A watershed moment is that aha! moment of revelation. The point where the proverbial light bulb has been turned on to illuminate the darkness.
Watershed moments are memorable: like the first time I heard the difference a speaker cable makes; when (by accident) we discovered the improvements wrought by an oversized power transformer; how much of a difference small changes in VTA affect the playing of vinyl.
These moments are so enjoyable that I have come to realize they are what keeps me excited to jump into the thick of problems. To immerse myself in the unknown so that I might have a chance to unravel enough answers to yet again experience the transition of dark to light.
Aside from the chance to break new ground and push the limits of the recording arts, I am pretty certain one of the reasons for having started Octave Records is to open up new mysteries that present the opportunities for watershed moments.
One such moment came while helping our recording engineer, Zach, set up a piano recording. The choice of microphone and placement is a continuing artform with more opinions and beliefs than Carter’s got pills. What occurred to us both is that unlike end users of the recording, we have the amazing ability to stand at the piano and hear exactly what it sounds like in real-time. Not just casually listening with an attention span divorced from the moment (as we so often do), but blessed with being right there, right now, right in the moment, and then being able to do something meaningful about it. (It’s not been that long ago that the recording arts weren’t good enough to truly capture exactly what we hear)
How do the notes decay? How much body? How different distance from the instrument makes.
Then to take that aural memory fresh in our heads right into the control room and mentally compare. Then adjust, And compare again until the two match precisely.
The watershed moment came when we realized we finally have a system of recording, monitoring, and playback that is fully capable of exactly matching that which we hear.