“Despite recording studios being the place designed to capture musical ideas, in many of them it takes far too much effort to get those ideas down as they’re happening.”
From Processing Creativity by Jesse Cannon (see review this issue)

How is it that a professional recording studio is actually one of the most difficult places to capture a spontaneous recording? I know that might sound shocking, but it’s true. Think of the beginning of a typical session, where no mics are set up, no cables are patched, and no tracks are enabled. You wanna throw an idea down really fast? It’ll be a while as we plug all this in, turn on the computer, align the tape deck, and so on.

In interviews we’ve constantly seen engineers mention they use whatever mics were handy in order to record an idea or part quickly. I find myself doing this all the time in the middle of a session. In my home studio, I want to have everything ready to go more and more so I can track parts as quickly as possible. In my professional studio, the space is presented with all mics, cables, and stands put away. It’s a blank slate, and the recordist must decide how to set up for the day.

I’m thinking of starting every session with a couple of mics set up and ready, or a little Zoom recorder laying around in record mode. Who knows, someday I might capture an idea or take that would have been lost forever.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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