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Author Topic: The Emperors New Clothes?  (Read 17238 times)

Greg Dixon

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The Emperors New Clothes?
« on: March 29, 2005, 10:48:55 pm »

Following on from the mix dilemma and Zoolander threads, I've often wondered why it is that some people seem to be so much better at 'selling' themselves and in so many cases convincing people that they are better than they are. I've seen and heard so many stories over the years, about people who really know nothing, but keep working. It's easy to knock the 'name' guys, but they aren't the only ones.

I was thinking about the engineer I mentioned in the Mixing Dilemma tread. This engineer works a lot and seems to be well regarded. Whenever I speak to this engineer, they are always blaming the equipment for why the recording wasn't great or telling me that the mix sucked, because they had to do two songs a day and you can't do a good mix in less than a day etc. This engineer has also complained to me about how noisy certain desks are. They did an overdub session at my studio once and I noticed that they'd set all the faders in a line and then got a balance by turning down the tape return trims! I realized, that they didn't understand signal to noise and the relationship between gain stages, hence the noisy desks. One of my regular clients has also pointed out that this engineer seems to hate guitars in general, as they are always completely buried in their mixes.

Another guy I've know, was in a band that I used to record very regularly. This guy showed absolutely no technical ability, although he did have some pretty good arrangement and production ideas. One day I had a band inquire about doing a recording and bringing him in to engineer. I told them that they were mistaken, as he wasn't an engineer, but by all means use him as producer. The guy rang me and was absolutely furious that I'd told the band that he wasn't an engineer, saying he'd been doing an audio course and was now engineering. A while after that I was asked by a regular client if I would mind this guy recording the drums on his next demo, to give him some more experience? He arrived quite late for the session, by which stage the drummer had the kit sounding as close to perfect as possible. This guy then tried to hide that he knew nothing, by trying to look busy and saying that if I wanted to set up some mics on the kit, he was cool with that. I of course said, no it's fine, it's your session, I'll stay out of the way. Very Happy   He set up 421s on the toms, as if they were 'side address' (yes, I did correct him) and got the drummer to set up the overhead mics, by saying (in mock tones) 'you'd better set up your precious overheads, so you can have them the way you like them'. He then spent about 3 hours going back and forwards between the control room and studio 'looking' at everything, but doing nothing. He recorded the drums to 12 tracks of a 16 track machine! This guy too, is making a name for himself as a producer and engineer.

Anyway, I'm aware that self promotion, has always been the thing that I'm worst at, but I was curious to know if anyone had come up with any theories as to why this happens and anyway to combat it, without looking petty. Rolling Eyes
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compasspnt

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2005, 11:18:30 pm »

Greg,

You have obviously failed to consider one very important fact:  these Emperors are selling themselves to HUMANS.  Hence the easy deceit.






I too would like to hear people's opinions on this subject.



One small question...you mention the one engineer several times in the plural...?
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Greg Dixon

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2005, 11:36:10 pm »

Mmm. I was trying to avoid using gender terms on that one, as it would narrow it down too much.......
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wwittman

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2005, 01:17:53 am »

Ah that explains all the horribly ungrammatical "theys" {g}

So it was a woman.

The Emperor's New Clothes principle works, which is why people employ it if they can.
People WANT to believe, generally.

Worked for the President.
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Brian Kehew

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2005, 06:00:05 am »

Over and over - I have to remind others that quality has nothing to do with success. We SEEM to think it does "He's good - and he is succeeding as a famous engineer." These examples always pop up. But I also have as MANY examples of people who are pretty bad at the job and succeed. Some are FILTHY rich and popular too...

On the converse - some of the best engineers I've ever seen make astounding recordings with very limited gear and musicians. They can make a very "pro" record with nothing, or very little. And yet they are poor and losing work to others who are inferior.

Same with singers - look at the top 10. Are they the best singers/writers in the country? Nope. Some might be. Many of the best are never even heard beyond indie world.

So talent=success is not a true equation in the real world.

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rush909

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2005, 06:59:41 am »

Brian Kehew wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 12:00



So talent=success is not a true equation in the real world.





to take your comment a bit futher...   One thing that misses from people's minds is that producing/mixing or any other art form is SUBJECTIVE!   and not only is it subjective, it runs under non-logical rules.   There are many producers out there that I think suck, but are undeniable in their ability to produce hits!   now, whether a more "talented" producer is able to produce the same hit with that same song/band/record company/promotion etc... is and will always be unknown.

there is a certain degree of "magic" to creating hits, and most of the time it is not the most qualitified, or most studied, or most skilled that make them.  

Many record companies are after hits (which generate money), not artistic excellence.  so they will use whoever has gotten the job done in the past, which will inevitably include losers with no talent.   but when you have skilled talented people producing hits, those are the ones that you will remember...

r.
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Fibes

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2005, 07:48:00 am »

It's all about self aggrandizing promotion. Ya either do it well or you don't.

That said, there are plenty of very talented engineers who would rather lay low where the art is and give up the big bucks, limelight and sushi so they don't have to deal with irreverent dumbass major label mooks, hit single politics, backstabbing and all that other fun stuff.

Just a thought.

FWIW i think some of the most artistic records being made today are under 30 grand. 10 or 12 of those a year would be fine with me...  
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Fibes
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cgc

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2005, 08:56:15 am »

Fibes wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 06:48


FWIW i think some of the most artistic records being made today are under 30 grand. 10 or 12 of those a year would be fine with me...  


Thirty grand is a large sum of money for a record here (and probably anywhere not LA or NYC).  Most of the good engineers in town make about that per year and the musicians even less.  I'm not aware of any of the local labels putting that kind of money into project either (major label types like Billy Corgan notwithstanding).  A lot of the notable records from Chicago in the past 20 years have been made for less than the 'tape' budget of the average major label session.  The studios walk a fine line between just breaking even and attracting the artists they want.  I'm sure Albini can fill a few pages on this subject as he deals with this everyday.

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McAllister

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2005, 09:28:42 am »

I'd like to find more engineers who can do great work with very limited gear. I'd even hire 'em. The only thing I know about the engineering side of things is that the person running the gear is WAY more important than the gear itself. The converse is true: put me in charge at Ocean Way and I'd make a crappy recording (sonically speaking).

The rest is marketing. Why some bands get big, and some don't. Promotion and marketing are vital; with very rare exception. Most engineers I've met don't really give a rat's ass about marketing themselves, they just wanna make great music. But then a mediocre engineer will come along who wants to be famousand/or rich, will market the hell out of himself, and get more gigs.

Of course, as ever, I could be wrong.

M
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Fibes

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2005, 11:15:01 am »

cgc wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 08:56

Fibes wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 06:48


FWIW i think some of the most artistic records being made today are under 30 grand. 10 or 12 of those a year would be fine with me...  


Thirty grand is a large sum of money for a record here (and probably anywhere not LA or NYC).  Most of the good engineers in town make about that per year and the musicians even less.  I'm not aware of any of the local labels putting that kind of money into project either (major label types like Billy Corgan notwithstanding).  A lot of the notable records from Chicago in the past 20 years have been made for less than the 'tape' budget of the average major label session.  The studios walk a fine line between just breaking even and attracting the artists they want.  I'm sure Albini can fill a few pages on this subject as he deals with this everyday.




Yeah 30 is large and i did say UNDER 30 grand. Typically the stuff over that loses the art and gains pressure from the "bottom line." I'm usually happy with records made for 6 grand if the band can "bring it." Give me 6 0r 10 of them and I'd still be happy...
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Radd 47

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2005, 12:34:56 pm »

This self promotion isn't confined to the music bizz, it happens everywhere. Every bad manager I have had at work has had a wife that bossed him. What a coincidence.
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Arf! Mastering

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2005, 12:40:14 pm »

I think the three deciding keys to success in the producer/engineer world are a strong musical instinct, the 'hang' factor, and a lot of luck.  Any one of these trumps engineering skill.
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zboy2854

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2005, 05:08:44 pm »

I know a producer/engineer who worked for many years under the thumb of a very successful and famous "producer".  My friend in fact came up with the lion's share of the arrangements and ideas responsible for many of the big name producer's successes, yet of course he was never given production credit or royalties, only perhaps an "additional arrangement by" credit.  Meanwhile, said big name producer was happy to take all the glory and kudos for the projects and success, which of course led to more clamoring for his "services".

Sadly, when my friend finally left this situation, Mr. big name Producer just found other uber-talented producer/engineers to pick up the slack and keep the appearances that he was still the man with all the talent.  
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Greg Dixon

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2005, 05:40:51 pm »

zboy2854 wrote on Thu, 31 March 2005 08:08

I know a producer/engineer who worked for many years under the thumb of a very successful and famous "producer".  My friend in fact came up with the lion's share of the arrangements and ideas responsible for many of the big name producer's successes, yet of course he was never given production credit or royalties, only perhaps an "additional arrangement by" credit.  Meanwhile, said big name producer was happy to take all the glory and kudos for the projects and success, which of course led to more clamoring for his "services".

Sadly, when my friend finally left this situation, Mr. big name Producer just found other uber-talented producer/engineers to pick up the slack and keep the appearances that he was still the man with all the talent.  


Well obviously, a large part of being a producer, is choosing the right people to work with and getting the best out of them. I think ideally, the above example should be fine, as the producer has the skills to 'sell' the team and the engineer, has the skills to make it all happen. It's the claiming credit for the engineers work that is the problem.
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Bill Mueller

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2005, 06:47:46 pm »

I have stayed out of the Zoolander thread and out of this one so far, because I feel my experiences have run against the grain of the group.

So far most of these negative comments are about untalented engineer/producer types, who "hit it big" because they knew the right person or were good at self promotion, not making music. However, over the years I have heard the very same criticizems about artists themselves. "Oh that guy sucks, the only reason he made it big was because they doctored his voice in the studio". While I am sure some artists have been given undeserved exposure because they were the sister of a famous singer, my experience is that nearly everyone I have worked with who "made it big" did so because they were damn good. I include in this group some really hateful, mean spirited bastards who were perfectly willing to make my life difficult, but who were nontheless very talented at making music.

I have experienced however, so-called engineers and producers whose ego exceeded their capability. Usually, either their capability catches up with their ego's or the loose their gig.

I have always been confounded as to why being an audio engineer is cause for an inflated ego. We are all servents to our clients, trusted with assisting them with bringing THEIR vision to fruition.

I was once in a session with this guy named Barry who is one of the world's greatest songwriters, has sold millions and millions of records and can sing like an angel, one take better than the last for hours and hours, perfectly in tune. He complained bitterly about this guy named Bruce who couldn't sing well and yet the whole world seemed to love him better.

It seems that feeling has no limits.

Best Regards,

Bill
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compasspnt

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2005, 06:54:13 pm »

With these humans, somehow the grass is never green enough...
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Greg Dixon

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2005, 09:31:14 pm »

I wonder if taking 3 hours to mic a tambourine, as per the Zoolander thread, could be part of the mystique? I can imagine some people going away thinking, wow that guy really cares about our music.
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Curve Dominant

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2005, 10:15:19 pm »

This thread reminds me of something Bill Dooly posted on his forum a couple of years ago, which was repeated in entreprenurial training classes I took recently:

1) Tell people what you are about to tell them about,
2) Tell them about it,
3) Then explain what you told them.

This business is essentially a communications industry, and so your ability to communicate will play a huge role in how things proceed for you. That goes for artists, producers, engineers, managers, promoters, A&R peeps...all down the line.

There are lots of studios in Philly which have better gear and more experience than I do. But I manage to draw some high quality artists to my studio, and I attribute that to my ability to communicate my understanding of their goals. The artists I end up working with value that, because my gear and my space (not to mention lack of experience) is certainly NOT going to "make the sale." Selling myself is my way of setting myself apart from the competition.

Even when the day comes when I DO have the best space in town, with the best gear money can buy, I won't be using that as a selling point. As an aspiring producer, I want artists to want to work with me because I understand their vision. I'm sure my competition might say, "Oh, Eric is just a good shit-talker," and that is certainly ONE way of looking at it.

Does that make sense? Because I'm still quite new to all this...

MB

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2005, 10:38:19 pm »

Greg Dixon wrote on Thu, 31 March 2005 04:31

I wonder if taking 3 hours to mic a tambourine, as per the Zoolander thread, could be part of the mystique? I can imagine some people going away thinking, wow that guy really cares about our music.



I think Mixerman captured this phenomenon beautifully with his infamous "soar" knob.

Back to the Emperors New Clothes, and I think others have alluded to it, there's different talents that one can possess that lead to success. I think we often make the mistake of taking the core skill of a profession and reducing that to "the skill".

I don't think anyone would argue Madonna's genius is her borderline pathological desire to succeed. I'm reading a book right now in which Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver) said "The first thing you wake up and think about in the morning is, Who can I hustle? and the last thing you think of before you go to bed is, Who can I hustle?" Then again, Schrader isn't exactly a poser when it comes to writing prowess. Once he got his opportunity, he still delivered the goods.

I think different areas have different metrics for the talent quantum required to succeed. You can't bluff your way into the NHL, for instance.

In the largesse around the music industry, there's enough ancillery skills that perhaps can overcome deficiency in the core one. We, as engineers, are just surprised when we see it.  But then again, we know what to look for. And maybe it follows that in focusing on our area of expertise, we don't see those complementary skills?
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compasspnt

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2005, 11:15:22 pm »

On my SSL centre section, I have one button labeled "Near" and one "Far."  You would be amazed who and how many have engaged either or both of them.

Maybe I shouldn't have printed this...maybe now they won't work...
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thedoc

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2005, 12:38:29 am »

How about a fader connected to nothing...labeled "Balls"!
That way you can fade in just a little more as the song progresses...
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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2005, 09:55:57 am »

thedoc wrote on Thu, 31 March 2005 00:38

How about a fader connected to nothing...labeled "Balls"!
That way you can fade in just a little more as the song progresses...



HAHA!  I have a fader labled "It".  I like to give clients the responsibility of riding that fader during a mixdown if they are too busy micromanaging me.  that way they become self consumed with working that fader (whose explained purpose depends on the particular pet peeves i'm having with the clinet) druing the mixdown instead of monitoring , then evaluating, every move I make.

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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #22 on: March 31, 2005, 10:39:27 am »

I have a friend who was in a relatively successful alternative band, before "alternative" became a marketing phrase.  After the band broke up, one day he walked into Atlantic and talked them into giving them his own label and about a $10 million budget.  

It stiffed.  But what an amazing rap this guy had.  Balls of steel.

I currently have a friend (Ross knows who I'm talking about), who is a talented guy, but has relatively little experience behind a  console compared to most of us.  He, through sheer force of his personality, has talked himself into getting more work or representation in one year than you can believe.  And it's not because of his track record or his music, so much as it is that he just makes you believe that he's the guy you should hire.  That is a talent that I envy.

However, this friend doesn't pretend to be a jedi master or have a mystical audio aura around him.  I really admire his guts.

A lot of people who know me have described me as a "mad scientist", but it's not some persona I'm feigning.  That's just me.  In fact, it never occurred to me to think of myself that way until at least five people used that term to describe me.  But hey, maybe I should shroud that in some cryptic mystique and convince people that nobody can make a good record without using my secret mad scientific knowledge.  
Cool

My policy is that you should always associate yourself with people who know more and are more talented than yourself, so you never get too big headed.  I can't honestly thiunk of myself as a mad scientist when I have Kehew around.  One of the reasons I came to these forums was that I was using a different forum and apparently, I seemed to have the most experience there, which was scary.  I like being where I know there are people like Terry, William, Bob and Ross who, while not necessarily being more talented than me (just kidding!), have years and years more experience from which I can learn.  And I love the fact that they share their knowledge freely with us younger guys.  

BTW, as far as phony faders go, I love when I mispatch something and I'm turning knobs and moving faders and hearing the difference, even when nothing is happening.  That's the bummer about ProTools.  You don't have fake faders for the producer or the band to play with.
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rdwilkins

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2005, 10:55:07 am »

just a note re: recording budgets...Wow, 30k would be a budget for 6 albums (can I still call them that?) for the little indy band I manage.  Albini-producing (mind you quite a few yrs ago) on their 2nd one included in that figure.  I also was exposed to similiar budgets (5-7k) practically the whole time (note this was more than 10yrs ago too) I was an agent for similiar acts as well as singer songwriters who had mostly been initially exposed to major label budgets only to find themselves dropped after 1-3 albums and back to indyland.  

One thing about smaller budgets (at least in my experience) has been more of an emphasis on pre-production.  The best thing a band can do is make demos and live with them for a few wks.  Then arrangements, key changes, word changes, tempo adjustments, vocal phrasing etc etc become crystallized before anyone gets in the studio.  

By the way, my act's latest was recorded live to 2-track and cost about $200 to make.  It's probably their best album yet.
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cgc

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2005, 12:42:01 pm »

Quote:

BTW, as far as phony faders go, I love when I mispatch something and I'm turning knobs and moving faders and hearing the difference, even when nothing is happening. That's the bummer about ProTools. You don't have fake faders for the producer or the band to play with.


I would consider making 'producer' plugins that added 'vibe' and 'warmth' if I could get the PT dev kit.  They won't send me one without a business plan and/or a background of commercial development.  

The 'vibe' plug would be a faithful emulation of my hardware multi-position switch.  The key is to not have an 'off' position, which would probably reveal that the thing wasn't wired to anything.  

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Lee Flier

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2005, 01:53:27 pm »

MB wrote on Wed, 30 March 2005 22:38

I'm reading a book right now in which Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver) said "The first thing you wake up and think about in the morning is, Who can I hustle? and the last thing you think of before you go to bed is, Who can I hustle?"



Yeah, and the unfortunate thing is that not everybody who has talent, has the "hustle" skills.  In fact a lot of very creative people are somewhat introverted.  I guess that's what managers are for.

compasspnt

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2005, 02:59:33 pm »

And this "people person skill thing" often goes just as much, if not more so, for tech geniuses.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2005, 12:20:37 am »

Terry, then how do you explain John Oram's success? Very Happy  
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Tim Halligan

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2005, 06:23:09 am »

J.J. wrote on Fri, 01 April 2005 13:20

Terry, then how do you explain John Oram's success? Very Happy  


He said "Tech geniuses"

That's the clue.

Very Happy


Cheers,
Tim



Damn, that was an April Fool's Day joke wasn't it?

...and I fell for it  Rolling Eyes
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Brian Kehew

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2005, 01:41:26 pm »

I think he is "The Father of British EQ", an excellent recommendation, if he does say so himself...

JJ - I think you should maybe make the mad scientist tag into something (seriously). I know one guy who became THE touring guitarist for years after he learned to dress kooky and cool. NO change in the guy or his playing. It doesn't change your quality, but it does give people a "hook", like in music, to identify you.

Gimmicks ARE a method to success. As with my studio - NO COMPUTERS! That gives people a clear message what I'm about. I am very vocal about hating what everyone else is doing, but half of it's a pretense for people NOT to reject my way of doing things. There are some people who seek me out because they love the concept. I could work on a computer, yes, and have (or ADAT, or Tascam 4-track) and make the best possible record. For some reason, I LOVE the challenge of "no gear", it makes me excited... and it's a gimmick.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #30 on: April 01, 2005, 04:51:26 pm »

Brian, I remember a couple years ago when your pitch was "There's no phone in the studio, so we get much more work done."  In your modesty, you made it sound like that was why you were getting those cool masters, when we knew all along it was your Quad 8 console.  
Very Happy

As far as the mad scientist thing goes, maybe I should start wearing a lab coat at all times when I'm recording.  But I honestly could't hang out with you and call myself a mad scientist, while you are helping design synths for Alesis and fixing Rabbit's B3.  As long as you know that it's just an eminence front.  Hmmmm... I wonder how much a lab coat goes for on eBay?
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They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

Bill Mueller

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #31 on: April 01, 2005, 08:27:49 pm »

J.J. wrote on Fri, 01 April 2005 16:51

Hmmmm... I wonder how much a lab coat goes for on eBay?


I've got one stored in the basement but it has this strange green glowing stuff smeared on it. Didn't hurt me none!?!!?!?

Best Regards,

Bill
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"Don't take it personally. But this shit is a science." J.J.Blair

“The Internet is only a means of communication,” he wrote. “It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights. There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalizes that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the Internet.” Irish judge, Peter Charleton

maxim

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #32 on: April 01, 2005, 08:58:11 pm »

i think a few splashes of blood would add to the authenticity and really impress the clients

also, to keep it on topic, you can be comfortably naked underneath
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wwittman

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #33 on: April 02, 2005, 12:37:01 am »

you know, it occurs to me that there IS a differnece between the Emperor's New Clothes and just clothes you think are ugly but the corwd seems to like.

When the producer hits the "near" button and exclaims how NOW the mix 'has it!" .. then he's truly admiring the naked emperor.

But when the engineer puts on the Apex set to stun and it sounds like crap to YOU but the producer loves it, that's just a TASTE difference.
( or lack of any)

so it's not ENC, to me, when someone does something I might not like or agree with or see a need for.
It IS ENC when someone puts the "great box I found at a flea market that I hear the Kinks used on all their records..." on the vocal NOT becasue he really believes it will help the vocal but becasue it's all dusty weird looking and it might fool the client into thinking his record just got all indie and cool..
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(Cyndi Lauper, Joan Osborne, The Fixx, The Outfield, Hooters...)

J.J. Blair

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #34 on: April 02, 2005, 11:14:28 am »

William, you'll never guess who was showing off to me (years ago) their compressor that was used on Dark Side of the Moon and a compressor that came from a German U boat.  
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studio info

They say the heart of Rock & Roll is still beating, which is amazing if you consider all the blow it's done over the years.

"The Internet enables pompous blowhards to interact with other pompous blowhards in a big circle jerk of pomposity." - Bill Maher

"The negative aspects of this business, not only will continue to prevail, but will continue to accelerate in madness. Conditions aren't going to get better, because the economics of rock and roll are getting closer and closer to the economics of Big Business America." - Bill Graham

arconaut

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #35 on: April 02, 2005, 12:55:29 pm »

I realize we've drifted a bit from the original post, but the discussion of faking out people with non-functional buttons reminded me of a passage from the book "The Fabulous Phonograph", by Roland Gelatt. It's a history of sound recording up until the 50's, mostly focusing on classical music.

The author is discussing Victor records and their first electrical recordings with Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra:

"From the same source in 1927 and 1928 came a half dozen issues that set a world standard for reproduced sound... Stokowski was not content merely to conduct and leave all else to the engineers. Microphone placement, the seating arrangement of his orchestra, sound reflectors, monitoring panels - the entire paraphernalia of recording intrigued him. It has been said, indeed, that he became too intrigued and dabbled so persistently in the deep waters of electrical engineering that Victor had to appease his lust by providing him with a set of control dials next to the podium that were connected to absolutely nothing."

So, this may be one of the oldest tricks of the trade.

Noah
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Brian Kehew

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Re: The Emperors New Clothes?
« Reply #36 on: April 02, 2005, 01:46:53 pm »

Looking back on this thread - it's a topic to consider: maybe a new thread I'll put up right now. "Function or Distraction"...
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