RECORDING IN THE 1960’S
In the 60’s we mixed almost everything down to stereo and to mono.
The mono was specifically for 45 radio singles.
We ran two tape recorders at once… one mono and one multi-track.
The mono was for AM radio play,
and was considered the more important mix.
The original master tapes sounded beautiful and rich…hi-fi.
When they were mastered for AM radio, which was mono,
they were much lower quality. Here’s why:
First the singles were reduced to midrange,
where the human hearing is most efficient… like the CB radio frequencies.
This gave them what we called “apparent loudness”.
Then they were run through compressors and limiters,
clipping off a lot of the sound,
in order to make your record sound louder on the air.
This became a rat race, because everybody was doing it,
so the integrity of the original music was lost…
flattened and pounded and cookie-cut into lo-fi commercial radio singles.
The LP albums were usually stereo and much better in sound quality.
Recording back then, when we started, was not so primitive.
We sang into Telefunken condenser mikes,
we had 3 or 4 track wide tape running then at 15 inches per second.
We had several kinds of reverb…including elaborate echo chambers.
These were highly engineered, shellacked rooms,
with a speaker at one end, and a movable condenser mike on a track.
No two flat surfaces were parallel to each other.
This was to prevent standing waves, and let the echo keep repeating.
They sounded as good or better than today’s digital echo/verbs,
but a lot of conservative producers were afraid of them.
people made fine masters, released crappy singles,
and the public accepted the system because they were trained to.
Now people think that was the way music sounded back then.
It was better than that.