Welcome to issue #47 of Tape Op.
Every day I get asked many questions about audio recording. These can range from queries about specific pieces of gear to my thoughts about attending recording schools. The questions come via email, phone calls and face-to-face interaction. And for most of these questions I usually don't have a solid answer. "What mic should I use for kick drum?" "Should I go to recording school?" "Should I buy an outboard preamp?" "Should I open a studio?" Why can't I answer these questions? Because there are so many variables, of course, and many times the only way to approach the problem and create a solution is to confront it directly — not to discuss and theorize. But the real answer is, "What is your goal?" If you're curious about recording school, don't see education as the goal, but instead consider what you plan or want to do post-school. If you're wondering about gear or techniques, consider what the tool or process will add to the desired final result of the recording. It's not the process, the tools or the education that matters — it's the final product that these things help create that matters in the end.
P.S. TapeOpCon2005 is right around the corner, June 10-12 in New Orleans. While there might be no solid answers there's nothing like picking the brains of many of our peers — engineers, musicians and producers — and finding the many techniques, processes and skills that they use to make music recordings that we enjoy and admire.