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Past to Present: Sound Recording Through the Ages

Sound Recording

Similar to other industries, the recording industry has had to adapt to the never ending innovation of technical progression. Every major shift in the last 100 years regarding audio recording formats have resulted in the way we record and listen to music.

The earliest method of sound recording dates back to the late 1870s and came from an entirely mechanical process, often referred to as “acoustical recording”. In this standard procedure, the sounds generated by a performance vibrated a diaphragm with a recording stylus connected to it, while the stylus cut a groove into a soft recording medium rotating beneath it.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that the shift from acoustic recording to magnetic recording was introduced via magnetic tape. The world’s first practical magnetic tape recorder, the ‘K1’, was created in 1935 during World War II. The next major development in sound recording was adopted in the 1950s with the introduction of multitrack recording. This process divides the tape up into multiple tracks parallel with each other and in perfect synchronization. Multitrack recording was used in modern music in the 1950s, and stereo quickly became the standard for commercial recordings and radio broadcasts.

Today, sound is recorded digitally, and trends in audio recording devices are also following suit. Studios are now well equipped for a variety of purposes: from recording full studio album sessions, collaborations, overdubs, film and television scores to hosting events and tour rehearsals.

In Los Angeles, the Evergreen Stage was originally a movie theatre when it first opened its’ doors in the 1940’s. In the 1970s, the Evergreen Stage was converted into a recording studio and has since hosted a range of famous artists who include: Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Stephen Sondheim, Christina Aguilera, and Barry Manilow, among others.

Previously owned by DiaDan Holdings Ltd., the Evergreen Stage has also been involved in major television and motion picture productions including Back to the Future, When Harry Met Sally, The Blues Brothers, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Octopussy, Friends, The Simpsons and more.

In New York, Threshold Recording Studios has over twenty years of history producing music. Threshold’s live room is a tuned space fully stocked with instruments, classic amplifiers, and 7′ Baldwin grand piano. There are two complete isolation booths (allowing for 3 fully isolated recording spaces) and an array of microphones to capture sound.

While there have been massive shifts in recording techniques and mediums over the last century, the rapid transition from acoustical recording to digital storage is a great example of how quickly sound technology progresses. It will certainly be interesting to see what comes next.

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