In Chasing Sound, Susan Schmidt Horning traces the cultural and technological evolution of recording studios in the United States from the first practical devices to the modern multi-track studios of the analog era. Charting the technical development of studio equipment, the professionalization of recording engineers, and the growing collaboration between artists and technicians, she shows how the earliest efforts to capture the sound of live performances eventually resulted in a trend toward studio creations that extended beyond live shows, ultimately reversing the historic relationship between live and recorded sound.
Schmidt Horning draws from a wealth of original oral interviews with major labels and independent recording engineers, producers, arrangers, and musicians, as well as memoirs, technical journals, popular accounts, and sound recordings. Recording engineers and producers, she finds, influenced technological and musical change as they sought to improve the sound of records. By investigating the complex relationship between sound engineering and popular music, she reveals the increasing reliance on technological intervention in the creation as well as in the reception of music. The recording studio, she argues, is at the center of musical culture in the twentieth century.
About the Author
Susan Schmidt Horning is an associate professor of history at St. John’s University in New York and a contributor to Music and Technology in the Twentieth Century.
Table of Contents
1 Capturing Sound in the Acoustic Era: Recording Professionals and Clever Mechanics 11
2 The Studio Electrifies: Radio, Recording, and the Birth of the Small Studio Business 32
3 A Passion for Sound: Amateur Recordists, the Audio Engineering Society, and the Evolution of a Profession 56
4 When High Fidelity Was New: The Studio as Instrument 78
5 Control Men in Technological Transition: Engineering the Performance in the Age of High Fidelity 104
6 The Search for the Sound: Rhythm and Blues, Rock ?n' Roll, and the Rise of the Independents 140
7 Channeling Sound: Technology, Control, and Fixing It in the Mix 171
Essay on Sources 273
What People are Saying About This
"Chasing Sound is a rich account of the development of recording studio technology and musical culture. It offers captivating new material and is a valuable contribution to scholarship in sound studies."