Why modern recordings sound worse

July 21, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

9 comments on “Why modern recordings sound worse”

  1. “things were better in my day …”. Don’t agree. There are loads of studios and formally trained and experienced engineers enabling anyone with a bit of cash to record and release music online, make money and start a music career. mp3 is the format of choice as the consumers are the YouTube and mobile generation. In the old days most bands had to play pubs and clubs for years on the off chance they might get a contract to release anything to the paying public.

    Alan Parsons was an Abbey Road audio engineer before recording his own material, and most of his career has been as an engineer rather than recording artist, and he’s one of the best. It’s no surprise his albums sound so good.

  2. Recordings made in a modern home studio are amazingly good if you have decent microphones and interfaces. Compared to the previous generation of home recording on a four-track cassette, this is a golden age. As SNTBCWS points out, the technology opens up the music industry to many more talented people. We could argue that PCM is not as good as DSD, but for many less critical listeners it’s perfect.

    Having said that, cheap and accessible home recording is available to people with and without talent. It’s no longer necessary to get approval from a record company. Also, most of us doing home recording lack the years of studio experience that full-time professional engineers have built up. It’s natural that some home studio recordings are going to sound rough.

    Have a listen to A A Williams and her “Songs from isolation” for what one person can do from home in lockdown.

  3. The amateurization of the recording industry.
    Don’t worry. It happened to the music industry years ago and is now so ingrained that people think what comes out today is good.
    You’ll get used to it.

  4. I got in to producing records for people, when I was just only a 7 year old baby boy.
    The first record I produced, was a wrap record, that’s called, Wrapper’s Delight.
    The name of the group, was, The Sugar Hill Gang.
    I went on to DJing after that.
    But in my day, we used open reel 16track tape recorders 32 channel mixers right along with a huge stack of microphone preamps to do what we did back then.
    But today, most kids don’t even have an idea of how to set their mixers and mics up properly.
    That’s why a lot of the recordings you hear today, sound like trash.
    An analog mixer, I can handle that with no problems despite of the fact that, I can’t see.
    But those mixers that are touch screen baste, I’m lost with them.

  5. Exactly Paul, just because you give an artist the best most modern paint brushes, paint, and canvases doesn’t mean they can paint the Mona Lisa. Recording is an art and so is speaker designing. Throwing the best parts into a box doesn’t make for a great sounding speaker either.

  6. “Perfectly recorded “ does not necessarily make for better music. Just think of Charlie Parker, Monk, etc that were hampered by less than stellar recording technique. While I love well recorded music there are plenty of insipid and inconsequential music recordings that are just blah.

  7. 2 words. Peak Limiting.

    Another problem is the loudness wars. Yes. It is a real thing and the politics of the music industry to allow this to happen will always allude me.

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