The History of Recording

The abilities to record may seem to be more recent, especially with the capabilities of technology and the understanding of how sounds are used within a recording studio.  However, there is a longer time frame of recording that has been used in order to document audio areas and to put music on track. By understanding the progression of recording, you can also find ways to implement similar characteristics and routines within your own studio.

The beginning of recording dates back to the 1890s.  During this time, most of the recording was done through acoustic means.  Recording equipment consisted of a tape that would allow for the audio to be documented into the tape.  This would then go through a horn which would record the sound frequencies that were being played.  This would then be documented by putting grooves into the recording through the waves and how they were translated.

This type of recording also included limitations on the sound rooms and how the sound was recorded.  Upper scale recording studios consisted only of a soundproof wall so that the audio noise would not bounce.  The ability to mix, master and edit the audio information; however, was not available.  Those who were interested in recording would also take the records outside of the studios to do things such as field recordings, where natural sounds would be placed onto audio.  This became a second popular means of creating recordings to share with the public.

By the 1930s, different options and equipment began to be popular for recording.  This started with amplifiers and microphones that were added to record more sound frequencies.  This was followed by a mixing board and by loudspeakers so that the sounds could be manipulated and changed while recording.  This caused most of the acoustic recording that was done in the past to be replaced by the new technology so that more accurate recordings could be done.

Up until the 1970s, these combined methods were the popular way of recording musicians and artists in the studio.  The acoustic rooms were combined with the microphones and were recorded live through the mixing board and straight into the disc or recording tape.  This left little room to re-record or edit.  Most of the recording that was done would be done with complete bands, orchestras or groups that would place everything onto the disc at one time.

The change that occurred during this time combined the ability to monitor the sounds more effectively and to move into editing.  It was during the late 1960s and 1970s that analog recording moved into the field, allowing for more complex machinery to be at the forefront of recording.  The analog recording consisted of a magnetic tape that would carry the sound waves and read them back through the recording.  This could then be written over and revised according to what was recorded.

This time period not only allowed for advancement within recording but also created experimentation with new equipment, sounds and effects that became popular for individual recording studios, now considered to be signatures of various recording industries.  Those who were working within the industry found not only new technologies for recording but also developed sounds that were unique because of the ability to process mixing and mastering in a different way.

It was the movement into analog recording that changed recording into an electronic and digital set of capabilities as well as industry standards that are now accepted as the normal setting among all recording studios.  Because of this experimentation and new technology, those working within the industry came to certain conclusions about what worked better with recording and how the production could be effective.

This progression shows how recording has become a mainstream through innovations, creativity and experimentation.  By the recording industry creating the effects of recording, it has allowed for new areas of development in recording music to be explored.