a record player than hear the most technically proficient musicians in the world play prog-rock in pristine audio. As it's a simple matter of subjective taste as far as that goes, there is no right or wrong. This can all be argued forever. 
What can't be argued, is that there has never been a better time in history to record and share whatever it is that you want to create.
Just thinking about it makes me want to go record something.

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