Pub. Date:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture, and the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP

Chasing Sound: Technology, Culture, and the Art of Studio Recording from Edison to the LP

by Susan Schmidt Horning
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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781421418483
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 12/01/2015
Series: Studies in Industry and Society
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,061,976
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

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

Conclusion 208

Notes 223

Essay on Sources 273

Index 283

What People are Saying About This

Emily Thompson

"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."

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